I leave for Jamaica tomorrow morning. Negril. And of course they issue a travel advisory this week in response to violent attacks on the government. Perfect. As it turns out, the chaos is taking place on the other side of the country, so I’m crossing my fingers and praying I’ll be fine. In truth, I’m not that concerned for my own well being (those in Kingston, however, are in my prayers). For me, I’m more concerned about donning a bathing suit following a World Beer Expo (Talk about beer bloat!) and getting in the water as a not-so-competent swimmer. (Why did I not pay more attention in swim class when I was younger? …Come to think of it, I do recall my swim instructor as being my first crush in life. Typical).
It’s been a long journey to get me here – and I mean that in the general sense that I’ve agreed to go to Jamaica with someone I’ve only known for a few months as his date for the wedding of people I’ve never met (adventure?), not in the literal I’m-sitting-on-a-chair-in-the-kitchen sort of way. Fear is a poor excuse to shy away from opportunities; I’m coming to learn that more and more. Still, my initial reaction is typically that of caution rather than adventure. I’m “not adventurous enough.” Hmph, I’ll admit, having heard that, I went through a period of time where I believed I wasn’t adventuresome at all. A bore. It took a lot of conversations with people who know me pointing out the things I’ve done in my life to be able to contradict that statement.
And we all define adventure in different ways. Even Merriam-Webster’s dictionary does:
1 a : an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks b : the encountering of risks <the spirit of adventure>
2 : an exciting or remarkable experience <an adventure in exotic dining>
I suppose it could be good or bad that I was told I wasn’t adventurous. It made me sadly aware that the type of risks I was taking (like packing up and moving 2.5 hours away from my social network to pursue a career opportunity – a huge risk, especially after seeing how the opportunity I had previously taken in my “home” city had drastically altered the dynamics of my friendships) were unappreciated. Ouch. On the other hand, it gave me the gumption to seek out more adventure in my life. To say “yes” to more opportunities and leave fear behind (Okay, okay – or let it accompany me throughout the experience so long as it doesn’t intrude, haha). In truth, I suppose, the biggest blow came not from the statement itself but the tone of voice with which it was delivered. As though I was lacking. As if some great flaw had been exposed. As if I was holding others back.
It’s interesting what a profound effect words can have on a person. And that’s why I’m drawn to them. They have, as I’ve said before, the ability to bolster someone up or completely derail them.
So I’m going to Jamaica tomorrow. Embracing the unknown. Getting myself into some adventure. Proving to myself that other people do not have the right to define me. And having fun being me 🙂