During my first trip to France, I went on a walk. I got up in the morning, made a sandwich, packed an apple and a bottle of water, and I headed out on an adventure. I walked from Caunes-Minervois to Citou, the next village over, along the two-lane road. The walk along the road took about an hour. In Citou I sketched, ate my sandwich, I looked at old ruins, and enjoyed watching chickens and smelling flowers. I ate cherries right out of the trees. It was a lovely morning. On the return trip, I decided to take a hiking trail that would take me back to Caunes-Minervois. The hike should have taken about an hour and a half.

I got lost.

I was lost for hours. I’d hiked into the Montagne Noire miles from the turn I should have taken. I thought for sure I would be sleeping on the trail that night. I’d only brought a short sleeve shirt and my water was gone. I was ill prepared for the cold, dark night I felt was inevitably before me. At a certain point I climbed up to what seemed like the top of the world, thinking I would see the village below and get my bearings. I clambered up a rock. When I reached the top and looked over, I saw nothing but wilderness before me for miles and miles and miles. This was the moment I knew I was absolutely lost. I don’t remember feeling upset or panicky. If anything I felt calm. I knew I had a rough journey ahead of me and I needed to conserve my energy. Plus I had no water, so tears wouldn’t have helped my situation one bit. I didn’t know what else to do except keep walking. I wasn’t afraid anymore because I felt like I had gone past the point of trying to make sense of the trail in front of and behind me. It didn’t matter what direction I walked in, I just needed to keep walking. I thought, this is France, I’ve got to run into another village sooner or later.

The amazing part is that I did find my way back, just as the sun was setting I reached the road a couple miles from where I was staying and recognized where I was. As soon as I knew for sure where I was, my eyes welled up with tears. I felt both triumphant and delirious. I got back to my apartment, soaked my feet, had some wine, and ate wonderfully delicious cheese and potatoes.

Right now, in my life, in my mostly non-existant “career” as an artist, I am lost. I am completely and hopelessly lost. And so, I have no choice but to just keep going forward. It seems fitting to try and paint that lost feeling, to embrace it. To not be afraid anymore of failure, of making a fool of myself, of never getting anywhere. Here I go. I am completely lost. I accept this.

I am lost.