Things to do to escape your computer (or TV)


…hire a bike or roller skates or a boat.

Please help by adding to this in the comments.

Following on from this weekend’s activities. I’ve been thinking about what a great bunch of things Jason set me to do. All could be done with little investment, they were all quite fun, and thankfully all legal.

Asi seemed to suggest that I was lucky – and I think he was right. If he’d been in charge I’d have been:

deer-hunting, try nude modeling, kidnap a kitten, learn ballet, minor shop lifting, etc…

A totally different, and much harder, set of challenges.

Anyway, here’s the first few things that popped into my head:

Go into a pub you’ve never been into before and order a drink you’ve never tried before.

Yes, that's Pernod and Black

Paint one wall of your house a totally new colour.

Pink Wall

Go to a record store and buy a CD you’ve always thought you should have heard but haven’t. Then go home and listen to it. Properly.


Buy an ingredient from a ‘specialty supermarket’ and make something with it.


Gamble £5 at a local arcade.

Family Leisure Arcade

Go to a class in something you’ve never done before at a local leisure facility (this may be more scary for some of us than for others).

Cryptic Symbols

Like I said before I’d love people to add to this list in the comments so we can compile a bunch of interesting things to do when the computers are off.

It also got me thinking that this is quite similar to a show that’s been on the BBC (radio and TV) called I’ve Never Seen Star Wars. Where they take famous people and get them to do stuff they’ve never done before.

For example:

  • Comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor buys his first pornographic magazine, tries some unusual seafood and listens to his first hip hop record.
  • Magician Paul Daniels reads feminist literature for the first time, learns how to swim, and experiences the film The Great Escape.
  • Stand-up comedian Arthur Smith watches Top Gear for the first time, eats his first Pop tart and watches Les Misérables.

All good inspiration for the start of this list of things.

Over to you… :-)

40 thoughts on “Things to do to escape your computer (or TV)”

  1. 1. Go to a craft shop and buy a material you’ve never used before.

    2. Draw a map (real or fake).

    or (a project i heard someone did at college)

    3. Be a private detective and follow a dog.

    you could probably work the three together.

  2. Go to a library or bookstore and ask for the “classics” section. There is bound to be a book that you either always wanted to read or did a book report on…and did not really read.

  3. 1. Make a nice picnic and invite your neighbours. Even (or especially) if you don’t really know them.

    2. Write a song, and form a band. The band might just be you initially, but you’ll be a band and you’ll have a song. More people and more songs can come later.

    3. Buy some copies of a play you did at school. Like ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ or something. Then put on the play with some friends.

  4. 1. Make your own notebook. Sewing the pages together is strangely theraputic

    2. Visit a town or city you’ve never been to before, go for a walk and have a drink in a pub.

  5. 1. Go to bingo – play 5 cards at once. (online doesn’t count)

    2. Smile at a group of lads at a bus stop and engage them in a conversation, promise not to say the words; shank, Skins Series 1, whatever or hoodie

    3. Bake bread

    4. Go test drive a car you can’t afford

    5. Be a tourist in your own town

    6. Were a hat all day

  6. Find a restaurant you and your friends have never been to, everybody orders for the person sitting next to them. A prize goes to the person who nicks the most cutlery

  7. 1. Go outside and listen, really listen. Make a list of things you can hear that you’d never noticed before. (you can do this in doors if you like but its better outside/in the countryside/on the beach). I call it ear stretching.

    2. Walk instead of getting the bus or tube. Look up and around instead of focussing straight ahead.

    3. Interview an older family member – you might find out something interesting about your family.

    4. Write a short presentation about something fun and present it to a class of school kids. (feel free to write this with pen and paper)

  8. 1. Take a random train and go on an adventure.
    Go to the station figure out a way of randomising your options eg using dice and a timetable? Document the day on paper. Send postcards to friends telling of your adventures.

    2. Make an Action Figure version of yourself using socks.

    3. Learn how to make your own book
    Literally – out of paper and card Maybe write a story in it?

    4. Make Jam
    Catch a train to a Pick Your Own Fruit farm. Pick Fruit. Make jam.

    5. Take part in the Disposable Memory Project
    Make and drop off some ‘message in a bottle’ cameras in secret places.

  9. Go to Waterstones and buy a book you know you’ll get lost in. The trip to the book shop will get you out of your house and the book will get you away from that screen.

