Life Lessons from the Dominican Republic

Ever wonder what it would be like to wake-up each and every day in a joyful mood, with a smile on your face, extremely happy to tackle the day and just live? Well this lifestyle is not so far-fetched. I recently traveled to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic for a family vacation and I can tell you that I returned not being able to say enough good things about their culture and the kindness of their people.

A few things I specifically noticed during my time on the island; they don’t complain, they always have a smile on their face ready to greet you with a boisterous hola, they are concerned about your happiness and making sure you’re having a good time (not me and mine), they communicate that you are a valued guest in their country. They remove worry, stress and negativity from their daily routine, and fill up their hours working hard, entertaining tourists, soaking up the sun and being one with nature.

We hiked and swam through waterfalls, watching the guides leap from rock to rock without any fear, took a catamaran sailboat out into the middle of the deep waters to snorkel, spent time relaxing and dancing to fun music on the boat as we sailed. During each excursion I can’t tell you how many times I heard the guides and locals asking, “Are you having a good time?” “Are you okay?” “How are you?” saying “smile mon,” referring to us as mi amiga/amigo, repeatedly saying gracias/thank you, and just dancing and having fun. These are just a few of the phrases and words I encountered while on the Dominican Republic soil that really made my trip that much more amazing.

As I toured the towns and drove through the hillsides I noticed that the locals didn’t have much, not many things, small houses, little food, some don’t have running (or hot) water, some don’t have enough money to keep shoes on their feet, but yet they remain happy, friendly and courteous to their guests and each other. Why is this? Shouldn’t we assume they are sad and unhappy because they don’t have abundant “stuff” or riches? No, because what they value doesn’t have a price tag. Things like nature, the weather, sunshine, family, friends, big crashing waves and the sand beneath their toes.

The Dominican people practice mindfulness by slowing down, making happiness a way of life, not stressing about each and every little detail, not complaining, working hard and doing it with a smile, maneuvering through life with a positive attitude, and most importantly, being grateful.

I think we can all learn a lot from the Dominican people and their culture. This particular vacation reminded me that we don’t have to rush through life unhappy and stressing; we have the choice to slow down, enjoy family and friends, experience nature, say thank you more often, and wake-up each day with a smile on our face. Setting an intention each morning can help achieve these personal happiness goals.

Go on have fun with it, it meaning life, because life is beautiful.

Relax. Enjoy. Smile. Be Thankful.

Repeat after me, Estoy agradecido, I am grateful.


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