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The Art of Flaneuring: How to Wander with Intention and Discover a Better Life

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A fun and practical guide to cultivating a more mindful and fulfilling everyday life by tapping into your inner flaneur—perfect for fans of Marie Kondo and The Little Book of Hygge.

Have you ever been walking home from work and unexpectedly took a different path just to learn more about your neighborhood? Or have you been on a vacation and walked around a new city just to take it all in? Then chances are, you’re a flaneur and you didn’t even know it! Originally used to describe well-to-do French men who would stroll city streets in the nineteenth century, flaneur has evolved to generally mean someone who wanders with intention. Even if you’ve already embraced being a flaneur, did you know that flaneuring has benefits beyond satisfying your craving for wanderlust?

In The Art of Flaneuring, discover the many ways flaneuring can spark creativity, support a more mindful mentality, and improve your overall well-being, including:

-How flaneuring your mundane daily routine can boost your mental health
-Why flaneuring isn’t just for jet-setters—you can flaneur anywhere!
-How to manage your stress at the office by doing fun flaneur-inspired activities
-How to use flaneuring to connect on a deeper level with your friends and partner
-And so much more!

With this practical and engaging guide, you can learn how to channel your inner flaneur and cultivate a more creative, fulfilling, and mindful everyday life.

191 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 22, 2019

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About the author

Erika Owen

3 books47 followers
Erika Owen is a Brooklyn-based lifestyle writer and the author of three books: The Art of Flaneuring, Lawbreaking Ladies, and Fodor's Essential Guide to Iceland. When she isn't writing, she's doodling, planning her next trip to Iceland, or out wandering corners of her neighborhood.

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5 stars
28 (8%)
4 stars
70 (21%)
3 stars
123 (37%)
2 stars
76 (22%)
1 star
34 (10%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 56 reviews
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,091 reviews34 followers
January 26, 2023
A light read about mindfully taking in the world around you as you wander through life. Most of us already do this to some extent, and thus the read can come across as rather trite with its "stop and smell the roses" counsel, but I did appreciate the outside-the-box thinking of novel ways to flaneur given limited ways and means. I agree with other reviewers that this isn't really book-length material but this format will likely reach more readers than a magazine article or blog post, and it does serve as a nice bookshelf reminder to notice, contemplate, and appreciate the finer details in life.
174 reviews6 followers
May 19, 2020
Walking is good for you. Walking without a goal except to be here now is good for you in a different way than walking to get somewhere or accumulate steps.

This book is more of a magazine article, printed in a large friendly font with lots of white space and decorative elements, and padded out with 25 pages of the author's friends' and relations' answers to questions like "Do you feel better after walking?" and pages of blank lines for you to write in your own answers to those questions.

"Walking by yourself in a new neighborhood can also create a similar sort of gut-wrenching anxiety, but I encourage you to find confidence and empowerment in no one knowing your name." There are techniques that can work to reduce social anxiety, but being told not to feel that way is not one of them.

A few pages later, "This is another great point Scott brings up: no matter who you are and especially if you're a woman or a person of color, it's important to identify your early-warning reactions. We all have them, whether it's the hair on the back of our neck standing straight up or that feeling that someone is watching us, despite our being in a relatively empty space. Listen to your body and be aware of how you feel."

Okay, so you, anxious person, are always in the wrong, but we don't know what kind of wrong you are until after the fact. If nothing bad happens to you, you were wrong to be inhibited by your anxiety; if something bad happens to you, you were wrong to ignore your anxiety. Good to know!
Profile Image for Amanda.
398 reviews67 followers
January 29, 2021
Also on my blog, Snug Shelf.

Quick review:
I really enjoyed this treasure of a book. Flaneuring is something that I've always craved but never quite knew how to describe it or achieve it. Owen does a fantastic job here and has suggestions for all types of flaneurs, even the ones who can't be physically active.

