In the Field with Ben Harper

IN PRAISE OF GETTING LOST

I've been on the road for the majority of my adult life. Early on I recognized that to truly learn about a town, you need to get lost there. The first time I toured in New York, I stayed in Times Square, and I decided to find the Apollo Theater. I got lost, twisting my way north. Eventually I landed at the theater, and it was a life-affirming moment. Since then, I've intentionally gotten lost all over the world, in six or seven different languages. There's a way to do this right. Eat a farmer's breakfast. Pack cash, an ID, and your hotel's phone number. Then walk. Do not continually stick your hand into your pocket—your cash is there. Rely on locals. Don't ask directions from a guy walking quickly. Couples will help you; when approaching them, speak slowly and softly. Don't bring a map—you don't want to walk with the thing hanging off your nose. And for God's sake, no fanny packs. Be brave enough to be truly lost for a day, a half-day, or however long your schedule permits. I like museums, but has anywalk of any distance ever worn you out as much as four hours at a museum?

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