To Err is to Wander

The French word for wanderlust or wandering is ‘errance.’ The etymology is the same as ‘error.’ So to wander is to make mistakes. In other words, to make mistakes, to make errors is sort of the idea of learning through trial and error, allowing the mistakes to be part of the process.” ` Robyn Davidson`

I recently came across this quote and it immediately stopped me in my tracks and got me thinking. Not just because it incorporates three of my favorite things: Wisdom, wanderlust and all things French. But also at the simplistic truth of it.

When we think about wandering, generally people think about traveling. For me, the word has always struck the bohemian edge that is a part of who I am as a person. No, not a rebel without a cause, (though that works too)  The part that is every day to day life. It is my thought process. My experiences with jobs. My relationships. It isn’t just exploring new places. It is exploring life. It IS living.

The good, the bad and the in between. Yet some how, we seem to have lost that. We tend to get easily irritated with ourselves and others when we make mistakes. When we forget things. When we are anything less then perfect.


Yet some how when we travel any errors are made with little kid abandonment. if we walk in the opposite direction or happen to take the wrong subway line, we do so almost gleefully. The care freeness we have when we go out of our daily routines, strive past the boundaries of the comfort zones we have created. We have the unlimited opportunities to not just explore this world, but to explore it unrestrained. To make those errors we WILL make and be okay with it.

It is like love and hate, Error and wander are different sides of the same coin. How incredible is that if we just let go. If instead of judging our mistakes, we turned introspectively and explored them. We truly DID learn from them.

Perhaps it is because I am a writer, but I always have found a curiosity in words and their origins, it has helped me while learning Russian and French. After seeing this quote I know I will never think of ‘Wanderlusting’ in the same way. It has opened my eyes to not just the meaning a word I use often, but to new possibilities of actually living it.

So be free to wander. Revel in your mistakes and know we all make them and what is more, we have all continued to live after them.

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3 thoughts on “To Err is to Wander

  1. “…we have all continued to live after them.”This whole post is beautiful. I love how you connect error and wandering. I guess some are just quite afraid to wander, I mean I used to be afraid to make mistakes too.

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