Full review:

"Flanuering" is a word I had encountered before and immediately loved. As the subtitle indicates, it's a sort of wandering without a set destination. I think we've all done this at one time or another - especially as children. Flaneuring reminds me of how I used to wander the woods behind my house for hours, just poking into things, and the magical feeling of "discovering" an old barn or neighbors I never knew were on the other side of the wood. It's one of those nostalgic feelings that I've always thought of recapturing.

The Art of Flaneuring is just the book I needed for that. It goes through a short history of the original French flaneurs, and then dives right into how one can incorporate flanuering into your daily routine. I thought the recommendations were great, and there was pretty much something for everyone. I did get the feeling that flanuering would work best in a large walkable city, like New York (where I think the author lives), and many recommendations assume a city like that a little. However, there really is something for everyone, including recommendations for people who can't walk.

I would highly recommend The Art of Flaneuring for anyone who gets that wanderlust feeling at home. This book seems styled in the tradition of The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well or The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - small, well-designed, and focusing on a small change that can make a big difference in day-to-day life.
Profile Image for Jason Muckley.
Author 7 books10 followers
July 29, 2019
I loved Erika Owen's book, "The Art of Flaneuring!" This was a very helpful guide on "flaneuring," a concept born from old French men from years past who would aimlessly wander looking for romance in the day-to-day details that oftentimes go ignored. The book takes this decades-old concept into the 21st century with a host of ideas for flaneuring in the modern age.

Ms. Owen also makes it clear time and time again that this concept isn't just for old French men either. She gives great tips for women who would like to flaneur as well. She speaks to the reader like she is an old friend, picking up on an old conversation. Her language style is casual and humorous. It is like she found her new favorite hobby and wants everyone to know about it. That relaxed style invites the reader to join her on her journey and to take up the new endeavor alongside her.

The book covers flaneuring in your city as well as in a new city. It covers flaneuring in the car or on a bike, flaneuring for exercise, and many other related topics. This was a wonderful new concept that I hope to incorporate more and more into my own routines to "see" more of the world around me.

If you want to learn more about this beautiful exercise of aimlessly wandering with the intention of discovering the beauty around you, go get a copy of Ms. Owen's new book!

I received this as an eBook from Tiller Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of the title. I did not receive any compensation from either company. The opinions expressed herein are completely my own.
Profile Image for Kate.
322 reviews24 followers
December 16, 2019
This did nothing for me. If you know what flaneuring is, then you already know everything in this book. If you don't know what flaneuring is, then this book isn't going to really give you anything concrete. The advice is pretty common sense (ranging from what to pack, not to wander in places where you're unsafe, to stop when your feet hurt, etc.). I'm not sure why this is a book. It's disjointed and honestly would barely be enough information for a series of short blog posts.

Not my jam.

Thanks Netgalley for the ARC.
Profile Image for Alley McGlynn.
83 reviews
February 11, 2020
I loved this book! I always have loved the idea and experience of flaneuring, but never knew it had a name until I picked up this book. Easy to digest, funny and relatable - this book was such a joy to read. Can’t wait to put some of these practices and ideas into motion. Will definitely re-read again.
Profile Image for Flannery Francis.
99 reviews2 followers
March 4, 2020
This book felt like an obvious attempt to cash in on the hygge hype. We don’t need to be told to wear layers, take apples on picnics, or explore the internet. This book lacked charm and originality.
Profile Image for Dasha Slepenkina.
309 reviews11 followers
September 25, 2019
A big thank-you to NetGalley, the author, and publisher for giving me a copy of this book for an unbiased review.

3 stars - Liked it

This is a delightful read for anyone who loves walking – specifically, flaneuring, or “wandering with intention.” Owen delves into the history of flaneuring, tips and tricks on how to incorporate this activity into your daily routine, and flaneuring as a global phenomenon.

