When I was younger and barely in my teen years, I never thought too much about travel. It was something that intrigued me, but nothing more. Thinking back, it could be because I didn’t really know what was out there, I didn’t know of all the possibilities. Not only did I not focus on the different places on this earth, but maybe I didn’t fully understand the differences between the places on earth. The different cultures, food, people and landscapes.
When I was fifteen I went on my first family trip to Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic. I was excited, I had never been on a plane before, let alone left the country. I wasn’t too sure what to expect because like I said, travel was more of a foreign concept to me. Travel costs money and it was something I didn’t think I’d experience until I was older and had a full-time job. I was grateful that I was getting a chance to go.
It takes one experience to change your life. Just one. And this is exactly what happened to me on this trip. I was blown away, and not only because of the beauty of the country but because of the people. There was a moment when we were going through the town that something really hit me. We don’t fully appreciate what we have back at home. We think we do, but we don’t. Not in the way that we should. I saw people living in tiny houses, and by tiny I mean tiny, with children playing outside with anything they could find, but the difference? They were happy, they were thankful. They were waving, they were laughing, and they were appreciative of what they had even though what they had was not a lot or expensive. They had each other and that alone is happiness and in the grand scheme of things that’s better then what materialistic things could offer us. That really opened my eyes.
Who are we to be mad about our phones breaking, or that we don’t have the latest technology? Why can’t we appreciate the little things in life? We need to take each day as it is and make the most of it, just like the families I saw in the Dominican.
The people of the Dominican really made my trip. The culture was inspiring, and the food had me drooling. Not to mention, the beaches were as every bit beautiful as you could imagine. By by the time I had to leave, I was crying because I wanted to experience more.
After I got home, my heart ached for more moments like I had there. More opportunities.
It was during that trip that I caught the travel bug, and I’ve had it ever since. It’s contagious. It’s expensive, but it’s worth it.
After that trip I made a promise to myself that I’d see as many places as I could. I had that itch to taste new food and meet new people.
Fun fact: I even made it a goal to try gravy in every place that I go to. I know it’s weird, but I LOVE my gravy.
Travel is many things. It could be going to a resort and sitting on a beach chair holding a mojito, which sounds like a very pleasant thought. It could be backpacking across Europe or Asia, or it could be going for a road trip within your own country. Heck, it can even be exploring your own city. No matter what travel is to you, it’s up to us to experience it to its fullest. Really experience it. If you go to a resort, try stepping out of your comfort zone (as long as it’s safe). Take a trip into town or take a moped into the unknown where you may find off the beaten path adventures. Instead of staying at a hotel, stay at an Airbnb. Live like the locals. You might only get to experience the country your visiting once, so make the most of it.
In the end, travel is travel. It all depends on how you want to experience it. Do you want to relax on a beach every day, or do you want to get out there and soak up everything that the country has to offer? It’s your choice.
How did you get into travel? I would love to hear your story!