You probably have heard the saying, “It’s a small world.” Well, whosoever came up with that had no idea what he was talking about. The world is enormous and filled with amazing people and places that even with twenty births you would not be able to see it all.
Talking about it, there is a beautiful line – Not all who wander are lost in a poem written by J. R. R. Tolkien for the novel Lord of the Rings:
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.
The message J. R. R. Tolkien is trying to convey is that in order to seek the meaning and purpose of life, one must tread upon a journey that is rarely undertaken. The seeker might feel that s/he is lost but this is exactly what is required to have truly found themselves.
This famous quote has layers of meaning which can be unraveled only by diving deep. The following are ways in which wanderers uncover who they really are.
Wandering Helps You Find Your Likes and Dislikes
Travelling, as others might think, does not make you unaware or insensitive about everything. Rather, it helps you to learn more about what you like and what you do not. If you do not move out, you will probably be stuck to your old and monotonous town and will find it really hard to figure out what are your likes and dislikes.
I got to know that I am a night owl because of my ventures. I like the mountains more than beaches, for I feel more connected and high-spirited when I am there.
I know that I like Mediterranean food more than Chinese food (No offense). Similarly, you can never know about yourself if you will not expose yourself to the new environment and surroundings.
So much of happiness lies in knowing what you do not know. Wandering helps you to know more even if you feel lost. When you know what you want and what you don’t, it is much easier to make decisions that lead to greater joy.
Wandering Boosts Your Confidence So Not All Who Wanders Are Lost
Being audacious or brave takes confidence and wandering certainly teaches you this trait. It is a fact that everyone feels scared when we leave our homes for the first time. It can be another city, another state (or province), or another country. A lot of learning happens when one chooses to do so. You are exposed to a new culture, new customs, and new food.
At first, the changes seem tough to handle but the more you start blending in and start exploring places, the more adrenaline you will find in yourself.
You meet new people who may not speak in your native language. You learn about their culture and language. It definitely makes your personality more sociable and fuels your confidence.
When we bring these experiences back home, we know that we have become a better version and have prepared ourselves for everyday challenges. This kind of confidence makes us more audacious in the future.
Wandering Helps You Deal With Change And Uncertainty
Change is inevitable, and uncertainties are a normal part of everyday life. Change helps us to adapt and thrive in times of rainy days.
Many people just fall apart and struggle with life as they are not ready to embrace the change. They are susceptible and fall into the trap of emotional warfare between their brain and heart.
Travelling teaches how to deal with various changes in life. Change in weather, change in people, change in plans, and many more changes while traveling can build up your endurance to resist changes and keep yourself calm and composed in such situations.
You grow in confidence. You discover your inner self. Thus, you become swift at implementing decisions and learn the lesson of moving on. You become mature and understand that “This too shall pass” -meaning that this unknown phase will wither away with time and hope.
Wandering Strips Away The Outside Influences
We do not realize but our life is so much weighed down by outside influences — teachers demand good grades while parents demand good jobs. We live in a society that constantly tries to mold us and pressurize us to fit in the puzzle.
With all this going on, it is hard to explore what we truly want. Wandering opens up our mind, changes our perspective towards everything and that’s how we understand that life is not about writing exams and getting a job. It is about making each moment count and lives it in a qualitative way.
Sometimes when you wonder, you get lost. You will have days when where life has no meaning at all and then you will have days when life has all the meaning of the world.
You see all the different flavors of the world, absorb it all and decide which path to move on. You get lost, and you search and then you find yourself.
That is how not all who wanders are lost.
Let me know your own philosophy behind one of the most famous J. R. R. Tolkien quotes, “Not All Who Wander Are Lost”, in the comments below.
Harminder Singh, a professional procrastinator who has fallen in love with words and poetry. He is a self-diagnosed bibliophile and cinephile sapiosexual who loves art in any form. His obsession for art quenches his thirst to travel (even if it’s from his bed to the couch). His goals are to fill his bio with titles that don’t fit the 150 characters’ limit.