Dialogue in the Dark

Who would have thought walking round in the dark for an hour with nothing but a white cane would be so challenging, enlightening and fun.

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It was pitch black as we entered and I felt a moment of panic. Nothing quite prepares you for complete and utter darkness, the moment that plunges you suddenly into the unknown. However, when I heard the reassuring voice of my guide, Andrew, the panic subsided.

Slowly my other senses kicked into play, my hearing, smell and touch took over, and for the next hour, with the help of Andrew and together with my companion Lily I would navigate my way through a simulated Melbourne.

I would stroll through the parks of Melbourne and experience some of the city’s iconic places such as the MCG (the Melbourne Cricket Ground) and the Queen Victoria Market. I would take a ride on a tram and traipse along busy streets. It’s a familiar journey, however in the unfamiliarity of complete darkness, I’ll be honest, more than once I felt completely lost.

However Andrew was always close by. He was a comforting combination of patience and humour and seemed to instinctively know when I needed help. Working cooperatively with him highlighted the importance of trust and communication, not just during the experience, but in every day life. By the end of our time the concept of darkness had slowly altered and in my mind’s eye, I was opened to an invisible world of possibility.

This immersive experience was like nothing I’ve done before. It was powerful, challenging, confronting and life changing. And it’s true, although you’ll see nothing, you’ll feel everything.

It made me realise how much our other senses come into play when we have no sight. It made me realise how, for many people, this is their reality and every day life.

Dialogue in the Dark has been operating in Melbourne (the only place in Australia) for the past two years however the concept isn’t new. It’s been going for 30 years in more than 40 countries, the brainchild of Andreas Heinecke in Hamburg 1988 after an encounter with a blind journalist that changed his life.

He learned that blindness or low vision isn’t something to consider a disability but rather a context that creates a range of other abilities.

Dialogue in the Dark has employed, worldwide, upwards of 10,000 people with blindness or low vision and in Melbourne the proceeds go to the Guide Dogs of Victoria.

After our immersive experience we stepped back into the real Melbourne feeling a shift.

Familiar experiences such as crossing a road and travelling on the tram back to Flinders Street took on a new light.

Colours and everything around us felt heightened, the colours seemed brighter, the smells, sounds and textures were all amplified.

Look up and don’t miss a thing
The vibrance of Chinese New Year colours seemed brighter

Even our afternoon tea back at Federation Square seemed more decadent than usual.

Can you imagine eating a luscious cake and sipping a frothy hot coffee in darkness with every sense heightened. I’d never thought of it before.

Dialogue in the Dark was more than just an exhibition, it was an eye opening immersion that I wish every person could experience. It gives you a glimpse of another reality and the range of possibilities that exists beyond our realm of thinking If you ever get the chance don’t miss it. To find out more visit dialogueinthe dark.

What an extraordinary world we live in. I feel blessed and very humbled.

Step out of your comfort zone today, wherever and however that may be, and experience a world beyond your imagination.

In light and love


Thank you for nominating Outanabout in this years Bloggers Bash Awards, held in London in June this year, in the category of Best Lifestyle Blog.

This is a huge category with an exceptional number of awesome blogs and I feel honoured and grateful to be amongst them.

Annual Bloggers Bash Awards Nominee Best Lifestyle Blog


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86 thoughts on “Dialogue in the Dark

  1. Wow!
    Seeing is believing seems to be only applicable when you can actually see. We, with a perfect pair of working eyes, do see so much on daily basis and move over. Because we are very dependent on our vision to guide us through.
    But those who can’t, certainly have to rely upon their other senses, which makes them extra-ordinary individuals.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Miriam,
    I’ve never heard of an experience like this; it sounds simply amazing! I remember learning that when one sense is lost the others become more acute to compensate but I never really considered what this would be like in practice. How interesting…and it does seem to create a shift in one’s perception. I wonder if it is lasting.
    And, BTW, congrats on your nomination.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I’ve heard that too and Andrew, our guide, confirmed it during our conversations. I’m not sure if this shift in my perception will be long lasting but it’s definitely given me a good insight into the life of a visually impaired person. Thanks for your comment and good wishes Nancy, really appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do find your introspective post so close and true. To lose any of our senses just
    totally bewilders and confuses. Disbelief is often the first reaction. I think your experience
    is a wonderful way to learn how it feels and still being safe. I didn’t know about these
    centres.
    I have two corneal transplants which work wonderfully. However, I do remember vividly
    the panic I felt when the day before the first op. that eye went black blind. Panic
    feeling.
    Loss of any senses must take a lot of work to adjust to and make you seeing
    things deeper. With even more gratitude.

