A Next Step Travel Participant Asks, “What Next?”
By Guest Contributor on Monday, June 3rd, 2013
Dee Elias of Santa Barbara, Calif. just returned from the Dominican Republic, where she took part in the National Peace Corps Association’s Next Step Travel program. While our trips are tailored to the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer community, we welcome all likeminded travelers who, like Dee, want a meaningful educational and cultural experience that gets beyond the usual tourist attractions. Here she shares a some insights from her trip:
To those of you who might be considering a two-week adventure to the Dominican Republic and are looking for an overview of the country both geographically and culturally, may I suggest Next Step Travel offered by the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA).
Tomorrow is my last day in this beautiful country before heading back to the United States. As I reflect on all that I have seen, learned, and experienced, I am full of joy, sadness, hope and despair.
There is so much that needs to be done to raise the quality of life for so many in the Dominican Republic including the Haitian refugees living here. As I view their living conditions, safety hazards, polluted water sources, lack of education and knowledge of sustainable communities to avert a dim future for their children, I am surprised and warmed by their smiles when visitors such as ourselves arrive in their villages and their hospitality is given with sincerity and humbleness.
Now the question is “What do I do now?” After experiencing all that I have in the last several weeks, can I make a change somehow? Shall I come back here again with tools to benefit Dominicans somehow, in some way? Has my conscience been touched significantly to follow through to the next step — whatever that is?? What can I do in the States that could impact the people here? So many questions. I will need some time to reflect.
Yes, my visit to the Dominican Republic has been life changing. I have a new avenue to pursue and a new path to follow. Only time and opportunities will lead the way. It is exciting, yet I am unclear of the details. Perhaps naively, I was hoping I could change someone’s life during my short visit to the Dominican Republic—little did I know it was mine.
Learn how you can join future Next Step Travel programs in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala: travel.peacecorpsconnect.org.
NPCA Next Step Travel program features small group travel (up to 20), hands-on service projects, educational programs and a close-up view of the impact of volunteer service. Our all-inclusive trips are operated by Discover Corps, a program of Terra Education, an experienced leader in educational travel. Their CEO, Andrew Motiwalla, is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Honduras 1996-98)! Most trips offer both a 14-day and a 10-day option, unless otherwise specified. All trips are accompanied by an NPCA Host.
Join our Next Step Travel (NST) country group, a place to ask questions, get program details, & meet other Next Step Travel travel-with-a-purpose travelers. This group is a place where alumni, future NST participants, and those who are interested in NST can have an open forum to share photos, videos, discuss programs details, and make new friends!
Dominican Republic: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NextStepTravel.DominicanRepublic/