Have you ever wandered just for wanderings sake? Meandered down a trail and then wondered what lay beyond a curious boulder outcropping – so much so, that you let go of any inclination you had to get to a destination, such as the end of the trail or a particular viewpoint?
If so, then this is a blog for you. A blog about letting go of check lists, destinations and expectation. A blog about the items, places, creatures, things and discoveries made by simply exploring.
I consider myself a consummate wanderer. Sure, you could say I hike, but that might be misleading. Instead, I may start at a specific trail, yet rarely do I end up at the intended destination. Sometimes I travel far from the beaten path and other times I meander only a few hundred steps before I find what I am “looking” for. Always I discover something intriguing, mysterious, funny, or puzzling.
I am fortunate to live in an area that is both remarkably close to a beautiful lake and a magnificent mountain range. However, wandering does not require either of these. Wandering can be done in an empty lot, a nearby park or even the urban jungle. There are many different kinds of wilderness spaces. I think you will be surprised at what you might find, once you let go of trying to get somewhere or fulfill a checklist.
How, What and Why Wander
The super good news is that you don’t need special equipment or clothing to take up wandering. Some sensible footwear, possibly, depending on where you wander and appropriate attire for your location. ‘Could be from Good Will. As long as it works for you, it’s perfect!
You also don’t have to be an athlete or even be particularly athletic, though wandering in general might lead towards some gain in fitness, depending on how far it takes you. But again, it is not the aim as wandering eschews such aims, (see below). You also don’t need to partake of a special diet consisting only of twigs and leaves and maybe donuts, because life without a donuts!?
Lastly there is no requirement to become a member of a secret society. So no bloodletting , or hat-tipping, nose- nodding or demands that you run naked through the woods while blind folded. (Not a bad idea to try sometime – just for fun, minus the blindfold).
All that is required is a healthy curiosity and the willingness to take a little risk. That risk being, giving yourself permission to open up to the full sensory experience; to become completely present in the moment. Something we all did almost everyday, as children, so you’ve most likely already had lots of practice, even if you are a bit rusty from all the adulting you’ve had to endure.
I sometimes like to turn this oft quoted phrase a bit to say “Lost not are those who wander”.
Wandering by it’s very connotation is about straying a bit from an expected course,(let’s face it – you know you’ve always wanted to) be it a literal trail or some explicit or implicit agenda. A wanderer’s path is not aimless, though it’s purpose is to have no purpose other than allowing discovery to unfold. In this way wandering is state of BEING, much more than it is of doing. Far from being lost, wandering is the doorway to finding, to infinite discovery…both inner and outer.
For the wanderer, to miss out on a beautiful journey, for the sake of “accomplishing” a constructed destination would mean being lost…hopefully you are getting the gist, or even better yet, maybe you’ve had it long before I spelled it out on this page.
John Muir, the American naturalist and environmental philosopher known as the “Father of the National Parks” sums it up perfectly:
“Off into the woods I go to lose my mind and find my soul”.
I hope you will follow me, and also my fellow wander woman, good friend and contributor to this blog, Christine, through our wandering escapades. And read on to discover a world that is sometimes weird, always wonderful and often beyond belief. Or better yet, I hope that this blog might lead to adventures of your own.
And as always…happy wandering!
Feel free to tell me about where you wander and what you find in the comment section below. I would love to hear about your discoveries.