We can all agree that this Dominican Republic situation is getting a bit out of hand. The first few deaths sounded unfortunate. The next couple sounded suspicious. Now, with the recent news of the 9th American to die while on vacation in the DR in the past 13 months, we can almost certainly conclude that something in the proverbial milk ain’t clean.
The DR has long been a favorite spot for girls’ trips, couples’ getaways, birthday destinations, etc., and black folks have flocked to the island in droves for the seemingly perfect international turn up. But what now, that the favorite spot for many has been spoiled with the unfortunate and mysterious deaths of our own? The answer is it’s time to choose other destinations. It’s time to travel further. And no, not further as in Mexico. Further as in, the rest of the world.
There are so many other places to be explored, but many don’t even consider them. The allure of “all-inclusive,” close proximity to the U.S. and seemingly low cost of travel are some of the main reasons we love to book vacays to the DR. But honestly, the amount of money that many pay for a week in the DR could actually pay for nicer vacations elsewhere. By limiting yourself to cliche vacation destinations like the Dominican Republic, you could possibly be cheating yourself out of experiences that could help you grow as a person and change your whole outlook and perspective on life.
When you choose to confine yourself to an Americanized, all-inclusive resort, you’re more than likely missing out on the actual culture of a new place. While you’re secluded behind resort walls, there is an entire country outside that you could be exploring, experiencing, and learning from. There are plenty of valuable experiences that are easy to miss when lured in by the convenient promise of “all-inclusive.” When you spend all of your time at a resort, how much are you learning from the local people other than how fast they can bring you your cocktail? How much of the country’s delicacies are you able to enjoy while dining at restaurants whose purpose is to ensure that your palate doesn’t miss the tastes of home? There are so many other things to see if you make it a point to push past your comfort zone and travel beyond the comfortable Caribbean.
Don’t be afraid to inconvenience yourself. Travel to a country where you don’t speak the language (and they don’t learn English just to be able to cater to you). Go to a place that takes more than a few hours to get to. Explore a place where you get the pleasure of interacting with locals going about their daily lives. Go to a place where you might be the only brown face. Stretch yourself. Travel, don’t just vacation.
If you’ve previously planned to go to the Dominican Republic and are starting to rethink it because of recent events, don’t worry. Go ahead and take your trip, sis. Use a reasonable amount of caution, listen to your body and your gut, stay close to your travel partners, and you should be fine. The DR is a great place filled with interesting people, beautiful landscapes, and a vibrant culture, and if you decide to go anytime soon, chances are you’ll be okay and you’ll have a great time. But if everything that’s been going on down there has you thinking “Hell, no!” at the thought of traveling to the DR now, cool. Go somewhere else. You have 194 other countries to choose from. So live your best life all over the world! The Caribbean will be there when you get back.