ON GETTING LOST
In the process of moving into a world where nobody knows me, I momentarily forgot who I am. Journal entry on 1/20/14
I have a terrible sense of direction.
On city streets, open country. Underground or above it. I mean the kind where when I get off the subway in an unfamiliar neighborhood, I have to stop and do a whole mental calculation to figure out which exit to use.
The only way to enjoy traveling with me is to be savvy enough not to let me lead the way.
About three weeks into this new life, when I told my good friend Dennis (check the In Gratitude post) how lost I was feeling, he proceeded to recall several occasions when the two of us have gotten lost on trips.
In various places, with varying degrees of inconvenience.
Always my fault (Dennis actually has a very good sense of direction…and should know better than….never mind).
But, sometimes getting lost isn’t a geographical thing. Sometimes you can lose your inner bearings. Your sense of self.
Where am I going? What am I doing here? Why did I choose this?
The most recent time I got that kind of lost was in 2010 when I went to South Africa for two months to get back to my Child Life roots. On Day 2 of that trip I wrote in my journal:
I’m done with scary. There must be an easier way to grow.
Yes, on that trip my sense of direction in life and on the street came into serious question.
Back to traveling with Dennis. The photo above is from a hiking trip in Italy. Within a week before departing, the trip company informed us that not enough people signed up so they wouldn’t be able to do a guided trek. But, they could give us a step-by-step written guide so we could do it on our own. It was a little over 50 miles over 5 days with an average of 6 hours of walking a day, depending on the terrain.
We didn’t really think about it. Yes!
I still have the guide and after flipping through it decided to use it here. In my version of a mash-up of some of the feelings I had at the beginning of my Esper trip and some directions from the Italy trip.
I used to know who I was.
BEWARE: THE WALK IS HIGH AND COMPLETELY EXPOSED. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU TAKE A COMPASS.
I used to know things about stuff.
YOU ARE NOW IN A FLAT AREA. PATHS ARE NOT CLEAR.
I was relied on to make decisions.
BEND (ZIG) SHARPLY BACK L BEARING NOW 120° (did I mention we neglected to bring a compass?)
I used to speak up. Speak out. Put things on the table.
NB AS YOU PROCEED ALONG THIS TRACK IT WILL BECOME FAINTER, BUT SHOULD REMAIN DISCERNIBLE.
Teamwork was my thing.
THIS PATH IS SINGLE FILE AND IN PLACES VERY NARROW, OFTEN WITH NEAR VERTICAL DROPS (TREES DISGUISE MANY OF THESE).
I felt known. Understood. I had a certain level of confidence that I knew what I was doing.
THE DESCENT IS A LONG ONE AND HAS SOME VERY STEEP SECTIONS WITH LOOSE STONES IN PLACES.
I wanted to change the world.
BEWARE: ANYONE SUFFERING FROM VERTIGO MAY PREFER TO MISS THE LAST PART OF THE WALK, WHICH FOLLOWS A NARROW PATH ALONGSIDE A GORGE.
Even with that very detailed guide, Dennis and I still got lost (right after I took that picture above, for example).
But we also laughed. A lot.
My salve on the trail and in life.
Since leaving my job, I have not for one moment thought I made the wrong decision. But I have had many moments of feeling lost.
Who am I without that job, that position, those roles? Where the heck am I going? I don’t know how to do ANY of this.
Sure, there is no certainty of my final destination. But right now the Esper Studio is my guide. And I know I’m going in the right direction.
EMERGE ONTO AN OPEN AREA WITH MAGNIFICENT VIEWS.