I travel the world to see all the things in it and watch how it all works, especially the most interesting and important part of it, people.

“The act of observing people and their interactions, usually without their knowledge. Speech in action, relationship interactions, body language, expressions, clothing and activities. To guess at another person’s story.”

The intentional act of people watching is not unlike visiting a zoo, except the animals, or specifically the humans, are free in their natural habitat.

Observing how a different species than our own does something, anything or everything without any outside influence is fascinating because they’re so completely different from us in every single way.

And yet, an even greater level of intrigue, entertainment and education can be reached by observing our own species – people watching, both foreign and domestic.

- People Watching Along a Mekong Village in Thailand -
– People Watching Along a Mekong Village in Thailand –

Human civilization is an ever-growing, ever-evolving and ever-moving organic machine of which each person is a cog that keep it functioning in one way or another.

For what purpose or reason is irrelevant. What’s important is that each individual person is a part of it that incidentally or purposefully work together to keep the machine going – it’s the force of civilization.

All animals have a very predictable and a relatively similar fixed life cycle. Whereas people have vastly different lifestyles from each other, we have stories.

People watching gives us a glimpse into the stories of individuals and groups of a type of people, both in a broad and specific way. It also teaches us about us.

I’ve said that the human element is what makes travel remarkable, because it’s the people and culture that makes the world interesting and each country unique.

If we were all the same, we would just be multitudes of drones and the term “people watching” wouldn’t exist, but we aren’t and it does – and so you should.

Everyone “people watch”, everyone. It’s a normal and vital function of social and daily activity. We have to observe the people around us (passively) in order to respond proactively and appropriately.

The art of people watching is more active, deliberate and with an explorer’s eye. To learn and be entertained.

It’s the recognition of the patterns of life.

The Art of People Watching ///

[The featured photo was taken at a pool party in Luang Prabang, Laos.]

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  1. Lori Zabel Reply

    People watching is the best when traveling abroad and sure beats any “reality TV”.

  2. Jine Niner Reply

    On an unrelated note, that’s you in the bottom left corner of the pool photo right? Did you throw your camera or something to get that shot?

  3. Brian Capezzone Reply

    I’m in Frankfurt Germany this week working….a little people watching too in the evenings.

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