Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost.
We love this quote from J.R.R Tolkien because it reminds us that there’s great value in wandering – and in getting lost. Our passion for getting lost has lead to some of our most memorable travel moments. Here are 5 reasons why we think you should get lost next time you travel.
All too often when we travel we flip on our super-efficiency switch – determined to see it all by following a rigid schedule loaded with must-sees. What ends up happening is that we spend most of the time with our heads down, nose in a guide book, or our GPS or or a map tracing our every step along some dotted tourist trail. When we arrive, we consider it a mission accomplished, tick it off the list and move on. When asked what we saw, we refer to the list. Did we experience it or did we just check off a bunch of things on the list and take the requisite photo? Lose the map, guidebook and pocket your GPS – we guarantee you’ll see more along the way.
Asking for Directions.
One of the best things about traveling is meeting people. Sometimes it can be too easy to follow written direction and “experience” the people the way a fly on the wall might. What better way to connect with the locals than to ask for directions? While you’re at it, why not ask them where you should go or what they would do if they had a free afternoon to spend in the city? You never know where it might lead. Sometimes you just get directions and sometimes you get the memory of a lifetime.
Off the Beaten Path.
Sure the beaten path is beaten for a reason, but you might just find a truly unique experience just a few steps off that well-trodden path. And, the best part is – the adventures you find off the beaten path are yours and yours alone. Getting lost may have you intersecting the beaten path or may give you the opportunity to see or experience something that nobody else will have in their travel journal.
When you’re okay with being lost (and not panicking about finding your way back) there’s a magical thing that happens – immersion. You may find yourself strolling through a quaint little neighbourhood where you can watch the locals haggle over ham, friends spontaneous greet each other and sit down for a coffee or you might get caught in a stream of workers leaving the factory after a hard day’s work. This is the authentic picture of life in a place, this is the real heart of a city. This is real life and you’re immersed in it.
We’ve all heard of the benefits of staying present. Getting lost forces you to be in the moment, to pay attention. Whether you’re looking for something familiar or landmarks that might point you in the right direction – you’re looking. Plus, because you’re just wandering, your focus shifts from getting somewhere to just being there. You’ll find that it’s much easier to be completely present in the experience when you don’t know where you are.
Get lost on purpose, wander aimlessly and you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable experience. It reminds us of another quote that we love (and live by) – It’s the journey, not the destination.
Do you have a great ‘lost’ story?