You Should Let Yourself Get Lost Every Now And Again

If you’re a 20-something college student with little to no money to your name — like myself — and thus likely to walk to all locations when the bus isn’t an option, I have a casual proposition for you. Next time you’re getting ready to settle in for say, a three to four-hour Netflix Watch Instantly marathon of House of Cards, New Girl (both great shows that have brought a whole new meaning to the beauty that is binge-watching reruns), etc — don’t. Instead, put on a pair of comfortable walking shoes, grab your phone/Ipod, headphones, wallet, house keys (do not forget the house keys, I do all too often), and embark on a spontaneous walking quest to absolutely ‘nowhere.’

Yup, that’s right. This guy who apparently loses his car keys at the drop of a hat is telling you to go for a walk with the sole intention of getting lost.

Obviously this can’t really be truly accomplished due to the fact that pretty much all phones these days have location services, so when I say ‘get lost’ here’s what I mean: just start walking, be sure to blare a few of your favorite songs so loud that your eardrums ache, think about life and its many mysteries, and look up! Yes, look up. We’ve grown accustomed these days to hiding behind our smartphone screens, scanning Facebook feeds, tweeting about significant events like how amazing maple bars are (guilty, but seriously, they’re amazing creations), or Instagramming a picture that may or may not get 75 of those little heart ‘like’ things. Unfortunately, we forget to absorb all that is beautiful around us.

Whether it’s finding yourself utterly infatuated with a squirrel who is slowly chomping their way through a loaf of bread that looks like it was foolishly dropped by someone eating a sandwich, or infatuated with a particularly radical cloud formation that might resemble your favorite Disney character, life has a tendency to throw some pretty incredible sights and happenings our way. If we look up from our screens, we might just stand to catch a hint of more of ‘em.

But back to the main topic of discussion today, why should you get lost more often? Where’s the fun in it? There is certainly an unmistakable liberation from taking what could have been a loosely — or even rigidly —  planned couple of hours out of your day, and basically saying to yourself out loud or mentally (choose the latter and you’ll appear less like a raving lunatic), ‘fuck it, I’m going to go for a walk. Wait where am I going to go? No idea. Perfect.’ So you walk, and you walk, and maybe the first 10, 20, 30 minutes you note nothing new save for that one crazy-awesome looking homeless man sitting on a park bench with a bag of Funyons and some awesome dreadlocks that probably haven’t been washed in at least a decade which is probably awesome. But then you start to have some thoughts — thoughts that go something along the lines of, ‘uh … where in the hell am I?’ Or better yet, ‘wow, that burger place looks insanely authentic, and everyone looks so happy through the window. Oh wait, I should probably stop peering through the window, what’s wrong with me? Really though, how had I never heard about this place before?’

Okay, so where am I going with all of this?

By walking to nowhere in particular, you have expanded your horizons and discovered new places in the best way possible. You didn’t discover that burger place — or maybe it was a fish and chips joint — through an online platform like Yelp, which is still great, but hey, I’m just saying those kinds of services take all the fun out of what could have been a great adventure. You discovered that amazing new restaurant or that awesome new reading spot through a ‘physical’ adventure, and furthermore, an adventure that might have been supplemented with some of your favorite tunes, and a mobile doughnut or two.

Walking with no destination planned out beforehand is a liberating and therapeutic experience, and I’m telling you today to try it out. Expand your horizons the fun way. Sure, it’s great to know where you’re going, and to know that said destination might average 4.3/5 stars on Yelp, but it’s also fun to discover a great spot ‘organically’, on your own account. There’s a saying that goes something like, ‘sometimes we just need to get lost to find ourselves again.’ I’m a big fan of that saying, and I think it holds true in this scenario, in which we walk our way into the wonderful world of being ‘lost,’ only to discover our next new favorite spot to grab a bite to eat, or pick out a new book and effectually feel, well, just kind of great.

So next time you’re looking ahead to the next few hours of your day, and what said hours might include, consider taking a walk. (That is unless, of course, you really do have to be somewhere or fulfill some mandatory commitment. If that’s the case save the walk for another time, but just be sure to follow up on that ‘other time.’) Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Jeronimo Sanz

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