Serendipity Stories

Tell us your serendipity story!

Do you have your own ‘serendipity story’ that you’d like to share? Was serendipity involved, for example, in how you met your partner or how you have progressed in your career? Or perhaps something serendipitous has happened to you recently, but you hadn’t thought about it until now?

Please click here to tell us about it!

Your ‘serendipity stories’…

  • From A to B, via Serendipity - It was a cold stormy winter night. What usually took 1.5 hours, took me 5 hours to get to the station. I had to pee so bad my bladder was going to explode. When the bus finally reached the station, … Continue reading
  • 30 Years Later - Back when I was 13 I met a boy, 14, at camp. We really liked each other and dated (what we thought was dating at that age) on and off for a few years. I don’t remember what happened but … Continue reading
  • Butane and bus stops - It was December 31, 2013. I clocked out of my job at 2:00 pm. I was at a bus stop waiting for my bus to go home. I waited for about 10 minutes. While I was by myself, a beautiful … Continue reading
  • Facebook vs Serendipity - I am a model and I travel quite a bit for work. The fashion industry is global, but it is quite small at the same time, as you tend to meet the same fellow models, photographers, make up artists etc … Continue reading
  • Visiting the same patient - On April 23, 2012, I was visiting my brother-in-law in hospital. He had cancer and is now in remission. In the hospital hallway, I met my brother in law’s cousin, who was also visiting my brother-in-law. We knew of each … Continue reading
  • Marketing my skills - I left university during the late 80/early 90s recession and therefore struggled to find a job in my chosen field of marketing. Eventually I found a great short-term contract working on a feasibility study for a publishing house. The job … Continue reading
  • Two travel tickets, one happy ending - One cold autumn, having recently moved back to London and having a nasty and long commute, I desperately need a break. No friends were available so I started investigating a cheap, single holiday to Morocco. Last minute my flatmate, who … Continue reading
  • It’s you, Louis Theroux! - I am a 36-year old female. And serendipity has played a part in my life since the day I was conceived. To say I have ’serendipitous coincidences’ is an understatement. Just like in the film ‘Serendipity’ starring Kate Beckinsale and … Continue reading
  • Harnessing Serendipity as a Creative Force - The SerenA Project has been gathering Stories of Serendipity for our research, we regularly do talks about this work and encourage submissions of stories to the website. This post is from Ron Berti, the Artistic Producer/Executive Director of an Indigenous Storytelling company … Continue reading
  • From bar work to travel photography - When I was a kid I have always dreamed of traveling the world as a photographer taking beautiful pictures all over the world. I even made a statement to my mother when I was 17. I wish I took photographs … Continue reading
  • Familiar Workmate - There was a guy that I really liked since i was in High School. I really adored him since I first saw him at a semi pageant at my school prom. I’d bump into him in the same places and … Continue reading
  • My lucky life - I really feel open to lucky encounters and throughout my life I’ve had had strange lucky circumstances. After high school graduation, I went abroad for a year, which at that time was considered a very immature action as all of … Continue reading
  • Luck and Taekwondo - At the end of 2008, my long term boyfriend broke up with me. I found myself with nowhere to live and very few friends. A work college invited me to play volleyball with her and her brothers. I decided to … Continue reading
  • Close Encounters - My parents immigrated from Ukraine as young children and made their way to the US where they eventually met and married and had me and my sister. As first generation Ukrainian Americans, our parents kept to many of the Ukrainian … Continue reading
  • From Web design to wedding - I was tentatively setting up in business and I was completely clueless about how to go about doing so. I was given the telephone number of a website designer by a business adviser I had been assigned to. The number … Continue reading
  • Marrying my climbing instructor - It was the end of my final year at university and some of my friends were going away on a trip. However, not having seen my boyfriend in a while and wanting to save the money, I wasn’t intending to … Continue reading
  • Right Place, Right Job - I had spent an enchanting 10 months doing a maternity cover contract at an advertising agency. The company itself was fantastically creative and exciting but the people, they felt like long lost family by my 2nd week at the job. … Continue reading
