Only 4 short years ago I found myself stepping off the plane into the Dominican Republic for the first time. I was there for employment and never anticipated just how much of an impact this country would have on my life.
I was working as a guide for a global travel company offering adventure and service programs for teenagers. Stationed mainly in the central mountains, the place I discovered was by far not the standard tourist destination. Beaches were replaced with mountains; the humid air with cool breeze; and instead of the pulsating tropical energy- I found laid-back, small town vibes. The benefits of traveling to a location with a sense of purpose and a job to do were that it heightened my sense of belonging and connection to a new place.
Immediately, I fell in love with the job and all the people whom I worked with. It tapped into a side of my unique potential that had been dormant for awhile. My passion for working abroad with communities and organizing meaningful projects was ignited once again. I could only feel a sense of extreme gratitude to the DR and its people for helping me unleash it.
We ventured off the beaten path deep into the rural villages to work alongside communities building aqueducts to bring fresh water to homes. Together we laid pipes and dug trenches. I took groups of students to hidden beaches. We planted little baby mangrove plants. I traversed up and down the backbone of this country encountering laughter and love but also despair and hopelessness. I wanted to do more but alas in the constraints of working for a larger company, mainly time and regulations, would not allow me to pursue projects and connections I felt would have a lasting positive impact.
It was demanding, relentless, muddy, backbreaking… It was one of the the best jobs I ever had.
Also, I fell in love with a Dominican man named Hugo. Did I leave that out? We’re married now and live in the States, both pursuing careers that until only 4 years ago didn't exist in either of our minds. Still, the DR remains a second home to us. My family has now doubled in size. I know Ramon who runs the corner bodega; our little niece and nephew tell me they love me- (In English!) and my sister-in-law began working with Purposeful Nomad. This country is now intricately woven into the fabric of my life.
On February 15th 2017, I stepped off the plane in the DR yet again, but this time it was to launch our 7-day Rest & Renew program. The sheer emotion and sense of accomplishment in being able to work with the Dominican people again is still incredibly humbling and sentimental. To collaborate with the communities and organizations that I had wanted to in the past felt absolutely exhilarating; they became the catalyst in shaping Purposeful Nomads program and continue to inspire future ideas that we are thrilled to share with you!