  10. As a variation on the theme, how about do-something-you-haven’t-done-for-at-least-twenty-years? e.g. play hopscotch, fly a kite, read an Enid Blyton novel…

  11. Loving this.

    1. Reread your favourite book. And then write an alternative ending. (Vladimir Nabokov kept two copies of lots of books he liked – one for reading pleasure, one all marked up with the things he would have done differently.)

    2. Perform something. Go to a spoken word night or a poetry reading. Or, if family or friends have a young child, make a point of reading a picture book to them. And do the voices.

    3. Go for a walk or a run at 5am in the morning. See who’s up and walking the streets. Make up stories about them in your head.

  12. make cookies
    plant vegetable seeds
    call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a year
    plan a camping trip

  13. Right there with Damien and Dom:

    grow something to eat. it’s the best antidote to our sedentary, electronically-mediated daily grind there is. Everyone has room for a gro-bag or at least a pot, and with a bit of judiciously applied water you can grow lettuces, peas, beans, strawberries, tomatoes, anything really.

  14. Take a train and go to a park you’ve never been to.
    Go to a part of your county you have never been to/like the name of.
    Switch off all technology for 1 day.

  15. 1. Make the people laugh, that stand in silence at Goodge Street underground lifts.

    2. Look back as a child and do the 1 thing, that your parents said no to.

    3. Hold a ‘come dine with me’ evening at Poke, or home, and invite 4 other bloggers.

  16. Think this is a great idea…

    Create a herb garden in your garden/on your windowsill and vow not to buy them again this summer

    Ride a horse in Hyde Park before work

    Apologise to someone you know for something you did a long time ago

    Go to the cinema on your own in the middle of the day (weekday)

    Read a section of the Sunday newspapers you have never looked at before

    Take photos with a camera that uses film and get them developed

  17. Great idea, it seems there are a few themes coming out, read a book, grow something etc, I’m going to add invent a new sport and get everyone to play it and make up a fact and tell someone its true.

  18. Ha love this.

    Give Blood
    Read the Sunday paper cover to cover
    Go to the closet airport and take the cheapest flight for a weekend away
    Jump into the sea/pool fully clothed – then eat an ice cream

  19. Go offline in a digital way. Take a pack of post it notes out with you one day and leave ‘comments’ on real things.

  20. Cool idea, my suggestions are:

    1. Complete a 1000 piece jigsaw

    2. Get on a local double decker bus, sit at the top front and don’t get off until you are back where you started (tourist buses don’t count). Enjoy the view.

    3. Handwrite and post 5 letters to at least three of the following granparent, parent, sibling, aunt, best friend, collegue, partner.

    4. Read a short story in a foreign language you don’t know with the help of a translation dictionary.

    5. Find pieces from your local town and make a piece of modern or natural art, put it in a frame and hang on your wall.

    6. Go for a walk in time to watch the sun rise.

    These are my favourites from everyone else’s:
    testdrive a car you can’t afford, go “ear stretching”(Simon’s), take photos with a camera that has a film, go to classics section of library and read a book, buy a play and act with friends, leave comments on real things.

  21. Make a painting and give it away (if you can)
    Go to a church
    Jump off a bridge into water (and live)
    Get a book on trees and learn about them
    Cut out coffee..(:
    Learn to cook good risotto

  22. Something I love doing. Go on a random walk through a city scape for three or four hours. then lie down under a tree for at least an hour and a half.

  23. 1.sort through your wardrobe and bag up all the clothes you’ll never ever wear again – be ruthless

    2. take the bag to a local charity shop

    3. buy something ‘interactive’ from the charity shop – in an analogue stylee – puzzle, game, book, set of teacups etc

    4. pick up some flour and yeast and bake a loaf of bread

    5.say hello to everyone you see while you’re out

  24. 1 – Go visiting who u really love ….

    2 – sPinninG SomE R&cords aT HoMme

    3 – Take a walk on the outstide

    4 – returns to a primate stage

  25. Mix up your day…
    * brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand
    * change your meals around – eat supper in the morning, breakfast at mid-day, and lunch at the end of the day
    * take a different route to work
    * have a silent meal or, if you always eat alone, talk aloud to yourself through the meal
    * eat your meal in a different room, outside, or on the floor
    * wear two different coloured socks – or two different shoes if you are brave
    * eat or drink one thing each day you’ve never had before
    The list can be endless. The idea is to do things that surprise (and sometimes delight!) your brain to keep it alive, fit, and flexible.

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  29. Are you going to do some more in your new country ?
    Maybe people will scare you… or maybe you’ll scare them …. ?
    That cocktail looked formidable.

    I would like some challenges for New Zealand. Send me missions!

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