Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

It is true… I seek out adventure; I am spontaneous, I try and find the meaning in all things, and I have been guilty like others before me, of traveling to a different country to do just that.

Wanderers are labeled as aimless nomads, holding less than two feet on the ground, uncertain of their direction. This description holds a negative connotation, however I argue that it is those that who do not wander, those that never explore or seek out adventure, or decide for once in their lives that they won’t plan their every move, it is those people who are doomed to not just be lost, but rather to lose.

A friend told me the other day that over Thanksgiving Break, her and her husband and baby traveled back to Israel for the week. Without explanation I began to feel intense emotions sadness, nostalgia and an indescribable longing to step foot on the ancient stones that I have so many times before. Now, the question is where did this longing come from and why did I have such an intense reaction? Although I can justify a wealth of explanations, I am going to go with just one, being that; I have stopped wandering (at least for the meantime).

Having a set path with a goal in mind is excellent. Without planned out, orderly procedures and steps to get you to where you want to be in life, there would be no movement and no growth. If you honestly and truly know where you want to be, a plan is the perfect way to get you there, wherever there is. My opinions sticks however that most of us are not, or will ever be, free from societies expectations and pressures, thus our knowledge regarding what we want or what we think we want is clouded.

If you’re like me, and continuously ask yourself, “What else is there?” than I suggest wandering as the path you may consider taking.

I don’t mean wandering in its most literal sense. This I should clarify. In this essay my definition of wandering is rather uncertainty and without careful evaluation. Also, I should mention that I am not a life coach so feel free to ignore my advise all together, I cannot guarantee this will work for you.

Wandering. Why would it be so crucial to do something without a plan? When you are 100% not certain of the outcome of a given situation, when you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you are forced to move, you are forced to continue living, to not merely wait for the answer to the very specific equation that you have devised for yourself in your head.

I admit, I refuse to plan; besides the most strategic use of plan such as a teacher in a classroom devising a lesson plan, or as a tool for economic development, I truly believe that planning in the form of pretending that you have complete control over your future, is absurd and a waste of time. Why am going to plan my future, when I truly believe that there is a higher power, something outside my control that will control my destiny and where I end up regardless.

Here’s an example: there are those who plan their day trip to the beach, they check the weather, call their friends multiple times to confirm that day still works for them… insert other preparations for a beach day here… Then there are those who wander, these people have realized that they are in fact not physic; they do not know what the beach day will bring, they realize that even if the forecast says its going to be a beautiful and sunny day, shocking…it could rain anyway!

If you could not tell by my example, my advise is indeed that, for a lack of better words, “having your sh*t together at all times”, is indeed a waste of time.

You can be an organized wanderer, you can be a thoughtful wanderer, I am not saying you should live a passive life whatsoever that would be in fact the opposite of what I am saying. Rather, you should know and be open to what you do not know, you should allow yourself to question and explore, you should allow yourself to go out of your comfort zone and take a chance, to skip step 1. and go straight step 2. After all, who knows if step 1. would have worked in the first place?

About the Author
Shayna Friedman is the Social Media Manager at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest New Jersey. A recent graduate from Penn State University where she grew the Student Supporting Israel chapter, she works towards navigating the Social Media realm, exploring what it means to be Jewish and to support Israel in America.