How does one know if he/she will like something absent trying it, at least once? This isn’t limited to trying new and/or unfamiliar foods, however, that is certainly one area in which people with varying personality types differ greatly. Some people are risk adverse, while others are open to taking risks, to some degree or another. In my line of work as a trial consultant, I know there are numerous activities (based on cases on which I have consulted) that are not for me. These include taking a cruise, parasailing, jet skiing, SCUBA diving, sky diving, and almost anything that pertains to firearms. No thanks. There are other activities that are equally dangerous, I suppose, but the ones I mentioned are “turn offs” for me for reasons I am not able to disclose without my clients’ permission. On the other hand, I am willing to engage in other activities in which many people, who are more risk averse than I, would be unwilling to participate. These include riding in a hot air balloon, being pulled in the snow by horses or sled dogs, riding motorcycles and snow mobiles, walking alone in Central Park, eating exotic food in strange places, such as Morocco, and more. I have traveled by myself, with David, with my late mother, with small groups of co-workers or friends, and twice, with a large group of family members. I am just as comfortable flying on an airplane, renting a car, staying in a hotel, and walking around an unfamiliar city alone as I am with other people. In fact, there have been numerous occasions when I would prefer to travel alone than with the people I got “stuck with” in a faraway location! Some people are skittish about doing things, such as driving a couple of hours in their car to visit a friend. These people would rather stay home, in their comfort cocoon, than drive to an unfamiliar city. They will never know the freedom that results from driving alone, with no “backseat driver,” listening to their favorite music blaring loudly on their vehicle’s sound system, perhaps even singing alone and off key, to a place where they have never been. David and I had a particularly awful and memorable trip to Key West many years ago with someone who was/is quite a rube and who became upset by a sushi menu, to the point of storming out of the restaurant in search of a fast food burger. Oh my! My motto is, with the exceptions noted above, try it-once. One never knows whether it will be a one time experience or the beginning of a new life adventure.
Perhaps it is because Melissa and I share the “try it” attitude that we are generally compatible. I am more adventurous than she is in some ways – I like SCUBA diving for example, though I haven’t been underwater like that in some time. For me, the mold was broken when I accepted the opportunity to attend graduate school in Australia. From then on, everything I knew involved trying new things. Some things were more new than others. For example, flying wasn’t new, but flying alone half way across the world where I knew no one was. Ordering a hamburger wasn’t new, but ordering it in a “milk bar” was – it came with a slice of beet root and an egg!!! (I skipped the beet.) But, I had so many opportunities to try new foods, from so many parts of the world and sometimes from countries I’d never heard of, Sri Lanka, for example, and that was new to me. I think that largely because of those travels and travails, my willingness to try things once is pretty strong. If it involves heights, maybe not – although I had a great hot air balloon experience and I’ve flown in helicopters with the door removed for photographic reasons. No bungee jumping or parachuting for me either though. A jet boat on a shallow river in New Zealand – yeah, sign me up, again. White water rafting, I’d probably do it again. It has been fascinating to Melissa and me to be with others who are so narrowly experienced that venturing out of a comfort zone is a no go. We definitely end up more compatible with those who are open to trying new things that we suggest, or, who suggest new things to us. It is not like being “dared” to try something, just given the opportunity to do so. Melissa does have limits though; chicken feet and witchetty grubs have been non starters for her. Sushi was an acquired taste for me, thanks to the encouragement of one particular friend, and it was for Melissa. Trying it doesn’t mean you are expected to like it, or love it. Being open to new experiences or tastes makes life all the more enjoyable.