While spending a weekend in Chicago, I took an hour to just go wander by myself. Unbeknownst to me, “wander” doesn’t translate seamlessly to German and my German friends did not understand. Or maybe they were a little confused about why I would be meandering around aimlessly in the Chicago chill.
Frankly, I find the greatest pleasure in getting lost in a new city. Put away the maps and strap up your shoes, it’s the best way to truly see a city. Hearing the everyday sounds of traffic or market stalls; looking around at the nuances of its buildings or cracks in the streets will tell you more about a city than just standing in line at the tourist attractions.
But maybe my favourite thing about getting lost isn’t just about the surroundings, but how it’s become my philosophy in life.
Getting lost is the act of losing yourself. Forgetting where you are for a moment and all the pretences of travelling or what you’re supposed to be doing. Leave behind the idea of where you should be, both physically and emotionally. Strip away the sense of comfort or expectation and lose yourself to wherever your legs might take you.
And there, you might discover something truly unique. Physically find those hidden gems you’d never find on a map. Stumble upon a hole-in-the-wall café or incredible street art.
But in the same way you start finding yourself. You listen to what you want – take that left, find out what that random stool is outside a nondescript door or pop of colour on the building walls. You are forging your own path, taking control of your own pleasure and adventure.
It can be scary. The path you’re taking is unknown, perhaps a little scary. It’s hard to confidentially walk on alone when the fear of danger or even FOMO about the path everyone else is on bangs on in your head. It’s hard to shake the doubt that you’re about to take the wrong turn.
But we are just wandering around here. You can always take a U-turn back onto familiar grounds or call out for help. The great thing about adventure is that wrong turns can oftentimes be reversed with little consequence. But even better, they could end up being the right turns.
So really, regardless of whether it’s a new country or your own hometown; go get lost. Go live a wander-full life. You never know where you’ll end up.
By: Tiff Ng
Just another girl with wanderlust on her mind and a stomach full of avo on toast. After quitting her job in social media marketing, Tiff is now travelling the world, working, blogging and tearing up dance floors no matter where she is. Wherever Tiff goes, keep up with her on her website and Instagram.