Here’s a fun way to choose where to travel next: don’t choose any direction at all.
Instead, trust a pair of digital dice to direct your next adventure. They’re called Zufall (German for ‘random chance’) and it’s a simple way to keep yourself moving and exploring.
First you download the app to your iPhone ($1.99) or Windows Phone ($1.29). Then you shake the phone to roll your dice. The green die tells you what direction to travel, and the blue die tells you how far to go. Or if you prefer old-school dice, get the non-digital Original Zufall dice kit for $12.
Zufall sounds perfect for people who love to travel but get crippled by indecision when they have to actually use their brain cells.
Zufall’s website says, “It’s romantic, it’s spontaneous, it’s an adventure by chance.” And they’re serious about the romantic part. On Valentine’s Day, the couple who invented it, Tim and Valerie, rolled the Zufall dice to decide what to do on their date [Alas, they didn’t follow up to let us know where and how their date went. Did they get lucky? Or mugged?]
I just downloaded the app because it’s dog-walking time and I demand to know which trees he should pee on. So I shake the phone, the dice ‘roll’ on my screen and make satisfying clickety-click sounds. When the dice settle, they tell me to go “East” for “1 blocks” (I guess Zufall’s still working out their grammar kinks).
Now everyone knows the east side of any city is the absolute worst place to be, right? So to make sure I’m not walking into a hobo nest or gang fight, I press the button marked Check Map.
Suddenly a Google street map pops up [apparently, like the Mafia of old, Google has to have a cut of any new business or else they’ll burn down your storefront]. A pin appears on my current street corner, as well as a red area to the east that looks like a bomb crater. I’m just following orders, so I take my dog there and point at the tree.
He does his business. I shake the dice again. Now we must walk six blocks south. A third shake sends me 4 blocks east again. So my dog walks me there and we end up right on the doorstep of a massage parlor…in just three short shakes of the dice. Um, danke schön, Zufall!
“Use the Zufall dice to help you make just about any decision,” says the website, adding “it can be used on a date, for a day trip, to explore a city, or for a spontaneous weekend away. You can Zufall by foot, bike, car, boat, plane, cab, bus, or subway – anyway you can move, you can Zufall.”
Or choose to Super Zufall your adventures by customizing your adventure. Simply tell the app if you prefer to travel by Bike, Vehicle, or Foot [wait, shouldn’t that be feet?]. You can pick what kind of adventure you want (well, as long as it’s either Coffee, Dining, Exploring, Overnight, Shopping, or I Can’t Decide), tell the app if you have geographical limitations due to, say, barbed wire fences, nuclear waste spills, or active terrorist cells, plus the longest time or farthest distance in blocks/miles/kilometers that you’re willing to hop on your one good Foot.
So that’s the What and the How about Zufalling in their footsteps…but the question remains “Why do this at all?”
What if Zufall/Google are manipulating our travel ‘choices’ to serve their nefarious capitalistic schemes? Is Zufall just giving us the illusion of choice?
Ah, but didn’t the Indian mystic/guru, J. Krishnamurti, say that, “Truth is a pathless land” and “freedom is not a choice. It is man’s pretense that because he has choice he is free. Freedom is pure observation without direction, without fear of punishment and reward,” as well as “Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity. Thought is time. Thought is born of experience and knowledge which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past.”
Maybe he did say that, maybe he didn’t. It’s hard to say because I really don’t care.
That’s because ‘not caring’ is the beauty of Zufall. When you roll their dice to pick your path in life, you shed your shackles of time, the past, and caring about your pre-trip fears, and simply start living, breathing, and discovering.
Just remember to keep your head up so you don’t roll into a nest of angry hobos.
— Ken Hegan
Bing: the history of dice
P.S. Zufall’s disclaimer warns, “Zufall Adventures is not responsible for the roll of the dice or the actions of those who choose to follow the dice.”
Images courtesy Zufall Adventures