Any experienced backpacker or explorer will tell you that abandoning The Plan and simply getting into a place and getting lost is spice of traveling. The unique challenges and rewards really help people find themselves, as ironic as that sounds. Here I’ll give you the three most exciting reasons to “get lost”.
You can’t beat finding a road that is fresh and unexplored by too many people, or a discovering a different path that leads to the destination you’re (eventually) getting to. A good example is when Mustafa and I took a “shortcut” to the Central Festival mall here in Chiang Mai and ended up stumbling upon a few interesting places that weren’t on TripAdvisor, like a board games center/shop and a new restaurant with some great guava juice. The magic of the road is that you truly don’t know what to expect.
Granted that no matter where you go you’ll run in to interesting people, there’s no better way to experience the true culture of a place than to just get lost and head into places and communities that aren’t perfectly mapped out on your maps app. Mustafa did this (quite bravely) in India. He’d gotten lost, found Golconda fort and after exploring it, met some lovely people that hosted him for free at their place.
All the greatest, tastiest tales have been about discovered food finds whilst meandering down an unknown quarter of a town or village. We discovered what might be the most amazing pad thai in Chiang Mai on a street we had no intention of going down (we’d only gone down it to look for a bank). Also, lots of deserts and snacks that are indigenous to the local culture we’ve only been able to find through getting lost and happening upon them.