What is downward exploration?

‘Downward Exploration’ is an attempt to understand our connection to each other and the world around us, in a deeper and more valuable way.

Over my decades of travelling, I have found myself returning time and again to very specific areas of the world, without really understanding why. As I was increasingly welcomed into the world of ‘explorers’ and ‘adventurers’, I initially felt that I did not fit in because I preferred spending time in static situations; getting to know people and building connections, learning dialects and customs rather than physically covering ground.

Now I have realised that we are all trying to achieve the same thing: connection, but of course there are different ways to do so!

Downward exploration is the idea that small details matter: inflections of speech; ways of seasoning tahini; hand gestures; subtleties of gender interactions; how to eat with your hand; even the relative value of TV soap operas! I am still exploring, but in one place.

The adventure is in the detail.

“My idea of travel is a downward travel really. Getting to know where you are, better, and exploring feelings that you know more deeply. I always think that thing ‘knowing something by heart’ gives you a depth of possibility which is more potential than seeing new sights, however marvelous and exciting they are.”

Lucian Freud
— https://supportfutureartists.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/lucian-freud/