I’m fairly sure that when J.R.R Tolkien penned the words “Not all those who wander are lost”, he wasn’t exactly expecting it to become a phrase emblazoned on t-shirts and jewelry, used in a sickening amount of inspirational social media posts, or as a lifestyle choice for people suffering from a mid-life crisis.
And despite it most likely being the second-most overused quote on Instagram (nobody can hold a candle to John Muir), that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a whole lot of truth in those seven words. With advances in technology, humans can now travel all over the world, to some of the most remote places on earth, and never get lost.
GPS, satellites, mobile phones, Google Earth. All of these help us humans avoid that dreaded feeling of not knowing exactly where we are. And this is where the real truth comes in. Because yes, not ALL those who wander are lost…but some of them are. Completely and utterly lost. And yet, is that such a bad thing??
To wander can be simply defined as to ‘walk or move in a leisurely, casual, or aimless way.’ No agenda or destination. No map or directions. Just uncomplicated enjoyment of the amazing natural beauty that surrounds you, without necessarily knowing what is around the next bend.
Yet isn’t that the point of wandering, to leave the familiar behind and to search for the unknown? And invariably, at some point along the journey, you will get lost. And this is where true stories begin. The moments when you feel truly alive are sometimes the moments you are the most lost.
The next time this happens to you, whether in the jungle, the mountains or on some glacier in a whiteout, just embrace that nervous feeling of not knowing where you are. Live in that moment and remind yourself that it’s ok to be lost sometimes. Then, maybe pull out out that GPS and find yourself.
Words & photos by #TheRealStoke Ambassador: Bruno Long