“That thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost.”
— A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit, http://http://rebeccasolnit.net
I recently picked up this book upon the recommendation of my friend Tara and I’m hooked. This idea of getting lost resonates deeply with me and felt like the perfect metaphor not just for this blog but for life. In the book, Ms. Solnit argues that far too often we work to create our own “worlds,” self-selecting everything that comes into our orbit instead of experiencing the world around us. She stresses that being lost is a state of mind that has nothing to do with geography and everything to do with perspective.
Since I arrived in Dubai there have been many days where I thought to myself, “perhaps I’m just not built for adventure anymore.” I had been so comfortable back in Brooklyn, ensconced in a life made up largely of routine and where it was easy to limit my exposure to anything that felt awkward or uncertain. But that’s not truly living. It’s not what’s at the heart of adventure and it doesn’t make for lifelong experiences. We need to shake ourselves up a bit. We need to push ourselves to the point of feeling totally uncomfortable and only then can we really experience life and the present and that old adage of what it means to truly feel ‘alive’.
This is how I feel about my experience and time in Dubai. It’s about ‘getting lost.’ It’s about blowing the doors off some of the boundaries I had set for myself and to build not just new experiences but extraordinary ones. And to do that I will need to put myself into situations of true discomfort. Not anything dangerous—I’ve already tried that (see http://FromTheRegion.blogspot.com) But I have a family now and two young boys who need me. Living and getting ‘lost’ will have to occur within an entirely different framework. And so finding the ‘lost’ within a life that requires responsibility, structure and a bit of routine is where the challenge lies. And it is where adventure lives. And it is, without doubt, the reason I came to Dubai.