“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page.”
“You’re not terrified?!?!” is the reaction I would often get when I told people I was moving to the Dominican Republic, solo, for an extended period of time. I would get an even more surprised expression when I would calmly answer no. You’d think considering I’m a young, single girl, whom is an unexperienced world traveler I would be scared out of my mind.
But I honestly couldn’t tell you up until now why I was so unfazed by it all.
My first flight of the trip I was seated next to a woman older than me. I’m sure both of us expected the hour flight to be silent with no words exchanged between the two of us. This, mainly because of not only the huge disconnect among generations nowadays but also because starting conversations with complete strangers for pure enjoyment is ultimately taboo. But next thing we knew the the plane was landing after what had only felt like a five minute flight. And not only had I gained a new Facebook friend (Hi Peggy!), but a quality conversation I would’ve never had if I didn’t break societal norms and chat it up with a stranger.
That’s when it dawned on me. The reason I wasn’t nervous about stepping out of my comfort zone and throwing myself into this adventure was because of my ability to connect with those around me. If I would’ve been too afraid to talk to strangers I would’ve waited over an hour in the line for customs at the Santo Domingo airport only to get to the front with no papers, tourist visa or any clue what I was doing. But because I asked for help I was able to skip the chaos and confusion I would’ve experienced and it even got me to the front of the line for customs thanks to the nice man that sold me my tourist visa.
My first night in the Dominican was spent at a hostel in Santo Domingo. The concept of sharing a room with 2-12 strangers depending, can be very off putting for most people. Especially for my parents whom were already sketched out enough having their daughter blindly move to another country. It is second nature for us, mainly in America, to believe everyone is out to get you. Although, I believe it is crucial to be relatively cautious and aware of your surroundings I feel we do ourselves a great injustice by essentially living in our comfortable little corner. In my one night at the Island Life Backpacker hostel I connected with more people than I have on a day to day basis in Charleston. People that were so welcoming, kind (I mean my roommate even offered to lend me her only towel when she realized I didn’t have one) and interesting. People from Germany, England, Austria, Canada, all forming their own community and exploring a new culture together. There’s honestly no better way to travel. If you ever find yourself in Santo Domingo and need a place to stay I highly recommend the Island Life Backpacker Hostel; good people, dogs, wifi, affordable as hell and overall has a really good vibe.
Side note: When I am at the Tree House Village Lodge wifi will be hard to come by. I am going to journal all my entries and prepare my photo/video beforehand & once I’m able to connect to wifi I will post everything. So be prepared for multiple posts to drop at once!