Overall, I found the book very enjoyable. I’ve wandered with intention all over the globe – most recently in Paris, where I decided to visit only a few landmarks but otherwise to just spend the day wandering. That twenty-mile walk was one of my best travel experiences. As such, I’m all for flaneuring – and I found Owen’s passion for it very uplifting. She writes as if speaking to a friend, so the book has a genuine, warm tone. She also provides many practical tips on how to improve your flaneuring – and her advice is quite creative! Owen explores everything from walking as a form of meditation to using Google Maps to explore to world on a time/money budget, to wandering your local grocery store with intention if that’s all you have access to. In fact, she is very conscious of the privilege of walking, and does a good job on offering flaneuring advice to those who may not have the physical ability or time for a walk. I also appreciated the chapter that discusses how people flaneur all around the world – from friendship walks in Uganda to geocaching in Germany! If you want to get off the couch and see the world, or even learn to be inspired by the mundane, this book is a great place to start.

The reason it did not get more stars from me is that I felt some chapters were unnecessary. For example, there is a chapter in which she surveys her friends and family about why they walk. It asks questions such as: “Do you feel better after walking outside?” – which to me seems excessive. Does anyone not? Moreover, there are chapters about which exact food to pack on a picnic or what to wear for flaneuring depending on the season. This being said, I found her chapter on meditation helpful, so maybe there are readers who feel that the subjects I mentioned actually are useful, but they felt excessive to me. There were also some concepts that, while creative, seemed like a bit of a stretch. For example, she recommends cyber-flaneuring, which seemed like a fancy word for “get lost in an Internet rabbit hole.” However, I appreciated the creativity of her other flaneuring ideas, so it’s only fair that some would resonate with me more so than others.

Ultimately, this book motivated me to be more mindful of my surroundings, and to incorporate flaneuring into my daily life. I could imagine purchasing this book for a friend who is about to go on a long trip, or as a gift for someone trying to live a more mindful life. I also think that this book is very good for anyone battling anxiety or depression – not only will it motivate you to get outside and get moving, but the tone in which Owen writes is very pleasant and soothing. Learning how to engage with your surroundings in a more mindful way through flaneuring is a concept I can get behind.
Profile Image for Moonkiszt.
1,929 reviews205 followers
March 6, 2020
This non-fiction book is more a general encouragement / journal based on reimagining the concept of what a Flaneur is . . . to that end I direct you, Dear Reader, to wikipedia. There is an interesting romp through all the different roles, types, characteristics, and trends through the ages of how to recognize one in the wild, catch sight of in urban settings or discern on your garden path.

Starting in the 16th / 17th centuries with a negative label of words meaning basically "lazy loungers walking", modern observations sprang out of France in the 19th century starting with Baudelaire plopping the Flaneur in the city (no mention of Herself, the flaneuse). Far from lazy, the Flaneur is an urban expert, an artist, best poised to note, observe and comment on modernity.

Yet one of the "other meanings" according to that revered website - "complete philosophical way of living and thinking" is the lean this author is making in her advocacy for change through the act of walking . . .more specifically wandering with intent. . . .trying new routes, new actions, new choices all in the cause of changing yourself, just a little. The book is good, more of a workbook, a journal for your responses to flaneuring exercises assigned. My favorite? Go forest bathing.

A short read. Truly more of a manual and idea book for exploring this "new" trend. The author removes limitations - this isn't negative, it isn't for France alone, it isn't restricted to artists, shouldn't be strictly for urban environments. She takes all that away and opens up all horizons.

