The Joy of Wandering

When I am lost, I wander.  When I feel as if I am at a crossroads and don’t know which way to go, or if I find that the road I have been on has ended with no directions as to  where to go next, or when I am empty of creative ideas or simply unsure of what to do in a situation, I begin to look around.  If it is pleasant outside, I take a walk without knowing where I am going or when I will return.  If I need to stay inside, I find the byways of my home and travel them, whether the internet, or taking a look at what is in my bookcase that I have forgotten, or maybe I’ll even clean out a closet. 

I always anticipate that an answer will come at least within several days of wandering.  It almost never takes more than an hour or two.  Within that time, something I see in my house will spark an idea or understanding, or an email will arrive with an idea, or the solution will simply come upon me like divine inspiration.  Sometimes what I receive is a response to a specific problem.  Sometimes it is just a small miracle that reminds me that life is so much more than I ever perceive day to day.

Once on one of my walkabouts in the neighborhood, I came upon this place that is no more than ten minutes walk from the house I have lived in for 20 years, yet I never saw it till I stopped looking for someplace else.

Why is wandering such a wonderful, if lost, art?  When you wander, you change your attitude from one of frustration that you are not in control to one of openness, wonder and trust.  When you are determined to go from “point A” to “point B” and you have lost your way in getting there, you have already pre-determined that “point B” is where you should be and that you should be able to get there if all were right with the world.  What if “point C” is really a much better place?  The universe contains an infinite number of “points” that it would take a lifetime to explore, so perhaps heading single-mindedly towards only one is rather short-sighted.

When you wander, you are almost sure to find something to inspire, to enlighten, to give joy.  Instead of demanding only one thing, you are saying that you love the essence of many things in the universe, just because they exist and have been created by Goddess, and are waiting for Her to place something new and delightful in your path.  As Darryl Zero, a Sherlock Holmes-like character played by Bill Pullman in the movie “Zero Effect” says, when you look for something, you may not find it; when you look for anything, you are sure to find it. 

When you wander, you are expressing a trust that you are a valued part of the universe and that you will receive what you need from it, even if you are surprised at what your gift is.  We humans have control over almost nothing.  We like to think we have complete control over everything, but, in fact, everything we love and consider ourselves to be could disappear in one instant of a car accident or some other catastrophic event.  When we realize this, we can choose to live in fear of every moment or we can choose to live in trust.   We can believe and act on the belief that even when we have had taken from us everything that gave us meaning and direction, there is, in fact, meaning and direction for our lives if we will be open enough to let it come upon us. 

Wandering is a way of nature, whether it be expressed as a river or a canyon, or a galaxy expanding, or driftwood floating hundreds of miles on the ocean, or a mind that is watching a sunrise over a lake on a summer day.  Rays of light, flocks of birds, and other natural phenomena may have their lines and pathways, but they are not the only ways of the universe.  When we wander, we are being like those creations that seek their food every day in the forest, here and there. However, instead of a meal, we seek enlightenment and wisdom.  The more we wander in open wonder and trust, the more we find, and the more understanding we have of this amazing universe that has been given by Goddess to us to enjoy and make better by our presence.

By Carolyn Lee Boyd

Carolyn Lee Boyd’s essays, short stories, memoirs, reviews, and poetry have been published in a variety of print magazines, internet sites, and book anthologies. Her writing explores goddess-centered spirituality in everyday life and how we can all better live in local and global community. In fact, she is currently writing a book on what ancient and contemporary cultures have to tell us about living in community in the 21st century. She would love for you to visit her at her website,, where you can find her writings and music and some of her free e-books to download.


  1. Forgive me if I sound corny — but this post is *wanderful*!


    Thank you, Diane! You are never corny and I appreciate your “wanderful” pun!

  2. Ah Carolyn, what an inspiring post! I see the wonderment of wandering…you’ve put it all down so poetically, so truthfully…

    …but I finally said outloud this past fall what I’ve known all along on my hikes…I don’t like wandering. I don’t like the aimlessness…or rather, that’s how it feels to me…

    …and I suppose that also translates into my wandering through life. I need a destination…it offers safety to me…something to keep an eye on in the distance, lest I falter over a root or rock…

    Do you know how much frustration this causes me? (yes I realize that I’m making this about MY wonderings…I’m on a roll here, bear with me…) I WANT my life to be carefree and about the wandering…to see where unexpectedness takes me…what treasure and treacherous adventures I can walk into…

    Somewhere along the line I grasped onto CONTROL…on it’s false sense of security…and so even a mere hike…through a familiar or non familiar path puts me on edge. I wonder if my wanderings will lead me astray or into a seredipidous wordl…and I don’t take the opportunity to find out, rather I stay on the beaten path (damn it I’m a leader not a follower!)…because clearly it’s proven it’s safety to others.

    Sheesh Carolyn, I really want to take your words and brand them onto myself…to help my Self see that there can be trust in the act of random wandering…

    Thank you so So much for this gift…

    Peace in,

    Thank you so much your comment, Lil! We all have to do what feels right to us and what makes us comfortable. Perhaps being on a more focused path is where you need to be right now. I’m sure you will find the right way. Carolyn

  3. I LoVe the wanderlust energy of this post and the imagery of meandering like a stream or other beautiful force of nature. ‘Tis beautiful to allow ourselves to explore the many forks in the road. Joyful journeying, Goddess sister.

    Thank you, MW! And it is especially nice when the journey helps us find people like you!

  4. WOW!!! I love this post! And it’s timing (for me to read) is so wonderful…just tonight I was thinking on my way home, “I’m sort of lost…I’m not sure where I’m going.” The FEELING of what I was experiencing is just as you say: Wandering. I don’t have any fear that I’ll do fact, it’s building in me a completely different sort of trust and faith.

    Thank you for this. 🙂 With your permission, I’d like to grab a little piece and post it on my “Women Who Run” page… Namaste!

    Grace, I would be honored for you to post whatever you like from “The Joy of Wandering” on your “Women Who Run” page! I’m so glad the post was helpful to you. I find so much wisdom in your blog, it’s great to think that mine had some insights for you, too!

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