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.
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.
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.
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