I want to tell you a quick story – not just about saying YES but the importance in continuing to say it. This story goes way back to August 2016 when Riselle of The Traveling Island Girl, who I knew only from Women Who Live on Rocks and social media, was visiting Santo Domingo. She reached out and asked if I’d be interested in meeting up with a fellow island gal. I said yes.
I brought a friend, she brought a friend but we were all new friends meeting one another. We scheduled lunch on the water and when she asked if we wanted to go back to her rooftop in the Colonial Zone for bubbly rosé – uhhhmmm… of course I said yes. And as two bloggers do, we took pictures to post to our social media accounts.
It's an interesting kind of world we're living in these days where oceans and borders aren't as permanent as they used to be. I met Riselle through the Internet, both writers for the wildly funny Women Who Live on Rocks. She's a writer with her own blog @thetravelingislandgirl and we've been social media buds for some time now. Since she happened to be visiting my little rock we got together. She brought her friend of many years and I brought a new friend, a fab chick who just moved here 2 weeks ago. We were girls who didn't know each other meeting up for lunch and ends up staying for lunch and drinks and rooftop champagne. 🤗🍾 life doesn't get any better. @womanonarock . . . . #drinkingthewholebottle #lifeuncorkeddaily #jlegsindr #expat #expatblog #dominicanrepublic #colonialzone #newfriends #galpals #womenwhowrite #blogueras #afternoondrinking #daydrinkin #choosehappy #livethelittlethings #prettylittlethings #thehappynow #theeverydayproject #nothingisordinary #flashesofdelight #lifecantwait #collectingmemories
Chrissann, our fearless leader at WWLOR, saw our pictures which jolted her to take action on a long-time dream of hers: the very 1st Women Who Live On Rocks Island Writers’ Retreat.
“Would you be interested in helping plan a ROCKtreat?” She emailed. Again, I said yes. Actually, probably more like “f*ck yes.”
In all fairness, at the time, I didn’t know we were leaving our rock after this year. Mexico was nowhere on the radar. Our island writers’ retreat was an easy yes. But as time passed and the realization that we would be leaving our island become apparent, continuing to say yes was hard…er. Our life this year has been confusing to say the least. Husband left me and the kids behind in NJ for winter break thinking we’d go to Boston for a job fair. We’ve sold off our stuff. We are saying goodbye to the place we’ve called home and started our family. Emotional confusion of excitement and abysmal sadness cloud most my days. And always on the shore of my mind this year was this retreat I had agreed to with total enthusiasm from June 1-5 — except now we were moving out of a country on June 10. What?!
At moments, I was 15% sure I would actually go. At times, I was 100% sure I would back out.
Yet… I kept saying yes.
I brought my uncertainty to Husband, “We don’t have to leave right away. We can leave later than usual,” he suggested. That was really helpful but I still didn’t know if I should leave my kids during our last 2 weeks of such a big move. Husband, while thoughtful, isn’t quite sentimental and I imagined him selling off all our things and camping in our empty living room with the kids. Essentially, scarring them for life.
I wasn’t saying yes. But I wasn’t saying no either.
And the reasons to say no kept mounting. We have to pack a whole home. We need all the money we could use for our move and to settle into our next home. And then I broke my foot. 😳 If ever I could get out of this, it would be now. I had more excuses than I knew what to do with and no one would have blamed me for cancelling. In fact, they would have understood – without hesitation – if I backed out. So…
I paid for my flight and I sent my cut of the villa. I said yes with action. There was no longer an option to say no. There was only yes. And I felt really good about that decision… for the second time.
Yesterday, our retreat was finally announced on social media. I have an amazing work trip coming up with talented, smart, fun women. We have sponsored events planned and workshops in place. And now, that I’ve blasted through the fear cloud, I realize not just the importance of saying yes but to continue doing so even in the face of non-life threatening fear. As a favorite author Elizabeth Gilbert said, “Invite fear to come along. Fear can be in the car but it’s gonna be in the back seat. It’s not gonna drive or choose the snack or hold the map or touch the radio.”
I allowed fear to be present through this, but in the end, I asked it to get in the back and let me drive.
Follow our island retreat adventure…
You could follow our hashtag #ROCKtreatPR on Instagram. You can also check out the attendee’s Facebook pages listed below for more pics and more fun:
( Yours truly) Jennifer Legra, Dominican Republic: DrinkingTheWholeBottle
Riselle Celestina, St. Maarten: The Traveling Island Girl Blog
Jennifer Morrow, Puerto Rico: Jen There Done That
Claudia Hanna, Cyprus: Live Like a Goddess
Mariah Moyle, The Bahamas: Out Island Life
Brittany Meyers, Tortola, BVI: Windtraveler
Liz Wegerer, Bonaire: Island Girl Writing
Sherri DeWolf, Key West: Deeply Creative
Lizzy Yana, St. Thomas, VI: Island Lizzy