Going Places: Now that we can leave home again, loosen up and get lost.


By MARILYN ROBITAILLE


I want to make a case for being lost occasionally. I’m not talking about putting yourself in a dangerous situation where you end up in the middle of a terrible neighborhood fearing for your life.

I’m talking about practicing some gentle travel relaxation that will open you to adventures you might not otherwise encounter. If you always feel the need for a planned and overly-orchestrated environment, trying a different approach can open vistas you can’t even imagine.


Of course, situations occur when you have to be at a specific location for a specific event. Who wants to pay big bucks for “Hamilton” tickets, only to miss the first act?

Although some people would rather explore via car than on foot, being a little lost in traffic can prove overly complicated. Being a little lost on foot has its perks.


Set aside some time to explore your new environment without worrying about anything. Go it alone if you can. If you’re with a group, simply announce that you need some “me time,” and then take it.

This proposition is not as completely selfish as it seems. After your adventure, you’ll bring back all manner of useful information to your fellow travelers.


As far as safeguards, if you’re in a non-English speaking country, have someone write down the name of your lodging and street address in the native language, and always carry a few dollars in local currency.

If you do venture so far afield that you need a taxi back, you have everything you need to return safely. You should never assume all drivers speak English or take credit cards. At any rate, venture out to explore your neighborhood. Always go during the day; never go at night.


You might miss the potholes.


Depending on the kind of environment you’re in, you’ll be overwhelmed at the variety of local life. I’ve turned a corner to find a private gallery opening celebration. As I gawked at the beautiful people just inside the locked gallery door, someone opened it, invited me in and put a glass of champagne in my hand.

You’ll discover out-of-the-way shops and restaurants, parks and alley ways, interesting people, and historical markers.


What could be better than rounding the corner to see a mansion garage sale with a table full of books and antique jewelry? Or how about choosing a street to find wide sidewalks lined with the most beautiful array of roses, so full and fragrant that suddenly the air is heavy with their smell?


If you’re open to saying hello if you pass someone in their front yard, you might learn more about the places that locals frequent. Not everything shows up in Trip Advisor.


I met and visited with Elvis’s very own cousin after a lady tending her lawn told me about the shop where she worked.


Now that you’ll able to leave home again, loosen up. Loosen up and get lost.