About five years ago, when I was 16, I got the opportunity to stay at a family friend’s time share in Hawaii. We arrived on the beautiful grounds, which were covered in thick greens; sunlight hitting the dew added a sparkle. It was magical. Throughout the week, I had some of the most amazing experiences of my life. I saw real lava rocks, I swam with Manta Rays, went kayaking in a hotel’s own lagoon, and captured views in my memory that will never go away.
Those memories include being scarred for life.
Our friend’s condo was right on a golf course. It was the most natural-looking synthetic area of land I had ever seen. All the plants seemed wild, yet it was tended to almost every morning during our stay. And I suppose where the wild plants are, the wild animals roam. There were goats.
I'm a huge animal lover, so I was ecstatic to be near them in their natural habitat. However, they liked to keep a little distance from people.
One night, there was a particularly beautiful sunset, so my sister, our friend, and I decided to head out onto this golf course to take pictures. Instagram was starting to become big, so basically, we felt like if we didn’t Instagram it, it didn’t happen. Our plan was to take silhouette pictures against the sunset, but my sister suddenly decided to become one with nature by getting as close as possible to a herd of 50 goats. Her determination for a good Instagram photo must have clouded her fear because my sister is terrified of about every single animal, so I was impressed she was willing to get so close. We went snorkeling the day before and she screamed bloody murder when she saw a small sea turtle.
It all happened in slow motion. She had her phone out, laughing and smiling. She decided to take another step forward — a step that would determine the most frightening moments of my young life.
The goats charged.
I heard my sister scream and take off in the other direction. Following her lead, I ran away screaming for help. A goat never looked so terrifying to me in my life. They were each about the size of a labrador retriever and most likely stronger.
I turned behind me to see if I was outrunning the goats, but more importantly if I was outrunning my sister. Someone once told me that the key to being chased by an animal is not to be faster than the animal, but faster than the other people you're with.
I sure as hell was not.
The goats were right on my ankles. If I had stumbled for a single second, I would have been done. I’m not actually sure what a goat attack is like, but at the time, of course my mind jumped to something drastic like a bear attack. At the moment, they looked like the spawn of Satan. I could have sworn they had red eyes and steam coming out of their ears.
With all of the adrenaline kicking in, there was more than enough energy to scream. I don’t know what I was expecting out of yelling — best case scenario, I wanted a local animal expert to show up out of nowhere and save me.
Yet, the worst possible scenario happened, at least for an easily embarrassed teenager.
As we were screaming, people walked outside onto their balconies and started recording the chase. I wish they would have emailed me a link so I could have put it in my college recruitment video; it was the fastest I have ever and will ever run in my life.
(I'm sure it's on YouTube somewhere. If anyone finds this video, please let me know.)
It seems that once the goats realized we were easy targets, they gave up. The herd walked away so unaffectedly that I felt embarrassed — by cool goats. But even though they stopped running, I did not. I ran straight into that condo and locked the door behind me. Goats can climb up stairs, but they didn’t. They must have decided we weren’t terribly threatening. They gave up.
I, on the other hand, ran for my life.
Perhaps, in a story like this, you’d expect the protagonist to have learned a lesson. Maybe you figured I would conclude this with a paragraph about the moral of the story — something to the tune of “Don’t get too close to wild animals” or “You should run more often.”
I am 100 percent positive I would do it again out of pure, stupid curiosity.