My Trip to Punta Cana (and a funny story)

So about a month ago I left for my Summer 2018 Vacation to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. I originally was only going to write about the 5 Things I Learned Traveling to the Dominican Republic but a few people have asked me to just write about my general trip. It’s been a little close to three weeks since I left Punta Cana but everyone who knows me knows I have not stopped thinking, talking, and dreaming about it since I got back so maybe once I write about it in detail I will get over this spell (doubt it but it’s worth a shot! Haha).

  • What airline did we fly?

We flew on Delta Airlines and this had been my first time flying Delta as an adult. I enjoyed how much stuff there was to do on the plan. There was a wide selection of movies (I watched Black Panther) and games on a monitor on the back of the seat. The roundtrip ticket came out to $800 once we added insurance for our luggage.

  • What resort did we stay at?

We stayed at Breathless Punta Cana. The story of how we chose our resort is funny. We both were doing our research looking for the best all-inclusive resort we could find. I came across Breathless and they only bad review I saw said it was too much of a party resort. Sounds like a good problem to me. I texted Lizeth and told her I liked Breathless and she said she was sold when she read the same review saying it was too much of a party resort. I knew we were going to have a good time! For 9 nights and 8 days we paid around $3,200 all together which came out to around $1,600 each which honestly for all you can eat and drink, a gym, and everything else the resort has to offer, it was worth it and more.

We arrived late at night on Wednesday July 18th. When we got in our arranged transportation he handed us a can of El Presidente (DR’s local beer) and we drank as we took in the fact that we were actually in the Dominican Republic. We finally got to the hotel and we could hear the party going already. We checked in, got our keys, hurried to our room, showered, got ready, and went to see what was happening. The first thing we did when we left the room was go to the lobby bar and order some drinks while there was some karaoke night type thing going on. I tried to order a Paloma (tequila and squirt) and learned quickly that that’s not a thing in the DR. I got tequila and sprite instead and it tasted like shit! Haha I literally almost spit it out. Maybe I would just have to stick to drinking tequila sunrises. Finally we made our way to the bar upstairs. The vibe was great. I loved the variety of music they played. From Top 40 hits, to old school rap, to Bachata and Reggaeton, I was definitely feeling the vibes. After a whole day of traveling and a night of dancing and drinking, we went back to our room to rest.

What did a typical day at the Resort look like:

Punta Cana Lizeth Mara

Up until Tuesday when we went to Saona, our days were pretty standard assuming neither of us had a hangover and needed to rest a bit. We always missed breakfast until a few days before we left because we could never find ourselves ready to go by 10am and they stopped letting people in the breakfast buffet at 10:45ish. Our first day we went to eat lunch, chilled at the beach for a little bit. I enjoyed reading on the beach, writing a little bit, standing in the water and checking in with myself, saying some affirmations, and meditating. Finally, we went to the freestyle pool which had music playing and the party we had been looking for. Within a few hours I knew this was where we would be spending most of our days at the resort. We quickly befriended the bartenders (always a good thing to do no matter where you find yourself) and they told us there would be a foam party later that night that they would be back for after the pool closed to be cleaned/set-up and they went to get food. We threw on our cover-ups over our swimsuits, ate at some fancy French restaurant (in retrospect this was a horrible idea because the portions were small and we had been drinking all day and planned to keep going), and freshened up a little bit, and headed back to the pool. The foam party was a blast! Unfortunately there was only one the whole time we were there because I loved it. We definitely didn’t make it out for the night time activities because we were both exhausted and drunk as hell.

What was the funniest thing that happened on our trip?

Tequila Shots.jpg

So Friday was very similar to Thursday but the only thing that differed the next day was that Lizeth had a paper to write on her study abroad trip and I resolved I was going to the gym at the resort while she finished writing her paper. The gym was actually a really nice fitness area. It had mostly everything I wanted (excluding a stairmaster) but honestly it was so humid in there I probably would have passed out if I even tried it (the only other day I worked out was the second to last day before we left). I got back to the room, showered, and waited as Lizeth finished up her paper and we left for the beach to repeat what we had done the day before. However this night ended differently because I got wayyy to fucking drunk because I thought the pool bar closed at 6pm and we didn’t make it out to the pool until 5pm. What was my solution for this? Taking 10 shots of tequila in an hour. No I’m not exaggerating. I counted them. The pool bar only closed at 6pm on nights they had pool parties, which they didn’t so it was actually open until 7pm. Long story short, we stayed until 7pm, only God knows how many more shots I took after that. I also had some shots called Scooby Doo (like the song, Scooby Do Pa Pa) and Pink Pussy. I couldn’t really tell you what is in either of them but they are both fruity and sweet. I’m pretty we also had some Mama Juana which is a local drink in the DR made with rum, red wine, honey, and bark. THAT is some dangerous stuff. Anyways, after all of this… it was a hot mess express. We went back to our hotel room and ate shit in front of our room door. The entire village (aka our floor) came out to help us up (after hearing the thuds of us falling down, I’m sure), and we couldn’t stop laughing. My drunk ass laid down on the shower floor and ended up flooding our room we knocked the power card out so there was no light in our room! I legit called it “Noah’s Arc.” The cleaning ladies noticed water coming out of our room and were talking to Lizeth in spanish trying to sweep the water out of the room with a broom! Finally Lizeth got them to leave and just threw all of our blankets on the floor to soak up the mess. We pissed somebody off because they didn’t give us blankets for the rest of our trip lmaooo. All of that

