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People Pay to Get Lost on Vacation

Admit it. We’ve all dreamed of escaping our daily routine and walking off into the wilderness to explore the great unknown. The truth is, we all need a bit of time by ourselves every once in a while, and that’s exactly what luxury travel agency Black Tomato are offering.

Their “Get Lost” service is the ultimate trip for anyone looking to get away from it all—especially if your idea of fun is being deposited in the middle of nowhere with only a backpack, a GPS tracker, and a toothbrush. Travelers are then tasked with the daunting job of navigating their way back towards civilization—a challenging but ultimately rewarding experience for those hoping to embrace their inner nomad.

Black Tomato introduced the concept—a kind of a blind date for vacations with “Survivor” elements—in 2017. Cofounder Tom Marchan, who came up with the idea of getting clients “lost,” thought of it as he considered ways to help people truly relax in an age of digital distractions. He said: “Could we create an experience that requires total mental and physical focus? By being totally distracted, it’s almost impossible for them to think about the day-to-day, everything at home.”

With Black Tomato’s guidance, travelers can choose how lost they want to feel, and how surprised they want to be by their destination. In most cases, travelers don’t know where they’re going until they receive flight information; if they fly private, they might step off a plane with no clue where they are.

For Esther Spengler the only requirements she had were going somewhere warm and far away from the United States. Spengler saved up for the 10-day trip to Morocco, which she said cost roughly $13,000. Her adventure began when she flew to Marrakesh and continued by car into the mountains. After a couple of days of training—learning navigation, fire-starting, and how to put up her own shelter—Spengler was on her own for three days.

Despite bloodied toenails and a tricky time setting up her tarp shelter, Spengler was thrilled with the experience. “It turned out really, really incredible and so much more than I could imagine,” she said.

Possible Preaching Angles:

1) Experiencing God; Trusting God – God often calls us to step out of our comfort zone into unknown territory and trust in him aloneAbraham was called to a place he did not know (Heb. 11:8); Peter was called to step out of the boat and walk on water (Matt. 14:28). 2) Solitude; Seeking God – We also need times of solitude and withdrawal from life’s busyness to focus on God alone (1 Kings 19:12; Psa. 27:8).


Adapted from Ed Caesar, “The New Luxury Vacation: Being Dumped in the Middle of Nowhere,” The New Yorker (11-22-21); Ben Horton, “Meet the travelers who pay to get lost in the middle of nowhere,” EuroNews (12-20-21)

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