Have you ever noticed how some people come back from their travels full of tales of wonderful, serendipitous experiences?
Stories of how they were dragged off the street to an amazing wedding banquet, or swam with dolphins – for free, or ran into the Dalai Lama and had a brief chat about the meaning of life.
Are these people naturally lucky or are they doing something to attract all these amazing experiences?
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Shallow people believe in luck… strong people believe in cause and effect.”
I’ve studied the character traits of these individuals. If you want to get lucky on your travels, you might want to try the following suggestions.
Travel with the right attitude
Some people travel with a closed mind. They harbour fear, suspicion and a reluctance to really open up and live the culture they’re experiencing.
These people will turn down an invitation to attend a local family celebration. They’ll turn down an invitation from another traveler to accompany him on a mini adventure. They’ll turn down the opportunity to see new place because they’ve heard it might not be safe.
The “lucky” travelers, on the other hand, learn to be street wise, avoid scams and don’t fall victim of crime due to their own carelessness. They don’t use fear and suspicion as an excuse to avoid all risk when on the road.
A trusting, open-minded attitude is the key to making the most of chance encounters, interactions and invitations.
Don’t miss out on serendipity because you’re racing to catch the next train. We can’t all have the luxury of traveling without schedules, boundaries or commitments, but try and keep as much flexibility in your travel arrangements as you can.
There will be another train, bus or plane (or maybe a sail boat or camel ride) out of there but the Dalai Lama’s path may never cross yours again.
Stockpile some good Karma
No matter what your spiritual beliefs, it’s worth putting some good out there and seeing if it comes back. More often than not, goodness comes back.
Start small. Smile at someone. Offer a positive comment. Give or lend a local or fellow traveler something you possess that they need. Spend some time and effort helping someone.
Share your food, resources and information. Do some good and then sit back and wait for the universe to repay you. Even if it doesn’t, what have you lost?
Roll with the punches
Two travelers can share the same experiences and view them completely differently. Ask a “lucky” traveler if he anything bad has happened to him. Almost without exception he’ll have a few hard luck tales to tell – stories of missed connections, rude officials and (invariably) amoebic dysentery.
If you want to encounter good luck on your travels you’ll have to take a little bad luck too. The trick is to roll with the punches. Treat the bad luck as a passing stranger and focus on the good luck.
Take responsibility for the success of your trip. If you hit a problem, find a solution. If you miss a connection, find something neat to do in the place you’re stuck, even if it’s a no-horse town on the edge of nowhere.
Long trips are like long marriages. To have a great one, you sometimes have to develop a selective memory. Ride out the bad patches in order to get to the good stuff.
Good luck favors those who are prepared to receive it. Before your travels think about what preparations you need to make in order to take all the opportunities that could come your way.
Do you need at least a smattering of the local language? Don’t miss out on unique experience by lacking the ability to communicate with a potential new friend.
And what about your physical fitness? It would be a shame if you had the opportunity to hike into a remote and beautiful mountain range, but didn’t have the physical strength to make the climb.
What are you prepared to encounter on your travels?
Be willing to listen and learn
We all know opportunities for unique travel experiences can’t be found in a guide book.
The lucky chances we encounter when traveling are the result of taking other people’s advice. Often it’s not presented as advice. It’s traveler’s tales, casual suggestions, careless chit-chat around a camp fire or a hostel breakfast table.
We all hear these conversations. Some of us are willing to listen. The luck often comes from being willing to learn.
Keep your ears open, but more importantly keep your mind and heart open. When you hear of another traveler’s amazing experience don’t think in terms of “Wow, he’s so lucky that happened to him,” think “If I did that, maybe something amazing would happen to me.”
Remember that law of cause and effect. Be willing to see things in a new way, to take on a new idea, to jump on that lucky chance when it’s presented to you.
There’s no better way to get lucky.
Do you know these lucky travelers? Or maybe you’re one of them! Share your advice in the comments!