I have a small pillow in my room with “Not all who wander are lost” embroidered on it.
I had forgotten until it was mentioned by another blogger that it comes from a poem in The Lord of the Rings (although to be fair, it’s been many many years since I’ve read the books). The poem is “All That is Gold Does Not Glitter”
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
While planning things out is never really a bad idea, sometimes going with the flow, wandering, can make for a much better experience. Or at least a more interesting one.
I’ve mentioned before how we did a lot of road trips when I was growing up. It wasn’t unusual for us to hop in the car on a Sunday and just drive. Sometimes we went to places we knew but sometimes we’d decide to turn left* instead of right, discovering new things in the process — an abandoned mining town; roadside graves from late 1800s to early 1900s; a naturally carbonated spring; a field of trillium in full bloom; waterfalls; and more.
To this day I occasionally still like to get in the car and just go, exploring the area. Last weekend my daughter and I did just that, discovering how quickly our area goes from suburban to small town to single-lane dirt road rural. (Thank goodness for GPS, smart phones & the Internet.) We saw horses and cows, big houses and small, woods and open fields. We found a cemetery, in use for well over a hundred years, with clusters of multiple stones for multiple generations of the same family from a century ago to within the past few years.
Some of our more questionable wandering from my youth — driving up the canyon while the river was flooding to see how bad it was up there, and driving down out of our protected valley to see how bad the ash fall from Mt. St. Helens was heading out of the mountains towards the Basin (it was bad, main roads were blocked by the police, but Dad told us he knew back ways we could take – but we didn’t as the ash was falling thick and fast in heavy flakes). We were however smart enough to stay put until told to evacuate during a major forest fire.
I think part of wandering is being smart enough to know when not to and when to turn around. But it’d be a shame to let the possible risks of wandering keep you from the adventure.