“Getting lost along your path is a part of finding the path you are meant to be on.” - Robin Sharma 

One night after dinner, my daughter surprised me by suggesting that we go for a drive. 

Where to?” I asked.

She shrugged. “Anywhere. Let’s just get lost.” 

She was a high school senior at the time, my only child left at home… and, in many ways, a soulmate. We had always possessed an indescribable connection which I treasured. She is kind, quick, funny, and eclectic; a lover of vintage clothes, late-night baking, and horror movies. And I found myself already worrying about the hole my heart would experience when she left for college in a few months. 

So, seizing on the opportunity, I left my phone on the kitchen counter and we hopped into the car. 

We pulled out of the driveway and into the dusk. From that point on, I took one unplanned turn after another. Before long, we were in unfamiliar territory. 

We paid close attention to our surroundings. Our senses became heightened. Without the usual touchstones of daily life, we opened up to one another. We talked. We sang along to her Spotify playlist. We ended up parking in an unknown spot and watched the sunset die into the horizon.  

We loved the experience so much that getting lost on evening drives became our tradition. 

With Tyler the Creator and Childish Gambino as our official musical co-pilots, we’d marvel at impossibly beautiful stretches of greenery as we sang and talked. 

Getting lost had led us to discover parts of town – and ourselves – unknown to us before.

When Harry Met Sally: A Scene Shot in the Iconic Washington Square Park

If you stand at the very base of 5th Avenue in New York City, right where it connects with Waverly Place, you look directly into Washington Square Park. 

The park has played many roles over its tenure deep in the center of Greenwich Village: it has been a cemetery and a parade ground. A gathering spot for avant-garde artists, NYU students, and drug dealers. A battleground for chess players and a playground for dogs and kids. 

For me, Washington Square Park marked the spot where my fascination for getting lost began.

Although I am an Ohioan by birth, New York runs through my veins. From the very first time I visited, its energy, grit, and majesty fulfilled something strange and powerful within me. I loved to take long walks, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells. 

One day, after traversing the Park, circling its fountain, and crossing below its famous arch, I decided to take another long walk. But, this time, instead of remaining on 5th Avenue uptown towards Central Park, I created a game for myself. I began to cross the streets guided only by traffic lights. 

As I approached an intersection, I would turn and walk in whichever direction the walk sign allowed. That meant following a new path, one that was left more to fate than reason. 

It also meant that, after a couple of hours, I found myself in a place where I had never been before. That’s when I pulled out my beat-up Nikon from my backpack and recorded what I saw. 

Those photos were proof of the beauty and power of getting lost that day. And I would get lost, camera in hand, starting at 5th Avenue and Waverly Place many, many times. 

Have you ever been in a strange city, unfamiliar with the grid, and gotten lost? It could have all gone terribly wrong, but instead, you found the perfect view or a most hospitable café. 

At the heart of many great adventures, the beauty is in getting lost. Embracing uncertainty takes courage, but its rewards are great. So, I ask you: 

How often do you let fate guide your way? 

How often do you let yourself give up a sense of control and open yourself up to surprise? 

How often do you silence your internal GPS that always needs to know where and how you’re going? 

And how often are you truly courageous enough to just get lost? 

Note: all of the following photos were taken on one of my “getting lost” walks uptown from Washington Square Park.  

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