On the pleasures of serendipity

Disclaimer: this blog post has nothing to do with music or Sunday Baroque.
It is about human connections, and the benefits of going with the flow of events and enjoying the unique pleasures of serendipity.

I recently missed a flight connection because of mechanical issues on our plane, and found myself in Calgary for an unexpected overnight stay. Although this disrupted my originally planned trip and delayed my arrival by a day, I savored this serendipitous adventure. I used the opportunity to ask every local I encountered what their favorite restaurant is, to help me decide where to dine. I met a fellow stranded traveler at breakfast, so we sat together and shared stories of our (mis)adventures. He is an educator. A First Nations advocate. A veteran of the Canadian military. A music fan. A hunter and fisherman. A father and husband. His bucket list includes a long overdue trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a visit to the Far East. We talked about teachers, our hometowns, our current homes of residence, politics(!), our travels, our work. We laughed and shared concerns about our world.

Then I boarded the hotel van for the airport to try again to get to my original destination. Imagine my delight that the classical radio station was playing. I complimented and thanked the driver, and another discussion ensued. Music, musicians, travel, cities, culture, and more. (OK, I said this blog post wasn’t about music, but it was a little bit, after all.) Now I can’t wait to come back to Calgary and explore it more fully.

These human connections between strangers delight me. What could have been a boring, disorienting, or annoying travel delay turned into an opportunity to connect with other people about things that matter to us. To share and to laugh. I treasure these “mishaps” because they can be as rich (sometimes richer) and more memorable than the things we plan meticulously. And as complicated and disconnected as life can be in the 21st century, it’s gratifying to form and foster these human connections.

Have your misadventures ever turned into treasured experiences? I’d love to hear about your serendipitous encounters.