The Art of Getting Lost

Photo of The Art of Getting Lost 1/4 by Fatema Diwan
Photo of The Art of Getting Lost 2/4 by Fatema Diwan

I once heard a friend saying that one of her wildest dreams was to buy a ticket to a randomly selected destination and fly away. That’s quite relatable. Most of us have been doing that, in terms of backpacking, gap years, sabbaticals, or even exchange programs.

There’s a need in each one of us, traveller or not, to be spontaneous, to lose some control.

Photo of The Art of Getting Lost 3/4 by Fatema Diwan

Picture: Pexels

The truth is we often get lost on purpose. Most of us have at one point bought a dress without knowing where we’d wear it, some of us go to the theatre and watch any film that’s playing; and some travel to countries without planning what we’d do there.

We choose to be lost in the hope that instead of finding something ourselves, something else would find us, something strange, unheard of – extraordinary. We would receive an invitation one day and wouldn’t know what to wear before that dress comes to the rescue, we would encounter a movie that will move us to remembering it for the rest of our lives, and we would stumble upon a place or person that no itinerary could have led us to.

There was once Columbus who set sail in oblivion of there being an entirely new world that he would stumble upon. And here we are, equipped with Google Maps, knowing exactly which lane to take and where to turn left, yet wanting to desperately get lost and find ourselves in the middle of nothingness.   

Knowing exactly where you are going puts a silent end to exploration. Getting lost, on the other hand is full of opportunities and possibilities. Anything can happen to you. You could meet a kind stranger or a thug, you could find that the road takes you to a serene view or throws you in the midst of the busy noise of the city; you can end up spending the night in a hotel or on the street.

The art of getting lost, however risky and dangerous is at the heart of the curious human. It fulfils the need for unpredictability that we all crave beneath our structured, well-maintained lives. It is the burst of madness, a moment where fear and excitement collide.

Sometimes, the knowledge of the destination makes us loose the sense of walking the road.  Getting lost is how we keep ourselves going in a way.

Photo of The Art of Getting Lost 4/4 by Fatema Diwan

Picture: Unsplash

The art of getting lost needs a lot of trust, or a more correct word – faith. You need to have faith on the road even when it leads to nowhere. You must respect the journey that is leading you to someplace that you can’t fathom yet, that you probably don’t believe even exits. But it’s the sweet anticipation of finding a destination that keeps us going. We all crave the element of surprise, which motivates us to take the road less taken, less spoken about, or even prohibited.

The way we travel today has changed from finding a destination to getting lost in one.