I'm writing this from my candlelit porch on the coast of Belize as the sun sets behind the remnant clouds of a passing storm.
What I'm NOT doing is heading out to dinner with two make travelers I happened to meet en route to this peninsula paradise... And it is the reason why I'm not that has me writing on vacation.
I'll elaborate: I'm single. 29. And on a sincere mission to embrace life, find trust in the Universe, and really get to know myself (having spent the last, oh... 15 years in back to back relationships.) It's this mission of mine that has brought me here: to a new (to me) foreign country on my first ever solo vacation in celebration of my upcoming 30th birthday. Huzzah! Adventure on!
But I find myself now asking the question... "Where's the line between embracing life and trusting the Universe, and being just plain naive and stupid?"
I met these two nice guys (older than me... 35 and 70 respectively) while waiting for my final commuter plane to take me from Belize City to the Placencia Peninsula... A 30 minute plane ride that now came with a 2 hour layover as my arriving plane came in late and I missed my original flight.
Having nothing else to do but wait, I headed to the small airport' seven teensier 4-stool bar. Here's where I met the guys. They were headed out on my same plane to do a week of underwater dive/fish photography.
They bought me beers, shared insight on the best places to check out on my trip, and we're generally easy going and friendly.
After we landed in Placencia and before heading out to our respective hotels, they invited me to take them out on dinner and a trip on the boat before I leave town and we exchanged emails.
This morning I received an email asking me to join them for dinner tonight and a sail the following day, and I accepted saying we could touchbase later in the day.
Here's where my newly acquired "Neurotic Single Girl Brain" (NSGB) kicked in.
NSGB: "Dinner with new friends and an invite to sail on a private boat - sounds amazing! But wait... WHY do these men want my company?"
Bigger, unfortunate, question: "Will I be safe with these men?"
50% of me has been raring to go all day... "New friends, embrace adventure, the Universe has your back!" and all that. But as the time rolled around for them to pick me up at my hotel... The other 50% (the NSGB) got louder. It asked...
NSGB: "Are you just doing this to prove to yourself that you're adventurous? Are you comfortable being alone in a foreign country, with no cellphone reception, with two grown men that are twice your size and that you barely know?"
And the looming question, "how do you know you can trust their motives?"
NSGB: "Is it really worth the potential risk?"
Finally, the voice of my twin brother incredulously exclaiming "Idiot!" (As he's known to do whenever I've, well... been an idiot) won out and I bailed at the last minute.
Now, the intention of this post isn't about the fact that I may or may not have missed out on a night of innocent fun (oh - and I turned down the boating alone with them, too, FYI), and perhaps it's fueled by having watched one too many Law and Order: SVU episodes... But that experiences like tonight are leading me to an awakening of sorts. The real takeaway the experience had left me with is... When do we know it's safe to jump on opportunities, have faith, and go with it? And when does "going with it" just lead to dumb, ill-advised actions?
The harsh reality is that in today's world women are constantly out in positions that ask them to evaluate their safety/risk.
Sometimes saying "no" is clearly the right call, and sometimes it proves to be overly cautious and we find ourselves missing out on the fun... Which sucks. I'll be honest.
The great big question I'm starting to realize as I out myself out there more and more is, "What if this person, situation, etc... Isn't as friendly, innocent, trustworthy as I'm seeing it."
"What if I'm taken advantage of." And that can go many ways.
How do we balance not being held back in our lives, in our adventurous pursuits alongside the risk of the "what ifs"?
I definitely don't have the answer. I'm only now confronting the questions as I start to put myself out there and show up in my life in larger ways.
But it's a conversation I desperately want to be a part of.