Conversations are my main form of acquiring information on my journey.
Each day I would interview people on the road, and later write up interesting comments that came up. I had no digital recorder, though aimed to report these stories and insights as accurately as I could. Generally speaking, I’d ask every person the same question: what is life like here? Open and broad, it resulted in all kinds of responses.
But before I left, I decided to think about a number of other questions that might open up conversations with strangers. My models were things things like the Proust Questionnaire and Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies card game. A previous job coordinating activities in a brain injury support service had allowed me to test out many of these questions in daily discussion groups I organised. They’re shared below in case anyone’s interested in attempting something similar.
- Tell me about yourself, and where you’re from.
- What inspires you?
- What occupies you during the day (work, study, retired), and why?
- What does identity mean to you?
- What does community mean to you?
- What does freedom mean?
- What issues or problems affect where you live, and why?
- What changes would you like to see?
- What obstacles stand in the way?
- What’s the basis of a good life?
- What lessons has life taught you?
- If heaven existed with certainty, what would it be like?
- If you had a time machine, what moment would you return to?
- If you became Prime Minister for a week, what would you do?
- If a doctor deemed you had 30 days to live, how would you spend them?