What would happen in your life if you said yes to every single invitation you received? Ha! You could expect loads of awkward moments, because you really don’t know this person that just invited you for dinner. You could expect a plethora of moments of being out of your comfort zone, because what will you talk about? What are they going to serve? It’s too much of the unknown! On the other hand, who will you meet? What will you talk about? What will you learn? What food will you try? With the right perspective, saying yes is heaps of adventure!
Read the book The Yes Man recently? The author shared his journey of challenging himself to say yes to every invitation he received and the amazing and crazy adventures that came along with this challenge. Our lives have strangely paralleled the pages in this book over the last three weeks. Doors opened and opened and nuventures were had!
These three weeks were committed to house sitting and caring for the pug, Master Zeus, and Madam Kitty in Hamilton, New Zealand while their owners were away on holiday. We got this opportunity through trusthousesitters.com. Check it out! However, every travel book and website we visited didn’t have much to say about Hamilton. That didn’t extinguish our excitement. We were eager to have a home to stay in, animals to care for, and we dreamed of having normalcy over the holidays.
The only souls we knew in Hamilton were Iris and Mike, the family we were sitting for, and they were leaving the coup for three weeks while we were filling in. Now, what do we do in a town for three weeks without knowing anyone?
So, we did what we know how to do. We got out there and started doing! Farmers market? Yes! Let’s go. Free bikes for hire? Yes! Let’s go! Along the way, we learned to say yes to every opportunity that came across our path. Our only commitments for three weeks were feeding Master Zeus and Madam Kitty, so I’d say we had plenty of free time.
Walk through the park? Yes, of course! While walking, we saw a group of folks in uniforms tossing a rugby ball around. Alright! We were pumped to watch our first live rugby game. So, we asked what time it started, which led to asking if they needed subs. We thought we would be watching, but instead got to play in our first touch rugby match! Heck no, we had never played before and were getting a crash course while we played. We were being yelled to and instructed constantly from left and right with corrections by our teammates and even the referee who now knew us by name. “No, Adam, roll it between the legs.” “Linds, get back. More, more. There. Good!” Oh, the challenges and humility that comes with learning a new sport. By saying yes to touch rugby, though, we met Taila who invited us to Christmas lunch with her family on the beach! What an experience!
Church? Yes! Let’s go! Chapel Hill Church was just a short walk away from the house. We expected to head out right after the service, because there was a lunch honoring everyone for volunteering all year. Well, this was our first service and we definitely hadn’t volunteered. Christine and Gavyn’s little girl was playing peek- a- boo with us all service long, so they struck up a conversation with their daughter’s new friends and invited us to the church luncheon. Well, “Yes! Why not?” We had nothing to do that afternoon. One yes led to meeting tons of families and getting invited to go blueberry picking, having dinner with families, game nights, pool parties, and sharing New Years with new friends! Just to clear the record, we helped clean the dishes to fulfill our volunteer duties for the year.
Volunteer? Yes! Let’s do it! We sent out emails to different conservation groups. These emails led us to receive invitations to the beach? Yes! To the gully? Yes! To kayak? Yes! To build a canoe? Yes, yes, yes!
Lastly, our old Burly Bernie needed a maintenance check up. With Adam’s southern charm he talked the mechanic, Solomon, into having Adam as his apprentice for three days to get a discount on our maintenance work. That yes led Solomon treating the Yankees to an adventure of deep sea fishing off Raglan! You bet I made a delicious ceviche with the blue shark we caught!
Oh, and while we are at it, Adam had an interview to be a model in Hamilton. His modeling career almost took off, however, our traveling lifestyle wasn't what the company was looking for. Saying yes also brings random, hilarious and unexpected opportunities, too!
We recently watched a TED Talk featuring Rick Steve and the value of traveling. Watch it! He was brilliant when he essentially said that travel experiences without meeting new people are flat. People connecting with people is the mark of a good trip. He completely summed up Hamilton for us. The people that invited us to be a part of their lives transformed our three weeks and enriched our lives. We were meeting fantastic people with new ideas, new strengths, new skills and new ways of doing things. We learned so much by people just opening up and sharing time with us. What’s crazy is we began seeing people around town! We actually had friends in Hamilton that knew us by name and we felt a part of the community.
The wise Peter and Christine, who invited us over for dinner, gave us a quote we will always remember. “God’s love takes us on journeys we do not wish to go, makes us travel by roads we do not wish to use, to take us to places we never wish to leave” by Thomas Cranmer. Before arriving in Hamilton, no one would have directed us or suggested us to go there. By the end of our three weeks, we had lists of people to say farewell to and it was a sad afternoon when leaving. The generosity, hospitality and friendliness of our new friends have changed us as individuals and who we want to be.
Have you said yes recently? You are now officially challenged to have your own nuventures by just saying yes!