Why it is Wise to Wander

We’ve all heard the age-old question, "What are you going to do with your life?" The question presented to every recent college graduate that attends a family dinner. Somehow after four years of studying many different subjects, one is supposed to know the exact direction they want to take in life. And if you don't, people worry, because knowing exactly what you want to do at 22 is the so-called "norm". Excuse my French, but what a load of shit. In my humble opinion, there is only one way to find direction: Wander without direction.

Yes, my advice to find the utmost success in life is to wander. Now, what does that mean exactly? Let me explain using a letter I wrote to my friends senior year a few days before graduating college:

Dear friends, 

This morning, I got up to go on my typical run through campus. Usually, I have a set route that I take. Today, however, I decided to just run. No set path. No target miles. No set pace. I just wanted to run through campus and see it in full for one last time. So that’s what I did, and let me tell you, it was one of the most amazing runs I have ever been on. Not because I felt good, or because I hit a specific mile pace. It was amazing because of the excitement. I had no set plans. I simply ran and saw parts of campus I would have never seen if I had taken my usual route.

And then I had an interesting thought. The situation I had experienced running was very applicable to life and us leaving MSU. It’s very common for us and other new graduates to have our lives all planned out. To have a “set path”. We are taught to know exactly where we want to be in 10 years, how much we want to make, how much to save, and what to spend our money on. But doesn’t that take the excitement out of living? What if we just started our lives with no pre-set path and with no set destination? We could go wherever we wanted, and do whatever we wanted to do. There would be no constrictions on how far we could go or how big we could dream. There would be excitement every step of the way because we would have no idea what was coming next.

 My point is this. We are all graduating this weekend and moving into the next chapter of our lives. Don’t let a pre-set path ruin the excitement and adventure of living. We are at a point in our lives where we can do anything we want. We can work. We can travel. We can go to grad school. We can write books. We can start businesses. We can do whatever. ANYTHING. Just always remember to keep the excitement in your life alive and I guarantee you will find success, because when it comes down to it, success is nothing more than personal happiness.

I love all of you very much and I hope we stay extremely close after today, and hopefully for the rest of our lives. Good luck with whatever you do next. I know each and every one of you will make it to the top, wherever the top may be for you.


I’ve wandered ever since writing this letter and it has only helped me hone in on discovering my definition of success. Wandering can mean many things. Wander to a new city, wander into a new job (maybe a few jobs), or wander on a crazy adventure. I recently quit a job and took a long road trip with no set path. For two months lived on the road, and from this adventure I made a short video about “Why we wander” (also shown above). My answer to this question is simple: Because it’s fucking awesome. The only way to find your passions is to experience the world around you, and you can’t do that by sitting behind a computer screen. Get out there and take an adventure. Wander around with no plans or direction. If you do this, I can almost guarantee you will stumble into greatness, but more importantly, you will learn what greatness means to you.

Josh Leider