The Lost Art of Losing One’s Way

There’s a few things that bother me about the current state of technology. Granted, most of it, I’m for. But it also seems that, along the way, technology sometimes enables us to lose certain parts of our identity. The parts that at the time, didn’t seem to matter at all. Parts that we wish would go away, but upon retrospect, actually realize that they help build character. At least in my case anyway.

Like getting lost.

I never used to go out with the direct intention of getting lost. Wandering, that’s a different story altogether. Whether on my bike or on foot, I’ve always enjoyed wandering. But now I have an iPhone, and wandering seems to have lost its allure. Maybe it’s because it feels like everything in the world has been discovered, pissed on and built over, or maybe it’s because there’s an app that does the wandering for almost anything I might want to imagine. I fight back, by only playing the Jeopardy App.

But I still miss getting lost and all that it created in its wake.

In the past, there were times when I became stranded in a strange place, with no phone to call for help. In those strange places, I would have no other choice than to talk to strangers, or act on intuition, and hope that I was going the right way. Ultimately, whatever the situation was, I figured out my way, learned a little about myself and the environment I was in, and got on with life, chalking up the past events to an adventure/life-learning experience.

Now my phone tells me which way to walk, and which places to avoid, and where the best bathroom and cup of coffee in the area might be.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate those conveniences, but I’m also left feeling that the adversity created by not knowing where the hell you are or what to do to get out of there builds character in the long run.

Basically, I still think it’s not only okay, but necessary, to get lost every once in a while.

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