Serendipities on the Way to Goals

When goals are clearly defined, we naturally begin heading in their direction. We don’t go directly from point “A” to point “B.”  Instead it’s a step-by-step process. The many steps we encounter on our way to our goals make up the moments of our lives. So it’s good to enjoy each and every moment to the best of our ability, knowing that we are continuously closing in on the destination we chose.

While traveling recently, our experiences drove this point home –

We pictured an idyllic spot on the beach — a simple bungalow with plenty of privacy and an inspiring view. That was our goal. We had just finished a busy three-month tour of concert dates, and our plan was to go to a relaxing place to recharge our batteries. We chose Thailand. That was our general destination. The next step was to get specific.

We went to the bookstore and bought a “Lonely Planet” travel book on Thailand, and Janey began to study and compare the many choices. To begin our trip, we chose an island in the Gulf of Thailand called Ko Tao.

We didn’t go immediately from point “A” (in this case, the Gulf of Mexico) to point “B” (the Gulf of Thailand). Instead we took many steps along the way, each one bringing us closer to our chosen destination (our goal). We experienced many serendipities that added to our enjoyment of the journey on a moment-to-moment basis.

Some moments were very enjoyable — others were merely “interesting.” A few were challenging . . . (Just like life.) The moments that were less than enjoyable were endured easily enough, because we held a clear picture of where we were going and knew that this was just one step along the way. If any particular step was uncomfortable or unpleasant, we knew it would pass. We kept our focus on the destination while remaining open to whatever new, different and exciting experience could be relished in the moment.

It would have been silly to let any fleeting inconvenience discourage us. We could have just given up when the going got tough, but that never crossed our minds because we recognized it as just a step along the way. This same attitude can be applied to life’s biggest goals and soul’s grandest aspirations.

By keeping the “eye on the prize,” we can recognize any minor setback, delay or inconvenience as just a step along the way. Also, with an open and eager attitude, serendipities are hiding just beyond many apparent stumbling blocks.

Instead of going directly from point “A” to point “B” (from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of Thailand), here was the step-by-step route required to reach our destination:

1. On the way to the place where we put our motor home in storage, we had to drop by the airport and rent a car so that . . .

2. We could drive ourselves to the airport at 4:00 A.M.

3. Our first flight was from Austin, TX to Chicago, IL.

4. Next flight: Chicago to Tokyo.

5. Next flight: Tokyo to Bangkok, Thailand . . . arriving 27 hours after leaving Austin.

6. Taxi to hotel.

7. Taxi from hotel to bus station.

8. Overnight bus from Bangkok to Chumphon.

9. Pick-up truck shuttled us to ferry boat office.

10. Bus from ferry office to pier.

11. Catamaran to the island of Ko Tao.

12. Taxi (back of pick-up) to first hotel.

13. Long walk on the beach (Carrying packs and instruments) to 2nd hotel.

14. Ocean kayak rented to explore 3rd hotel around the point. And back again.

15. Another long walk on the beach, with luggage, to water taxi office.

16. Long skiff ride across the waves to Ao Jun Jeua beach.

17. Yet another long walk on the beach schlepping our stuff uphill to our bungalow.

Was it all worth it? Oh yes! From here, we have a fantastic view of the open ocean. Below us, there are huge boulders with excellent snorkeling just beyond. The seaside restaurant visible to our left serves a dizzying array of scrumptious entrees. To the right, more boulders, more beaches, more wide-open spaces. From this incredible spot, we can realize our original objective: rest, relax, recharge, and reignite our creative endeavors.

We finally reached our goal — the one we first envisioned several days ago — because we didn’t give up. We knew that many steps would be involved between point “A” and point “Z” so we did our best to enjoy each moment and each step along the way. With that kind of wide-open attitude and a keen eye for serendipity potentials, here are a few of the life experiences we would have missed if somehow we could have used a Star Trek transporter to go directly from A to Z (gulf to gulf).

1. We had a wonderful (but too brief) visit with our old friends, JoAnn and Monte in Austin. We shared songs, laughs and a great meal. The visit was too short, but excellent.

2. We sat at a sushi bar in Tokyo and marveled at the quick hands and even quicker smiles of the sushi chefs. And the sushi? Shall I say it’s the best we ever had? Yes, the best!

