Stay Lost. Two words. Stay lost.

Being lost is scary. It is the thing we fear most as children. Finding ourselves without the security of our mother’s hand to hold. Alone. Unable to find our way home. Unsafe. The wild things clawing at our hems, crying in the darkness as the shadows come to carry us away. Lost. Alone. Unsafe.

For the last year, I’ve been lost. My children growing up and gone. My career in tatters. Friendships I thought were forever revealed to be more toxic than Love Canal. A geopolitical situation that makes me weep. A planet in peril.

My husband happily embraced his next phase of life while I have been stumbling around in the woods, unable, maybe unwilling, to find my way forward. It’s dark and frightening. The glimpses of sunlight through the trees proving to be illusions. No light through the tunnel of trees. Just a sense of hopelessness.

Stay lost.

It’s an odd thing to say to someone on parting. Stay lost. Is it a blessing or a curse?

I keep trying to find a path and getting tangled in brambles, tripped by the undergrowth. If we stay in the woods, the demons and witches come. The wild things have a rumpus. We’re meant to find our way out of the forest to the safety of home and hearth.

The stultifying safety of home and hearth. Sameness. Soul crushing complacency.

Stay lost. Embrace the wild. Glory in the journey. Exalt in the period of change and discovery.

Stay lost.

Words that those of us determined to travel through life, physically and spiritually, need to remember. If all we do is tick the boxes on the bucket list, we aren’t travelers but tourists in our own lives and the places we go.

Originally published at


  • Nicole Duncan

    Stay Lost, Live Wild

    I remember my grandmother standing behind me, helping me hold her Rolleiflex and take a photo. I remember getting my first Kodak Instamatic when I was six then slowly working my way up to an SLR when I was in high school. I don't know that my husband realized he was signing on for a life of being dragged from Alaska to Nepal, Wyoming to Uzbekistan, Paris to Tokyo, but he has been good humored about it and the boys have become engaged global citizens planning their own trips as teens. Whether any of us will ever match the record of 104 countries set by my grandmother remains to be seen. I'm glad I don't have to take hundreds of rolls of film with me when I travel but also be nostalgic for those days in the dark and watching magic happen.