In just a few days we'll be throwing our bags into a van and driving down the road to Cabarete Beach in the Dominican Republic. This will be our 3rd visit to the island country, but I'm positive there is much still to be seen. I know I definitely view travel differently than I did back when I was 21. Most of our photos are of each other, blurry afterthoughts. It could have been any beach that those photos were taken on, by any generic poolside. Since we were there with friends and family to get married most of the images are of the wedding day. I truly regret missing the opportunity to document the rest of our two weeks there, but at that time I was lucky if I could even focus my camera never mind be expressive with it. We traveled to Samana Bay to see the whales cresting, visited old spanish churches, learned about amber mining and refinery, tasted Dominican Rum in a factory tour, enjoyed a twilight dinner in a half constructed castle in the mountains, and so much more. We saw so much and have no photos to show for it. I did manage to find a winner to share with you though. It's an image of a local tin banjo dealer on the beach, strumming away on his creation. I love the blur of his fingertips as they strum.
The second time we visited, Luke was 2. I'm still searching for that album and I'll share a few photos from there if I can dig it out. That trip was a learning experience in traveling with a child. I don't remember it being particularly difficult, but it was unique in that we'd never flown with him before then. I was worried constantly about him getting sick, bit by something, sun burnt or hit by a guagua or motoconcho. Our parenting paranoia has since eased up a lot since then. We enjoy the fact that Cabarete isn't a glossy resort area, but a thriving down to earth village that long term travellers and locals together call home. There is endless opportunity to really enjoy the beauty of the island. This time we're hoping to show Luke the local school and get him thinking about the differences and similarities between the life of an 8 yr old boy in Winnipeg vs an 8 year old boy living in Cabarete.
I'm glad time has given me the ability to see that travel isn't all about beaches and mojitos. WIth every vacation away from home, I hope I can install that same sense of exploration in Luke and Eve. It can take time to see beyond the surface, and for me it wasn't really there until a few years ago when I began to value travel for more than just a chance to hang out by the pool bar and work on my tan. Something about it clicks now, and lasts so much longer than a week or two. It's woven into a part of us and built upon with each experience. I suppose I'm just more focused on soaking it all in nowadays. It's probably the kind of attitude that comes with age, don't you think?