How can I be lost, if I got nowhere to go, James Hetfield sings in the song The Unforgiven III (Metallica fans: Yes, I know it’s the commercial Metallica I’m quoting, but please forgive my sin). In the context of the rest of the song, one would interpret it as the protagonist not having a feeling of home, that he never feels satisfied with his surroundings, his situation, with himself.
Now, one of the best things about writing a blog, is that you can take things completely out of their context and portray them just the way you like (you are hereby warned about the trustworthiness of this blog!). That’s exactly what I intend to do with the line I chose as a title for this blog post.
#Hyde Park, London, UK, 2011
Travelling, I love to stroll the streets of new places to get a sense of the atmosphere; the people; the life, in this particular place. And walking around following my ears, eyes and nose more than my map, I’ve often found myself without the ability to trace my way back to any street or landmark that I know. However, at such times, am I really lost? Can you be lost, if you are not really going anywhere? Can you be lost, if your mission is simply to see new places; meet new people; discover things you had no idea existed?
#Ksar Ghilane, Tunisia, 2010
Some of the best travel-memories I have and pictures I have taken are the results of spontaneous decisions taken based on nothing but the gut feeling. They are the results of taking the back alley off the main road on the map, the decision to go for the little-visited areas instead of the been-there-done-that-checkmark on a map, and the will to go a little further; a little higher; just around the next corner. Yes, you may say I’ve been lost. But how can I be lost, if there is nowhere I’m going? Being lost is really just a matter of definition; If you predefine your destination and the time of arrival before setting out, all you ever will achieve is simply what you have in mind, and very often you will be late, disappointed or even lost on the way. But if you instead let yourself be guided as you go along, choose the road that seems the most interesting, follow the people with the biggest smile and the alley that carries the sound of music you like, you will be surprised. You will experience things you never thought about and see more than what you expected.
#Mumbai, India, 2012
Because the world is colorful, and if you only let the black-and-white checked flag of the goal; your destination, guide you, you will miss them all.
So if you want to get more out of your travels than some postcard snapshots of le Tour Eiffel and a yellow pin on a world map, I encourage you to get lost!
Get lost. Look around you and let people fascinate you. Let people be fascinated by you. Smile, and you will be met by smiles. #Childring living in the slumareas outside Ahmedabad, India, 2012
Pull off from the highway and follow the road until it stops. #The tiny port of Wilson, Lake Ontario, 2008
Follow the music, it may come from a town celebration. #Yumani, Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, 2012
Let the children fascinate you, as they are fascinated by our world. V is for Victory. We are together, as they say in Cameroon. #Kathmandu, Nepal, 2012
Look out your window and even the pack of street dogs may show their compassionate side. # Diu, India, 2012
Stop. Watch and wait. It will not be in vain. #Rucu Pichincha, Quito, Ecuador, 2012
Play along… #Maroua, Cameroon, 2013
…You may just be the one to make the trip to the well a bit more exciting #Waza, Cameroon, 2013
Rent a motorcycle, and you will see how the pace of life changes dramatically just ten minutes out of the city centre. #Outside Kathmandu, Nepal, 2012
It may be a bumpy road… #Road between Nagarkot and Kathmandu, Nepal, 2012
…but at the end of the road there will be something beautiful, something majestic. #View of some of the world’s highest mountains, Nagarkot, Nepal, 2012
And when you are driving: look out your window. What is hiding in the grass by the roadside? #Kruger national park, South Africa, 2012
Go a bit closer. Sometimes you have to focus on one detail; one experience; one person, to better understand the big picture. #London, UK, 2011
If you ever have to choose between the prestige-destination the whole world has some kind of idea about, and the trip to the small village that those living in the capital of the same country have not even heard about, make sure you don’t take the decision based on what you think people at home will be impressed about. #Espicaya, Bolivia, 2012
When things don’t follow the plan, change the plan. There are always things to do and things to see while you’re waiting (10 minutes..30 minutes…1 hour…2…) for an oncoming train to pass. #Train between Yaoundé and N’goundéré, Cameroon, 2013
Look behind the hotell walls, and you may find a different beauty than the one constructed for tourists. #Wechiau, Ghana, 2009
Take your time and wait until your surroundings have gotten used to your presence, because only then can you get glimpses of the everyday life in an unfamiliar culture. The picture created by the media of a culture where it is common for poor parents to send their girls to work in Indian brothels (which, don’t get me wrong, needs to be focused on as it is a tragic destiny for the involved girls), also need the always-existing counterpart. The beauty is in the details, in the small everyday things we do for each others. #Kathmandu, Nepal, 2012
Stop and look around you. If you are running late, only really depends on what you yourself has defined as late (Edit: I now realize I’ve become Africanized when it comes to the concept of time. *There’s no hurry in life* #Print on a bush-taxi in Ghana). If you are lost, change your idea of where you are going, or when you are arriving at where you intended to go. Stop and take that photograph, either with your camera or with your mind. #Kyanjin Gompa, Nepal, 2012