Parks x Peaches, canals x LCD Soundsystem. Frosty tips across the grass x release radar. Worms to save on the side of the pavement, petrichor and pornographic podcasts. Grown-to-be-friends with cans of cider on benches x bird calls. Surging traffic and the smells of street stalls setting up smashed together with "Oh look! Squirrels!", bike bells ringing and Nick Cave.
Past packed traffic, old Italian delis with their dusty pasta stacked high on shelves (remember that time when I stopped to grab a water and ended up with the story of three generations and a great recipe for ricotta gnocchi?). The Allergies blaring along the last vestiges of old central London, people watching as I pass by. Buying good bread and butter for the Mr President crew and thinking of the simple joy it brings and the brilliance of the team. Breathing. Laughing. Listening to a story and suddenly realising how much it’s the answer to a problem I had only just been thinking about.
I walk five miles most mornings. Sometimes with a bounce in my step, sometimes slowing right down to connect the dots between two ideas or to take in something new. Always with a soundtrack to keep me going.
I never could work in silence. I’ve always needed to distract my rational brain, put something between it and the answer to let my subconscious get a word in. Some noise. So walking with a soundtrack helps to keep me stay curious. To work out the bits from my dreams that might be of interest for a project. To prioritise what needs to be done for the day to start tackling the current creative challenges. To find clarity and focus, and explore new ideas and connections. It gives me the time, space and freedom to get comfortable in myself for the day.
Stanford research last year showed that walking (rather than sitting or more cardiovascular exercise such as cycling) lead to more creative ideas and better divergent thinking. And that a leisurely, meandering and self-generated walk worked best. One hundred percent of those who walked were able to generate at least one high-quality, novel analogy compared to 50% of those seated. My noisy, daily walk makes me twice the creative I would otherwise be.
Laura Jordan Bambach is chief creative officer of Mr President (Photo credit: Tom Kavanagh)