Down By the Sea: Travels through the Dominican Republic

After photographing Charles Dwyer’s home, I took with me his want for aging things, whether it be to physically ware away a piece of furniture for that desired bit of character or allowing time to naturally color its patina onto a photograph. Time allows for reflection which more and more I find there’s less and less an opportunity for, unless of course you make the opportunity. 

It’s hard to believe Travis and I traveled to the Dominican Republic nearly four months ago. Taking two weeks to travel abroad, experience a different culture, walk new streets, taste new foods and charge up life’s “battery” is just what my mind and body needed during the cold and grey months of winter.

The Dominican was every dream of–crystal clear waters, lush tropical rainforests, perfectly sunny days, vibrant culture, adventure and fresh-off-the-boat seafood–come true.  We explored the old colonial city of Santo Domingo, enjoyed a handful of coastal towns weathered by the sun and salt of the sea, reconnected with nature (the Samana Peninsula has some of the world’s best whale watching), hiked in mysterious mountains, learned how to surf in the Caribbean, watched magnificent sunsets night after night and took time, lots of time to do whatever we wanted. There’s rarely a need to hurry in the Dominican, unless of course you’re trying to catch a seat on a guagua (local transport filled to the gills with people). This ease washed over us from the minute we stepped into those endless blue seas. So much so that Travis proposed, unexpectedly (even to him) on what felt like our own piece of paradise in the serene waters of Playa Bonita. We decided to keep that secret for the rest of our trip, making it that much more exciting to spill as soon as we set foot in the U.S. The phone calls, texts and emails would have to wait.

Throughout our adventure, we brought along our film camera to take photos when it seemed unobtrusive. I resisted the knee-jerk reaction to get them developed right away and waited even longer to look through them, eventually scanning my favorites. Sure enough, time has already pressed upon these photos its magic, and allowed me ample opportunity to reflect upon those 14 days that changed my life. The photos below are not exactly a documentation of our trip but rather a small mirror reflecting moments of life (as we experienced it) in the Dominican, a reminder to breathe deep and take it slow as often as you can. 

Colorful buildings and scooters line the city streets of the Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo, the country’s capital

La Catedral de Santa María de la Encarnación

Dominican flags strung around the city in celebration of Independence Day

Kids waiting to take a guagua (minivan crammed full of people) home. It may be out of focus but I love this one

En route to the Samaná Península for lush tropical forests and secluded sandy beaches

Whale watching in Samana. That tiny speck protruding out of the water mid-frame is a magnificent humpback whale

Our four-legged friend taking a break during our hike in Cabarete’s El Choco National Park

Queen of the Voodoo Cave, El Choco National Park

The picturesque Playa Las Ballenas near Las Terranas

Fishermen bringing to shore their catch of the day in Las Terranas

Blue for days and no one around for miles. Playa Bonita, the beach where Travis proposed

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