One of my favorite parts of going on an adventure is the opportunity to be surprised by serendipity. Whether you call it magic, serendipity, or happy little things, keeping your eyes and heart open to the little surprises that come along the way are sure to bring joy to your season.
Let’s look at the definition again to see what we can learn:
Serendipity: (n.) the effect by which one accidentally stumbles upon something truly wonderful, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated.
One thing I noticed about this definition is that we must first be doing something. Then often the magic comes as we are engaged and present in that activity. (it could be a big adventure or the adventure of everyday life.) It’s often a fun little surprise or something that works out well in our favor.
In my mind and for the purposes of this lesson, I often interchange the words serendipity, magic, and happy little things / joys as they represent similar ideas in my mind.
Adventures in Serendipity
The main purpose of this part of my lesson is to invite you to have an adventure in serendipity. I want you to channel your inner explorer so you notice the little things more. Most importantly I want to challenge you to look with your eyes and with your heart. See what sparks your interest. See what sparks your joy.
And simply follow those sparks! I think of it as “following your adventure” because one spark leads to another and often it is by doing that that our most memorable adventures are made.
As Keri Smith says in “How to Be an Explorer of the World,” rule number 1 is this “Always be LOOKING. Notice the ground beneath your feet.”
This doesn’t mean that you get so focused on finding this serendipity that you forget to live in the moment. Rather it’s immersing yourself in the moment and being aware of possibilities that your adventure will bring.
It’s all about noticing all the little joys of summer! Find your joy!
“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.”
– Henry Miller
Capturing Your Adventure
There are many ways to capture your adventure and the magic moments. Photography, video, sketches, journaling, art journaling. It all counts!
Living in the moment: for sure this counts!
I personally love photography and I treasure my photographs. That’s my number one way of capturing moments. I love finding new ways to capture life with different types of camera or different ways of getting them printed.
If you are wanting to change up some of your photography, try using an Instax or getting Polaroids made from your digital photos. There are so many options now and it can keep your creativity fueled to try different things.
Most importantly, it doesn’t matter if your camera is big and fancy or if you shoot only with your phone. The important thing is keeping it with you can help you capture these moments and doing what makes you happy.
I’d like to talk a little more about the balance of living in the moment and capturing the moment.
It’s just something I want you to consider and I’d love to hear how you balance it. And most importantly, I’m not saying photos aren’t important. They are priceless! But so is being a part of the moment.
So I invite you to consider this one little tip: Don’t spend all the time behind the camera. Get a few photos and then let your senses “write the moment” on your mind and heart.
And please get in front of the camera too!
This is sometimes a challenge for me (both being in the moment and getting in front of the camera!) I love photography and can sometimes get wrapped up in getting the shot with different angles, etc versus living in the moment. I try to be aware of this and focus on getting a few shots of the overall location, a few of my daughter / other people involved, a few details and then I try to put my camera down and engage in the moment. This gives me generally enough photos to tell the story in my album.
But really, if all I can get is at least one I am happy with, that’s okay too!
I’ve also challenged myself to be happy if I don’t have my camera or just can’t get a shot. And sometimes I just let the moment live in my heart. I try to channel the character of the famous photographer Sean O’Connell in the movie “the Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and just be in the moment.
When I intentionally do the “no photo” approach, I try to journal about those moments when I can. Try jotting something down in your Traveler’s Journal, notebook or journal writing app.
At least something to trigger your memory and the feelings you wanted to capture.
And even if you never write anything about it on paper, write the moment in your heart and mind by repeating those details and telling the story in your mind.
I truly feel that being present in the moment and engaging with our lives changes us for the better. It’s a balance for sure. But maybe if you are struggling with trying to get perfect photos or comparing yours with others, give yourself permission to just be present and don’t stress about getting the perfect photo.
You are enough!
Another idea we wanted to include is to collect something from your adventure. Some token, piece of memorabilia. Something to trigger your memory of the joy you felt in the moment.
My hope will be that you can include it in your album in some way. If if doesn’t physically fit in your album, consider taking a photo of it and including it that way. Other ideas are a sketch, art journal page or rubbing, pressed flowers, etc. Basically taking the idea of a field journal and applying it to your particular project.
A few of my favorite things to collect include ticket stubs, stickers, business cards, wrist bands from the water park, luggage tags, menus, coasters, receipts etc. Seashells, rocks, sand, etc are wonderful to collect but can sometimes be too large to fit. Try to lay them out and take a photo of the collection. If they are small enough (like sand or small shells) you might try the Fuse technique if you are interested in that.
If you don’t have anything physical to add, that’s okay too!
“The greatest treasures are those invisible to the eye but felt by the heart.” –unknown
List Your Little Joys
Take a moment and reflect on some of your past adventures. Have there been moments where things just worked out? Where something truly wonderful happened and you weren’t expecting it?
Make a list of some of those magical moments. It will spark some wonderful memories and inspire you to keep making more adventures.
These are some of my favorite little joys I look for:
- a favorite treat
- heart shaped rock, leaf or flower
- seashells, seaglass, etc
- that time you found a favorite restaurant unexpectedly
- a favorite song that comes on at just the right time
- finding a cool park that invites you to get out and swing or play
- a beautiful sunset
- shooting stars
- patterns of light shining at just the right moment
- finding your One Little Word in different places
In 2014 my One Little Word was “Magic” and each week (at least for a while) I would list the magic moments of that week. It was awesome to look at that list! This summer I’ve been keeping a list on my desk calendar to jot down these little things and moments I want to remember.
I would absolutely love to hear some of your serendipitous little joys! Please share on the message board or include a list in your album!
An Example | Serendipity with Kayaking and Cupcakes
To give you an example of adventure and serendipity, the pages I created in my book for this prompt came from a fun surprise that came after saying yes to an initial adventure. My family loves to go kayaking and often my husband will take my daughter so I can finish up some work or something like that. I enjoy going with them, but sometimes the schedule doesn’t allow it (or I choose to do something else.) That’s okay too. But on this particular day, I said yes!
And we had a great time. We kayaked, waded in the creek and floated down some “little rapids” like I used to when I was growing up. A few capsizes when my husband and brother in law were getting back in their canoe. It was safe, no worries. All in all, it was a great time. I remembered why I love going on these adventures with my family and I savored the moment.
Afterwards we decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants to eat and much to our delight, there happened to be a food truck next to it with a giant cupcake on top! (My daughter doesn’t do ice cream yet but she loves cupcakes!) If you are familiar with Austin, it is “Hey Cupcake!”
So after we ate, my sister in law and I took the girls to get cupcakes. Yes, it’s a simple thing. But to us, it was pure delight and fun. Something very memorable that we weren’t expecting.
I captured a few photos and also asked for an additional sticker that they put on our box. (I gave them a tip for it–that always helps!) It was so cute I knew I wanted to use it in some way.
That’s just one example of the kind of serendipity I want you to be noticing and I can’t wait to hear about yours!
We challenge you to follow serendipity and notice little moments of joy. Take notice during your day or on your next adventure. What were the little things that brought joy? Were there any serendipitous moments?
Share your moments on the message board, write them in your journal, document them in your journal, or add them to your album.