  • Do you really want to delete this e-mail? - After graduating 9 months previous, I was fed-up of getting emails from a particular graduate jobs Website. As I scrolled down the page to find the ‘unsubscribe’ link, I noticed that the an Internship Programme, which I had previously thought … Continue reading
  • Global networking - I studied Japanese at university and on one occasion in my third year I was introduced to my (Japanese) ex-boyfriend’s classmate who was visiting from Japan. We had a nice lunch with a bunch of others but I didn’t take … Continue reading
  • Never too old - One morning my mum (who is 91 years old) asked me to read her tarot cards. In the reading, I was able to tell her that she was being held back by her own inhibitions, worrying about an outcome that … Continue reading
  • New city, new friend. Family history, old friends. - Having just moved to the UK, I grabbed the first job I could get: waitressing at the local pub. There was a girl that came in regularly and one evening she came in with her sister. We got chatting and … Continue reading
  • Mutual friend Mohan - I was recently on a Skype call with a business colleague based in Ontario. As part of the conversation, my colleague mentioned he’d had communication from ’Mohan’ in Singapore, a cold call. I said I knew someone called Mohan who, … Continue reading
  • From hitching a lift to getting hitched - Just over a year ago, I was at a festival and unable to afford transport back to my home in London. I started asking both friends and strangers if they knew of anyone who was driving back and could give … Continue reading
  • A new old friend - In the scrum of Freshers’ Week I made friends with a girl on my degree course. We got on really well and knowing there was a friendly face in my lectures was a huge relief for a shy undergrad. We … Continue reading
  • Finding the love of my life – it really doesn’t just happen in the movies - Its a long one which starts with having a very bad hangover, meaning to be in North London, not South, fast train v slow train, delayed trains and having to pee! The ‘aha’ moment came when we decided to get … Continue reading
  • (Chance) Paris encounter - On the train to Paris, I talked to two lovely Irish women for a long time. Two days later, I bumped into them in line at a an art museum. Nice Reunion. Submitted by Anon
  • A surprise family holiday in Venice - A few years ago my husband and I decided to book a short trip to Venice; we hadn’t been living in the UK for long having moved over from South Africa and decided it was a place we would love … Continue reading
  • Many reunions - Every time I go on holiday I seem to have a chance reunion back in the UK with the people I met! This has now happened 4 times in the past 5 years. The first year I met someone in … Continue reading
  • Me and my He - July 2005, 5.30ish, the end of a crappy day at work. I feel like punching the first person who smiles at me. I had planned to go home and sink my sorrow in cool, bubbly Radox, when my mate sends … Continue reading
  • Meeting my soulmate - I was unceremoniously dumped by a boyfriend I was meant to go to Glastonbury with. So I went with a friend and his wider circle of friends who I’d never met. We all got on pretty well and when a … Continue reading
  • Story about storytelling - I’m an avid listener of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. I was listening to an item about the SerenA project the day before I was due to meet the other Knowledge Innovation facilitators to discuss the forthcoming calendar of … Continue reading
  • Meeting my hero Harryhausen - As a child I loved the magical films that used 3-D animation technology, such as ‘The thief of Bagdad’, ‘The Golden Voyage of Sinbad’ and ‘Jason and the Argonauts’, and the name Ray Harryhausen became familiar to me as the … Continue reading
  • From ocean to plate - I was planning to open a new restaurant soon and went with my daughter to the beach near where I live to look for stones that I could use to serve the butter on. Whilst choosing the stones with my … Continue reading
  • Lost and found - I went away for the weekend and did lots of shopping! On the Saturday, my partner and I went to an outlet store and spent ages in this particular shop. We left the shop satisfied with our purchases and got … Continue reading
  • Are you the girl on the poster? - I was on my way to a conference in Australia and I decided to stop for a day in Dubai, and when I got to Dubai, I’d already booked a hotel, and it was one of these airport hotels, it … Continue reading
  • My question came up! - I was revising for an exam on Global Security Challenges, which included wide-ranging topics from terrorism to politics. I asked my lecturer what to revise for and she told me ‘read what you’re interested in, and I’m sure you going … Continue reading
