Get Lost: mini-mission

My mom went to Italy last month with a friend. She usually travels with my dad, but this was a girl’s trip. On the itinerary; Rome, Florence, Naples and little towns in between.

You’d think the advice she might have received from my dad would be something like:

  • be safe
  • stick together
  • have fun
  • don’t spend too much


He only offered two words of wisdom…

Get lost.

I think he meant this advice literally and figuratively, and I invite you to take part in this mini-mission in the same ways.

Get lost (literally): Visit somewhere you’ve never been before. It can be a town close by, but make sure it is unfamiliar to you. Put your phone and your maps away and walk aimlessly with no expectations. Be aware of your surroundings, but don’t force them to guide you somewhere.

Get lost (figuratively):

  • Get lost in conversation.
  • Get lost in a great book.
  • Get lost in the smell of a local pizzeria.
  • Get lost in planning your next project.
  • Get lost in someone’s eyes.
  • Dump your watch and phone and get lost in time.
  • Lose your map and get lost your surroundings.

Your mind will react differently to things if you aren’t timing, planning and designing each moment of your day. Where will you go to get lost? When was the last time you got lost?

For more experiments to simplify your life, read Mini-missions for Simplicity. It’s available on the Amazon Kindle store, but you don’t need a Kindle to read it. Kindle books can also be read using the Free Kindle Reader App for your Web Browser, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android.


  1. says

    YES. This is EXACTLY what I want to do, and living freely (not quite so much in the money sence..) and ‘getting lost’ is just what i’ve been up to since I broke up from uni for the summer. And just what I intend to do for the rest of my life.
    Surely there’s nothing more valuble in life than discovery and fun? (And love, of course. Oh and your health..)
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Amy, all of those things go hand in hand. Love, discovery, fun and health. I am so glad you make getting lost a priority.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Margie, The best things in life seem to be simple. Thanks for sharing your post.

  2. says

    Wonderful post. It reminds me of my honeymoon in Italy. My wife and I spent three weeks off the beaten path, staying in inns and vineyards. Our favorite activity was “to get lost” on the way to the next meal. We simply wondered around, taking it all in, until we “found ourselves” sitting at an outdoor table of a tratoria. Only to get lost in the meal. Thanks for sharing this great story!

  3. says

    As a B&B owner in a rather unknown region of Italy, I feel *especially* qualified to respond to this post :)

    Bear with me.

    First of all, I suggest, more often than advice is actually requested, that people turn off the GPS. Italy is probably the most ideal country to get lost in. Go into the hills. Scale the hairpin turns. Learn what it really means to drive a standard transmission and how important the emergency brake is in that process. Stop on the side of the road. If you must, go. The French call it “pee-pee rustique.” Yank off your bra. Take your eye off the travel guide and follow the dandelions into the vineyard. It helps if you bought some wine and cheese and bread beforehand. Because you can eat and drink them now. Lost.

    I also suggest buying. at an outdoor Italian market, what in my childhood was referred to as a mu-mu. Somehow mu-mus and vineyards and wine and cheese and bread work really well together.

    Mu-mu’s and bras aside, getting lost is one of the only things that we really have left to guarantee ourselves a memory that no one else can take home with them. Getting lost in Italy is what made me move here and buy a farm and risk life and limb to build a new life. In the process of getting lost is the promise of getting to know yourself anew.

    You will never, ever, ever find a more perfect place to get lost than in Italy. You can stay lost as long as you want, and then you can ask a little old lady on the side of the road what you should do. She’ll do everything she can to get you found again. So don’t worry.

  4. Debbie says

    Loooove this! One of my dearest friends and I traveled together for years and we never really considered a trip a success until we had gotten lost (usually as a result of being lost in conversation!) One of the best places to get lost: Venice – you really have no choice, you have to just toss the map and submit to another piece of ageless wisdom – Let Go.

    • Courtney Carver says

      As many times as I’ve been invited to Italy, I have to wonder why I haven’t been.

  5. says

    LOL! I went downtown in the city where I live this week and sort of “got lost”… I usually drive through downtown to get somewhere else, and rarely stop and walk around. Had one place I needed to go, the rest were on a whim as we were walking by, discovered a little grocery I had no idea was there (which was terrific because we were thirsty and needed a bottle of water!) and I went in a bead store I hadn’t been in for like 3 years. It was a fun little break. Though getting lost in Italy, that sounds fabulous and far superior! :-)

  6. says

    Getting lost physically seems to allow yourself to be found spiritually. All those things, the conversation, the book, the pizza, someone’s eyes … all are about being in the present.

