The other day I got lost. In a country where I don't speak the language. In a city where I don't know anyone. I was on a completely rundown bike. I got it for free for the day from the place I was staying at. I was outside the city. In the middle of nowhere. I had no cell phone. No Internet. And no map.
I just wanted to check out the area. And now here I was. Lost and miserable and the sun was burning its marks into my skin. I had no clue where I was. No way to communicate with anyone. No way out.
I was already picturing myself having to eat noodles and rice for the rest of my life. Living with a Thai family and learning to speak the language.
And then I would change my name into something that would sound so funny that it would make me giggle every time I introduced myself to a non Westerner. And nobody would know. Only I would..
I would leave my past life and all of my sorrows behind. I would become a completely new person. I would have the chance to start all over again. What an amazing thought.
I would ride foreigners around in my tuk tuk all day long until it gets too hot to drive. Or until I get bored. Or made enough money to feed the family and my neighbors for the day.
Then I'd go home to my wife and kids, play a few hours with the kids and then go back to work when it cooled down a bit. Or I would just stay at home. I don't know.
What a wonderful idea..
And then I woke up. My day dream was over. I was still lost. In a country where I didn't speak the language. In a city where I didn't know anybody. But then, all of a sudden, something magical happened.
When I crossed a bridge I saw something big on the horizon. Something very, very big. I saw a giant white Buddha statue. It was at least 50 meters high and probably a few kilometers away.
I decided to go for it. It seemed like a nice adventure. Putting aside the fact that I already was sort of trapped in another adventure. But that didn't matter anymore right now. I just went for it.
Needless to say that I got lost a few times along the way but I made it, nonetheless.
When I finally got there it blew my mind. Not only was there a giant Buddha statue. There was also a beautiful temple. And all of these kids.
There were dozens of them. There were these cute kids everywhere. They were all dressed in white. Running around and screaming. Feeling joyous. Enjoying life. I have no clue what was going on. But it sure did feel like a magical and peaceful place.
But it was also a place and a moment I was only able to experience because I got lost in the first place. If I didn't get lost along the way, I would never have known that this magical place even existed.
And that's what made me write this post. Not the cute and joyous kids. Or the amazingly beautiful temple. Or my new life as a tuk tuk driver.
What made me write this is the fact that we all stopped saying “yes” to adventures. We stopped saying “yes” to getting lost. Including myself.
Instead we say “yes” to security and safety all the time. We say “no” to adventures. We say “no” to getting lost. We always want to know what's going on. What's going to happen next. Where we are right now.
We never get lost anymore. We never ask for the way anymore. We have dozens of devices that prevent us from getting lost.
And if we unexpectedly get lost in life we don't know what to do. We're clueless. We get upset. And sometimes even depressed. All this helplessness everywhere..
We got so used to knowing where we are in life that we simply don't know what to do when something unexpected happens. When we get lost. Or are lost. When we don't know what to do next.
We completely unlearned how to help ourselves.
We don't know what to do when we're lost.
When our life crashes and burns right in front of us.
But you know what. It's totally fine when this stuff happens.
That's just the way life goes from time to time. You get lost from time to time. You lose your way.
It's all part of the process. It's part of the process of finding out who you truly are and what your purpose might be.
Only when you get lost from time to time, when you lose yourself will you be able to discover your true inner self.
Only when you get lost from time to time will you be able to discover wonderful things. Beautiful things
Things you might never have discovered if you didn't get lost in the first place. If you didn't lose your way. Your path.
It's all just part of the process.
And saying “yes” to getting lost and adventures, to not knowing where to go next, to accepting that you don't know what to do next, is all part of the process.
It's part of the process of finding out who you truly are.
And to find yourself you need to get lost a couple of times first.
Because if you never get lost, you'll never be able to find yourself..