Put on your shoes and read this. Take your fully charged phone. If you do it right you might get lost.
Profile Image for Linda.
87 reviews3 followers
August 3, 2019
This delightful book presents fresh ways to enjoy life, and in particular, walking. A current day "Flaneurer" is someone who lives in the moment and takes in their surroundings in a relaxed and meditative way. Instead of walking just to get somewhere, or for exercise, this book promotes ways to make your walk even more fulfilling and to help add interest and relaxation to your day. Stressed at work? Flaneur.! Subway too crowded? Flaneur! This book also includes ways to Flanuer if you are physically disabled or are more interested in video games. I received this book in a giveaway from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and want to thank them for this opportunity. This is a book that I plan on purchasing once it is out to the public.
10 reviews
November 12, 2019
“Whether you’re looking for a new experience, a place to escape to where you can blend into the background, a way to catch up with a friend who loves walking as much as you do, or simply a better, more interesting life—flaneuring is for you.”
⭐️⭐️⭐️ (⭐️ pending looking through the final book)
The Art of Flaneuring by Erika Owen was a short fun read, and I found it to be a compelling excuse to indulge my habit of getting lost, something I usually only tolerate. If you’re a fan of books like The Little Book of Hygge, you’ll really enjoy this one!
#flaneuring #simonandschuster
Profile Image for Lars Larson.
17 reviews
February 1, 2020
The premise was interesting but the book fell flat due to lack of historical details, simplistic writing, and few insights to glean. This book should have been an online article. Notice your surroundings and you will enjoy life more.
Profile Image for Alicia Bayer.
Author 6 books179 followers
August 27, 2019
This is an interesting little book that teaches you how to flaneur (wander for fun) in all different ways. Apparently flaneuring was something upper class white French men used to do when they had enough leisure time to just stroll around seeing, learning and thinking things. It is apparently the latest cultural "in" thing, like hygge a few years ago.

Flaneuring sounds kind of fun but I'm not sure a book is really needed. One web page could easily sum up what it is and give some ideas. This is nearly 200 pages, so it seems like the author really stretched the concept as much as possible. She did seem to touch on just about everything you possibly could regarding the subject, including ways to virtually flaneur (google earth or browsing the net), flaneur on vacation, while driving, while at work, during exercise, etc. She even talks about doing it in places like Walmart (a personal no for me). She also goes into ways to stay safe and points out that it's a lot easier for white men to safely wander around than women or people of color, a very valid and somber point. There's also talk about various incarnations that other countries have of the same basic concept and even games and apps that you can flaneur in like Minecraft.

This is a fun book that got me thinking of places I could wander alone and with my kids (hubby is disabled and cannot walk long distances, which makes it harder to flaneur with him). This is the sort of thing we already do quite a lot of, particularly in nature, but it was interesting to think about extensions of it and to find out it had a name. The book might make a sweet holiday gift for someone who enjoys that sort of thing.

My rating system:
1 = hated it
2 = it was okay
3 = liked it
4 = really liked it
5 = love it, plan to purchase, and/or would buy it again if it was lost

I read a temporary digital ARC of the book for the purpose of review.
Profile Image for Ryan (Glay).
100 reviews32 followers
August 18, 2022
Very bad, but probably my own fault to have thought it would be better with such a 'Self-Helpy' title as this. Luckily it was easy enough to zoom through within an hour.

Filled with Woke cliches, disclaimers and trite advice...

The author covers the history of Flaneuring as little more than the definition you would find in any dictionary, but just so you don't forget how progressive the author is she is sure to add 'WHiTE MALE' (idle-strollers) when discussing it's beginings in mid-19th century Paris...

She has whole sections asking random people about 'What walking means to you' and what food to bring and what clothes to wear while flaneuring...REALLY? ... It felt like the author was given the project to write about 'Flaneuring' then did almost no research and filled in the pages with anything they knew about walking, while on top of that adding their own life experience and contemporary cliches.
Profile Image for Jami M..
453 reviews12 followers
December 13, 2019
Honestly, I have been a flaneur all my life. This book is me and my weird walking habits put into book format. It’s good to know other people do this too.