  • Lost a phone, gained some knowledge - I was on a 3 month visit to a West African country to critically evaluate efforts by the government and international organisations were making to help redevelop the country’s education system. One day, I was walking home and someone grabbed … Continue reading
  • Sustainable music - I had been asked to write an essay on the broad topic of ‘sustainability’ in Urban Design. I remembered back to when I had seen a Canadian musician perform his work at a Thessaloniki documentary festival just over two years … Continue reading
  • Beijing bookshop - I was working on the design of a bookshop that I wanted to be unique. I went to the library and looked for general examples of buildings in some architecture magazines in order to get some inspiration for my design. … Continue reading
  • Online girlfriend - When I started uni, I joined a website called Univillage (which is no longer live). This site allowed students to communicate with other students form their university. At the time, I made a pledge to myself to not go for … Continue reading
  • Bar work - I was introduced to a friend-of-a-friend in a bar once and I hit it off straight away with this girl. She mentioned that she didn’t enjoy her current job and I told her that the company I worked for at … Continue reading
  • Embassy employment - I was waiting in a queue at the Russian Embassy in London, as I was waiting to get a visa and I struck up a conversation with a man who worked in advertising. I discussed lots of advertising topics with … Continue reading
  • Inkredible analogy - I was doing a project on redefining the ecosystem and didn’t have any idea about how I could do it. After one of my lectures, some of my classmates mentioned that a certain art supplies shop had a sale on … Continue reading
  • Fish formations - I was particularly interested in formations in schools of fish and how they change formation together in response to changes in their environment. I visited the Science Museum one day and noticed an exhibit which showed cross-sections of stones with … Continue reading
  • Sombre Scrubs, amazing artist - I was watching a particularly emotional episode of the usually upbeat US comedy ‘Scrubs,’ where a sombre song was played at the end of the episode after one of the character’s friends died. I was impressed by the episode and … Continue reading
  • Twinterview - I was following a journalism lab on Twitter as I was particularly interested in the work carried out there. I regularly micro-blog on Twitter about comic books in the digital age and, one day, a member of the journalism lab … Continue reading
  • Fat fingers - I could not remember the web address of the ‘Digital Learning Network for Museums, Libraries and Archives’ website, so I began to type the name of the network into Google in order to find the site. I typed in ‘Digital … Continue reading
  • Bee building - I was working on the design of a façade for an energy-saving university building and had a number of design requirements (such as the need to incorporate a courtyard to act as a meeting place and natural ventilation) and constraints … Continue reading
  • Thesis for my thesis - I was in the process of writing up my Masters thesis on digital music encoding methods and cultural practice. The deadline was approaching and I was struggling to find a good ‘angle’ for my thesis work. While looking for information … Continue reading
  • Water power - I was working on two projects simultaneously, the first early designs for a Camera Obscura with specialist engineered lens system. The other, an interactive alphabetic prototype designed to investigate the impact of the digital fusion of image and sound. I … Continue reading
  • Bangladesh buddy - I needed to buy a bus ticket to get from Kuhlna – a fairly small town, back to the capital, Dhaka, to take my flight home. I didn’t want to miss my flight, so buying a ticket in advance was … Continue reading

What is serendipity?

Serendipity is an important influence on the direction our lives take, but we don’t often think about it. It can be regarded as a ‘happy accident’ that results in something valuable. Based on our research, we describe it as an experience that involves a mix of unexpected circumstances, insight on the part of the person experiencing it (think of it as an ‘aha’ moment) and a valuable outcome. Consider stumbling upon the perfect accessory to complement an outfit you’d already bought for an upcoming wedding whilst shopping for something else entirely or, on your daily commute, bumping into an ex-colleague who tells you about a job that he thinks is right up your alley – leading to an important change in your career path. serendipity

Serendipity involves a mix of unexpectedness, insight and value

Here are 2 example videos of serendipity (‘serendipity stories’) from interviews conducted by Dr. Stephann Makri from University College London Interaction Centre. Watch more on our YouTube channel – serendipiTV


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