The past two weeks will definitely go down in my book as one of those “what even is my life right now” moments. I came into this adventure thinking I had a pretty good grasp as to how things were going to play out. But looking back at that statement now I realize how dumb I sound considering I was going on an ADVENTURE to a FOREIGN country, which pretty much screams expect the unexpected. Considering that, I shouldn’t have been as surprised when my first task upon my arrival to the Dominican Tree House Village was to follow a 19 year old local, Bebo, on a 15 minute trek through the jungle to his village in order to retrieve food for the first night. Many of you may be wondering why this journey with Bebo is such an iconic moment in my life. And maybe you’ll gain a better understanding when I inform you that he nor anyone I encountered in his village spoke english. Although my three semesters of Spanish in high school should have been some aid to this situation, the only thing I could manage to say was “Me nombre es Rachel” and that can only get you so far in a conversation. Take a second to picture this, me, blonde hair and a pair of vans looking as white as can be sitting across from an older dominican woman in some sort restaurant made out of cinderblocks and dirt. As we sat there all we could do was smile and laugh because we established neither of us could communicate due to the obvious language barrier. But as I was sitting there silent for what felt like almost two hours it all finally hit me, hard. I was completely out of my element. Like almost anyone would, I started feeling a bit scared and as if maybe I was a little in over my head. I then had to talk myself out of this negative mindset and reassure myself that some of the greatest things in life come from putting yourself in uncomfortable situations.
I am so thankful I didn’t let that initial fear deter me from sticking out this adventure because in just these past few weeks i’ve experienced more firsts than I would’ve imagined possible in so little time.
- waking up in a treehouse every morning
- riding a motorcycle through rivers and into town to catch up on wifi
- drinking out of pineapples and coconuts on the regular
- riding a bike to the beach everyday for lunch
- ATV rides to one of the top 10 beaches in the world
- swimming through one of the sets Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed at
- horseback riding to waterfalls
- dodging tarantulas on the way to do laundry
- experienced a hurricane while (attempting) to sleep in a treehouse
I honestly never thought this would be my life. I’ve only been here a short amount of time and I’ve already formed a community of people I see as family now. Whether it be the guests, other volunteers or the staff, they have all made the jungle feel like home.
I’ve already received quite a bit of comments and messages on my photos/posts of my journey thus far saying how jealous they are of me. And honestly, I REALLY want to discourage anyone from feeling that way. Simply because, i’m out here doing things that almost ANYONE can do if they really wanted it bad enough. I strive to inspire you guys through my website/social media by showing you anything is possible if you get comfortable being uncomfortable and push limits. There are so many connections to make with people you would’ve never run into if you neglected yourself the world of travel. But most of all the self discovery, growth and love that comes along with conquering adventures solo is incomparable.