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Why Do We Always Go Into The Haunted Forest?

My daughter hits on the prime question of humanity.

“Mommy why do you act really really stupid in dreams?” my six year old daughter asked.

She just had a dream where she had a choice to go to her home and be all safe and sound or to go into a haunted forest. She chose the later route, of course.

“Why didn’t i just go into my home instead of going into the forest?” she asked.

That question there is really THE conundrum of humanity. It’s an extension of Pascal’s “Why can’t a man just sit quietly in a room?”. If we so choose, we could live these peaceful, integral lives, with enough to eat, enough of everything to go around, and everybody being safe and sound in their homes. But we don’t. Instead, we go into the haunted forest over and over and over again.

Like my daughter in her dreams, I always choose to go into the haunted forest. I stand at this crossroads daily. I could be home, live a calm, secure-ish, anonymous life. But I don’t. Every time — every single time — I choose to go into the haunted forest.

It’s just a hardwired malfunction of our species. It’s always been there, and probably always will be. It serves a function.

But, also like my daughter, as I stand there in the dark gloom of the unknowable woods I can’t figure out why I travel the roads I do.

Filed under: Travel Philosophy

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3527 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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