3. The midnight taxi ride in Bangkok was fascinating. They drive on the left side of the road, and it was a wild ride in the middle of the night. It may have been a bit too “adventurous” for us during rush hour!

4. We experienced our first Thai massage. In a word, amazing! Ten minutes into our one-hour massage, we asked if it was okay to go two hours. This was, by far, the best massage either of us have experienced. (And it cost only $10 . . . for two hours!)

5. The hotel restaurant was exceptional, five star dining on a K-mart budget. Every meal was presented beautifully and tasted scrumptious. The difficult part was choosing what to try next since all the menus in Thailand seem to be about 20 pages. This is a great place to practice the feeling of abundance, since you can get anything on the menu for two or three dollars.

6. The overnight bus was a new experience. We tried to book an overnight train but it was full. Oh well, the bus was cheaper, so now we have more money left over to spend on scuba diving.

7. It was fun to meet the driver who took us to the pier, and catch a glimpse of his independent business. He took us for free and sold us our ferry ticket. He earned a commission on the ticket, even though it didn’t cost us any more. Cool.

8. The catamaran was an exhilarating ride — it’s the “fast” boat, although an hour and a half is plenty of time for many to get seasick. I had the opportunity to offer some valuable tips learned many years ago as an Alaskan fisherman. (Keep your eye on the horizon, and breathe deep.) Unfortunately, for many, it was too late to offer the advice of eating canned peaches. (Because it tastes as good coming up as going down.)

9. I enjoyed meeting the Rasta Thai taxi driver and his laid back approach. Many of his competitors were louder and more persistent. This guy just said what he could do for us and stood back and let us make up our minds. He got our business, and the ride in the back of his truck was a fun introduction to the bustling scuba village of Ao Chalok Ban Kao on the island of Ko Tao.

10. The long walk on the beach was fun because we got to appreciate the design of our new packs. They are well-designed and comfortable, small enough to be carry-on luggage, and large enough for our two-month trip. They have solid wheels with sealed bearings for rolling and a sophisticated suspension system for carrying. Were we impressed enough to give ‘em a plug? Sure. Osprey Meridian.

11. We had our second Thai massage. This time, we booked two hours from the beginning. Again, it was phenomenal . . . and thorough. We were on a mat literally ten feet from the gently breaking surf. The ocean breeze kept us cool as the exotic tropical birds sang to us. It was perfect in every way. This massage was more expensive though – $13 . . . for two hours.

12. To rent the ocean kayak, we got to meet Mae, a friendly Thai woman with a charming smile.

13. The ride around the bend on the kayak was great fun. We explored four different clusters of remote bungalows, each time meeting more of the enterprising locals who have carved out a good life for themselves, catering to eco-travelers like us.

14. The paddle back around the point was exciting because we got caught in a tropical rainstorm. With no danger of hypothermia (like in Alaska), we just settled in and enjoyed the ride. As far as we could see in all directions, raindrops splashed into the sea. Each raindrop made a two inch splash. We were drenched and delighted.

15. Yoga on the beach at dawn was magical.

16. The early morning dip in the warm ocean melted away any lingering weariness from the journey.

17. Sitting on our very private balcony with the cool sea breeze and breathtaking view makes all the steps oh-so-worth-it.

The point: There were many steps required to manifest our desire. But every step brought its unforeseen serendipity. (In fact, there were at least as many serendipities as steps required to reach our goal.

Just like life itself, we found the joy, exhilaration and adventure of our journey in the details . . . and they always happen right here and now. Not in the future, or someday when we finally reach our goal, but in this moment.

One other important serendipity: Our final destination was even better than our original goal. We envisioned what we desired to manifest, but allowed the mental picture to morph and evolve as a result of all our experiences.

The trick is to remain present and grateful for whatever the moment brings. Once we realize that, and relax into the moment, it becomes easier to find the unforeseen surprises hidden along every step of the way.

Have a nice trip!     . . . and enjoy the serendipities . . . they’re in the details . . . here and now.

Related Songs
Just One Step
Just begin. If you will just get underway, the project itself gains momentum and carries you along to its completion.

Time of Our Lives
Time is so fleeting, so elusive, it’s good to remember the importance and power of living right now.

Songs by Tupelo

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