Sun-drenched beaches, endless palm trees and an ocean of crystal clear water. It’s all so far removed from the to-do lists and Oyster card journeys that dictate our stressful daily lives that I didn’t even think that a place like that really existed… I was totally wrong. For one week in the middle of a gloomy English autumn I jetted off with my best friend to the Dominican Republic to experience first-hand what the Caribbean can do for your soul.
After eight hours of flying over the Atlantic and watching our flight path inching off the coast of Bermuda, I couldn’t help but wonder what world awaited us on landing. As we stepped off the plane into the tropics, we entered a rustic airport chilled by the breeze of giant hanging wooden fans. A world away from glass of Gatwick, it felt as though we’d found ourselves into a Castaway-style world. We were close to the Bermuda Triangle after all…
Settling on the idea that there are far worse places to be lost in, we headed off into the sunset towards our resort. After getting acclimatised we headed straight to the beach, gazing up at the stars from beneath the swaying palm trees.
The days that followed were unreal. We swam with dolphins and drank from coconuts, held starfish and danced (well, tried to dance) the merengue on a catamaran in the middle of the Caribbean sea. We even visited the blissful Saona Island where they filmed the famed Bounty chocolate ads.
Considering we’d taken our chances on travelling during hurricane season, we couldn’t of been more lucky with the warm embrace of the weather – and the people – of the Caribbean.
On our final day, I felt emotional in a way I’ve never experienced before when travelling back to England – it felt like having to wake up from a wonderful dream. And then, by pure chance before leaving, I spotted a hummingbird. I stood in awe.
From my first long haul flight to the first time I’d ever snorkelled (or tried at least), this trip was as much one of self-discovery as relaxation.
Arriving in London at 6 am to a brisk temperature drop of 22 degrees, it felt very much like crashing back down to reality.
But travelling somewhere so removed from your daily life changes you in ways you can’t really predict. For me, that distance gave me perspective, and the opportunity to look at the big picture of my life.
I considered the people in my life. Reminded myself to cherish the good ones, and say goodbye to the negative ones. I decided to try to make positive choices that I could be proud of, and to do things that made the world a more beautiful place to be in.
An idealistic attitude? Yes.
But then, that’s what happens when you find yourself, literally and emotionally, in the very real heart of paradise…