“It’s the stray-dog soul madness. It’s that itch you can’t scratch. It’s that feeling that leaves you staring up at ceilings in the middle of the night. You may settle down occasionally, sink into that sofa of comfort and routine, but even in those periods you will consistently look out around you for certain things. You will look out for the foreign travellers in your own town. You will look out for the birds taking flight from telephone cables. You will look out for the leaves being swept down the street in the wind. And when you see those things some part of you will just desire more than anything to join them and get lost once more out in the unknown. A part of you perpetually longs to be wandering down the cobbled lanes of some old European town, or hiking through a mountain wilderness, or sitting on a foreign beach staring out into a sunset sky. And no matter how much time passes, the madness shall never truly leave you. The years of wandering shall carry on and on; the infection in your heart will remain in some way. Even on your deathbed your heavy eyes will still lift to the horizon once more – ready for the next trip, ready for the next adventure – ready to sail back to the starry ocean of infinity where your stray-dog soul truly belongs.”
~ Stepping off the Conveyor Belt ~
“Whenever I started a new trip, I always delighted in grabbing my backpack from the airport conveyor belt. It was a standard act everyone went through when you flew to a new place, but I felt like it symbolised so much about what it was to travel. All throughout our lives we are continually placed on conveyor belts; from the mechanical process of education, to the roundabout of the 9-5, to the circular nature of riding back and forth down the same highway everyday – perpetually we rotate around and around in a repetitive and predictable fashion. To travel to a new place with no plans was to finally step off from the carousel of routine; whether for a week or a year, it was a journey away from the robotic process of normal life which required you to do the same things every day. Whenever I looked around at the people collecting their bags, I rarely saw the defeated faces that were found in those Monday morning traffic jams. Instead I saw hyper kids and hyper adults; I saw burning eyes and wide smiles; I saw the wild faces of those who knew a great adventure awaited them. And the more I collected that backpack, the more it became clear to me that we all loved to collect those bags. The reason we love it is because we know a new journey awaits us. The reason we love it is because we know the world is rich with possibility. The reason we love it is because – if only for a short and bittersweet period – we know that we are finally free.”
~ The Art of Getting Lost ~
“I always remember the first time I got lost. It was on a Saturday in the market downtown, and I was about five years old. I had momentarily wandered off from my mother and suddenly found myself sailing alone within a sea of busy shoppers. Amid the bustling stalls and scary strangers, I remember looking around and realising how utterly alone I was. As my stomach sank and I felt the fear, somebody came up to me and took me to a room where they announced over a speaker for my mother to come and collect me. Consequently, I was saved from that intimidating wilderness, but I never forgot the feeling – the feeling of being totally and helplessly lost.
As my life went on, I got lost a few more times until I suddenly found myself doing it willingly. One day I found myself travelling alone to Africa; one day I found myself somewhere in a foreign country without a map and a plan; one day I found myself again becoming that young child in the market, engulfed in the immensity of a big and scary world. And the more I got lost, the more I realised that it isn’t such a terrifying thing after all. In fact, it may well be the truest sensation there is – the thing that is rooted to the core of our very being.
When you thought about, we got lost all the time. We got lost in the movies we watched; we got lost in the books we read. Perhaps, most commonly, we got lost in our relationships with each other. Whenever people fell in love, they essentially threw themselves into the wilderness of another human-being. To go down the rabbit hole is a beautiful thing; it is something which takes us away from an old and safe familiarity, and into the wonderland of our magical universe.
So, don’t always see the act of getting lost in a negative way. Sometimes see it as an opportunity. Sometimes, within reason, leave the map and the plan at home, take the road less travelled, wander away from the crowd, fall in love with a stranger – explore what’s beyond the horizon with a child-like curiosity. As many people young and old will testify, you just never quite know upon what treasure you will stumble.”