I recently traveled to the Dominican Republic and, while it was a great time, I ran into some bumps.
Most were minor, of course: a smeared black stain on a skirt that I wanted to wear to dinner, my hair not drying in a decent amount of time, leaving me with frizzy, dandelion hair, and the like. Nothing too major.
And then I got on a boat.
I haven’t been on a boat since high school. As a person that has an irrational fear (and vivid nightmares) of open water, I usually steer clear of going out into the middle of the ocean. But there were promises of a secluded island and endless food; all I had to do was take a short boat ride to get to the destination. It’s going to be nothing. Right?
You Already Know It Wasn’t “Nothing”
OK, so the boat ride to the island was pleasant. The steady rhythm of the waves actually seemed peaceful as our boat bobbed against the open water. I rather enjoyed it. And then, a few yards away from the shore, we stopped. Unsure of the situation, I looked around to see what everyone else was doing. Nobody else seemed confused so, you know, it probably was just me. It’s always just me.
I knew there were plans of snorkeling, however, I assumed that the snorkeling would take place closer to the shore; where my feet could touch the ground. I’ve been snorkeling before in Hawaii and my feet were so close to the ocean floor that my knees were scratched up by the end of it. However, our tour guides began to frantically hand out flippers. It became apparent what was happening; I was about to die.
Without letting my traveling partner know of my fear, I threw on my oversized flippers and goggles. My breathing passage immediately became obstructed. I sucked in the little air that I could. “This’ll be easy,” I calmed down my friend while my heart pounded unpleasantly, “Just relax.” Meanwhile, my legs were about to buckle as I glanced out at the open water. A small girl no older than seven and with no sense of fear jumped out into the water in front of me. I followed behind her, silently cussing a small child out for making it look so easy.
One of the guides held out his arm, “Grab it.” He instructed. I knew his scrawny arm would not hold this body but I grabbed it anyways and plunged into the water. Instantly, I was engulfed by nothing but water. My life vest shot up over my head. The goggles filled up to the point where I could see nothing. NOPE! I had NOT planned on dying that afternoon!
I grabbed the boat and, in my panic, forced myself to swing underneath it and push my head underwater a second time. My once panicked friend effortlessly splashed into the water after me as I frantically pulled myself back onto the boat. Mmm.
Long story short, after pulling my flippers off, I stood on the boat and silently watched as everybody else splashed around in the water. I knew I was going back in. I had never done this before and who knew if I would ever do it again? Except, this time I made sure to get back in on my terms. I kept the dumb flippers off and, instead of diving into the water face-first like I did last time, I used to stairs to slowly walk myself into the water.
Once in, I still panicked at the fact that I couldn’t feel anything underneath my feet but took deep breaths and splashed around a little, attempting to get used to the unfamiliarity of being in the open ocean. One of the guides swam over to me and pointed to my goggles. “5 seconds, ok?” he said. I got it. I put the goggles on and then waited for him to count to five. I then submurged my head into the water and felt immediate satisfaction as the fluorescent colored fish swam in between our bodies.
Despite my fear, going back in was so worth it.
Soon after, we all filed onto the boat and completed the journey to the island. We relaxed in the warm water, ate fried fish, and baked in the Caribbean sun. At 2:00PM, it was time to depart. Our group once again boarded the boat to return to the van that would take us back to our resort. Ominous clouds formed in the sky just behind us, and then, it began to rain. And the boat began to rock.
And I got sea sick.
So yeah, a few aspects of my trip were sucky. However, that daywas probably my favorite of the entire trip.
Let’s face it…
Expecting the perfect vacation is completely unrealistic.
Things are going to happen. If you’ve had a perfect vacation where literally everything went right, please let me know in the comments below. Because I definitely have not. But instead of letting these little mishapsdefine my vacation, I put them in the “Learning Experiences” category and let them go; only recreating the scene to laugh about it later.
Expecting a perfect vacation will ruin your entire trip. Just because you’re out of town doesn’t mean life stops happening around you. Something – even if it’s just minor – is going to go wrong. Life is never a linear experience; it’s eitheron an upward or downward slope and constantly shifting. And that is just fine. If you learn from the mishap, and learn to let it go, it’ll make the rest of the vacation that much better.
Have you ever had any hilarious vacation mishaps? Let me know…