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Could you cross a forest without touching the ground? What would you see if you walked through your entire city taking a photo every eight steps? How would it feel to locate a missing cat and return it to its owner? How far could you walk sucking on the same mint? This is geography Daniel Raven-Ellison style. He's using films, books, websites, and walks to take geography far beyond memorizing dots on a map, challenging children and adults to experience every aspect of the world around them in a more meaningful, surprising way.
"The Internet makes us feel the world is becoming smaller and more available," he says, "but at the same time, many real, lived experiences are shrinking. For children, outdoor exploration improves mental and physical health, expands learning through risk taking, spurs innovative problem solving, and encourages empathy by meeting different people, yet too few children are allowed to play outdoors. As adults, although we share our cities with millions of other people, we're in many ways more disconnected than ever before, moving from the island of our home to the island of our car to the island of our office. Adventure has become something we watch on TV. In fact, there are amazing adventures to be had right outside our doors."
For Raven-Ellison, the road to adventure is "guerrilla geography": daring people to challenge preconceptions about places; engage in social and environmental justice; and form deeper, more active community connections.