Updated: Feb 25, 2021
Okay, I just need a moment of your time to share my experience as it pertains to the Dominican Republic...IT WAS DOPE!!! Lately, the news has been going rampant about US tourists perishing in the country, and folks have been going wild and canceling trips that probably were never booked in the first place 🙄. I looked on social media one day and saw people making the deaths a race-related issue and proclaiming that black people shouldn't travel internationally. WHAT THE MESS PEOPLE?!?
Let's have a real talk real quick. First off, the Dominican Republic is an ENTIRE COUNTRY. Fact: death happens everywhere. But we just going to cancel a WHOLE COUNTRY for a handful of isolated events that happened? I admit I'm biased for two reasons: my crew and I went, turned up, enjoyed the people, and made it back with no complaints at all, and being from Chicago, I get so tired of people making mass generalizations about a place based on the games media plays with the distribution of news (even though if people cared to think before making said declarations about places, they would see that commonalities between the specific locations and involved activities, etc). Now, these DR deaths have occurred over a span of MONTHS, some of the people who perished were noted to have health conditions before traveling, and according to recorded data, there has been no actual surge in deaths, just the media is choosing to constantly mention it now and social media is giving it an even larger platform.
Now, I'm not Dominican, I have no ties to the country besides the great experience I had there with my friends (it was a Chicago take over, we were 33 deep), but for all the good people that we dealt with and had great moments with, it would be flat out disrespectful for me to not speak out on their behalf and let the US know, there are Americans that are traveling there, just like any other place, having a good time, enjoying the people and culture, while making it back to the States to tell the Dominican tales of their vacation.
Now, major shout out to Mr. Keno Brown who made contact with Jay of Punta Cana Enterprise/Punta Cana Best Excursions, who took care of our whole party with great excursions and an all-white party that turned into a straight Chi-Town House Party in the Caribbean. We stayed at the all-inclusive Hotel Riu Republica in Punta Cana. The food was better than expected. We did have people who drank some alcohol, no one touched them minibars (but who does, honestly? That's just throwing money away). We went out into town, chopped it up with locals, shopped, and even while on the resort linked up with other Americans that were traveling in groups and even one woman from Texas that traveled there by herself.
Why am I giving y'all all these details? So if you want to go to the Dominican Republic, don't get caught up in the hype! I want you to be equipped with info from someone who has recently been there as well as someone who has dealt with this type of media smear and reactions before about someplace I've been. Something my late pastor taught me was that when you follow the crowd, you become a barbarian. Let that sit and process. Be cautious and do your research everywhere you go, pray for protection, and listen to that inner voice when it speaks, but whatever you do, don't ride the wave (because oftentimes it's a wave of ignorance and mass hysteria). Stuff happens everywhere. It is unfortunate that our entire planet does not operate in a constant state of utopia, but it is your choice if you make the best of what we got or experience the worse of it.
As my Dominican Republic traveling sister Phyllis said on her Facebook page: "I had an amazing time in the DR I was skeptical when I started hearing all the stories and wasn’t going to go but I went it was 33 of us and all 33 came back alive and safe. I can’t live my life in fear. If you decide to go have fun enjoy it and if you don’t decide that’s your option but don’t down nobody who wants to go. And half the people who had something to say probably never been outside of Chicago. I have no complaints whatsoever about my experience. Now live your life to the fullest and don’t let no one or anything hold you back."
As my Facebook page reads: "Thank you for all those that prayed and cheered me on during my time in the DR. I and the whole lot of us made it back from the Dominican Republic safe and sound. We back all in one piece! We had a blast, honestly! Now, I realize that the locations of my next two trips may render some people nervous, but please believe, the blood still works! I am a person that refuses to live my life in fear. I am here to enjoy all that God graces me to. So, your prayers of travel grace are always welcomed and appreciated, but the world tour ain't over yet! 🌍🌎🌏 #AdventuresAwait#LiveLifeFully "
The choice is yours how you live your life. If I lived in fear or listened to what people advised out of their own fear and ignorance they tried to transfer onto me, I wouldn't have nearly as many spectacular experiences nor would I be the person I am today. Live your life in a way that makes your Creator pleased, that leaves you with no regrets, and that if you were to be called home in a blink of an eye, you know where you going home to.
I'm grateful for what God has allowed me to witness, overcome, and do in spite of doubters, naysayers, and suckers. I'm definitely going to do me, unapologetically, and it would be my prayer that all of you do the same, and live life as it was intended. You were not given a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind... remember that 💖
Due to the recent tragic and violent events that have occurred in the United States (mass shootings, some classified as legit terrorist attacks), a travel advisory has been issued for the US. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. Now, will we seriously take the time to evaluate how quickly we judge, dismiss objective logic, and spread mass hysteria?
Check this out:
Sometimes, as Americans, we're quick to question another country's safety or pass judgment on an entire culture's way of life, but have you ever stopped to think about how other countries view us? This not a judgment, but a legit travel advisory that was posted for travelers considering coming to the US. Now, what was all that we were posting about the DR, Puerto Rico, and Egypt? We fret, condemn, and spread fear too easily as it pertains to others across oceans, seas, and many miles away from us, but refuse to look objectively at what happens in our own backyard. It's not about one city, nor one state. It's not about defending a country with a sorted past against another (because what country can truly say that has a clean history as it pertains to the treatment of people--native or otherwise-- the Earth, or its native Animal Kingdom?). We as a country, all 50 states, need to get a handle on what's going on around us, clean the plank out of our own eyes, before commenting on the speck in someone else's.
As a person who was in France during their protests, in Europe shortly after their sweep of terrorist attacks, who went to the DR in spite of everything that was being posted, and who is traveling to Egypt while their government is still in transition, I can say, things are not always what they seem. You cannot live your life in fear and you cannot live life fully constantly judging others. Putting someone else down won't make you any taller, I promise you. We do enough of this even within the states, but since the main cities that are often picked on (Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, etc) aren't having as many tragically "juicy stories", now, we've moved on to other countries smh. Stay informed with unbiased info, keep your biases to yourself when speaking about other places, and stay prayed up. Those are the major keys to living life freely and fully.
Photos and videos from my amazing time in the DR are featured below! Check out videos from this trip and others on my YouTube channel LiveLearnLove Travel Adventures. Please view, like, and subscribe. I got some pretty cool and helpful stuff on there, for real!
Also, please stop by my Facebook page @Live Learn Love Travel Adventures and tap that like button 😁