Last night some random stranger invited my niece Amy and I on an evening boat ride around the Ventura, California Harbor.
Sure, complete stranger on a dark and secluded dock, I’ll get in your boat and float away to who knows where…that seems smart.
And so I climbed aboard. (Hey, he was wealthy, attractive and a girl has got to keep her options open.)
It was near dark and we’d snuck down a private boat ramp to snap some pictures of sea lions and pelicans. The fellow overheard our conversation about wanting pictures of sea lions and he struck up a conversation. After chatting for a bit, he offered to take us out in his boat to view sea lions further up the harbor. I eye-balled the fancy sailboat he’d been working on, but it turned out he meant the 8 foot rubber raft tied off to the side. Oh well. A boat’s a boat.
We stepped into the tiny raft as the sun set across the ocean. Pelicans dived and circled us. Sea lions larger than the raft on which we sat, surfaced just feet away, swimming beneath us, teasing in the dark with whiskered faces. We toured the entire harbor up close, learned local secrets about the area, and made friends with a nice fellow named Chris. All because we climbed in that boat.
We could have fled the situation. We could have stayed on the dock and watched the wildlife from afar. That would have been wise. That would have been safe.
But some of the best memories of my life are near-death experiences. Getting stranded on a boat in the middle of a dangerous, glacier-fed lake and paddling to shore with half an oar. Breaking down at 53 below zero near the border of Alaska and the Yukon. That time I crashed the after-party with psychic John Edwards. My first marriage. Grizzly bear encounters, bush planes with sleeping pilots, crazed moose and raising 8 kids. All awesome experiences from which I’ve survived to tell the story.
Maybe I’m too trusting. Perhaps it wasn’t the wisest move to climb aboard. But I don’t want to live in a world where nobody can be trusted. I get to decide how I view the world. I get to choose if I live.
Moral of the story? Don’t worry so much about the risks in life…that you miss the boat.