Generally speaking, I’m a positive and optimistic person. I trust the process of life, and I have an easy time going with the flow. Usually. I wake up and set intentions daily for how my experiences will go, and I am a conscious and deliberate choice maker. Life has a way of throwing curve balls however.
My time in Zanzibar did not unfold the way I thought it would and the experience was quite a challenge for me. It’s the first time I have travelled since being fully awake and conscious, and due to a number of influencing factors, I compromised my values of intentional and deliberate living to go with the flow and accept what life wanted to show me from my time there. Language barrier, cultural differences, and doing what I thought was best to not respond to the environment like a spoiled, entitled ‘western’ brat because it was a temporary situation for me, but that is the local’s lives permanently. These are just a few aspects that influenced how things played out.
What life showed me is the importance of being resolute and beyond disciplined when it comes to intentional living, because if we let outside circumstances and new environments influence us away from ourselves, we are going against our truth.
The following words are clearly negative, and it’s a rare occurrence that I am negative, but I don’t want to claim to be perfect, or be inauthentic with you. I managed to master my daily living in a space that is my own, over long periods of time, but when in a new environment, with different cultural conditioning I see I have a long way to go. I am choosing to be gentle with myself in my disappointment, and see that travelling consciously is a whole different ballgame to ‘unconscious travel’, and I see an opportunity for conscious travel to become a new form of meditation for me.
In short: my vibration slipped as I let go of living intentionally and stopped being a conscious choice maker.
So what happened? How did it end up that I cut my month-long trip to Zanzibar in half, and at the time of writing this, am spending a night in an all-female dorm of the Lost & Found Hostel in Stonetown, ahead of my trip back to South Africa tomorrow.
I literally can’t wait to leave this island, while just two weeks ago I was so excited to embark on my first trip out of my homeland in eight years! I also thought I was really well prepared, mentally and vibrationally, to pull in the best experiences on my trip. I guess the word ‘naive’ can be applied here.
Before leaving Cape Town, I anticipated the local cuisine would not be much aligned with my usual disciplined and healthier alternatives I substitute in each meal, so I prepared for that too by taking my Nutribullet with. “Why not be ultra prepared?” I asked myself. That way I can buy fresh fruit at the markets and make smoothies all day and I can do a bit of a juice fast and detox while I’m in the searing hot equatorial temperatures. My system certainly would not be keen on any rices and curries in such heat. I had an international adapter… surely everything would fall into place. It wasn’t the hardest thing to accomplish.
Well, ‘expectation vs reality’ really screwed me over time and time again on this trip, and as a conscious and aware human, I checked myself several times with the knowledge that Zanzibar is a third world country. “I’ve lived in Thailand for two years before… I’ve got this,” I told myself.
I anticipated a language barrier. I anticipated a poverty-ridden community. I anticipated that it would be different.
I now lay here asking myself, as I try to come to terms with how I’m feeling as I prepare to leave this place: “What was I expecting that I ended up so disappointed?”
Well, for one, I expected that I would have access to at least a plate and a knife to cut the fruit I bought from the local market. Surely cutting food and serving it on some sort of stable platform to eat from is a thing in Zanzibar too? Apparently not. I carted a watermelon with me around the entire island and didn’t have access to a knife and plate without having to pay extortionate amounts of money to use them. I could afford to pay the price, but I didn’t purely because the amount they were asking for was too much for what it was. To the best of my assessment, the locals see ‘Westerners’ and see dollar signs. My sensitive Rand had strong resistance to what they were asking for.
I expected that I would be able to make my way from my room to the beach without being hassled by 10 different locals approaching me from all directions to hustle money out of me, on any given day, at any given place. Not so. The moment you step foot out of your accommodation, you have a handful of local traders coming at you, and regardless of whether you saw them five minutes ago, or five hours before, still “Taxi”, “Prison Island Tour”, “Spice Tour”, “Coconut”, “Zanzibar Paintings” and a host of other things being pushed toward you surrounds and continues relentlessly and repeatedly whether you answer or not. Another 10 steps down your path and you have five new peddlers coming at you with their tricks and trade.
