Reality Check #3: Serendipity, Snafu or Murphy? How Full is YOUR Cup Today?

A serendipity is defined as a “happy accident” or a “pleasant surprise”.  According to Wikipedia, it’s “the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.”

And, Murphy’s Law? Well, it’s a “law” that says If something can go wrong, it will…and usually at the worst time.”

So, then what’s a snafu? Well, snafu takes Murphy’s Law from a mere incident to a state of normal. It’s an acronym for situation normal all “fouled” up (fouled is the polite version) attributed to the military (circa World War II).  Also, according to Wikipedia, “It means that the situation is bad, but that this is a normal state of affairs.”

So I was wondering about this…it might be an over generalization, but it seems to me that some people see the world one way; a cup half full, and others expect it to be or see it another; a cup half empty. Yeah, maybe a broad generalization, but hey, it’s my blog so humor me.

I’ve been around those who always see the bright side, whatever seems to happen, they find that happy accident, they find the pony in the manure pile…they take it in stride, make the best of it, and move on… cup half full.

Then there are those Murphy’s Law types. Every thing seems to happen to them (and most of it not favorable). They assume it probably will happen (and it usually does) then complain about it, tell everybody about it and they usually don’t believe there is a pony. Then there are the snafu types who expect it, (in my book, tend to be pretty cynical about most things) and who, frankly, wallow in the manure.

So, we all know that s**t happens in life and it can certainly happen when we travel! Flights cancelled, missed connections, lost luggage, bad weather, cranky travel companions…but those happy accidents can happen, too…

I remember when I was with a friend at the airport in Istanbul. Our luggage didn’t arrive when we did so we had a nice long wait in the airport. OK, after traveling for many hours, we could’ve complained those hours away and seen it as a negative start to our 2 week adventure…especially when the cell phone didn’t work and we couldn’t contact our hotel about the delay…But, instead we met some lovely locals who recognized our plight and, speaking English and Turkish, offered to call our hotel for us. All turned out fine, we put it behind us, and took it in stride. Yep, cup half full!

But it could be as simple as accidentally walking down the wrong street and finding that unexpected restaurant or that kind stranger or shopkeeper going out of their way to give you directions… a pleasant surprise. (Did I just see a pony gallop by?)

When it comes to travel (and life for that matter), I want to be and be with the serendipity, happy accident, cup half full, bright side, find the pony folkswhat about you?

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Do you believe in happy accidents? Or do you believe that if anything can happen, it will or why be surprised, it’s all fouled up anyway? When have you “found the pony” in the manure?

Photo Credit: Pony courtesy of Tina Philips

2 Responses to Reality Check #3: Serendipity, Snafu or Murphy? How Full is YOUR Cup Today?

  1. Paula says:

    I still remember the “happy accident” in Assisi when we stumbled accross the art installation along a narrow winding street. It was wonderful not only because of the beautiful art works themselves and the story behind them, but also because it was due to finish that very day! The key to these experiences when travelling is to always explore and leave time to wander, together with good planning. The planned excursions enable you to see the incredble sights, and then the wanderings enable you to experience the real life of the place!

    • Grazie Paula…yes, that was such a special “serendipity”! Travel can be full of them and if we go with an open mind and positive attitude it’s even more fulfilling. Great philosophy to have, so much more enriching, isn’t it? 😀

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