I really liked this book and think it would make a lively gift for some who already likes walking or just wants to think about experiencing life in a new way.
175 reviews1 follower
March 11, 2020
Short and simple book about flaneuring, how to do it outside or even inside. The benefits of it is increased imagination and more movement, switching off from the daily stress and getting closer with the people you do flaneuring with. The last chapter also looks into the different cultures and how they do flaneuring.
11 reviews
February 5, 2020
Cute book that provides suggestions on various ways to take an aimless wander, the benefits of which include living in the moment and appreciating your surroundings.
Profile Image for Akriti Rajput.
13 reviews1 follower
February 8, 2020
I found this book at a store I had wandered into while I was 'flaneuring'. If anything I learnt a new word and found a new way to unwind and relax.
Profile Image for Shruti.
81 reviews18 followers
October 20, 2021
A brief history and a practical guide on how one can enjoy the art of "Flaneuring", a French practice of strolling down the city streets and observing, taking in the details, the sights, the scents, and the people around you. It's a 19th-century fancy term for people-watching with intention (but don't pull a Joe from 'You' and go stalking lol). I found this book to be very Western centred - obviously coming from a white woman author from a so-called First-World nation, so I would like to research more into how this act of 'intentional wandering' is consciously or unconsciously practised in other cultures and countries like India, the Middle East, etc. While I can take away some tips from this book, most of the resources and spaces that the author mentions are unavailable to me and my surroundings. As the author rightly points out in the book, walking for leisure indeed is a privilege both in terms of the physical ability of your muscles to carry you from one place to another and in terms of how readily "safe" open spaces are available to women throughout the world that is decidedly not the West.
Profile Image for Hubert.
676 reviews38 followers
January 5, 2022
The title and cover hold so much promise ... but ultimately didn't feel I gained anything much from the book. I think the author needed to articulate the concept of flaneur in much more detail, if the author is intent or willing to expand its definition to include things like Pokemon Go, or scrolling through Google Earth. Some passages have interesting tips - for example, taking a marker, marking diagonally across a map, and then following the marked line and trying to wander along the marked line, rather than following the prescribed streets of a map. Also, the idea of having your mind wander while you take walks around the city, and how that invokes memories and connections from the past. Also, addressing how the concept of flaneur needs to be expanded to include women - that was one of the book's strong points.

Otherwise, I'd be more intrigued by a more academic, detailed treatment of the flaneur concept/idea.
Profile Image for Gloria.
2,012 reviews35 followers
December 31, 2022
A light read on a rather rare subject, this covers the origins of the 19th century flaneur to some rather questionable interpretations of what it might mean today. Written by a young Midwest women living in New York, this offers definition, encouragement, and benefits. It is not so much a book about the benefits of walking, but more about stress reduction, cultural observations, and curiosity. A nice introduction to becoming a flaneur.
Profile Image for eman ✨.
126 reviews17 followers
March 26, 2022
Just finished the audiobook, tuned in to it while on commute this morning, while cleaning my room, and while having a DIY skincare pamper time. Can't help but wonder, is that flaneuring? cause it sure as heck made me productive. hahah
Profile Image for Beth.
153 reviews29 followers
July 24, 2021
A book on one of my favorite activities. It’s a great intro to walking in pursuit of nothing more than being present and appreciating your surroundings.
7 reviews2 followers
May 19, 2021
Fun read

Fun and quick read. Some good examples of real life flaneuring and games. Mostly describing a mood, concept or trend.
Profile Image for Scycer.
297 reviews5 followers
November 19, 2019
Purposeful wandering... what a wonderful idea. The aim of this book is to bring some semblance of control in the chaos that is modern life.

Flaneuring is a french word that originally that depicts that philandering attentions of a drunk on the path outside of the drinking spots. The misadventures and remarkable conversations/observations that tend to follow such behavior.

However in today's context Flaneuring is a lot more and is present in all cultures in some form or other such walking after a heavy meal, finding interesting things to do in locality around etc. For most of the book the author primarily talks about walking around and discovering new things , how to plan for it .. etc.

There is a lot of good content and view points. The only reason I have given a three rating is because a majority of these concepts are not new to me but then again practise and advice is something entirely different. Though honestly if anyone has been down the youtube/reddit rabbit hole can easily call themselves a flaneur. The only constraints that flaneuring has compared to wasting time is that it limits the amount of time wasted and generally tends to better develop the structure of the world around you.

I highly recommend picking up and reading this book if you find yourself in too busy a lifestyle and are looking for a way to de-stress and create some small escapes. The book is short and a very easy read.

The one big takeaway for me was the practice of journaling your experiences. It is something that definitely plan to do.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 56 reviews

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