I expected to not be sexually harassed by my Airbnb host after saying “No” five times when he offered me a massage. I expected him not to have an erection when I finally summoned the lioness within to get him away from me and out of my room before locking myself away for the night. Seriously. I don’t know how this happened. I did all the necessary checks before I booked. I had met the host in person, who I was introduced to by another female in the all-female dorm with me the week before. The guy had organised us really good transport rates around the island and he mentioned he had a double room on Air bnb that I could stay at for a couple of nights. I asked the girl who connected us if I would be safe at his space. She assured me I would. I also ensured I booked through Airbnb because he would know I would need to leave a review after my stay.
He offered me a massage and I told him directly: “I want to go to a place where a woman will massage me”. He said “but that will cost you $50, just let me massage you. “I will just wait until I’m back in South Africa then,” I said. He replied with “I am trying to be a friend to you and offer you a massage, why are you being like this?” My answer was a complete lie, and one I normally protest against because I am not any man’s property. What I choose to do with my body is my choice, but in this case, he wasn’t taking no for an answer and so I thought he would respect “I have a boyfriend and he won’t be happy with another man touching me.” That didn’t work either. “So don’t tell him what you are doing.” he said. More directly, I said “I am not comfortable to do this.”
How did I say no to him that directly that often, and he still managed to get me to implode on my values? How?? In hindsight, I see how my mind was processing all the risks. If I were to get sharp and salty with him, there’s not telling what he would have done. If I were to leave his apartment, I had no idea where I was or where I would go, and I couldn’t handle all my luggage in one load with my bare hands. There was meant to be internet, and at this point, there was no internet even for me to ask for help from the girl I met the week before. In that moment, the safest option was to let him do the massage but be very clear about my boundaries.
What followed next set alarm bells ringing in my being left, right, and center. He wanted me to lay on my bed and he would massage me there. “I give many customers massage, just relax and stop being so stressed.” I admit overriding my intuition with the projected sense of paranoia he was shoving down my throat. Then he requested I take my bikini top off so he could massage my back better. I said NO. He tried to massage my legs and thighs, and I said “NO. Only my back and shoulders.” He asked me to turn over so he could massage my neck and shoulders from that angle. He then tried to massage my chest and tummy. I said NO. As I lay there with this man touching me and not taking no for an answer, my entire body was triggered and intensely contracted. He kept telling me to relax and “let the negative energy leave me”. The irony of it all is that he was right. I was in a completely negative space inside myself by that point and really did need to let the negative energy leave me, but under my own terms with someone I felt comfortable to have the experience with.
I was severely uncomfortable with this man touching me, and I decided enough was enough. I stood up and commanded “ENOUGH! I want to rest now.” As he got up, I noticed the erection in his pants which triggered me even more. He was turned on while I was laying there completely uncomfortable and terrified of what was going on. He listened, thankfully, and I closed the door to my room and locked it and had a meltdown.
What sent my mind spinning was how this male managed to get ME of all people, to implode on my ‘NO’ when I’ve done so much work to ensure I’m not doing anything I don’t want to be doing because self love, self care and self respect. I felt my power shrank and it was not a good feeling. I was pretty hard on myself until I understood that ‘shrinking my power’ in a Muslim country was probably the smartest thing to do until I left the country and could then report the host to Airbnb and leave a review warning other women that the host doesn’t take no for an answer.
At home, I have no remorse roaring in a man’s face if I see anything shady coming my way. You’d be surprised how well roaring at full ferocity works to get the bad vibes away. It makes them think you’re crazy. There’s no telling what else a roaring woman is capable of! Who does that?
Anyway, back to Zanzibar: I expected that I would be able to go outside for a smoke in Zanzibar without constantly having someone asking me if I want drugs and when I ask them to leave me alone because I’ve already politely declined three times and still, they carry on, I got yelled at and told I’m shit and that I’m a foreigner and I must leave.
When I left Cape Town my energy was high and strong. Zanzibar managed to knock me down in just a week and a half, and now this is the experiences I’m manifesting?
I expected that my vibration was high enough for me not to attract these situations into my reality!
Was it a direct reflection of me, or did I cross the dimensional threshold back into the dense 3D Matrix? I definitely have a sense that I’ve been living in a higher frequency reality for the past two years, at least. Everything has been going really well and I’ve been ascending in my frequency range at a steady upward pace.
