I have several stories that I could share about this particular guy but this one is definitely the best.
After more than a handful of some pretty terrific dates with Sam (name changed so he won’t be forever mocked) we decided to drive out to Napa and spend an entire day wine tasting and enjoying the scenery. Before we arrived that day I had arranged a surprise for Sam and I. So I drove us to an area just outside the wine country and parked a bit far away from where we needed to be. We walked out into an open field….where a hot air balloon was waiting. Now I thought this would be a cool surprise and something I knew neither of us had ever done before.
As we walked toward the balloon, Sam grabbed my hand and stopped me. He told me he really appreciated the thought but he would not be going in the balloon. I laughed and casually joked that he was scared of it. Little did I know how true that was.
I introduced myself to the guy who would be with us operating the balloon. Sam stood there shaking his head. “Nope, I won’t do it. I. Am. Not. Going.”
I kept trying to understand why he was so set on ruining my surprise and not participating. It’s a damn balloon! Really, what was the problem?!
And as I began to get frustrated, this happened:
Sam cried. And I’m not talking about a few glistening tears. He full on lost it. The balloon operator and I were both looking at each other like “you got anything? Nope, me either.”
Half an hour later Sam had calmed down but was insisting that I go on the hot air balloon ride…alone. Normally I would have just walked away from the experience but somehow in that moment I figured I needed to do it. So I climbed into the basket and took to the sky. As we rose higher in the air, I saw my date standing, alone, in an open field getting smaller and smaller….. until finally he was out of sight. I was baffled by the whole thing but decided to take advantage of my time to look out and enjoy the beauty surrounding me. My sense of adventure and spontaneity were reclaimed that day but unfortunately for my date he wasn’t willing to adventure with me.
I can look back at this experience and honestly be grateful for it. I realize now that I can travel the world, make some pretty amazing memories and discoveries in other cultures as well as places just a short drive from my home and I can do this all on my own…which I have enjoyed doing for several years now. But I’m currently at a place in life that I desire to adventure alongside someone else. Someone who is not afraid of new experiences, willing to take risks and overcome anxiety. I’ll jump off a cliff, a bridge, or out of a plane all on my own no problem. But how much better would it be to have someone else there beside me?
(**note: In NO way am I intending to shame this man. My frustration and sadness that day was truly not about his fear of heights or being in the balloon. It was about him not willing to speak honestly. Sam was not willing to say anything other than “no” to the trip and yet this was someone who talked often about being fearless, adventurous and loves a good challenge. I didn’t see that that day. I value honesty from people. Period.)