I’m back into essay writing mode. Perhaps, it’s because I have a lot of interests – not sure exactly – but I go through phases where all I want to do is paint or draw, then I enter a new phases were all I want to do is write op-ed pieces, then writing, then savings things.
Well, I’m back in essay writing mode after a 3-month hiatus. Wrote one and am onto a few more. I’ve always wanted to write about the benefits of getting lost. Will script some ideas for the essay here on the blog.
Am not a GPS fan. During our Christmas drive up the Pacific Coast Highway in California, the female voice shouting out of the box mounted on the rental car dashboard while we zoomed around LA got so annoying I had to turn it off. “TAKE A LEFT HERE. TAKE A RIGHT THERE. 1 MILE AHEAD.” Her proclamations kept interrupting our conversation. But even worse, I began to feel like a helpless creature who couldn’t find her way out of a driveway.
I’ve always loved studying maps and figuring out ways to get from here to there. Other times, I like to test my own intuition to get somewhere. Have gotten lost and landed in some cool places I’d have never gone to intentionally. In Portugal, Jimmy and I ended up going down a narrow road listed on the map. A man in a Mercedes tried to talk us out of it – “It’s dangerous,” he said. We went anyway. A twisting turning road through a canyon. Breathtaking, devoid of traffic, no guard rails. A few stones in the road that sometimes got rutted but we went around them. It ended up being a neat cut-through to the next town we wanted to visit.
I also got lost on foot in an Italian Village at 6 am in the morning, the fog so dense I didn’t know which way was the way to the Town Square where someone was giving me a ride to Rome. At first I got anxious – I’ll miss my ride. Then I calmed down – I could take a train – eventually the fog would lift – the town isn’t that big. I began to rely on my intuition – this feels like the way to go and it was. The best thing about travel is the chance to get lost, to feel like all my senses are pumping.
Thoreau said this about getting lost, “It is a surprising and memorable, as well as valuable, experience to be lost in the woods any time. Not until we are completely lost, or turned around — for a man need only to be turned around once his eyes shut in this world to be lost, — do we appreciate the vastness and strangeness of nature. Not till we are lost, in other words, not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves and realize where we are and the infinite extend of our relations.”
I used to get intentionally lost as a child. My mother would shake her finger at me and say, “don’t leave the yard.” Yet, the magic of the world beyond my yard beckoned me. I could no surer stay in that yard than cease to be a child filled with wonder. The funny part is that I never felt lost when a child. I felt at home wandering around the woods and nearby farms and streams. Only when I got older did I develop a fear of getting lost, a panic f not knowing where I was. I’ve been working on getting back that feeling of loving being lost.
Your turn! How do you feel about getting lost? Good, bad, strange experiences? Do you rely on your GPS? Thanks, G.
p.s. for any of you Mass/RI folks I’m offering a new writing adventure called Naked Writing. Click on the link. Will be offering it on-line with conference calls over the summer. Please let me know if you are interested!