To saunter. To go on a desultory stroll. All this is to say is: go, but have no aim. Just go. With no rigid purpose.
Of course, you can’t completely do that with three babies. So, in this spirit: have some purpose, just not a lot. For if you just simply go, the world will start revealing itself to you.
This is where I make one of my big distinctions within the notion of letting go within adventure.
I despise the word, “hiking”. I don’t like walking vigorously. Which is where that etymology begins.
I prefer the notion of “sauntering”. To walk with a leisurely gait.
Thoreau expounded on this notion wonderfully:
“I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks — who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering, which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre, to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering.”
Another articulation on this is with the notion of a desultory stroll. This is a stroll without aim or method. A kind of swerving.
Make Magic Happen
So, we have a basic outline for a plan. Have goals: we’re driving to this lake, we’re heading down to that bridge, going over to that sandbar, to that beach…
We go sauntering. In our car. On foot. On our scooters. Sometimes, via all three modes of transport.
Magical morsels will appear. A new, undiscovered place that you didn’t know about – even though it was right around the corner from you. A gem shop. A pickle store. An airfield. A wind turbine farm. The North Pole that we encountered driving up Pikes Peak. The gift shop with great donuts at the top of that peak.
But it’s even simpler than this: find a hill, a meadow, a pond, a creek or any other geologic surprises you may encounter around you.
Whatever you discover, it’s even still simpler than that. We find great sticks. We find bones.
It’s as simple as your 5 year-old looking up and saying: Dad, I think that’s a raptor’s nest. Sure enough, she was right. So we kept our eyes on it, waiting to see the giant shadow of wings or an aerial chase circling above us.
And one day, sure enough, when we were there, under the nest but not even thinking about it, there she was: a big red-tailed hawk gliding above us, scanning the fields, looking for supper before the thunderous storm coming in from the north, landed.
Magic. It happens, if you put yourself in a place where it can.