There is so much to reflect on from my incredible impact travel experience with Fathom in the Dominican Republic. The people that I met on our team, along with the locals that we interacted with and worked beside, truly left an impression on my heart. I have soooooo many stories to share with you!
I participated on the last pilot trip with Fathom that provided feedback to help shape what impact travel will look like for future tours that launch in the upcoming months.
We experienced opportunities that allowed us to actively engage and partner with locals who normally do not encounter tourists, by working along side them on projects that will have long lasting value to their communities.
Fathom – Impact Travel will be offering a unique 7 day cruise experience to the Dominican Republic and also to Cuba that allows travelers to experience travel in a new way.
Impact travel with Fathom provides the opportunity to build community with like-minded travelers, become immersed in another culture, and work alongside its people to create enduring social impact.
They had me at social impact. Every time that I’ve visited the Caribbean, I’ve loved meeting the people and I’m always left with a desire to help make their lives better however I can.
Our group experienced incredible interactions with locals and each other. That’s always such a big part of travel anyway, right? We go on trips to see places and explore but a lot of times it’s the people who leave imprints on our hearts. Our pilot trip gave our team the opportunity to experience three different impact activities. There will be more options to choose from for future cruises.
Day 1 Reforestation and Nursery
While my goal for any vacation near the sun is to come back with a tan, many Dominican locals don’t feel the same way, which is why our first impact activity was to assist with planting trees along the beach to help provide more shade.
Our smaller teams allowed us to really learn from each other beyond planting trees. A few of our Dominican leaders were growing in their English skills and we attempted our Spanish. We also talked about everything from travel, to music, to family.
In addition to planting 407 trees, we also collected 25 bags of garbage from the beach, and harvested 200 seedlings to use for future projects.
Day 2 Schools -Student English Conversation and Learning
I knew that our impact activity at a rural school was going to be one of my favorites. We were told that some of the students travel up to 3 hours to get to school by 8am. That’s perspective. Our team was welcomed into a 4th grade classroom.
We danced to Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk” and were given our instructions about what we would be doing that day. I think the adults and the kids were both equally excited about spending time together that day.
We partnered up with a student and each traced our hand on paper. The travelers each taught the students how to say their names in English. I also got to practice a few other Spanish phrases that dated back to my high schools years. Our names tags did have a little cheat sheet with a few popular phrases on them to help start conversations.
I really enjoyed talking to my student and observing his progress in such a short time. This was the first time that this class had travelers visit.
We moved on to a craft using recycled materials. Our groups worked together and created a soccer ball using tape, newspaper,and one balloon.
After our craft was complete, we joined the students for a game of soccer. I’m still amazed that the ball never popped!
I think all of us were sad that our time seemed to go by way too fast that day.
Day 3 Assisting at Re Papel
The sweetest little boy welcomed us to his neighborhood on our way to Re Papel. His smile made our day. His smile was just the beginning of smiles that we would encounter that day with the women who would leave imprints on our hearts.
Our impact activity at Re Papel allowed our group to experience the entire paper recycling process with Dominican women from impoverished areas. These women generate an income from the sales of their recycled paper products.
Upon arrival, we got to hear a little from each employee, thanks to a translator before we started.
Our team was part of the full recycling process which gave us a greater appreciation for how incredible this business opportunity is for these women.
The woman from Re Papel were such a JOY! They made work fun and they were so sweet. We shared stories, we sang, we danced, and we worked. Our large group was broken in to smaller groups to allow us help the process and get to know the women better. A few hours of work with our team equaled three full days labor.
At the end of our time together, there were stories of connection that brought all of us to tears.
Another great part of the Impact Activity experience was the local food served on site for lunch. We enjoyed INCREDIBLE Dominican food that also created jobs for locals.
The Impact activities provided by Fathom left an imprint on our hearts that no language barrier could separate.
My experience with the Fathom team really was wonderful! The impact experiences with the Dominican locals were well organized and created incredible moments of interaction. Be prepared to leave a piece of your heart in the Dominican. I can’t wait to go back!
You can find out more about about upcoming Fathom cruises from their website.
A special thanks to Fathom for invited me to attend this life changing adventure!