To travel is to be constantly surprised.

My wife and I are traveling from Bangkok down to the Gulf of Thailand in search of a tropical beach. As the light fades, we decide to stop in a little town along the way. According to the guide books, Phetchaburi means “city of diamonds,” but don’t let that title fool you. Phetchaburi is monkey town.

As we’re walking to our hotel, we notice a monkey up high on a telephone line.

“Hey look hon! A monkey!”

“Cool. Oh, and look over there on that building. Another one!”

And so it went. Monkeys everywhere! In a vacant lot. On top of cars. Hanging from lamp posts.

In the hallway outside of our hotel room a sign warns us, “Do not open your windows. Monkeys will steal your stuff!” Message received.

The simian nature of Phetchaburi is surprising enough, but just as surprising is the town’s amazing night market. Lit up from end to end, this market is perhaps the best in Thailand. Clothing, spices, fresh food sizzling in woks – it’s a feast for all the senses, and totally unexpectd.

As it turns out, in the end, the beach was nothing special. But Phetchaburi – the town along the way –was full of surprises, which is how it always works. To quote the great John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans”.

When was the last time you were really surprised? What would your life look like if you ditched more of your plans and looked for surprise in the everyday?