No matter how many beautiful tourist spots there are to see, even with breathtaking sceneries, and no matter how jaw dropping the architectural wonders are, if the people are not friendly, and not welcoming and you, at the same time, haven’t interacted with a single person either, then that place will just be another check off your bucket list. Lifeless, soul-less, without meaning.
To me, the people you meet along the way are what makes your journey memorable, more colorful and worth talking about. The exchanges with the locals, young and old alike, regardless of the cultural, religious or language differences are what matters. In fact, it is in breaking down these obvious barriers and looking past them that you get to truly experience the heart of a place, a country and it’s people.
Meet some of the people that made our trip to Samana in the Dominican Republic special. They have touched my life in one way or the other.
From the smiling young boy named Jonathan who helped take away our bikes and then held my hand to guide me down the steep path to the riverbank, to Memem, the slightly crazy adrenaline junkie zip line guide, to Ramon, my horse guide, ever so gentle and yet despite the huge language barrier treated me like his daughter, to Jackie, one of the many wonderful smiling staff at the Tree House who made sure we had a wonderful time and to that random guy who proudly showed me the fried fish he cooked that day for lunch. If you just take time to look around you, listen to people’s stories and be in the Now, these are the moments that are extra special!
I also took some street shots that show how communal they are and that they like to be around lots of people, hanging out, having fun and talking. The streets are always busy and alive. They like to sit outside their homes or their yards and play loud music and sing or dance. One thing I have observed here is that the Domincans love their music!
The last photo at the bottom right shows a funeral procession, pretty much the way we do it in the Philippines, with some people walking and some in cars.
In your travels, do you take time to interact with the locals too? Are you interested to learn and listen to what they have to say?