I went solo traveling for a few months to find myself, but instead, I ended up feeling more lost. I did meet awesome people and heard amazing stories along the way. I found love. I made amazing friends during my journey. I found kindness and compassion in strangers. I found amazing company. I tried new cuisines and tasted different flavors. I found inspiration. I saw things I didn’t know existed. I trusted strangers and found comfort in people I just met. I told the story of my life to people I barely knew because they felt familiar. Being on my own made me discover things I would have never known about myself otherwise, yet it didn’t make me find myself or figure out what I want to do in this life.
I found a home in hostels and Airbnbs. I found companionship in people so different from me. I found a family in random lost souls like me. I liked solitude. I liked the idea of being on my own more than I thought I would.
I thought that if I discovered more, if I met more people, if I tried new different things, and if I spent more time by myself, I would eventually find myself and that I wouldn’t feel as lost as I have always felt. I thought that maybe this way, I would finally find my calling, but instead I got lost in the endless possibilities of the world. I got lost in all the places, traditions, languages, and cultures. I got lost in the various interests I had along the way. I got lost in the diverse lifestyles and beliefs. I got lost in the massiveness of this world and the urge to discover every inch of it.
It turns out that no matter how much you avoid being lost and no matter how much you try to figure out your way or what you’re destined to do, at some point, you’ll have to experience this feeling of not knowing what to do with your life. No shortcut will make you skip this feeling. Most of the time, we think that maybe if we did that or this, we would figure things out for good. But no matter what you do, you’ll have to go through this phase of utter confusion and uncertainty, and you can’t really skip it.
The key to figuring out what you want to do and who you are in this life is by being lost at first. It’s part of the process — feeling this way is the road to find yourself, not the opposite of it. We keep perceiving being lost as something opposing to finding your own self when they complete each other in reality. You need to go through this in order to achieve this.
So go out there and get more lost. Being lost is your only way to find yourself. I realized that escaping this feeling by hanging on to the first thing you find that gives you a sense of safety is not the right way to deal with it. Searching for something that will make you run away from feeling like this by settling for anything that crosses your way that makes you feel like you have got your life together is basically you running away from the chance to truly find who you are and what you want in this world.