Trusting the Island Vibes

Written by: Janis

 

By the time I finally made my official move to Antigua back in October of last year, I felt confident that I was ready for it. I had spent the past 3 1/2 years getting to know the island and the people (both locals and expats), so yeah – I was ready. Damn, was I ready.

Three weeks as a rock resident, and I was just taking it all in, getting into my groove with work, and settling into my hobbit home on the hill. A friend of mine suggested going out to English Harbour on the other side of the island to meet up with friends for a lazy afternoon by the sea and dinner out afterwards. It sounded like a great idea to me. After all my moving efforts, I was ready for some relaxation and chill time.

I made the drive out by myself, as I was going over a bit later than my friend. The drive across the island is one that I love, no matter how many times I make it. It’s a truly magical journey through the lush rainforest – just breathtaking.

*click for image credit

 

We had an afternoon of fun and girly chatting; the others were all drinking, while I stayed on the soft stuff, being the lightweight that I am. One of the conversations of the day was about being independent women on the island, the communities we live in, etc. As a result, we ended up discussing the drive home to the other side of the island – the side two of us (my friend and I) live on. The talk took a serious turn as the others warned us that if we’re ever staying out late at night, we should not take the rainforest route home but should instead take the other way back (the way that I find to be much longer, and that actually feels less safe to me when driving late at night or in the early morning). We defended our preferred drive, standing our ground in our belief that it’s silly to worry and how unlikely it is that anything bad would ever happen. The naysayers cited the chances of flat tires, the lack of cellular signal, and all the other fears that, if you believed them all, you would never go anywhere or do a damn thing. I was even offered a bed to sleep over in should I want to skip the late night drive altogether.

Eventually, the mood lightened back up, and we wandered off to a nice restaurant overlooking the harbour and then to a local bar to play – of all things – Wii bowling. Don’t ever say we island girls don’t know how to party! The others were well on their way to being quite pissed by then, while I remained in my typical sober state. Just take a look at the photo below of me dancing on the tables without the aid of alcohol… maybe that is why I don’t drink: Can you imagine what I would be like if I did?

Janis dancing_WWLOR

At about 1:45am, I decided to call it a night. I said my goodbyes and headed off, feeling safe in my little bubble. I did the first part of the journey through the villages, then turned off onto Fig Tree Drive (the rainforest route) without any worries. The first couple of miles went by with ease and then… I’m sure you can guess what happened next:

I got a flat.

Can you even believe this shit? What are the odds?!

Feeling slightly panicked, I drove as far as I could until I was riding on the metal. And then there I was: stuck in the pitch black rainforest, no street lights, no houses nearby, all alone in the middle of nowhere at 2am.

I pondered my options for a bit, then finally worked up the courage to get out the car and take a look in the trunk for reinforcements. Sure enough, there was everything in there to change a flat – except a JACK. WTF.

I got back in the car and had several conversations with myself: Well, even if there was a jack, do you really think you’re going to be changing the tire here, on your own, with no lights? Are you just going to sit tight in the car, hoping and praying no one comes past? Are you going to get out and walk? Where would you even walk to?

Then, in the rearview mirror, I spotted lights headed my way. The approaching car came to a stop a fair way back. Shit, I thought. This is it. What are you going to do now?

I made a choice and got out the car, raising my hands in the air as a peace offering as if to say, “It’s just me, nothing to worry about, no one else here but Little Old Me.” I don’t remember deciding much other than to walk towards the car. I do remember anxious thoughts flashing through my mind, one after another in quick succession: This is a game changer now. You might be attacked, robbed, raped, murdered – the whole lot. And then, as reassurance, Shut the fuck up, Janis. It will be cool.

As I got to the car, the driver’s window slowly rolled down. I peered inside and said, “You have no idea how vulnerable I feel right now.” (Subtext: Please don’t hurt me.)

The driver beamed a great big smile at me, said his name was Hector, and let me know that he is a police and fire officer. Whatever my problem was, he was here to help. Check that smiley face out – talk about disarming!

hector_WWLOR

Relief washed over me, and I launched into a happy dance in the middle of the road while Hector looked at me like I was definitely a crazy lady. He got out, came over to my car, and chatted with me like an absolute gentleman while he changed my tire.

Though I don’t believe in the white-bearded creator version of God, I do believe in my own version of a higher power – whatever you want to call it. That night, God sent me a beautiful human being, an angel in the form of Hector to look out for me and to prove the naysayers wrong. I was safe here – even with a flat, I would be okay. Hector even made sure I made it all the way home.

That night/morning, I learned that I can trust my instincts, that I can trust that there are awesome people about this island, that I should always check and know where the jack is, and maybe – just maybe – if I am ever offered a bed to sleep in on late nights out, perhaps I should just accept it.

