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The Art of Serendipity in Travel

The more I travel, the more I’m able to let go. I’ve told you before I used to be a terrible traveler. I used to have a lot of trouble letting go and just enjoying the experiences as they unfolded. Still, I have had some pretty great experiences when I do manage to relinquish (false) control while traveling.

I call what happens when you let go of expectations serendipity.

The official definition of serendipity is:

the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

I think of it as magic that happens when you allow it to. I’ve had so many serendipitous travel experiences, and they make me crave even more.

Think of the hole-in-the-wall restaurant you stumbled upon that served the best damn [insert food here]. You still salivate at the memory. Or the out-of-the-ordinary attraction the travel guides didn’t tell you about (for me, that was Musee Mechanique). Maybe you threw a dart at a map to discover a place you fell in love with (Saorge, France, for me).  I can think of dozens of examples of my own, and every single one proved to be better than what I’d originally planned.

So how can you invite serendipity into your travels?

Let Go of Expectations


It’s fine to make general plans, like wanting to visit a museum, but allow the details to be blurry. You might end up walking by a music festival and decide you can postpone the museum until tomorrow.  Be okay with things not going according to plan, because trust me: they’ll be even better if you can let go.

Leave Room in Your Schedule


I don’t get people who fill every minute of a vacation with action. They come home exhausted and in need of a vacation to recover from their vacation. That’s why I now leave time. I might use it to take a nap in the apartment I’m renting or just to meander around town.

Speaking of Meandering…


Do it! As Samantha Brown said, taking a walk can help you find serendipitous discoveries. While I was waiting to meet up with Debbie and Jeannette in Venice, I explored our neighborhood. I could have stayed in and rested, but instead I familiarized myself and could then help us navigate the confusing streets. I had a killer meal of tagliatelle in a non-tourist restaurant and overall fell in love with Venice.

So I encourage you to let serendipity guide your travels. See what happens!

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