My father and I are experts at wandering around and getting lost. If there was a master’s degree for it, we would graduate with top honors. We are currently in beautiful Trieste in Italy and spent the day at the famous Castello di Miramare, built in the mid 19th century by an Austrian archduke. We could have taken the bus and we could have been there within 20 minutes after leaving our apartment. The emphasis here is on “could have”. Instead, we took the bus for 10 minutes and then spent the better part of the midday walking somewhat aimlessly around the mountainous area of Trieste before finally reaching the castle. What should have taken us 20 minutes ended up taking us two hours. And we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. As Tolkien once wrote in his Lord of The Rings books: “Not all those who wander are lost.”
You see, for my father and me it’s not so much about the destination, but all about the walk. It would’ve have been a great day one way or another, but seeing the ocean from atop and afar, walking downhill between old houses and gardens, escaping the loud traffic for some tranquility – that is what it’s all about. My father even said that he wouldn’t have been bothered if the castle happened to be closed that day.
We are slow travelers, slow tourists, slow walkers, and hikers. Getting from point A to point B in a straight line as fast as possible is not our style. We go out of our way to go out of the normal way because we both know – there is no reason to hurry; there is no reason to rush.
Calmly walk against the fast-paced world of modern times. Follow the rhythm of your own drum as Thoreau once wrote. Don’t be foolish by believing you can save time with our ever-growing technology. Time runs out one way or another. It trickles through your fingers like sand and there is no way you can stop this process. So, don’t waste your time trying to save it. Use it; wander and get lost.
Get lost, is what I say! Don’t be overly stupid and irresponsible, but also don’t be idle and complacent. Leave point A and take your time with getting to point B. Or don’t even reach point B. Change your mind; change your plans at the drop of a hat. Go to point C instead, or point D or E or Z. Change your mind and your plans again and again!
To hell with it all! I dare you to get excited, and get excited to be daring.
Don’t be steadfast in your plans. Change them to your liking. Your mind and plans, unlike clay, don’t dry and keep their form after you model them. They stay malleable and flexible for as long as you want them to.
So, get lost and shape your way as you see fit! Go tread on the beaten path if you like. Turn around halfway, then walk back and take the road less taken if you want. Or forget Robert Frost and make your way through the thicket of the forest. Go everywhere and nowhere. It matters not. All the difference is being made by you, not by the path itself.
Go a step further and don’t have a plan in the first place. Leave point A and see your final destination as a question mark. Every place can be your point B and no place has to be your point B. Don’t see your steps as a part of a journey where you walk towards something, but as playful, pleasant and joyful dance. Again and yet again a dance. A city is your dance floor. A mountain, a valley, a forest, your backyard is your dance floor. Play around and dance around and get lost. Find your way back and get lost again. Over and over and over again.
There is no reason for any of this, so we might as well enjoy the steps while we make them. One day you will be dead and you will be wishing that you spent a little more time smelling the fragrance of the rose at the side of the road.