“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves” (Henry David Thoreau)
The idea of getting lost on a well earned vacation raises immediate fears of a recipe for tourist disaster. Why would you veer off the main highway on your road trip along a unmarked country road to go virtually nowhere? Or what sense would it make on a cruise to adventure on your own into the unknown darkness of a dense, island jungle? What issues might also cross your mind on a downtown visit if you walked back to your hotel at night through unfamiliar surroundings? If you likewise faced indefinite time delays awaiting your air/land connection in passenger terminal “ limbo”, with no place to go, how would you handle the following boredom as well?
In each of the above cases, however, we might look at losing our way from a new paradigm in the following quote of James Redfield, author of the renowned novel, The Celestine Prophecy; “Inspiration is what keeps us well.”Thus instead of habitually pre programming ourselves to avoid/control our adrift wanderings, then why not just “let go” and simply learn to embrace “moment by moment any unfamiliar travel setting as a self learning lesson? Considering my own transformations from feeling lost to choosing self growth along the way of unknown travel, I thus offer the following examples.
“Utah Canyonland ( Trust Your Senses )
At first glance as we first entered Goblin State Park, in South Central Utah, we noticed the odd presence of gnome twisted, rock formations in the vast, canyon basin below. Descending steeply to this mystical rock field along the poorly marked Carmel Canyon Trail, we soon became directionally disoriented as the path grew progressively narrower and darker. Searching for an exit path uphill in such dire circumstances, we spotted a narrow opening to the terminus of this trail. Yet the urgency of finding firm foot grips and clear visual sightings to the top along this improvised route would immediately became a major concern. Who would have thought that this trail designated as only moderate by the State Park Service would require us to (1) undertake a risky crawl on hands and knees, (2) pull each other up steep canyon sidings, and (3) endure limited sight vision amidst unfamiliar surroundings to complete this arduous effort?
Sedona, Arizona Vortexes (Find Nature’s Energy Flow)
The Celestine Prophecy discusses the need to observe energy fields existing in the environment surrounding us that enhance our inner psyche. Feeling the need to explore the immense power of such vortex energy in sighting Courthouse Rock towering above the harsh desert below, our ensuing walk through such unknown environs provided a much needed meditative calmness as we drew closer to this mystical rock presence.
New York City – Midtown (Being Different is Ok)
A self guided walking of Midtown, New York City on a recent cruise brought welcome relief from the “cattle car” privacy invasions at sea. Enjoying a spontaneous slowdown at Times Square on a busy midweek afternoon, I thus sensed that no one seemed to care who you were or what you were doing amidst such urban frenzy. The unkempt appearance of an old man in the following picture surprisingly did not draw negative crowd attention to his deeply depressing plight in the following photo.
Las Vegas Strip (Cash In On Youthful Identity)
With so many visual reminders of youthful hedonism surrounding me when feeling trapped inside the cavernous corridors of Caesar’s Palace and its indoor pedestrian mall, I really did tend to feel younger there. Yet such “Fountain Of Youth” illusions to stay up later and more playfully indulge typically invoked havoc on my “spending pocket”.
Lost In the Jungle – Dominica (Go Back To Basics )
The critical need for basic, self survival strategies surfaced as we cautiously trekked through the dense island jungles of Dominica on a recent cruise excursion. Some life sustaining thought adaptations immediately surfaced then. A map of iPhone or map seemed useless to strategize a path ahead, so I imagined my ability to handle brush clearing sickle. Predicting that my rising thirst would not be eased by potentially poisonous waters in a nearby stream, I eagerly drank coconut water from an island tree. Admiring oily vine extensions from a practical perspective, I envisioned myself “playing Tarzan” by climbing vines as the most efficient way to escape a charging predator.
Train Station Europe (Cure Time Deadline Obsessions)
European rail stations typically adopt rigorous time schedule standards, yet the reality prevails that a given train can still depart or arrive late for various reasons. So in contrast to those time conscious passengers clearly fretting their impending delays in the following photographs, I chose to engage my idle time in quiet, self meditation.
Italian Riviera, N. Italy (Imagine History As It Really Was)
As a past World History teacher. I enjoy getting lost while meandering through “0ld Town”, paths of medieval Europe to see history from a more intimate, non- textbook perspective. By conducting such aimless walks within the walled confines of five towns in the Cinque Terre region, I thus obtained a close up look at authentic medieval life often centered around the castle, cobblestone, church and open market square.