Finding Yourself by Getting Lost
The title seems contradictory, doesn’t it? Getting lost to find yourself. I don’t mean getting lost only in Singapore, I mean getting lost deliberately anywhr (no pun intended) in the world. I believe that the conscious choice of putting ourselves out there in foreign environments, in the unknown, in the unexpected, forces us to uncover things about ourselves we may have never discovered in a comfortable and/or familiar environment.
We’re all creatures of comfort and while I love feeling at home, I’ve come to realise that sometimes, comfort is the very thing that hinders us from becoming better versions of ourselves. Getting lost in a foreign country especially, challenges us to stretch our creativity to communicate and to get to different places.
All our lives, we’ve learnt how to develop ways to be found – whether it’s to be found on social media, to be found by a potential employer or found by a significant other. What if we used that same energy and channelled it towards getting lost instead? I always wondered what we’ll find then. The first time I decided to travel solo, I knew I was in for an adventure. What lay ahead? I had no idea, but the fun lay in not knowing anything. I had no fixed schedule, no fixed itinerary, no fixed sites to visit and when you’re stripped to the bare minimum of not knowing, anything and everything becomes a surprise.
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The thought of getting lost seemed scary at first, because of how unfamiliar that concept was. Alongside that uncertainty came excitement – excitement in knowing that I’m choosing to do something that not many dare to do precisely because it’s too “YOLO” or reckless. Thankfully I didn’t need to worry about safety, where I’d be staying and who I’d be staying with because it was all accounted for by the team that sent me. All I needed to do was explore and be constantly surprised at what the future held.
Lessons Found from Getting Lost
Getting lost was one of the ways I wanted to spend my youth. Ironically, by embarking on a solo adventure and getting lost in the countryside (it was such an off the beaten path), I discovered so much more about myself than if I had chosen to not venture out into the unknown. I learnt that there was a difference between loving the idea of solo travelling and loving the thrill that came when you actually embarked on that journey yourself.
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The sense of accomplishment that you get from embarking on an adventure, unconventionally, is irreplaceable. The feeling can’t be replicated unless you actually go for the trip yourself. Maybe that’s what I found most appealing – an experience that can’t ever be duplicated and feelings that are so raw and genuine. In a world where things are so easily mass produced, traveling solo reminds us of what it means to have an experience that is personal, private and exclusive.
The strangers I met who became friends, the unfamiliar cafes that I familiarized myself with to chill out and hide away from the cold; all these things made that trip worth it. I got lost intentionally to find myself coming to a deeper understanding of what it means to be “found”. I came to understand what people meant when they said “home is wherever you make it to be”. Home represents all that is familiar, all that is comfortable, and I think the beauty of getting lost is that there’s so much flexibility to how you’d want to re-create new patterns of familiarity.
As I met up with people there and made new friends, I was introduced to the people I’d be staying with at the airbnb. Subsequently, according to my customized Travelogue, I was also given insights on some potential places I could navigate my way to. I still didn’t have a completely clear idea of what I was going to do, or where I was going to go to next, like I said, there was no itinerary and so no deadline for anything.
The first destination I went to was my lodging of course and thereafter, I started to venture out again into the unknown. I wandered into a cafe, talked to people and asked them what were some of the specialties there. After visiting the cafe, I went to visit a museum that people recommended I should go to. Again, once that place was found, I started to wander around again, hoping to savour the feeling of being lost as much as possible. My senses were heightened, as you’d pay attention to every detail around you in a place you have never been to before. It’s like every time I found someone and arrived somewhere, that became the foundation on which I’d launch myself into getting lost again, to discover yet another adventure.
Finding Myself Finally
Alas, all good things must have an end. The trip concluded with me traveling back to the airport. But despite it being only a four day 3 night trip, I felt like my mind’s been exposed to a month’s worth of adventurous journeys. I had learnt to be comfortable with unfamiliarity and to even enjoy the thrill of unpredictability. That was something my old self (the one before the trip), would’ve felt unnerving. Ever since I came back, any unpredictable or unstable situation that life threw at me seemed so much easier to handle – and I attribute that entirely to the sheer amount of exposure I got from going on a trip that is so steeped in the unknown. So, the next time you’re thinking of how to find yourself, you know the answer and better yet, you can now get it immediately here.