Nowadays, the word “lost” seems to bear a bad connotation to others. It’s like the classmate or office guy with bad breath or nasty attitude we’ve made a note of avoiding. But I’m gonna let you in a little secret: everything is just a matter of perspective.
Just a few days ago, I was racing with time to go to the top of the N Seoul tower so I can jump to the next thing on my itinerary before sunset. However, on my way to the Oreumi escalator, which was supposed to take me straight to the cable car terminal, well, you guessed it, I got lost.
When I got to Seoul, I already figured the Google maps app wasn’t showing the street signs, which was actually already a red flag for an 80-90% chance of me completely losing my way. So I had to wing it by looking at articles while letting actual street signs guide me to escalator to the tower, which ended up taking me to the walking trail in the park instead. I couldn’t afford an extra hour of walking; I was on a schedule. 30 minutes into the path, I realized I was on the 2500m steep trails to the tower. There was no turning back but I was still a little hopeful.
“Where is the Oreumi? My lungs are giving out.”
And as if this mishap wasn’t frustrating enough, titas and titos well into their forties who didn’t seem to need to catch their breaths breezed by me, as if mocking my 50-year-old stamina hiding in a 23-year-old body.
“This is going to take so much time! I won’t be able to make it to the mural village before nightfall. My plan is ruined.”
An hour in and almost at the brink of frustration and tears, I decided to take a breath and sit on a nearby bench overlooking the city to check my itinerary.
“Yup, I’m screwed.”
But right then and there, when I let myself loosen up a bit, a little curve crept up my lips as I saw the view that was in front of me. It was breathtaking. I began to actually look around, up the orange fall trees and onto the flowered path ahead. I wasn’t really planning on taking a nature trip that day, but maybe it was the universe’s way of telling me to toss the good ol’ itinerary and take things slow.
To savor the place.
To be there.
I was on vacation, why was I stressing to go about my itinerary exactly as planned? I was in a place where nobody knew me, where every corner was a possibility for a surprise, where every wrong turn creates a more memorable story than the planned path. So, with a newfound perspective and an 800mL worth of water in belly, I chose to continue getting lost.
And what do you know, I found the cable car terminal.
Thinking back, I wouldn’t have gotten time to think and breathe a little if I didn’t accidentally take the unplanned scenic route. I ended up being able to say that I was able to hit two places in one go, just because I let myself get lost a little.
Turns out, we really don’t have to have everything figured out all the time. After all, the journey to that end goal is almost always what we remember the most.
So get lost!
Take the off beaten path.
Take your time.
Because, as cliché as it may sound, your way to the top is equally as important reaching it. Sometimes even more.
After all, a cliché is a cliché for a reason, right?