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Discover experimental tourism
Have you ever heard of Cecitourism (aka blindfolded tourism), Dodekatourism or Nyctalotourism? Wild names for original and playful ways to (re)visit a city or region. Let’s go and blindfold your eyes, set your watch or bring a torch, we’ll take you to explore the world, like you have never seen it before!
– By Frédérique Sauvée, outdoor lifestyle contributor
With your eyes closed
Imagine you are momentarily losing your sight while you are in an unknown neighbourhood or even in an unknown city. All your landmarks disappear and you have to unconditionally trust your friend who is guiding you by holding your arm. This is called Cecitourism. With your eyes blindfolded or masked by glasses with smoked lenses, you have to rely on your other senses: your hearing, touch and smell. The sound of the birds chirping never seemed so ear piercing, despite all the car noises. The warm wind that runs through the streets never seemed so intense on your bare legs. The smell of freshly cut grass never seemed so strong and powerful. Your guide is taking you through a pedestrian crossing, is making you climb a few stairs and is leading you to the right, to the left, without you having any reference of the place, except for the one your imagination. The first couple of minutes the blindness is confusing, but very pleasant when you finally manage to let go and let your other senses take over! Imagine you try it in the heart of the Marais in Paris, in Chinatown in New York or at the fish market in Tokyo!
Skip the “go” square
“Move forward 6 squares and go to the train station”. Monopoly tourism is a life-size game that allows you to visit neighborhoods, airports, prisons or the most expensive streets in major cities of our world. At the roll of a dice, you move around in the city that is your giant playground, dreaming of buying real estate or building your hotel. In the French version you visit Paris, from the Boulevard de Belleville to the Champs-Élysées, via the Montparnasse or the Saint-Lazare train station. In the American version you are heading to Atlantic City, from Vermont Avenue to the Boardwalk, all the while hoping to not land on the prison cell! And if you are on a road trip through Canada, don’t forget your Canadian Monopoly board game. It will take you from St. John (Newfoundland) to Vancouver passing through Quebec City, Trois-Rivières and Gatineau! What a beautiful trip on the horizon.
For the lovebirds that love to travel and are in perpetual search of spicing up their relationship, Erotourism is made for them. You invite your partner to visit a city without organising a fixed meeting point. The goal is to each go out alone for several hours and explore the city while you are looking for your partner at the same time. Are you going to find him/her in a coffee shop, in a library or in front of a pet shop? You can send each other pictures of the places you visited and embark on a real hunt for your loved one. Needless to explain the happiness you will feel when you finally reunite after a day of active searching!
Rendezvous at 12:12 pm
It is time to set your watch and experience Dodekotourism (Twelve Travel). On the 12th day of the month, at 12:12, take bus #12 (if you live in Montreal, bus # 12 will take you to Nuns’ Island). Disembark at the 12th stop and discover what this area has to offer. Walk for 12 minutes in one direction, stop to observe the buildings, talk to the people of the neighborhood, or go into a store and check out what you can buy for 12 dollars. A very original urban exploration that will end, however, at 12:12 am!
At night, all cats are gray
And if you are still not tired of your dodecatian wanderings, why not continue with an experience of Nyctalotourism? This is about exploring a city from dusk ‘til dawn. Everything is different at night, the rhythm of life, the urban fauna, and the animation of the neighborhoods. In the beginning of the evening, you see the people coming home after a day at work, their arms full with grocery bags. In the restaurants, it is rush hour until the tables empty and the party resumes in the bars and nightclubs. Little by little, the streets are deserted and the taxis start their tireless rounds in search of intoxicated customers. Then, in the early morning hours, the urban jungle finally calms down and the unsuspected wildlife comes alive. A couple of insomniac squirrels are chasing each other; a raccoon is rummaging through garbage bins; not to mention the rodents that are eating all the fallen food under the public benches. The light of the city is already changing and announces the beginning of a new day. After observing the sunrise on the walls of the buildings, it is time to leave the city to the working people and go to bed!
A few years ago Lonely Planet published a guide on 40 unusual ways to travel for those who are bored with traditional travel arrangements. There are plenty of different forms of experimental tourism to try. For example, you might want to try Filitourism, where you randomly and discreetly spin someone along and see how fare it will go. Or let yourself be tempted by multimodal tourism, where you try to take as many different means of transport as possible to travel: bike, bus, taxi, boat and why not a seaplane or a hot air balloon?