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Take the Serendipity Challenge

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We strive to live our lives embracing nomadic serendipity, and keeping our schedule on Nomadic Standard Time.

We’ve discovered that escaping the stress that comes from rushing around to meet scheduled obligations opens one up to truly being in tune with what is around you in the moment. This allows you to truly experience where you are at, instead of always being “just passing through” on your way to a destination.

As a rule, awesome things tend to happen when you’re not a slave to a pre-planned schedule.

As an example, by not having a specific schedule and nothing pending that we had to be at – our recent intentions of relocating to Orlando got wonderfully sidetracked by some fabulous ripples of serendipity.

None of this was planned for in advance, and if we had been trying to stick to our original intentions we would have missed out on it all.

Serendipity of this caliber is a normal occurrence for us. And we’d like to invite you to experience it.

Your Invitation to the Serendipity Challenge

You don’t have to sell your home, quit your job and take off around the world as a nomad to experience high-grade serendipity. Challenge yourself to invite serendipity into your life. It’s pretty simple if you can learn to embrace the mindset.

Here’s the challenge..

Make plans to not make plans.

Set aside a day, a weekend or part of an upcoming vacation. Your time can be pre-planned, or embarked on spontaneously. You can do this in your own neighborhood, or make it an adventure to somewhere new.  Make whatever arrangements you need to start and end the time period – such as transportation, budget and lodging.

And that’s where the planning stops.  No pre-scheduling shows. No pre-booking tours. No planning visits with friends or family. No pre-buying tickets. No making dining reservations.

Research all you like about what options you might have. Even set intentions for things you’d enjoy doing – but be fully open to them either happening or not happening.

Let go of your need for planning. No commitments. No obligations. No expectations. None. Nada. Zilch. If you put anything on a calendar besides your arrival and departure information – you’re probably planning too much. Remove yourself as far as you’re comfortable from anything that resembles pre-planning. And then remove a little more.

If you’re ready for more advanced serendipity, you even might even want to forgo booking a rental car or hotel, or book your departure from a different city (and maybe not the transportation inbetween). Really escape the filters of pre-planning.

Once your serendipity window opens – take off your watch and go experience.  If you’re unsure how to get started, try some of these ideas:

  • Take a walk around your immediate environment
  • Go visit a museum or attraction in the local area
  • Hop on the nearest public transit and randomly pick a stop
  • Get out a set of dice or a coin (real or digital) and let them decide which turns you take
  • Crowdsource serendipity by taking a Twitter/Facebook poll of your followers
  • Grab a camera, pick a topic (‘yellow things’, ‘children playing’, ‘found art’, etc.) and go explore with an intent to capture.

If you start to feel rushed, remind yourself that there is no schedule to keep. You have nowhere you have to be, no obligations looming over your head trying to keep you on task.  If something catches your eye, move closer to hear, smell, feel and see it better. Stop and not only smell the roses, but photograph them, marvel at them.

See people mingling about?  Be open to conversation without fear of distraction from where you need to be next. Allowing the possibility that serendipity may speak to you via interactions with others. Who knows where you might end up?

Your mission is to experience what comes about when you don’t have a mission.

Be in tune with the sometimes subtle invitations serendipity presents… and remember, you have to be present to win.

Once you’ve taken the Serendipity Challenge, we’d love to hear about your experience.  If you blog about your experience – please send us a link to the post.  Or feel free to write us directly about your experience.  We’ll be featuring a collection of these inspiring stories!

Cherie has been been a location independent entrepreneur since 1994, working in full scale software development. When she met Chris in 2006, she was at the exact right time in her life to hit the road and combine wanderlust with career. She strives to live a life of conscious intent while embracing serendipity.

29 COMMENTS

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  1. Loved all the responses…..as an indian, we grow up hearing about “karma” and destiny- so adopting and embracing the idea of Serendipity has been a way of life for me….only i never stoped to think of it :) iv been extremely successfulk in what i do and have achieved most of what iv always desired- again, only i didnt know how and why ? i just decided not to plan or get crazed after what i wanted- some how it fell into my lap- sometimes much more then what i desired……its called faith and in india we call it “karam yogi” do the best you can- without ever planning for anything in return.

  2. You guys are awesome ! When I just let go, what comes to me is incredible. All the rules that we are accustomed to living under stifle life ! When you let LIFE and LOVE just happen, wow it is so much fun. Meeting you both today was like waking up from a deep sleep. Thank You.

    em

  3. Serendipity in a Store Window:
    Ok I’ll share… Now I’m a planner.. Not so much because I don’t like lovely-lovely randomness, but more because going without a plan can really throw a spanner into a micro-budget.
    But alas, even with those ways, I have a Serendipity report to make.
    As to how many ounces of serendipity was in the recipe, well, who knows.