    I like it.

  7. says

    This is one of the hardest things to do and one of the most valuable lessons in living. When I retired from nursing, I realized after a while, that I had not been wearing a watch,after year end surgery, I realized about March, I didn’t make up a yearly “to do” scheduled calendar. It is really very freeing.

    As a nurse, I lived by the watch, everything has to be timely and accurate. It is very freeing to be able to just “be” and “go with the flow”. I have my things I’ve always wanted to do, four mornings a week…with people I like and stress free with like minded people ….painting and a writing group. If I ever stop enjoying the times and people at those places, I’ll stop attending.

    Then a friend was chatting as we were walking, saying she wanted to explore the interior of Maine…being a sailor, she knew the coast, but not the towns and people.

    No one would go with her to Fort Kent, a town that has a check point to cross into Canada. I said, just let me know in the spring when you want to go. She did, and we had a wonderful time, impromptu stops, requesting a tour of a nursing home, stopping in a village that had just two weeks before had the coffee poisoned at a church coffee hour…she HAD to have coffee there.

    It has been fun to go on the impromptu trips with her…no adgenda. My friend says the fun thing to do is to pick up a local paper, check bulletin boards and see if there is anything local going on to attend…town meeting, church supper, play. Something local.

    Thanks for the post. A good reminder.
    Peace. Siggi in Downeast Maine, USA

  8. says

    ha, what an interesting coincidence! I currently read “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” by Rebecca Solnit – a great book!

  9. says

    Funnily enough my husband (who never gets lost) got totally lost this week. We took a week in a mini camper and instead of ending up in the rainforest found ourselves following a road for an hour through herds of cows (and mountains of pats on the road) over a narrow bridge almost at the level of the river we were crossing, to a T intersection, where a local lad in a busted ute told us to turn around the road went nowhere…. we did end up at the rainforest and it was spectacular but we will still be telling stories about those few “lost” hours… until we get lost again.
    ciao Lisa

  10. says

    PS my best girlfriend once gave me a sticker for my car which read “Don’t follow me I’m lost too!” – she knew me well…

  11. says

    Thanks for this! I keep my own life simple by living aboard my sailboat rather than, you know, a house or something. The best part of traveling with your home is that being lost is seldom a problem, most of the time, it’s part of the goal. Thanks for pointing out the value in being “lost.” May I never be found!

  12. says

    What a timely piece for me to be reading right now, as I am ‘getting lost’ in Sante Fe. Yes, I’m on vacation in New Mexico. I’m one that likes to schedule our activities for the day. My husband is the one who says,
    relax and let’s see where it takes us.
    I actually just checked my email for the first time in 3 days – good for me. And I opened up your most apropos posting. Thank you.

  13. says

    Great spin on the idea of getting lost. I really dislike getting lost unless it’s lost in conversation. My job and kids appetite/sleep needs seem to require great time management. It’s great when I have a day with nowhere planned to go and no time commitments to get to. I can do whatever/whenever in my own home, when I make an intention and give myself permission.

  14. says

    I love getting lost in cities with little nooks and cranny’s. You never know what you might find! My favourite was Venice. We gave up the map and found so many great little shops and side alleys with beautiful photo opportunities. Definitely great advice.

  15. says

    I just did this very thing. I needed to get out of town and be away from my friends due to the big changes going on in my life (divorce). My mission was to go to England for 12 days by myself and get lost. I did have some things planned out since I was meeting some friends in the canals of Northern England. But I had no definite plans of how long I would stay (I stayed the whole time). I had some train tickets bought. London was going on whatever I felt like for the day. I did have a London A to Z book and tube (subway) map (this came in handy when alot of the tube was shutdown for repairs), but I didn’t always use it or understand it. I went on this walking tour and met a great couple from Seattle. They adopted me and we went on a mission to find Abbey Road, which was a total adventure. It was such a rewarding experience and one that I plan to do again next year (only this time, South America or Thailand). I came back relaxed and ready to deal with everything.

    And I have been getting lost in emails to a friend…oh and the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books. I’m about to start the third one.

    So, this is the best advice I can give to anyone. Just get lost. Who cares?! Just make sure to keep people posted if you are going solo so they know you are alive.

  16. says

    It always fun to get lost in a great book. Books are an escape from reality and can bring you somewhere life sometimes CANT. Reading is like water to the earth. It’s necessary for GROWTH!