Not all who wander are lost. I am. But not all.
This was a wonderfully engaging read - both personally and professionally.
As a father of two preschool children I can very well connect with the portrayal of your moment of realisation together with your child. I think that this kind of experience is due to an inspiration. I can only describe it as when my oldest started asking a lot of very good questions (since she had caught onto the fact that things have explanations) and I suddenly felt like I found a part of my own childhood - a part of mind that had long ago forgotten what it feels like to see and question things for the first time.
Now it has always been a focus of mine to ask “why” in my work when I encountered new challenges (and it has always helped me attain good results - a lot of people question things way too little), but it was this encounter with my child that made me remember the joys that come from these activities of enquiry - much to the like of what I think you experienced in your description of wandering.
An avid and thankful reader.
Reminds of Nicolas Taleb's philosophy who deplores that we've lost the art of flânerie (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fl%C3%A2neur). It is the best way to get your thoughts in order and get the bigger picture again.
The moments when I most truly feel alive are in the experiencing of something new (to me). And every once in a while I get to experience something new (to anyone). Those moments are especially precious. One time I spoke to a physicist who had left academic physics to become a devops professional after having invested a decade in post-grad work. I asked them if they were happy about having made that investment given the career change. Their response? "There are plots containing truths about the universe that I am the only human to have ever seen. They might be trivial, but they are mine."
Wonder is a beautiful thing to cultivate, and wandering is the best approach I've ever found. Thank you for the post.