You know, some of my most favorite trips were ones where I had no agenda and no particular destination. It’s just a kind of “get lost on purpose” or an “I’ll know where I am when I get there” type of adventure. These are the types that encourage meandering, lingering, and savoring. When you don’t have to be anywhere, you’re more likely to take that turn down a wandering lane. You’re more likely to talk to that delightful couple over breakfast or discover that wonderful cave.
I suppose we all have a bucket list. And the wonders of the world aren’t called that for no reason. So, I am not saying that making plans is a bad idea. Just suggesting that maybe, sometimes, it’s good to just let life take you where you need to be.
One time I took a group to Egypt and we ate at all the nice, clean restaurants that served local food and weren’t overrun with tourists. You know, you’ve got to play it safe, right? The food is always great and everything is nice and sanitary.
Well, a local friend offered to take us to one of his favorite places. How could I refuse? Our large group wound down the busy, dusty streets further away from the noisy bazaar. The street got narrower. The faces surrounding us became more and more local in flavor. When we arrived at the tiny hole in the wall with saw dust covering the floors, I’ve got to tell you that I didn’t even know it was a restaurant. Had I stumbled upon it, I would have kept walking. (But then, he had a habit of taking me places that were unrecognizable from the outside).
It was crowded with men. It didn’t actually even look like a restaurant. There was a sink on the wall dripping water that was used for washing your hands. It was all very not-restaurant-like. …And then the food came. Oh. My. God. If you ever want to win me over, just stuff me full of great local fare and I am turn to complete jelly.
Fish is not my favorite thing. I don’t dislike it. I just like other things a lot more. Well, this was a fish restaurant. They really knew how to do it right. The food was overflowing. It started with the freshest Nile vegetables that I’ve ever seen. Everything was so colorful and popping with flavor. The lemon zest was more lemony than anything I ever had. Woo! I can still taste it. That was followed by hummous, pickled vegetables, and flat bread. Nom nom.
But when the fish came, it was all over. All conversation ceased. Our focus was on sucking up as much enjoyment as we could contain before throwing the bones to the million street cats that wound around our legs.
I swear, you can’t make this up.
I’ve done lots of street meat. I’ve eaten lots of fish. But had you said to me, “Hey, I know this great fish restaurant that is swarming with cats. Wanna go?” I would have politely declined. Just goes to show, sometimes you got to get lost. Lost in the place, the moment, your heart.
Being lost expands you. It delights you. It helps you to find your footing and yourself. So surrender. Don’t think. Say yes. Get lost.