    Anyway, I was in Saint Simmons Island. My last day there, with no idea of the next direction other than North somewhere into Georgia.
    That’s when I see a little sign in a Vintage Clothing store.
    Live Music Festival at the Hoopee Jam in Norristown, GA.
    So I got on the net and bought a ticket.

    Now Norristown is a tiny little nowhere town in Central GA.
    and the HoopeeJam was a weekend of live music and primitive camping. The Oyster-can fit right-in. Very welcoming people (and to an area of Georgia where I was a complete stranger)
    It was a rocking local music festival! I did alot of bouncing to the tunes, and made new friends. Some of them posted a couple of public albums of the happenings at these links below: Anyway, I thought I’d share some Serendipity with ya.
    some links for pics:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/ecosense/HoopeeJamSaturdaySunday515162010#
    and here:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/ecosense/HoopeeJamMay13142010#
    .-= travelfables´s last blog ..Adventures in New Orleans and the French Quarter: =-.

  4. I finally scored my very own vintage trailer last Friday and have already been asked where I will be going in it. Truth be told, I’m not thinking and/or planning that far ahead. I figure first get it fixed up to be comfy and cozy for us and then go – whether thousands of miles away or just 90 minutes away to a state park – the issue isn’t so much as where we go as that we start going somewhere – the rest will, I believe, work itself out :)

  5. Love the post! Been trying to plan our summer vacation for a while now…and I think I just did. We know the start, we know the end, and there’s one commitment in between – a family reunion. We’ll leave the rest up to serendipity and learn along the way…much more than we would learn by planning it all out, I’m sure! Thanks for the reminder!

    • And the number one lesson from your time overspent in the lab…

      If you forget where you are going, you might get stuck where you’re at.

      As in all things – balance seems to be key. :-)

      • True indeed. Getting staggered by my own imagination is dangerous… rapidly evolving geek fantasy outpaces my ability to keep up with implementation.

        That’s what’s nice about moving aboard: it puts things into perspective (and limits the sprawl).

        Steve
        (currently aboard Nomadness)
        .-= Steven Roberts´s last blog ..The Tools of Extraction =-.

  6. This is exactly what happened to myself and two friends on our first week long break from our University while studying abroad. We booked our transportation to/from Spain and our lodging for the first night and then moved around at our own pace. In Madrid we saw half the museums you “must see,” and had nights full of adventures that we never could have planned. In Granada we managed to not see the Alhambra, but on a whim we climbed a hill that ended up looking over the entire city. From now on we plan to follow the same path and allow serendipity to guide us. Loved your article, especially because it is just what I’ve experienced!
    .-= Jarrod´s last blog ..A little longer on the next update… =-.

  7. Love the post, | generally live on what I call “Mediterranean time” (and gave up wearing a watch about ten years ago). I like your definition of “Nomadic Standard Time” though!

  8. Yes!!! One of the first lessons I learned when we hit the road was to let go of itineraries and let things happen. At first I thought I was being a slacker, and felt like I had lost my identity as a tidy, organized person. But once I learned to let go, real serendipity came into my life, which brought lots of good times along with it. There’s a lot to be said for just going with the flow.
    .-= Rene´s last blog ..Save the Slab City Library =-.

  9. And leave your watch (or cell phone) behind. When traveling to new places I would always book my first night’s lodging and then leave the rest open. To find interesting night life in big cities, I used to look for strangely dressed people and follow them. I ended up at some crazy bars, events, parties, etc. Never ran into trouble at all.

  10. “Research all you like about what options you might have. Even set intentions for things you’d enjoy doing – but be fully open to them either happening or not happening.”

    I think this is the key. You have to know your options in your location. I’ve gone on quite a few solo adventures, hoping that serendipity would lead the way. But a lot of times I end up sitting around waiting for something to happen. It’s pretty simple, but a lot of times I forget to research more about the places I’m going and what there is to do. One thing that helped me in “seeking out” was getting a Holga camera. It really forces you to seek out the uncommon, or find new ways to capture the common. Either way, when I run out of things to do in a new location (or if I completely forgot to research where it is I am), I take out the Holga and rediscover.
    .-= Eric Hansen´s last blog ..Color Control Surfaces Compared =-.

    • I think researching options may indeed be conducive for some people.

      This is some where that Chris and I differ in our personality types. If I put effort into researching my options, they start to resemble too much of a plan in my head to really experience serendipity. Chris however can research excessively on options and not formulate a plan structure in his head.

      The difference works out great for us; if we’re experiencing together – he becomes like my walking tour guide as to what options we might have at a given point. :) When I go out on my own, I tend to research just what is necessary to make sure my basic needs are taken care of (lodging, arrival, departure).

      I definitely think that having an ‘excuse’ to get out and explore is a great way to motivate yourself to not just sit around. Photography, painting, videography, research on a topic, etc.

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