Dominican Republic

Without hesitation, I will admit that I grew up in a middle class family that was fortunate enough to go on all-inclusive resort vacations.  I will also admit that being a part of these excursions was hard for me to grapple with, especially after living in developing countries and seeing some of the world’s worst poverty.  One important thing I’ve learned in my travels is trying to make sense of my guilt of privilege, acknowledge a sense of appreciation for what I’ve been given, and use it to understand the world with grateful eyes.

I’ve recognized that compartmentalizing my experiences is the best way for me to be present in the moment.  The world will, for the most part, always have a vast differential in wealth across populations, but that is not something I can control.  What I can control are the experiences I have with my family.

While together in the Dominican Republic, we did some awesomely adventurous activities.  One of my favorites was when we left the resort, rented little blue buggies, and zipped down miles of coastline.  The best part of the day was finding a beach packed with local kids playing in the water.  We jumped right in with them and they instantly included us in their ball games.  We laughed, jumped around and played without acknowledging the different worlds from which we all came.  I remember taking a breath, soaking in the scene and smiling because the moment was beautiful.

The rest of the trip was a blast.  We rode horses one day, laughing at each other for being tragically klutzy and discombobulated.  Another day we went to a massive beach party that had some unforgettably vibrant characters.  We laughed with ladies selling jewelry on the beach as they told us about their kids; my sister and I learned the basics of scuba diving in a pool...  But best of all, we had the chance to get quality time with each other in a beautiful setting away from the “reality” of home’s monotony.  For that opportunity, I will always be grateful.