As I mentioned in my Monday post my friend and I were off on an adventure. Today, wisdom from a small part of our day…
While we were on our adventure we met an older couple from North America (I’ll call them the Nickersons for ease of identification). They are traveling their way around Central America finding snorkeling spots as they go.
We chatted with Señora Nickerson extensively during the day while Señor Nickerson snorkeled. At lunch they both asked us questions about ourselves and for recommendations of places we thought they should see during their remaining four days in Panama City. In turn we found out that they have been married for many years, spend almost every moment together and couldn’t imagine being apart, even for a day. They thought it was strange that we were both married but were without our spouses on our adventure.
After lunch, an employee in charge of the area we were visiting asked my friend if we would be interested in escorting the Nickersons to another beach via kayak so they could snorkel. In return our kayak would be gratis. As we had planned on taking a kayak out anyway, my friend readily agreed and we stored our bags and commenced our trip.
Our first clue that were going to have issues should have been when mi amiga and I had already paddled out a ways and the Nickersons were still close to shore. We figured that they were a generation removed from us and a little slower. We stopped and waited for them. Once they reached us at the point we realized that they were in big trouble, zig-zagging, going in circles and wasting energy for the most part. After some conversation on the water and talking them through the next leg, we pulled up on the beach directly beside the one we had launched from to come up with a solution. We discovered that they had never kayaked before but thought it looked easy so they wanted to give it a go. The solution we came up with was to tie the two kayaks together so my friend and I could do the heavy paddling and guiding and not give up on the adventure.
This is what I reflected on afterwards and my wisdom for today:
1/ No act of kindness goes unrewarded. Sometimes the reward is the good feeling you get inside from helping someone. Sometimes the reward is returned in kind. In our case our new friends bought us dinner and a drink when we returned to the city although we insisted it was unnecessary;
2/ Being part of a team and working together is a great problem solving tool. My friend and I worked very efficiently in our kayak. The Nickersons, despite insisting earlier what a great team they were, instead, were quickly humbled and acceded to our ability when we suggested becoming part of a big team instead of two separate ones;
3/ The last time SU and I rented kayaks he insisted on separate boats. At the time I was puzzled but once I got out there on my own I didn’t want to go back in. I understand now that it was to teach me to trust my own skills and capabilities;
4/ I expressed my appreciation to SU for the time he took to teach me a few basic knots. No matter how small a skill it is, it sure came in handy. I was able to tie a bow knot quickly and efficiently once I managed to untie the knots in the rope on the kayaks. That knot didn’t budge during the trip. I’m wondering if the staff were able to untie it;
5/ One should never be afraid to try something new but; when it comes to traveling out on open water it’s best to go in a group with people more experienced. If the Nickersons had been out on the water on their own they might have drifted to Colombia by now. At the very least someone would have been sent out to rescue them;
6/ I’m thankful and delighted at how strong we are. Despite paddling two boats with four people our arms were not sore the following day. My only injury was a bruise on my butt. I got it from landing on a rock when my friend tipped me into the water getting into the kayak after we tied the boats together. The next time I got in last, lesson learned. I’m also glad that I had my phone in a dry bag because I went right under; and
7/ I’m proud of how we showed the Nickersons that my friend and I are capable women able to problem solve on our own. This is because of the things we’ve learned individually and with our spouses. Once we returned to the main beach Señor Nickerson insisted on a high-five. Throughout the rest of our day together he continued to comment about how proficient we were at evaluating the situation and coming up with a solution;
8/ Finally, when I talked to SU about the day and told him the story I said I wished that he had been there. This wasn’t because I felt incapable of handling the situation or because he would have done it differently. It was because I do love sharing adventures with him. I also recognize that we don’t have to be in each others pockets all the time and I willingly go on my own or with my friends. I hope that the Nickersons understand that what works for one relationship is not necessary for everyone.
I welcome comments about any accomplishment or a difficult situation that you’ve had either in a team or on your own. Let’s start a conversation because I’m still not…in the campo (but SU and Dos Gatos are).