My Lost Set of Keys and the Iberian Peninsula

I lose myself every few weeks. Just for a few days. And like a misplaced set of keys, I always turn up in the last place I look.

My problem isn’t losing myself. We all do it. You know what I mean: “In a funk.” “Not myself.” “What the fuck is wrong with me?” All versions of this natural dip that happens to each of us. It’s normal. At least that’s what my friends and family keep telling me.

When I get lost, I want to get more lost. I want to leave. I know full well I can’t escape from myself, but I get the overwhelming itch to sell my earthly possessions, pack a bag, and wander the earth like Jules Winnfield. But I don’t. I haven’t, at least. There’s nothing stopping me, really. No girlfriend. No offspring. My job doesn’t need me. My friends don’t need me; they’ve got their significant others, kids whom they need. Maybe my band would feel a small void, but they’d be successful without me. So why don’t I just go?

When I feel the deep pull to get the heck out of here, I hop on Google Maps and plot out hitchhiking routes through countries I’ve never been. I fantasize about finding hidden treasures in small towns and traveling by train through untouched countryside and meeting beautiful people who treat me like family because they appreciate me as a solo traveler and my willingness to immerse myself in their culture. No translator, no tour guide, no Fodor’s guidebook. Just me, my wits and open heart, and some local currency. I usually start my route in the Iberian Peninsula, but get dissuaded by the Euro’s dominance over the dollar and end up perusing maps of Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar instead. I research flights, I look up hostels, and I even scan the local music scenes for potential gigs (“earthly possessions” doesn’t include my musical equipment, by the way). I do all this over the course of an evening, accompanied by a bottle of wine, a few beers, or some whiskey.

But I’ve never booked it. I just wish for it, research it, drink some booze, then go to bed. Maybe this is all I need. Maybe the escape is in the planning. Maybe. Or maybe I live in fear of actually losing myself, losing my money, losing my friends, losing my ability to come home to wherever home may be.

Getting lost is a dream when it includes being constantly on the move. It’s a prison when life is stagnant.