Today’s blog post is focused on an amazing trip I had the privilege of taking about two weeks ago to the Dominican Republic. The best part was to see one of my best friends, Kristie who teaches in Santiago. I would have to label the overall trip as a nonstop adventure. We traveled across this beautiful island and were surrounded by a totally different environment, culture, and of course a totally different language. We enjoyed the ocean, went white water rafting, rode horses to waterfalls, stayed in hostels, rode on the back of a moto (motorcycle with driver), always took public transportation, jumped and slide down 27 waterfalls, and the list goes on and on.
Normally I can visually share my travels, but with the daily activities of the trip and restrictions of Camera vs. Ocean+Sand, I wasn’t able to bring my camera to many locations so I will try to do my best by writing a little about it. I would best describe it as beauty with a bit of a rough coating, like candy. The island itself is a tropical paradise, beautiful beaches, jungles, mountains, waterfalls, and rivers while also offering cities and communities that have been shaped by the local people.
With different cultures comes different lifestyles and the Dominican was a very social one at that. Littering was a normal occurrence as clearly seen by all the garbage in the streets, and where traffic laws were not really relevant or just extremely different. People spend their time visiting outside with others and are all interested in everyone else passing by as if always looking for anyone else they might know. Cars are packed with people while drivers weave in and out of tight crevices in between vehicles, and where we might say two lanes are for two cars they see it as a challenge to fit as many motos and vehicles as possible into that same space. And throughout this hectic driving adventure, drivers still somehow find their friends in all the craziness and pull up to chat. And yet… it works for them, it’s a flow that they have created and become accustomed to.
Though some may be terrified or excited by such an environment, you learn to adjust even after a week. After being picked up from the Minneapolis airport (while being overly tired), I was confused why the car wasn’t weaving, speeding, and why there wasn’t a horn going off all the time. Driving of course was not the only difference but it played a major role in the way that we say saw the island and the communities we passed. Even just for a visit, it was a week of learning to incorporate yourself into this same flow and do it effectively with a language barrier which was a pretty exciting challenge.
It was a phenomenal experience and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Ya a resort would have felt amazing but for me personally, there would always be those experiences and a culture that would be waiting for me beyond that beach chair. I feel beyond blessed and thankful to have had such an awesome opportunity not only for the trip itself, but to share all the experiences with my best friends. There was always the fear that when college would end so would our adventures, well I have to say it was pretty exciting proving that wrong.
Below is just a glimpse into the trip captured by phone, film, and digital camera. I brought along two of those epic old school underwater disposable cameras (man that was a mouthful), and even though the film is of course grainy and dark, I still love it because it shares some of the locations phones and cameras couldn’t reach. Also included are some pictures from my camera in Santo Domingo.
I hope you all enjoyed this blog post as much as I enjoyed writing it, and if you ever run into me (not physically that would hurt), ask me about some of the stories I have from the República Dominicana because there are a lot more where that came from, and I would be more than excited to share.