I recently returned from my 7th visit to Anguilla and, I have to say, it wasn’t the best trip I’ve been on to my favorite little island. Don’t get me wrong, it was filled with some fantastic experiences that I plan to share in upcoming posts, but it was also marred by a sad incident that still kind of has me reeling.
Throughout my travels and in all that I’ve seen, heard, and read about other peoples’ travels, I’ve come across countless stories about how people have gotten into trouble while away from home with things like tourist scams, business deals gone wrong, romantic relationships that were not what they seemed, being victims of crime, and other general misadventures. I’ve heard so many variations of so many bad stories.
So I should have known better.
I’m afraid that I must disappoint you here by saying that I’m not going to go into detail about exactly what happened, but telling my sad little story isn’t the point of this post. All I’ll say is that someone I’ve known for years told me that something during my visit was going to go a certain way, and when the time came, the situation instead went in the complete opposite direction without explanation.
I want to stress that bad things can happen to anyone, anywhere. I’m not at all saying that this happened because I was in Anguilla or that bad behavior is characteristic of people that live there. No. What happened to me on this trip could just as easily have happened at home or at any other travel destination. In fact, if you’ve read almost any of my previous posts, you’ll see that I’m the first one to mention how kind and good-hearted Anguillians are and that I’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with them as a whole.
But you see, that was exactly my problem…
I’m in love with Anguilla. SO in love that I unwisely tend to let my guard down more there than I would anywhere else. I do have a few amazing Anguillian friends who have hearts of gold and who would never take advantage of anyone. So, when I’m surrounded by them in a place that makes my heart happy, it’s easy to believe everyone there is good and that nothing bad can happen in my wonderful little paradise.
So I trusted someone that I probably shouldn’t have trusted, and I paid for it. The worst part is that I don’t have the slightest idea why this situation went so wrong. I could probably spend months going through all the different possibilities in my head.
Maybe it was something I did wrong. Maybe the problem is with the other person/people involved. Maybe something beyond anyone’s control came up and turned everything upside down. Maybe it was all one great big misunderstanding that will all be resolved at some point in the future. Or, maybe this outcome has always been “the plan” and I’ve been deceived for years. Ugh. I really hate to believe the worst about people, but I suppose there is a chance that that’s the case. At any rate, it makes no sense for me to continue to torture myself with all of the maybes and what-ifs because it’s entirely likely that I will never know the truth.
One bright spot in this “learning experience” for me were the people who came out of the woodwork, after the fact, to comfort me, talk with me and show me the way to a better place. I didn’t even know that some of these people were aware of the situation, but I shouldn’t be surprised because, on an island, your business is everyone’s business. It’s just good to know that I have friends there who are on my side.
I consider myself to be lucky because I’m not physically hurt and I didn’t lose anything that can’t be replaced. My ego is probably the most damaged by this experience, but I’ve learned a valuable lesson too, and that’s worth something.
I know I’m not the first person to have had this kind of bad experience and, unfortunately, I probably won’t be the last.
So, let this serve as a warning to any of you out there, who find themselves in a similar state of euphoria over a place like I do with Anguilla. Feel free to enjoy what makes you happy, but always remember to use your common sense and keep your eyes open. If you do that, you should be fine.
I still love Anguilla despite this one bad experience, and I definitely won’t let it stop me from returning many times in the future. No place is perfect, and traveling is about learning new things, good and bad. Fortunately, the good has far outweighed the bad for me in Anguilla and I have my fingers crossed that it will continue to be that way in all of my future visits. Here’s hoping.