I recently flew back to San Francisco after a 5-day stay in the Dominican Republic. I had a splendid time while there with 17 of my closest and dearest college friends. I spent almost every waking moment laughing. This was the first wedding to take place in our group and the cherry on top was a surprise engagement announcement from one of our friends. The whole gang will be reuniting in Kiev, Ukraine in 2019!
Since I live in an urban city and tend to travel to the cosmopolitan city of New York for work, when I think about getting away to the seaside, I lean towards quieter destinations away from the madding crowd. The Dominican Republic has a lot happening all at once, so I had to actively set aside time everyday to read and relax. I know that some people may have the philosophy that vacations should be completely unstructured, but I’m in the camp that likes to have some guiding ideas (more like a full-blown, detailed itinerary that I’m flexible shifting around) about what I’d like to do in order to maximize the time I have away.
Our resort in Puerto Plata didn’t have any internet, so it forced all of us to be hands-free and in the present. Since I was young, resorts get old for me very fast, and I love leaving the confines of the resort to see what else lies beyond the walls. What other reality exists out there? Who is out there? What are all the smells, sounds, and sights that I can experience and touch? To me, travel isn’t about staying in what’s comfortable or luxurious. We have all the same amenities in the United States and I find it a shame to travel 12 hours to simply do all the same things that you’d do back home. Travel is about going out into the unknown for an immersive experience that will help you understand more about people, cultures, ideologies, and our world at large. I love reading while on holiday. This trip, I got halfway through “The Power of Habit” before I bought “HBR: 10 Must Reads on Mental Toughness” on whim at 5AM in JFK. Both are fantastic reads and I enjoyed applying and practicing some new concepts to my life.
Here are a few snippets that I enjoyed:
“The technology is there to serve us, not the reverse.”
“In interviewing more than 40 top leaders in business and the public sector over the past three years, we were surprised to find that all of them – young and old – were able to point to intense, often traumatic, always unplanned experiences that had transformed them and had become the sources of their distinctive leadership abilities. All of our interview subjects described their crucibles as opportunity for reinvention – for taking stock of their lives and finding meaning in circumstances many people would see as daunting and potentially incapacitating. In the extreme, this capacity for reinvention comes to resemble eternal youth – a kind of vigor, openness, and an enduring capacity for wonder that is the antithesis of stereotyped old age.”
My group visited Puerto Plata, Sosua and Santiago during our stay. When we first arrived in Puerto Plata, red, flamboyant jacaranda trees lined the streets. My friends J. and R. went for a walk with me and we snapped these photos over a few minutes before we ran back for lunch. Aren’t the flowers exuberant?
More to come about my trip in the Dominican Republic! Have a lovely weekend!