    miriam

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences Miriam, I didn’t know about your transplants. Thank goodness your ops have gone well although it sounds like you’ve experienced firsthand that feeling of blind panic. I’m glad it was only temporary. I agree with you, when we lose a sense it must take huge readjustment for all the others to take over and compensate. Again, warm thanks for your comment and take care. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. An awesome experience we all should encounter in our lives.
    While in NZ recently we were on a cave tour, where our guide completely turned off all the lights and torches leaving us in complete darkness in a cold cave while telling us stories of how it was when they originally discovered the years over 100 years ago with no lighting. This 10 min experience was hard for some in our group who were occasionally turning on mobile phone torches for comfort reasons.Taking control of that uncomfortableness is not easy but like you said, steps us into the unknown and out of our comfort zone for just a little while.
    Have a great Sunday Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That sounds like an amazing experience too. Being underground in a cave like that would be unnerving for a lot of people but it’s worth doing isn’t it. Makes us appreciate things so much more. Happy Sunday Lorelle, the weather’s gorgeous today. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A thought provoking experience – I have retinal issues that will only get worse in the future, and there isn’t a current fix (c’mon, medical science!) so reading this and thinking about relying on – and enjoying – other senses is actually quite reassuring.
    Thanks, Miriam!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s what my friend and I both said when we came out of the experience. Knowing how much our other senses kicked in was surprisingly reassuring. Here’s hoping medical science catches up with all our current ailments. Enjoy your weekend my friend. 🙂

      Like

  6. What a wonderful experience! I wish there was one where I live or where we plan to travel to soon, but there is not! It is so easy to take our abilities for granted! And is wonderful how other senses can be used when one is disrupted much like how other parts of the brain can be activated when brain injuries occur! Really enjoyed this article!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Rosita, yes you’re right, all our other senses come alive when one is disrupted. The human body is amazing really and doing this did make me realise how much we take our abilities for granted. Thanks so much for your comment. Glad you enjoyed my post.

      Like

  7. Wow, what a marvelous experience you had, Miriam. I think we all should do that and we’ll never be the same again. I had a partial experience like this in a class when we paired with a classmate, took turns to be blindfold and follow the lead of the other classmate. It was a different focus of the experience though.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, exactly, Miriam. Even today, I still try to get up at night, feel my way in the dark without bumping into anything. One time at the gym, I didn’t know that they close at 8 pm on Saturday. I was left in the locker room when all the lights were turned off. I felt my way to the front door. They usually have someone checking, but probably there wasn’t a female staff at the last hour.
        My experience in the class was very useful to me!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It can be unnerving can’t it, when we’re suddenly plunged into darkness. I walk around the house at night like a cat sometimes but there’s always usually some light that eminates from somewhere. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  8. What a wonderful experience – opening up a whole new world from a completely new perspective! I recently did a ‘dementia awareness’ experience, which was incredibly moving and highlighted how incredibly confusing the world is when someone has dementia… I think these sought of experiences should be widely available and in some jobs should be compulsory, as some simple changes in how we treat someone can make a massive difference to them… Wowzy – the cakes looked scrumptious! xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I couldn’t agree more Wendy. Can you imagine how our level of tolerance and understanding would increase as a result. As for a dementia exercise, now that would be incredibly moving and powerful. Hope you’re well my friend. And yes, those cakes were divine! xx 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think for anyone who has a relative or is caring for someone with dementia, it’s essential. It really helped to understand how they must feel…
        Health wise – not great – I’ve been completely flawed this week with flu/chest infection – absolutely horrible but think I’ve turned a corner today so hopefully onward and upward… What about you Miri – how are you? xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Aww Wendy, I’m sorry to hear that. I’m fine and keeping busy but I do hope you’ll be up and feeling better in no time. Sending you lots of good wishes and big healing hugs xx

          Like

  9. What an interesting experience! You really had the chance to experience the world in a whole new way, and that is a gift. I’m sure it did make you more empathetic to those who always live without sight, and also opened doors to new possibilities!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. What a concept, Dialogue in the Dark! And it must have been an eye-opening experience (excuse the pun). We don’t really realize how much we depend on eye sight before we have to make do without. And then learn, like you experienced, how other senses will step in instead. Inspiring post, Miriam.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. That must have been quite the experience! I think I’d be very panicked. When they shut the lights off in cavern tours, it’s shocking how black complete darkness truly is! Yay for you stretching out of those comfort zones. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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