"What you've done becomes the judge of what you're going to do - especially in other people's minds. When you're traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don't have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road."
~William Least Heat Moon, Blue Highways
My favorite journeys have always included getting lost. Let me correct myself, maybe not lost, but perhaps I took a more "scenic", less hasty path.
I began thinking about some of the best journeys I have embarked on. Since I am not a merchant sailor, or a travel journalist, or a peace corps volunteer - my adventures may seem a bit more mundane.
As a child, I was fascinated by maps. I would lay one of my father's maps across the floor and use my finger and pretend it was a ship sailing to far away lands. I remember finding my state - Georgia - and tracing my finger across the Atlantic Ocean and I found myself on the continent of Africa, in the country of Morocco. I asked my dad what is Morocco. I remember he had a set of books, more like tiny paper pamphlets. I do remember seeing pictures of Afghanistan or Pakistan, and a few other places. I remember looking at the way the entry ways to doors had an interesting arch, the design was very elaborate. We were comparing the way the buildings look in different countries.
Even as a child, I had a strong desire to see these far away places. To get lost in the streets, soaking up the sights and smells.
There was this one time I was with my mom and sister, and we were driving back from Jekyl Island. (A place we vacationed at regularly.) My mom got a little lost, and slowly began to freak out. I was in elementary school. I took out the map - and asked her where we were. We found a sign - and I found it on the map. I then traced my finger (as I always did) and found our way back onto the beaten path. However, what I found interesting was the way the trees looked a little different down there. How we saw some beautiful farm land. If we stuck to the major highways - we would never had seen this side of coastal south Georgia.
While in New York City, I had some time off from a business meeting. Instead of jumping on the next double decker tour bus, or hopping the ferry to the Statue of Liberty - I chose to wander. I randomly selected a train stop to exit, and started walking down the street. I somehow weaved my way onto park avenue - and actually saw women in furs walking their prissy dogs. LOL I jumped back on the subway and just picked a line and got off... I ended up right next to the BULL near Wall Street. I kept walking and low and behold I found battery park. I grabbed a hot dog and coke from the street vendor then walked back north (clearly ran out of land) - and found Trinity Church (was not looking for it - and there it was.) Then I smelled something so strong - wandered a few more paces and to my left was the melted buildings surrounding the World Trade Center spot. (This was March after 9/11 - they were still pulling bodies out.) I kept going - for blocks and blocks it seemed and found my way to China Town. And so it went...
While in New Orleans (for the first time), I found the French Quarter an excellent place to weave in and out of the streets. I discovered some interesting homes, colorful characters, and smelled sweet jasmine hanging from the courtyard walls.
While in Alexandria, Egypt - even though I had a local with me, my egyptian and I just wandered around the streets... staying close to the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. One of my favorite days was this walk in particular, just the two of us.. hand in hand.. I took in the sights, the sounds, and just reveled in it's beauty.
Any city I have visited, and I assure you there are plenty, I love to "get lost." Well - again.. I am not lost.. I am just wandering..
There are more cities and countries to roam. Next Destination? Unknown.