Had you asked me what I hoped to gain when I first registered for this Habitat for Humanity trip, I would have told you the truth: to build a home for a family in need and, effectively, leave more than just my footprints (and tourist dollars) in Indonesia. I wouldn’t have revealed, however, a very slight ulterior motive: maybe, just maybe, there would be a nice guy or two on the trip, too.
I know, I know; meeting men shouldn’t have factored into my decision to volunteer overseas at all. But hey, I’m currently single—can you really blame me? Besides, a guy who selflessly donates his time in order to help others (not to mention, loves to travel and is handy with a hammer) is the guy for me. So off I went to Bali, secretly hoping the experience would spark some sort of romantic connection.
It wasn’t meant to be.
Of the 13 volunteers who signed up for this Bali build, 12 are women. The lone male in the pack is Tom—a salt-and-pepper-haired retiree in his 60s. When I made this discovery several weeks before the trip, I’ll admit it; I did feel some disappointment. But with my deposit paid and our departure looming, there wasn’t much I could do but resolve to make the best of it.
Meeting my mostly female team members was. . .bittersweet. But rather than dwell on the fact that I wasn’t likely to meet the love of my life this time around, I tried to concentrate on the real purpose of my journey—a goal I felt certain I’d be able to accomplish whether or not there were any eligible males involved. I was also keenly aware of the fact that I wouldn’t be able to meet the more important of my two initial objectives (to build a house from scratch) without the help of these women, so it was best to put any grudges I held aside.
As the days wear on and our group gets closer, I’m discovering that I wasn’t alone. While a few of the girls have boyfriends back home, a majority of us are unattached; we were all expecting, to some degree, more male representation. According to Dana, our steadfast (and single) team leader, it may have something to do with the location of this particular build—after the runaway success of Eat Pray Love, ladies around the world have been flocking to Bali to find love à la Elizabeth Gilbert.
In any case, I am—we are—doing what we came here to do, testosterone or not. And while the relationships I am forming with these women may not be the one I was secretly hoping for, they are valuable connections that surely will last a lifetime.Add this article to your reading list