Getting Lost to Find Yourself – Becoming More Adventurous

There’s something to be said for getting lost. The unplanned worry and frustration. Being forced to overcome adversity. To adapt, to process, to discover. Getting lost is forced growth.

Already, you have a memory come to mind, don’t you? That time when you got lost; maybe you were alone and freaked out. Maybe you were with a group and everyone started yelling over each other. If you’re reading this, you probably found your way. The simple fact that a story popped into your head is a testament to your growth. In retrospect, that memory is more about your growth than the fact you got lost. We’ve all been lost.

Though we may not have realized at the time, we truly did overcome. There is a chance it was chaotic and scary with a sense that you would change your ways next time. But maybe we used a calm, level head a dash of misguided confidence and a willingness to succeed. No matter the situation, we grew. What if we could use this tactic regularly, to grow.

The bike is an incredible tool, for a lot of reasons. We get healthy. Physically, mentally, emotionally…I could go on forever. Seems though, most of us ride the same routes. Every Friday we have our (insert generic Strava ride title) ride, etc. What if we were to actively and purposely get lost? Put ourselves into that uncomfortable loss of control. Would we grow?

“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”

– Malcolm X

How do you even get lost? We can’t just close our eyes and start pedaling. Unless we’re lucky, we’ll end up in the emergency room. And that’s not the adventure we’re probably looking for.

Step 1: Zig when you should have zagged

Active misdirection is easier than you might think. Don’t plan anything. Put your GPS device in your pocket and when you come to an intersection, turn in the direction you’re least familiar with. Boom, you’re lost. Now repeat this with the peace of mind that you can always pull out your maps/phone/computer if things get crazy.

Note: We are looking for a certain level of crazy. Therein lie the awesome stories and personal growth.

Step 2: Keep up the bad work

Now that we have no idea where the hell we are, let’s do our best to accept that. If you’re having thoughts like, “I brought the wrong bike for this” or “how will I get home,” we’re on the right track. That nervous acceptance chuckling to yourself, “Oh, f#*k it.” That’s the growth happening. We’re letting go, we’re experiencing something new.

Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2

At some point, you’ll come to someplace you recognize. “Oh damn, I know where I am.” A wave of confidence and reassurance washes over us. “That wasn’t so bad.” Now, pick the road/trail you’re least familiar with and do it again. As this process gets extrapolated, we find ourselves leaving our known comfort zone and getting truly lost. This evolves over time.

But did you die? If the answer is no. It’s no, you’re reading this. Then you experienced growth. Continuing to push our own personal boundaries, so we find what those limits really are is where the good stuff really is. We are capable of so much more, so long as we’re willing to get lost.

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Brandon Scales Is a full-time cyclist living and working in Los Angeles. When he’s not at the local bike shop, you can find Brandon on the road or trail with camera in hand. With a background in photojournalism, and a sense of adventure he is always out in search of a good story.

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26 thoughts on “Getting Lost to Find Yourself – Becoming More Adventurous

  1. Absolutely amazing read! Definitely stoked to get lost out there. I couldn’t agree anymore with pocketing the GPS and taking the next turn in an unfamiliar direction.

    Great write up Brandon. I look forward to many more.

  2. Brandon,
    What an impressive article with incredible photos. I will always remember the time I got lost while cycling in a new area. I was so stressed that I stopped and asked a man where the ocean was, and he answered by asking where it was I wanted to go. Once again, I asked him where the ocean was, and then he pointed me in the right direction. The sense of accomplishment to keep cycling and not find a taxi will never be forgotten. Also, when I am riding and not lost, I get lost in a good way. All my troubles seem so far away. You and your cycling support on the road, in the shop and in this blog are greatly appreciated.

  3. I have been lost many times in many ways and yes I found my way “home” each time and yes I definitely grew from those “lost” moments! Great writing and love the pics!!
    Well done and I can’t wait to see more!

  4. Absolutely incredible piece! Gotta stay lost in the sauce! Perspective of a new adventure and unforgettable memories go hand and hand with getting lost. Loves the amazing photos with this write up as well. Hoping to find more reads like this! Great work Brandon. Highly appreciated!

  5. Got lost on my bike today! Wish I would have read this before that because I definitely said “oh f$&k” approaching a hill tired and unsure of how much further I had. This is a great reminder that i got to grow today without even realizing it.

  6. This is amazing, and sounds like a blast (I think this calls for a bike ride together!) I loved reading every word, and looking forward to reading future articles!!

  7. Stellar read. There is no growth in comfort..growth happens in the struggle and defeat. One of the reasons the bicycle is part of my life.

  8. Great read Brandon, having lived in several big cities, I have found myself lost a few times and I learned that I was never really lost, just on an adventure.

  9. Reminds me of a time about 40 years ago. While visiting my grandparents in FL and I was on a bike ride with two other young cousins. We got “lost” just blocks from the house, and had to stop a gas station to call back to grandma’s. Grandpa walked the two blocks to find us! We were young, but it was definitely an impactful experience, just as you’ve described. Thanks for pulling that memory back up !! I, and my two cousins, still laugh about that!
    Brandon, you need to come to Iowa to experience getting lost on RAGBRAI! Great experiences to write about!

  10. Lots of fun memories come to mind. I was a senior in high school, living in Finland, as an exchange student edge n I got lost. Very scary when not many adults don’t speak English let me tell you. We were riding bikes at midnight trying to find our summer cottage on the lake, in the middle of nowhere. Man did we laugh a lot! One of my fondest & adventurous memories! Thanks for reminding me & peddle on!

  11. So enjoyed your well written, passionate article. I was immediately inspired to want to blow off work and get lost in an adventure.

  12. Wow!!! Brandon what an inspiration and perspective…. food for thought. Change the mindset to… I AM out for an adventure. The memory that comes to my mind for me is… pulling out my bike to ride in the neighborhood turning corners I have never traveled even by car. Joyfully listening to music and turning the bend only to see an incline I was Not prepared for, with my spirited attitude of I am going to concur this, I proceeded to pedal faster. Though I only made it up half way (walked the bike up the rest) I realized that in that moment not only did I not know where I was, I had grown and done something I would have not done before, just me and my bike. Keep up the great work and inspiring us to go out there and live and grow.

  13. Great read. Sometimes we get too comfortable and forget that adventures are right around the corner, thank you for the reminder. Well written, photos were a terrific addition!

  14. Wonderful read as always Brandon! I have to agree with you as my absolute favorite ride of all time was when I tried to go around the entire island of Oahu in Hawaii and decided to simply follow the coastline rather than GPS. I was beyond lost and well off any road or trail, but that was a part of the charm. Till this day, randomly wandering around backcountry Oahu and trying my best to keep the ocean to my right is my fondest memory on my bike! Great job as always Brandon!

  15. Great article B.
    You definitely experience something new when you are in an unfamiliar area on your bike.
    Perhaps I will try it this wknd.

  16. This is so inspiring for people to read not only for the reason of getting lost and growing through your adversity, but also by getting out there in the world and doing something that requires brain power. That taps into your primitive brain and adapt through your situations to overcome where your at. I loved this article man! Can’t wait to read more!

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