I trust that whatever I put out into the world will come back to me, yet I also have to remind myself that I am in a different space now and should maybe be a little more cautious than when I am in the Shires of the UK (although, shit certainly happens there too).

It is ultimately all about the journey and the learning that comes with it, isn’t it? On this new island life adventure, I plan on continuing to trust in myself, always staying open to trusting others, and sending that vibe out into the universe. Thus far, it has served me well.

*click for image credit

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Janis Hough

About Janis Hough

Janis first arrived on her rock as a visitor back in 2012, finally taking up residence this past October 2014. She’s a hobbit from the Shires in Herefordshire UK, and often wonders if it was the call of getting her hobbit feet out of shoes and socks to be the “Barefoot Coach” that made her move to her rock inevitable. Currently living in a hobbit hole high above a small village, she enjoys views out across the ocean to Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis on clear days. Janis spends her days and nights being a “Head Mechanic“ (www.janishough.com), helping people live better, happier lives. She loves living a simpler life; as long as she can start the day with fresh coffee, she’s good to go. Being a non-drinker (she just can’t handle it) means she is often found ferrying her imbibing friends around the island, yet wonders if drinking would actually make island living easier. She has as much love for animals as she does for human beings, house-sitting and pet-sitting to get her animal fix, and tries her best to not get into fights with people who don’t view animals with the same love as she does. One of her must frequently used words is FUCK, as it covers such a multitude of meanings and emotions and after all, it is but a word.

CURRENT ROCK OF RESIDENCE: Antigua

ISLAND GIRL SINCE: October 2014

ORIGINALLY HAILS FROM: Hereford, UK

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13 thoughts on “Trusting the Island Vibes

  1. Loved your story! Could totally relate as pretty much the same thing happened to a friend of mine, and myself, who had just moved to Antigua from the U.K., and I was visiting her over the weekend from St. Kitts. We were silly, had way too much to drink, something we never would have done at “home”, but we were “livin’ on de edge”. (I’m Canadian). Luckily, the gent that came upon us, middle of the night, middle of nowhere, was her landlord’s son, and got us home. Never did that again!!! Keep the stories coming !!! Still bloody cold and more snow on the way here in Ontario, Canada!

    • I am sure there are lots more of us women on rocks with similar stories…
      I am missing Spring in the UK, a little bit not enough to go back just yet….! A visit in June when its a little warmer will do nicely.

  2. Great story! I agree that what you put out in the universe will come back. Positivity and good vibes. Thank you for sharing 😉

  3. The very same thing happened to me. I got my vw stuck in the sand. A huge black guy in a huge truck stopped got out of the car, walked toward a very nervous girl from Kansas City, smiled and literally lifted my car out of the sand. I love st croix, been here two years- never plan on leaving.

  4. That’s the thing, if you are adventurous enough to move to a whole new life on a island in the Caribbean, then something like driving at night on a road that you drive on daily, seems like nothing. Especially if you are used to driving thru snowstorms and winter conditions.
    There are bad people out there, but there are also very good people.

    My island story of using my ‘intuition’ involves meeting my SIL ‘s (sister in law) Best Friend (who conveniently lived across the street). I am someone who gets along with everyone, but that women gave me some bad vibes. I was polite whenever I saw her, but there was something about her that I couldn’t put my finger on, I really didn’t like her.
    Well, a year later we all found out why. My BIL (brother in law) and this “Best Friend” of SIL, had been having an affair!
    Always trust your gut!

  5. I remember when Natalie Holloway went missing from Aruba. All of our friends could believe we would travel to Aruba or any island in the Caribbean. I asked them if they would go off with a guy that they had just met in a bar, after drinking in Dallas? The answer was no. So why do it in a foreign place. My point is stay safe, trust your gut, and travel in pairs if you can. The islands that we have visited, which is most of them, have the most wonderful people we have ever met. We have picked up hitchhikers several times. We love the islands and your stories. Hope we will be an island family some time soon!!

    • Ha I don’t watch telly here, don’t have one….Watch some bits and pieces on iPad and that is it….would rather watch the life on the rock…

    • Gut is where it is at….
      I instill in my clients that every time they over ride those feelings with thinking they fuck up….
      Our second brain, our gut will always be true….

  6. Omg! A woman who lives on “my” rock?! I’m so excited, I feel a little starstuck reading your story here. Especially since I’ve made the long drive from English harbour late night many times and had to decide whether to go through the rainforest or through “town”. For all the horror stories I’ve heard, I’ve never once had a bad experience here. If I ever see you out and about (sober) table dancing, I have to buy you a Ting 🙂

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