Yes wander, not wonder.
When I was young (and free from my self-imposed inhibitions), my most favorite way to spend time was to wander off into the streets, seeking out the adventurous story I would spin in my mind. I would wander off down to the river, pretend I was stranded on undiscovered territory, surviving and living on my own. I would wander off into unknown streets pretending to search for my home (usually the prettiest one I could see). I would wander off to construction sites, climbing piles of gravel pretending they were colossal mountains whose peaks I had to climb across to escape!
Those are some of my happiest memories – times I spent letting my mind guide my body and brain rather than the other way around, times I somehow let fade along the way.
I was reading a piece in the New Yorker on Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo fame, the pioneer of modern video games as we know them (I grew up obsessed with Super Mario, as I’m sure many of you did). When asked about his creative process he once said, “As long as I can enjoy something, other people can enjoy it too.”
Experience – the best teacher, the best answer, the most authentic one.
As it may little be known, he came up with the idea of video game design while wandering one summer day into a cave he stumbled upon and came to explore. It was by experiencing something so real yet so intangible, something he still can’t articulate through words, that most of his creative experiences were born. As it turns out, he was in a practice of creating experiences of enjoyment for himself due to the lack of them being present around him, be it the absence of toys or a television.
Doesn’t it make sense though, the fact that he says he doesn’t need to ask someone what they enjoy, he just needs to answer it himself, through his own experience. Because be it a video game, a console, or any other product, if you can build or articulate something you find value in, there will a 100% be more who will find value in the same.
Experience – the funny thing about it is that it can be unique to your character, but common to many in the whole story of life.
But how often do we forget to live through an experience, really experience a feeling, an emotion, a thought, a journey, how often do we try to fight it with preconceived notions and inhibitions, how often do we rein ourselves in from wandering off into an experience?
Those wanderings in my early days were formative in who I am as a person, but somehow I let that escape me – I barricaded myself onto this one road that I thought was all I wanted, became fixated even. In doing so, I wandered pretty far off from who I really was as a person.
Why did I think I didn’t need adventure? Why did I think I didn’t need to explore? What made me think I would be happy in doing so?
I have no answers to these questions, except one thought – it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter why I felt the need to restrain myself from wandering and experiencing a life in a way that was true to me. What matters is the recognition of it, of the fact that this wanderlust desire is deep rooted in the essence of my existence.
Wanderlust – an irresistible desire to travel to understand one’s very existence.
It was in my childhood wanderings that was born my love for stories, that grew my curiosity of people and their behavior, that manifested my imagination of a life filled with purpose and reason, the life I strive to live today, the one that is my life.
Because isn’t it in a child’s wonder that the seeds of creativity that will heal the world lie?
If only we all can let that child in us wander off every other instant.
P.S.: Follow my wonderful friend Nadine’s wanderings as she experiences the magic of life in South America.