The tiny, rustic airport, the warm waters and the stingrays under the dock immediately let me know that this week in Belize was going to be special.
This was the week on The Bachelor where a journey that seemed to have lasted forever suddenly felt like it was almost over. And I couldn't be happier with the six women that I was lucky enough to have here with me.
My first date of the week was with Lindzi, and it felt like it had been a year since we danced in San Francisco's City Hall. That date was such a great introduction to what life with me would be like in my hometown, but I was looking forward to doing something really different and exciting with her.
Our last date took us through the hills of SF with an open-door trolley, but this time we were going to explore all of Belize in an open-door helicopter. Lindzi, like almost every rational person I know, is as afraid of heights as I am, so I knew this date was going to be something equal parts terrifying and memorable.
I didn't want to spoil the surprise for Lindzi, so I waited until we were hovering over the Blue Hole before telling her that we were going to be jumping out of the helicopter and directly into the water. I remember having a hard time even getting the words out. "We're going to jump out of this helicopter!" is just not anything I ever thought I would say. But here we were, standing on the struts and ready to jump.
We agreed to jump on the count of three, but I guess Lindzi got a little anxious because as soon as we got to about two and a half, she leapt and took me with her. It was definitely dangerous, but if you're going to have to go out, this is one definitely memorable way.
When we hit the water, I was so relieved to still be alive, and even happier to have made this memory with Lindzi.
A Real Turning PointDinner on the dock with Lindzi was a real turning point. I had never questioned for a moment that Lindzi and I could have fun, but there was always a part of me that wondered if we could really connect on a deeper level. As we talked that night about her family and opened up about our feelings, it was the way she looked into my eyes that told me all I needed to know. Sometimes just the way someone looks at you can let you know that they have let you in.
Writing our fairytale together was also something I'll always remember. I've thought about it a lot since then and one thing I learned on this journey is that sometimes in life, you can't wait for a fairytale to happen to you. You have to write your own.
My next date with Emily was exactly the kind of date I was waiting for in Belize. We walked around Caye Caulker and really got a taste of the local flair. Emily is definitely the perfect girl to have this kind of date with. She's smart, adventurous and open to anything. In life I've always wanted someone to explore the world with and Emily is that kind of woman.
We had a few ups and downs in this journey, so I was really looking forward to our dinner, where I hoped that both of us could get past the mild hurdles we had faced so far.
At dinner, Emily really did put a lot of my fears to rest. I was so happy that we were finally able to focus on our relationship. It's tough that the two of us lost so much time talking about other things, but I do understand how difficult this kind of situation can be for the women.
These decisions are getting tougher and tougher, and each moment with the women means so much. With Emily, I feel like I explored Belize and we were only halfway through the week.
A Sense of HopeI was really excited to go on my date with Courtney and experience some of the history of Belize. As we walked through the tall trees (which reminded me of our date in Sonoma) I felt at home, both in Belize and with Courtney.
Unfortunately, with her problems back at the house with the other girls, we had a very different conversation than what I was expecting. I was startled to hear that Courtney had been through so much and to think that she had taken such steps back, emotionally. I wanted to let her know how I felt and that nothing had changed for me and that I had held on to every moment.
Thankfully, our conversation brought us right back to where we wanted to be, and as we climbed the steps to the top of the ruins, I felt a new sense of hope.
Standing atop the ruins was one of my biggest moments of clarity so far in this journey. Here I was, standing amongst the clouds with an amazing woman. I'd never felt so close to my father and to my happiness.
To share this moment with Courtney was really exciting, and I knew if we moved forward that we would always be able to share this moment.
That evening, however, things again got a little strange. It's a tough thing, I understand, for the women to find that fine line between getting along with the other women and realizing that it's hard to be friends with people who are dating the people you are dating. I've been there, and it's tough.
I know it's been hard for Courtney, and to be honest, I'm not sure this was the best environment for her. But, just as I tell the women to take our relationships individually, I try to do the same. My feelings for Courtney are strong and I don't want to let external forces get in the way.
Francisco Roman / ABC
In LoveAh, the group date. Nothing is more fun than raiding the women's house with a flashlight and telling them that they have a few minutes to wake up. When I saw them together shaving their legs and armpits I completely cracked up. As a guy, you sometimes forget that it takes women a few extra minutes to ... ummm ... get their things in order.
And the payoff for smooth legs? A beautiful Belizean morning spent shark diving! This was an incredible date in two ways. On the one hand, the ladies and I all got to experience some unique moments together. I discovered that Rachel was the most terrified, so I tried to spend some extra time with her.
But more than anything, it was Kacie who really came out of her shell on this date. When she told me that she was in love with me, it really hit home. The feelings I was having were real, too, and it was coming time for me to make some really difficult decisions.
As the rose ceremony approached, I had a lot going through my head. All the women told me about their reservations regarding Courtney, and I really had to think about what I was missing, or if this was all just part of the nature of the women living together. It's amazing to see how deeply the women felt about their dislike for Courtney, and it's equally amazing not to see any of that coming through in her actions with me.
It was a lot to consider, but my conversation with Courtney at the rose ceremony reaffirmed that I have to take these relationships individually and focus on the way she is when she's with me. I see what some of the women were talking about, but I still feel great about Courtney because when I'm with her, I feel really connected to her.
In the end, my feelings for Kacie, Nicki, Lindzi and Courtney were the strongest. More than anything, I was completely thrilled that they wanted to take me home to meet their families. Family is everything to me, and it's a very important part of this journey.
Till next week,
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