Not all those who wander are lost

I better apologise immediately for the title of this post. A fortnight in Central Otago and I am already pulling out Lord of the Rings quotes. But its just so damn appropriate that I can’t help myself. Actually, let me clarify that. With two solid weeks’ training under my belt I don’t plan on wandering off the Milford Track any time soon. I am the guide, after all. But in terms of life wandering, I am definitely ticking that box.

For one, I guess I’m bit of a corporate exile, at least for now (never say never, right?). I’ve also discovered that an answer addressing the present just isn't enough. I tell someone I am going to be a guide for the next six months, and without missing a beat they ask me what will come next. We have come to expect neat, long-term life plans, not a skittering path that wanders off the page and into the unknown.

If someone had whispered to me at my graduation that in three years I would be in a job where my tools of trade are hiking poles and a backpack rather than a computer and the Companies Act, I would have laughed in their face. But here I am. Covered in sandfly bites and about to head into the bush for another five days.

So what are my thoughts on my wanderings to date? Well, I came across a piece inspired by the musings of Meno recently, which I assume are wise words considering he is a pre-Socratic philosopher (unsure what being a pre-Socratic entails, but I know philosophers are smart, and that’s enough for me). Meno asks, “How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?”

Meno is basically challenging us to deliberately wander away from the conventional and so find new ways of doing things; to surpass what we assumed was our full potential. This sounds impressive, but it also sounds rather tricky. Which is exactly what another smart guy, Friedrich Nietzsche, advocates.

I recently heard about a particularly awesome gal, Lucy O’Connor, doing this in Auckland. She calls herself the Monday Hustler, a concept that gave me instant word envy. She’s jumped out of the rat race and into the driving seat, calling her own shots. That kind of motivation is exactly what I aspire to.

I like to think that Meno and Nietzsche would high-five my wanderings in search of something else. Doing something previously totally unknown to me; check. Doing something that currently scares the daylights out of me; check (taking my first group of walkers out tomorrow, only a tiny bit nerve-wracking). Doing something where I call the shots; check. So far, so good.

In the meantime though, I am going to put my feet up, because it turns out you can at least be sure of one thing when wandering into the unknown, and that is the occurrence of blisters from new hiking boots.

Anna WatsonQueenstown