“We travel for romance, we travel for passion, and we travel to be lost,” wrote Ray Bradbury.
The notion of traveling to be lost resonates with me because we travel to be found as well. The experience of loosing ones bearings is something every traveler is bound to face, with or without a map or an itinerary. It’s part of the journey.
It happened to me in Prague, when I was supposed to meet someone at a town square, and since there are so many there, my friend was waiting at one, while I was at another.
Once a friend and I were in central Brussels, and we started to wander in concentric circle outwards, and happened into a chapel, a hidden place of repose, that we never would have seen if we were following the map.
So getting lost is part of getting found. In fact, that feeling of dislocation can touch a deep chord – and often being in a foreign place can give you that new perspective on yourself. This is particularly true when you spend time in cultures that are significantly different from our own, such as India, Bali, South America or remote parts of Europe.
I personally find it more poignant when I am in rural areas as opposed to Western cities in the US or Europe, but really anything unfamiliar can give you a shift in how you view things. A few hours from where you live, in a truly different milieu can give have that affect on you.
The book by Thomas Wolf, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” deals with this issue, among other topical ones during the period of rising Fascism in German. But the changing of American society, and in the book the illusion of prosperity which gave way to the crash of 1929, was expressed in the book as the unfair passing of time.
Seeing the roadmap ahead is great, however you have to be aware that it can always change. Today after meditating, I pulled out a card from a deck created by Deepak Chopra that said, “You are where your awareness is.”
So, “Be, here, now,” as Ram Dass says so often.