Great Buddha, Kamakura, Japan
Great Buddha, Kamakura, Japan

“Most discoveries even today are a combination of serendipity and of searching.” ~ Siddhartha Mukherjee

“In reality, serendipity accounts for one percent of the blessings we receive in life, work and love. The other 99 percent is dues to our efforts.” ~ Peter McWilliams

“I’ve always loved life, and I’ve never known what’s ahead. I love not knowing what might be round the corner. I love serendipity.” ~ Twiggy

The other day, a writer acquaintance of mine shared a story on her blog about how choosing to visit the Grand Canyon by herself on her birthday changed her life. She invited her readers to share a similar story, and I was moved to share the story below.

My husband, Barry and I live in rural Arizona, and one of the great pleasures of living here is the night sky. Other pleasures are the sunrises, sunsets and the wildlife outside our windows. How we came to move here twenty years ago is the story I’d like to tell today because I’ve been reminded lately about how often serendipity works in our lives. Often it goes right by and we don’t grab ahold of it’s shirt tail.

Barry and I had been living in Portland, Oregon for fourteen years. One of our dreams was to travel, but money was tight. We met a woman from Germany at a Reiki retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat Center. She needed a place to stay for a week until the next leg of her journey to New Zealand. Wanting to hear of her travels, we offered her our guest bedroom.

That week she regaled us with the stories of all the places she’d visited, and each night my husband and I went to bed talking about how we could take a trip outside the country.

One night as the three of us talked again about her travels, we told her of all the friends and family we had in various parts of the world. Viv said, “Well you know, a round the world trip ticket only costs about $3,000.”

All of a sudden our dreams became possible. We knew we were going to take the trip, but how to finance it?

On the day Viv was leaving, it was my husband’s birthday and we were going to a party for him at his place of work. I stopped at a local bank so she could exchange some money. While she was inside I said to the Universe, “How can we pay for our trip?” The answer came, “You could sell your house.” I felt a tingle run through my body starting at the top of my head and traveling all the way down to my toes. Right then I planned to talk my idea over with Barry on our way to his birthday weekend trip to the Oregon Coast.

When we were on our way, I waited, heart pounding until I thought it was the right time. Then I said, “I’ve thought of a way we can pay for our trip.”

He said, “Really, so have I. I wonder if it’s the same idea.”

“We can sell our house,” I said.

“That’s exactly what I was thinking.”

The energy inside the car was palpable. We knew this was the opportunity of a lifetime and we had to grab it. The entire weekend we made plans about when to leave, the things we needed to do to the house to get it ready to sell, what countries we’d visit, how long we’d be gone, and where we would land when we got back to the U.S.

Some people, mostly family members, thought we were crazy. But it was amazing how many people said, “I wish I were brave enough to to that.”

Everything fell into place so easily. It was as if God wanted us to take the trip. We found the perfect real estate and travel agents. Our house sold at the first open house. The housing market had just begun to boom so we made a ridiculous amount of money. We were offered a place to stay for the month before our departure. Everything worked out well, except for one thing, which in the end turned out to be the reason we moved to Arizona.

My father had had heart bypass surgery several years prior to our planned trip. Before we left, he had another emergency surgery and nearly died on the operating table. This was April, about three weeks before our departure. The weather in the Northwest that spring was cold, wet and miserable.

We flew to Phoenix to be with my mom and dad at the Phoenix Heart Hospital. My parents had retired there, and so had Barry’s parents. They lived in the Phoenix area and were there to meet my youngest sister, her husband, and us at the airport. It was 80 degrees and gorgeous.

My father lived, but almost losing him was a shock. For the first time it occurred to us that our parents were getting old. We wanted to be near them as much as we could during their remaining days. So the four of us discussed moving to Arizona, because even my brother-in-law’s parents lived in Tucson.

While we were on our fabulous trip, Barry and I discussed moving to Arizona instead of Southern Oregon, as we had dreamed of doing. Finally, when we were stuck in Olympia due to the death of a Greek national hero and statesman, we decided on Arizona as our new home. It’s been a good decision.

The trip was life-changing. If you’ve never traveled outside the country, I highly recommend it. Being in a new place can’t help but change your perspective. You learn something new about yourself along the way. Even after all these years, something will pop up on my Facebook newsfeed, or I’ll hear something on television and I’ll be transported back to one of the wonderful countries we visited.

Moving to Arizona without jobs was difficult at first, but we managed to find a lovely part of the state to live in, and as I wrote in the first paragraph, we have gorgeous scenery, plenty of wildlife, and quiet to keep us company. It’s a nurturing place for both of us because we’re creative types.

I’m so grateful for the times when something amazing has presented itself to me, and I’ve climbed aboard and gone along for the ride. I hope you do that too, because we don’t want to die with our music still in us, as Wayne Dyer used to say. That would be a tragedy.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

If you’d like to join my email list to receive information about my soon to be published book, The Space Between Time, or my video series, “Loving Literature”, here is the link.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2016

Published by lucindasagemidgorden

I grew up in the West, the descendant of people traveling by wagon train to a new life. Some of their determination and wanderlust became a part of me. I imagine them sitting around the campfire telling stories, which is why I became first a theatre artist, then a teacher and now a writer. They are all ways of telling stories.

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