The title of this post is a quote from The Lord Of The Rings – I am considering having it tattooed on my arm – something like that – or maybe a compass. It’s a tough choice – a romantic sounding excuse for my wanderlust or a classic illustration that symbolically states “I am where I am”.
The idea of being lost is an intriguing one to me. A concept both entirely literal AND at the same time existential. Maybe one is a metaphor for the other – maybe not. Either way – I’ve somehow managed to do quite a lot of meandering along an assortment of roads and paths allowing my feet to determine my direction… wandering along without ever really feeling that I have lost my way.
I have, in fact, been seriously lost only once – it was 1997, in Troy Michigan of all places… or maybe it was Clawson, possibly Royal Oak or Birmingham… I am still not sure where exactly I was or how I managed to get back to my hotel – I was truly terrified until I managed to find an open gas station where I could purchase a road atlas (for those of you too young to remember – ’97 was way before cell phones, Garmins and MapQuest).
Ordinarily, taking a wrong turn, missing my intended destination or finding that I have to back-track doesn’t bother me. I am all for taking two lefts and a right – just to see where I end up… this is especially intriguing when exploring villages and cities where the paths and alleyways trip and turn backward in time… still paved with the same stones laid by the original builders hundreds of years ago. I highly recommend exploring the oldest quarters of cities like Prague, Barcelona, or Venice (but not Marrakech or Fes El Bali – wandering aimlessly through either of those particular medinas is likely to result in the purchase of one hand-carved octagonal side table, three authentic Berber rugs, several bags crafted from the finest leather, an assortment of jewelry and one magic lamp). On second thought – go to Marrakech or Fes. Go now. Walk through doors. Turn down alleys. Get lost. Inhale. Exhale. Look. Listen. Eat things. Drink things. Haggle. The sights and sounds are incredible so have a blast and just remember what the door mouse said… Feed your head. It’s the only way to go.
So, I guess that covers the literal meaning of being lost. As far as any existential musings on the subject go… I will simply leave you with a snippet of the song Crossroads by Don McLean. (Because, clearly, this post needs more pop culture references)
We’ve walked both sides of every street
Through all kinds of windy weather;
But that was never our defeat
As long as we could walk together.
So there’s no need for turning back
Cause all roads lead to where we stand;
And I believe we’ll walk them all
No matter what we may have planned.