I went on a special journey, stars aligned, the universe gifted me with what I need and most care about, to be surrounded by inspiring people -particularly women, to hear stories,to connect and to be on an adventure. I was offered a chance to see something special, if I was third eye open.
The sparkling lapis sea carried me from Miami to the Dominican Republic. I didn’t think Id like a cruise but being on that endless ocean was dreamlike with those abstract golden sunsets, watching lightening split the sky and being in the middle of the big blue, time seemed to stop.
On board this cruise was the opportunity to be inspired and engaged, to discuss how one might effect change. Workshops were offered regarding social & environmental action, storytelling circles and lessons in Spanish, All in preparation for arrival in the DR where Fathom has partnered with local NGO’s to provide “impact activities” experiences besides the normal sightseeing, where you can join in reforestation -planting native trees’s – laying concrete floors for a family home, teaching English to kids at the local school or adults by visiting with people in their homes or working on water filter production. I went up into the mountains where a group of women run a cocao chocolate cooperative and to a paper recycling co-op, again run by women where our group learnt the processes of operation and then worked side by side to increase productivity for the day. We embraced as we left these women, tears streaming down faces, not understanding each others words but having exchanged something beyond language.
I was impacted by the experience and moved by the people I met both on the ship and the island. It was a joy to connect, to do something that felt worthwhile in a place of great natural beauty. I was there on a job, lucky enough to photograph the experience but I am sold on an idea that attempts to inspire travelers toward growth and goodness, where we might recharge our world weary spirits, reminding us that we do have the potential to make the world a better place, one small act or good decision at a time. I doubt there was a person on that trip that didn’t come back with a renewed vision.
The Fathom team were an energetic and international group from all walks of life -the peace core, activists, teachers, performers. The Captain and crew exude that charm and warmth of travel from the past. Of course, dancing the meringue on deck, cocktails by the pool and the intimacy shared with my fellow adventurers, whom by the end felt like my friends, all added to the agreeable ambience.
But most importantly for me I was touched by the open and warm people of the Dominican Republic, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we have lost something in the busy western world. Is it the breakdown of the family unit, career obsession, consumerism gone crazy? They dance in the streets there, they smile and sing often and seem genuinely happy with very little “stuff”. Coming back to the USA , it all seems a little mad or is it just me ? Fathom Cruises travel to the Dominican Republic and Cuba from Miami.