I did encounter other women in the all-female dorm who had the same experiences as me (bar the molestation from an airbnb host). I remember on the first day I arrived, I was feeling strong and I’d met a European woman who said she was meant to stay in Zanzibar longer, but the locals made the experience unpleasant and so she was leaving early.
Is this what Zanzibar is? For all the beauty that’s portrayed in the media, and how ‘friendly’ you read the locals are… nobody has actually been calling a spade a spade with this place. Oh… and when I told my friends at home who had been here before about my experiences with the locals, they said they felt the same discomfort and resentment for not feeling safe to explore the island without getting harrassed by locals on the hustle.
I get they are an impoverished country, and they have every right to make money to feed themselves and put a roof over their head, but their hustle has a strong and super distorted shadow. And me, in response to this shadow: I felt so angry and disappointed that what I was hoping would be a time for me to de-armour and let my guard down has turned out to be two weeks of constant shielding and hiding away. Coming from South Africa, where we need to be street wise and wear our fierceness like it’s our favourite t-shirt everyday, I did not anticipate that I would feel a sense of urgency to leave this popular island just to feel safe and relaxed. I feel like I need a holiday to recover from my holiday!
Positive traits of the island: Zanzibar’s natural beauty is outstanding, and the food is spectacular. Although I will need to detox after all the chipate, rice and potato in the food!
If there’s anything I take home with me in my first-hand experience of Zanzibar, is that I have a renewed appreciation for my life in Cape Town! Even if our ocean water is ice cold! At least we can stand and check the beach out for a minute without someone trying to push overpriced trinkets on us.
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May 9, 2019 at 9:22 am
I want to tell you, I do not believe that you had reduced/lower vibration at all!
I believe we can attract all manner of things at all vibrations; good, bad, and ugly.
The difference is how we react to them.
You had to navigate through significant challenges (ambiguity, guilt, fear). You had the strength/awareness to acknowledge it was not serving your higher self and to leave early (as disappointing as it was.)
Please know that you should not blame yourself.
Sometimes being at a higher vibe triggers people who try to bring you down by inflicting pain on you.
You DID protect yourself!
You did your research! You know that so why are you at fault?
Even if you didn’t, self blame becomes self destructive.
That man should feel disgusted at himself. He should be begging YOU for forgiveness and searching HIS soul. He needs to answer for HIS LACK of boundaries.
Sadly he likely won’t.
When others don’t hold themselves accountable, we may start internalizing blame upon ourselves to cope. We try to take on accountability for their actions to feel in control again. But it’s not healthy for you and it triggered deep seated fears about self-protection and your abilities.
Vibration does not always protect you from external pains. Higher vibrations help you heal and grow from external pain.
You did NOTHING wrong.
Protect your vibration from his influence at once! Allow yourself to let go of accountability that is HIS.
You’ve received an invitation from your higher self to increase your vibrational energy; to learn to protect yourself from self-blame when you make mistakes or when life gets out of control.
Ultimately, you left with the courage to speak for others who’d never have known otherwise. And to STILL speak of the good along with the bad! That’s beautiful!
I believe that shows how compassionate, thoughtful, and kind you are.
-Celebrating your wonderful vibration from Canada.
The Vibe and Shine
May 9, 2019 at 10:26 am
Thank you for taking the time and energy to respond so thoughtfully to my words and experience. I appreciate it, and the words you offer as advice. You are right… circumstances unfold that trigger the shadow emotions on any vibration level. People die and chapters close. The detachment process for our emotional body can be painful. I was hard on myself for overriding what my intuition was telling me before I even booked the accommodation. It screamed at me so loudly, but I told myself if I did all the checks before and took the sensible route, it would be ok. I am happy that through the experience, and taking the action to honour myself by reporting the incident to airbnb and warning other women, that perhaps someone who may be more damaged by an experience like that, would be diverted to a safer space to stay. I remind myself that there are no mistakes and that everything that happens has to happen, and nothing happens until it's supposed to. And I may not always be aware of what life needs me to experience, whether it's for my own good, or the good of others in some indirect way I'll never know about.