Serendipity

by Gail Mooney
April 1 2010

I have been completely buried with details, the last few weeks – everything from applying for visas, to booking flights within particular destinations to securing lodging for 98 nights – and doing it all on a shoestring budget.  It’s been challenging, frustrating and necessary in order to get Opening Our Eyes off the ground.

I recently stumbled upon some interesting connections and communities while doing research for our travel needs.  My daughter Erin had sent me a couple of links to insightful articles on Matador Network.  I started exploring this network and website and was really impressed not only with the information that I found here but also by the “community” that had been built. Yesterday I had a great phone conversation with Matador’s CEO, Ross Borden and we discussed some very interesting ideas about how we could collaborate and share – so stay tuned and if you love travel and life – become a member of the Matador Network.

When I started my backpacking adventures over 35 years ago, I didn’t have an online community like the Matador Network – didn’t even have the Internet as we know it, or cell phones, Fedex or any other quick way to facilitate communication – I was pretty much cut off and out there – alone.  Yet, I did have a “community” – meeting and talking with other travelers along the way – sharing tips and info, along with cautionary advice.  There was definitely a community and it was in real time, face to face but unpredictable.

I started thinking about then and now when it comes to traveling and there is one thing that resonates with me as much today as it did then and that is making sure that I allow serendipity to happen when I travel.  Serendipity – the things that happen that aren’t planned – the things that can only happen when you open yourself up to the unknown – when you are willing to take a chance – see what’s out there – follow your instincts and see where they take you.

So my daughter and I have built in “time” for our trip – time to linger and really absorb where we are – to get outside of ourselves and our own little “unit”  and become part of where we are.  My experience and wisdom from traveling all these years have taught me to plan ahead – but my instincts tell me to leave a little up to chance – and more importantly to be open to possibilities and opportunities.  It’s the things that you never would have thought to plan – that are sometimes the most rewarding of all.  But you have to open your eyes, take notice and cross into the unknown.  That’s hard to do when you are traveling with other people because it’s easy to stay within the comfort of your own “tribe”.  That’s one reason why I’ve traveled solo most of my life. But this time around my daughter and I will venture into the unknown, with a lot of trust, gut instincts, thrills and trepidations and see where it takes us – but also knowing that we have each other’s back.  And that’s the best of both worlds.

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