As a traveler, I feel like it’s important for me not just to experience a country, but to also have a positive impact on it while I am visiting. I want to ensure that I am not there just to observe, but to also take part in meeting people and experiencing the country for everything it is, not just as an outsider looking in.
When we immerse ourselves in the places we are visiting, we are truly able to make connections with people, which enables us to grow and learn more about the world and ourselves. That’s what travel is all about, breaking down the barriers we put around and inside of us, and realizing that all of us, no matter where we live, our religion, the color of our skin, are the same.
That’s why I wanted to travel with Fathom, to see what they meant by impact travel and to see the Dominican Republic in a new light, in a way much different than my all-inclusive experience ten years ago.
Because my friend, Erin, of 10 Miles Behind Me, had been on an impact trip a few weeks prior, I knew a little bit about what to expect. But I still boarded the Adonia with questions. What was it going to look like to sail into a country and volunteer our time there? I’ll admit I was skeptical about how it would pan out, but pleasantly surprised once I had the experience for myself.
To start, being on the boat with Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival, and Tara Russell, President of Fathom, gave me a larger understanding of what their mission was and their hope for Fathom. I understood, almost immediately, that they were really out there to change the world and inspire others to do the same. Before we even arrived at shore, I knew Fathom’s heart was in the right place.
These feelings were further confirmed when I participated in the impact activities. Over the three days in the Dominican Republic, I witnessed the women and men whose lives are being changed because of Fathom, and although I couldn’t fully communicate with everyone, I could tell they were grateful for our presence, and we were able to connect on some level.
Fathom is opening up opportunities for Dominicans to find work that is meaningful to them and a chance to help their own people grow. At the same time, they are bringing in people from all over the world and allowing them to connect with the people of the Dominican Republic, while also giving back.
Sure, there are a few kinks that need to be worked out, as with any new company, but things ran so smoothly you’d have to look hard to find them. For me, the major concern is making sure that everyone in the communities where there are projects is getting the help they need. While we were being brought in by vans, the people in the towns were pouring out onto the streets to greet us or at least see what we were up to. I couldn’t help but think of what must be on their minds, and I’d love to know more about the long-term affects of what Fathom is doing, which of course takes time.
Overall, however, I really believe in what Fathom is doing and cannot wait to see them grow. I also hope to travel with them again to the Dominican Republic, to experience the projects I didn’t get to. It’s hard to explain the feelings I had while traveling on Fathom’s inaugural cruise, but the strongest one I had was feeling inspired. Especially by the realization that there are so many people around the world doing good and who want to change the world, and the people at Fathom are some of them.
Interested in taking a cruise with Fathom? Click here for a discount on their upcoming sailings.
I was a guest on the inaugural Fathom voyage to the Dominican Republic. As always all opinions, thoughts, and advice are my own.