On serendipity


Serendipity is a funny thing. The mind-blowing intersections of fate and intention that lead a person down paths heretofore unconsidered is, without question, my favourite aspect of travel.  

We sat, last evening, in the formal dining room of Sir James Wallace, a Knight of the Realm, so honored for his philanthropy. How did we come to be sitting there, eating off his privately commissioned silver, discussing art and opera? We picked up a hitchhiker.

In this case, a hitchhiker who turned out to be a micro-biologist and one of the most interesting travelers we’ve run across in a long while. He tossed his pack into our van and regaled us with stories of crossing China, a protein-per-penny breakdown on the nutritional value of chickpeas, and how Shakespeare and the Brownian theory related to travel. It seems he impressed Sir James as well. He’s now ensconced in the Knight’s mansion-cum-art gallery as the “artist in residence.” He’s creating a planetary mood ring on commission. I can’t tell you how, that would spoil the surprise and endanger his beautiful idea, the intersection of art and computer science.

When considering who he might share his good fortune with, he thought of us, and so we were invited to a private piano concert earlier this week, and dinner last night.

This has got me thinking:

  • What if we’d been afraid to pick up hitchhikers?
  • What if we’d have decided our van was already too full?
  • What if we had breezed through NZ on a tight itinerary?
  • What if we hadn’t hung out in Auckland this week with friends, on a whim?
  • What if we hadn’t traveled at all, and just stayed home?
  • What if Richard had not stuck out his thumb?
  • What if he had been unwilling to tell his story, and had just taken the ride?
  • What if he had not volunteered to staff the violin competition where he met the Knight?
  • What if he’d declined the dinner invitation that lead to his current position?

The path would have been entirely different if we’d said, “No,” to any number of tiny questions along the way.

I’m a believer that the Universe conspires to help us, but we have to give her some material to work with.

  • We have to be open to the possibilities.
  • We have to be willing to step out in faith on occasion, rather than be held back by our fears.
  • We have to be willing to say YES.
  • We have to organize our lives in such a way that fate can find us and our intention is to follow her.

Serendipity is one of the reasons we travel: in search of those unexpected, delightful connections between worlds that we would not otherwise have a door into.

Have you experienced this? Talk to me about serendipity and where it’s taken you!

Posted by | Comments (2)  | June 18, 2013
Category: Hospitality, Oceania, On The Road

2 Responses to “On serendipity”

  1. Renan Ferrer Says:

    I particularly got a little confused with the text, but does not require photo caption. It is a work of art. Simply speaks for itself. There is a beautiful metaphor behind this photo. Congratulations!
    Great post.
    Thanks for sharing with us!
    Renan Ferrer

  2. Jennifer Miller Says:

    Renan… so glad you liked it… it’s my toe, taken over the dashboard headed down the highway on the coast of Western Australia on a long road trip! 🙂