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The Importance of Getting Lost

19 Mar 2015 – 11:26 AM EDT

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I’m usually not one to stray too far from my intended route. When we go on long car trips, it’s usually to my parent’s house and I know the way like the back of my hand. I will set the GPS, but only to give me an idea of what time I am going to arrive. It’s a route I know all too well and I also know what there is and isn’t to see.

Sometimes I will take a road that I have never taken before just to see where it leads. That road usually turns into another one, and then another one after that, and the next thing you know, I’m on some main road that I recognize and I am back on track. I’ve always been good like that. Maybe in a past life I was an ocean explorer whose only guide was the stars.

Getting lost is almost impossible nowadays. Every car has a GPS and every phone has Google Maps. All you have to do is type in where you are going and assuming you have cell phone service you can find your way. It’s a boring way to travel if you ask me. Gone are the days that you unfold the map on the hood of your car and there is no reason to stop off anywhere to ask for directions. Everyone has the ability to know where they are and where they are going all the time.

I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

The highway system can get you from point A to point B pretty quickly, but in order to really explore you need to get off those main roads. Take a road that has stop lights, drive a maximum of 35 mph in a small town, stop off at a local diner, get to know something other than the endless highway. There’s a lot to see in between where you are and where you are going, but a GPS won’t tell you that. It only wants to tell you how to get somewhere as fast as possible.

It’s kind of how society is nowadays.

Everything is go, go, go and everyone is connected all the time. It’s like when my wife gets home from work and she immediately checks her e-mail. Her day is seemingly never done. Even at 11:00 at night someone NEEDS something done at that very second. My kids can’t stand not being connected. When the WiFi goes down or we are somewhere that we don’t have a 4G connection and their games don’t work, you would think the world was ending.

But it’s not. We are just getting lost.

Despite where we are told to go, we got off the information super highway to see where the other roads lead.