My top 5 places to get lost

I have been to 3 (soon to be 4) of the 7 continents, 15 countries, I’ve lived in 3 of those countries, and I’ve seen so many beautiful places in the last 23 years. I’m sure this list will continually change as I add more countries to the list, but as of now, these are my top 5 places in the world to get lost.

Costa Rica

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Jungles, waterfalls, blue sand beaches, and nighttime vespa rides. What better place to get lost than the tropical paradise that is Costa Rica? There is so much beauty, fauna, different types of species at every turn, you really can’t go wrong with finding yourself completely immersed in this country. The Pacific Coast is a bit more developed and touristy, although still incredibly gorgeous. However, to get truly lost in this country, I would recommend heading over to the Caribbean side, where things are just a little more overgrown, untouched, and serene at times.

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Austin, Texas

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You may not think of Texas as a glorious place to get lost, there’s a lot of dust and a great amount of nothingness for hours on end, and to be fair I haven’t traveled anywhere else in Texas yet, but Austin is one of my favorite cities in the world. Whether it’s checking out the live music capital of the world based on Sixth Street in downtown, heading to retro South Congress to go back in time and support local boutiques and the numerous amount of food trucks, or venturing to the Congress Avenue Bridge to see the 750,000 bats that live underneath it in the spring and summer, you won’t be disappointed with the versatility of this Southern city.

My favorite place to get lost in Austin is the Zilker Botanical Garden, also known as “the jewel in the heart of Austin”. You can spend a whole day exploring the well-planned gardens, learning about the local fauna, and simply taking it all in. Although a bit colder in winter, when I went here with my boyfriend at the time in the off-season, we were pretty much the only ones in the garden, leaving us to get lost in our own secret paradise for the day.

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Melbourne, Australia

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Melbourne, Australia is the perfect place to get lost. There are so many alleyways, secret bars and cafes where you’d least expect, it’s actually one of those places where it’s better to find yourself lost because you usually find the best that the city has to offer. When I first arrived, my friend, a Melbourne native, told me that the best places in Melbourne are the hidden ones. And when you venture outside the city, you find even more adventures to be had of losing your way, my favorites being the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the oasis that is the Carlton Gardens. I’m sure by now you can tell that I have a penchant for getting lost in beautiful gardens.

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Florence, Italy

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Florence, probably my favorite place in the whole world (so far), and a lot of that has to do with my memories of getting lost in this Tuscan gem. My style when I get to a new place is to just start walking and to center myself through walking the city streets. There are so many cobblestone streets to explore in Florence,  just allowing myself to get lost by following the smell of garlic, the sound of an accordion player, avoiding the crazy men on vespas, I found myself having a different experience as I got lost and found my way again on my daily expeditions.

At night, going out with the roommates, looking for secret bakeries and the mouthwatering Nutella croissants that follow, trusting Italian locals to lead us to the “best” places to go out, and even indulging in my own whirlwind Tuscan summer romance. Florence is a gorgeous place to get lost at night, devoid of the usual herds of tourists and crowded streets.

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Santa Cruz, California

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I may have a bias since Santa Cruz is my hometown, but I think it’s says something that I can still get lost in the place I’ve spent 18 years of my life. What I love about Santa Cruz is the proximity to so many different terrains that you can go explore, whether that be the beaches, the mountains, the giant Redwood trails, the town itself, or even the city of San Jose and San Francisco just a stone’s throw away. I owe my adventurous and outdoor-prone spirit to growing up in this wonderful small beach town, where so much natural beauty is constantly at my fingertips. For a detailed list of my favorite places to get lost in my hometown, check out my 6 Free Things to do in Santa Cruz, CA.

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No matter where I end up, I always find a way to get intentionally (or not so intentionally) lost. Getting lost is my favorite way to travel and to see the world, discovering new and unique experiences along the way that I never would’ve found in a guidebook.

Where are your favorite places to get lost?

Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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