(v.) to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.
I have this occasional desire to travel without knowing where I’ll end up. To just drive and if a road to the left looks interesting, turn left. If I pass an interesting landmark and the curiosity bites, go and check it out. Till eventually I find a place that looks inviting enough to call it my destination, and hope they have available accommodation!
This manner of road-tripping off the beaten path has taken me to many places I would’ve never known about. They’ve not necessarily all been great finds, but definitely added spice to my basket of memories.
It does have its pros and cons. For instance, one time many years ago when living in Nelspruit for a short time, I was on such a drive and explore mission. As I passed Barbarton I saw that I wasn’t far from Swaziland, and on a spur of the moment decision hopped the border to to visit this small kingdom. It turned out to be an entertaining two days, but I very nearly did not have a roof over my head because literally every place I wanted to stay at was fully booked. It all worked out later that evening as an opening became available at Maguga Dam, where I was patiently sipping on a Sibebe beer hoping to God that someone cancels their booking. So yes, not knowing where you’ll end up could mean ‘no vacancy’. But I’ve been lucky. I’ve never not found a place to call it a night.
It also helps to stay conscious of your fuel tank’s level of ‘I will still get there’, rather than being in a situation not knowing how far the next station is, and your red light is flashing empty signs. This is more troublesome when in an area with no cellphone signal.
Being such a spontaneous traveler has certainly taught me to handle the unexpected challenges of life, and I can say that not all those who wander are lost. For the most part I do plan trips, especially ones where I need a visa. Still the irregular unplanned adventure is like getting lost on purpose. It might not be for everyone, but I love it.