#42: Walking to Dream

Plus, 'An Opinionated Guide to London Green Spaces, The Perimeter by Quintin Lake, Starkweather's Loop Walk, finding community and more links!

How are you doing? I hope well. It’s been a stressful few weeks for everyone and who knows what’s in store for the next few months. If you’re still reading newsletters, especially this one, thank you! I truly appreciate you giving me a few moments of your time each week.

I’m Bryan and this is my weekly newsletter on walking, photography, maps and New York City.

Walking & art: One of the most exciting aspects of a planned long walk is when you enter flow state. For me, this usually happens around 30 minutes into the walk, after I’ve warmed up, found my pace and washed away the daily mental checklist.

At this point, I move into creative problem solving mode, tackling the pressing issues that I need to resolve in order to move forward with my work and life in general. Those challenges normally take priority because they need to be solved in order to function.

There are walks however where the problem solving part is skipped entirely and I start to day dream when I achieve flow. This is when I begin to spark new ideas and imagine what’s possible. Often times, the ideas will be fanciful and absurdly impractical, but that’s the point! We need to allow our imagination to go to these places in order to invent and synthesize our ideas.

As I’ve hit middle age, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for this type of day dreaming, and understand how vital it is to our creative lives. For me, walking has always allowed me to dream about the future, to resolve personal questions, develop strategies, synthesize new ideas, and escape the pressure of the grind. The walk is my sacred time where the foundational, creative work takes place.

I walk to dream, and you should too. We need it, no matter how challenging life may seem.

If you are enjoying this newsletter, please consider sharing it with likeminded friends! I would greatly appreciate it.

Photobooks & Urbanism: I don’t own any books from Hoxton Mini Press yet but there have been a few over the years that I’ve coveted. I like what they are doing, and the focus of their publishing program. Their latest book 'An Opinionated Guide to London Green Spaces’ looks a fantastic take on the travel guide genre. I can envision one for New York City. The last few years I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the NYC parks, growing to appreciate them as vital, creative parts of the city. They are my favorite places to walk, make photos and think about the city. I’d love to see more work about urban greenspaces. If you have any recommendations, drop me a line at info@bryanformhals.com

The Perimeter is a photography project by Quintin Lake based on walking 10,000km around the coast of Britain in sections. The journey started on 17th April 2015 at St Paul’s cathedral and I’m following the coast clockwise. I expect the journey will take around 5 years.

Maps & photography: No doubt there are numerous walking projects out there for me to discover. I’m always inspired by the type of epic walks like the one Quintin is making right now.

Perhaps the best aspect of social media is that when you dial into a subject matter and share what you’re thinking and looking at. The work has a tendency of finding you at that point, and once you amplify it, it starts to compound. That’s what excites me most about doing this newsletter. I want to learn about these cool projects and see where it leads us. Send me your recommendations!

Friend and collaborator Tom Starkweather shared a recent walk with me and it gave me the idea that this could be a regular feature of the newsletter. I’ve been sketching out plans for how I’d like it to evolve as I progress, and this feels like a good start. If you’d like to share a walk, map and some text, drop me a line at info@bryanformhals.com

Tom Starkweather: As per interesting patterns on walking maps, I found the route that Alex (my partner) and I took on Saturday to be a figure 8. There were a couple of points where we realized we had made a big loop but our spontaneous destinations led us through Carroll Gardens and Gowanus that way. Alex got me a beer book of free beers for my birthday and we were checking out places that we had not been to and some were not surprisingly crowded on a Saturday so our route evolved and eventually into a figure 8. Good records were also found on the way. One with a map that seemed like a clue.

Read any great art biography and you will find them to be as much about the pursuit of connection and community and sensibility as they are about the struggle to forge a self. - Megan O'‘Grady, Is It Possible to Feel Creatively Connected Without Social Media?

That might be the essence of this newsletter and what I’m trying to do, so thank you for joining the journey so far. I hope to connect with more walkers, photographers and artists in the year to come.

Additional Links


I’m a photographer, writer and creative collaborator working in New York City. You can email me at info@bryanformhals.com or follow me on Instagram & Twitter

This newsletter is a weekly digest mixing updates on my current projects with the articles and media that catch my attention during the week. Topics I’m focusing on these days include walking, urbanism, New York city history, news about photography and photobooks, the attention economy and existential dread.