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Open to the Unpredictable

“The secret of adventure, then, is not to carefully seek it out but to travel in such a way that it finds you. To do this, you first need to overcome the protective habits of home and open yourself up to unpredictability. As you begin to practice this openness, you’ll quickly discover adventure in the simple reality of a world that defies your expectations. More often than not, you’ll discover that “adventure” is a decision after the fact—a way of deciphering an event or an experience that you can’t quite explain.” — Rolf Potts, Vagabonding

Inevitably I awaken well before my alarm goes off, and I believe it to be because I rarely set an alarm anymore. It’s saved for early flights and precious little else. As such, my mind is wrapped around the process of travel instead of deep, restful sleep. Did I pack everything? How does traffic look today? What’s the weather at my destination and have I properly prepared for it? Such is the restlessness of a traveler’s mind.

This idea of being properly prepared is a form of control. We don’t control all that much when we travel, other than our own actions. A series of random events can turn an itinerary upside down in the blink of an eye. And so we create contingencies and build extra time in to ensure we don’t miss the trains, planes and automobiles that bring us from here to there and back again.

As we open ourselves up to encounters with the unexpected, we face the very things we can’t always be prepared for. Adapting to the challenges we face builds resilience and a higher level of worldliness than we had before. As we become more worldly we condition ourselves for the unexpected.

Louis Pasteur said that “fortune favors the prepared mind”. When we feel ready for the unexpected we become more open to receiving it when it arrives. Openness is a developed skill as much as it is a mindset. So as I rose to meet the day, I took comfort in the preparation that would carry me through the host of unexpected that will surely greet me.

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