What Excursion(s) did we go on:

Saona Island

We didn’t leave the resort for an excursion until Tuesday when we decided to go to Saona Island. This was also the first day we made it to breakfast because they were picking us up at 7:25am and told us to eat beforehand because lunch was until 1pm. We picked up other people from their resorts and had an hour and half drive until we made it to where the boat was. I wish I had packed some snacks because a rushed breakfast, unlimited rum & coke on a boat, made me hungry and a little (a lot) drunk. I really didn’t think I was going to make it to the Island. For real for real, I thought I was going to be the drunk bitch throwing up in the Caribbean Sea, bringing dishonor to me and my family.  We first had snorkeling in the sea, then we went to the blue lagoon, and we finally made it to the Island. I loved Saona Island sooo much. The water was clear and beautiful (but salty, don’t open your eyes), the sands was so soft (I was playing in it for like 10 mins because drunk me couldn’t believe how soft it was!), and it was just incredible. In my 25 years of life it was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. The trip was quite a long one, we didn’t get back until 6:30pm that night but I’d do it again. I highly recommend going.

Overall Experience:

I really enjoyed my vacation in Punta Cana (if you couldn’t tell haha). I really feel like it is somewhere I can see myself going many more times in my life. I enjoyed staying at Breathless Resort very much and all of the staff there were amazing. Everyone was so kind to us and hospitable. I honestly wish I could move into the resort but unfortunately I’m still a broke-ish upcoming law student so that will have to wait. Maybe one day.

One thing I would change:

Saona Island (2)

I wish we had done more excursions. I’m definitely going to plan for that when I go back…probably sooner than later. I know I want to go to Hoyo Azul and a tour of Santo Domingo the next time I’m there. I also want to consider staying in an AIRBNB for a day or two just to see how it is to be off the resort, but we’ll see.

I would say if anybody is considering a vacation to somewhere beautiful with friendly locals and an overall great time, they have to go to Punta Cana and you should stay at Breathless because it is the best! However, even if you can’ t go to Punta Cana, taking a vacation for a few days is a good way to ground yourself and reconnect with yourself. In the moments I was on the beach or sober (shit, sometimes even drunk), I enjoyed checking it with myself, my emotions, and just being at peace.

Have you taken a trip somewhere recently that you fell in love with? It doesn’t have to be abroad. Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for traveling suggestions.

25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years

This weekend I turned 21, I mean 25 years old. Wow. If you had told me this is where I’d be at in life at 25 I wouldn’t have believed you but HERE I AM. While my life has been pretty good so far, I have had a lot of low moments too. I decided that for my 25th birthday I was going to share 25 things I’ve learned in these 25 years of life. Most of these lessons came from my earlier 20s. Some of them you may have read on lists similar to this but I’m going to give a little insight on to why these lessons are important to me.

Me at 107 SkyLounge for my 25th birthday

1. Focus on who shows up for you, not who doesn’t: It’s so easy to focus on who didn’t go to your birthday party, or that really cool speaking event you told your friends about 10 times, or whatever else but honestly the quality of my life improved so much when I just focused on being thankful towards those who did show up instead of pissed at those who didn’t. You never know what people have going on.

 

2. You aren’t the center of the universe: Yes, I know this seems so painfully obvious but I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of thinking things that important to me are important to everybody. This isn’t true. Honestly with the exception of your parents (not even always), your close friends, your lover(s), and a few others, most people don’t give a fuck about you. Once you realize this, life is a little easier.

 

3. Do whatever the fuck you want to do while you’re young (safely): One thing I wish I had did before I had to come to the “REAL” world is have more fun. Granted, I had a lot of fun in undergrad but I know I would have had more if I told myself yes for more things than parties. I should have taken a two week trip backpacking through some random place haha. Not to say I can’t do these things now but it’s harder when you have loans to pay off and stuff. So yeah, if there is something you really want to do, DO IT. (except smoke crack, pls don’t do that.)

 

4. Don’t doubt your greatness: If I had a dollar for every thing I didn’t do/apply for because I didn’t think I was capable of doing it, I could retire and live a lavish life full of travel and mojitos. Okay I might be exaggerating but I could buy something nice. Honestly, I’m still learning to embrace rejection and not feeling inadequate.

 

5. Therapy is not just for “crazy people”, it’s for everyone: One thing I want to do this year is find a therapist. Now that I know I will be living in Vegas permanently, I want to get a therapist who meets my qualifications here. Often in minorities communities seeing a therapist is for “crazy people” but there is only so much “venting” your friends can take from you. Sometimes, you need to see a professional.

 

6. Avoiding being vulnerable will do more harm to you than it will protect you: This kind of ties into my fear of rejection as well. While I don’t believe I missed out on anyone I was destined to spend my life with, I know many of my past relationships were damaged by me being afraid to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.

 

7. Being judgmental of others doesn’t make you any better than them: This is a straight-forward lesson. Don’t judge others.

 8. Sometimes the way people act towards you is usually about them, not you: This is a relatively new lesson I’ve learned about others and about myself. This simply put in the quote “Hurt people hurt people.” Usually if somebody is unwarrantedly rude towards you, they have some other shit going on.

9. Letting yourself feel your emotions is important: There is a growing culture of “good vibes only” and while I do believe it is important to focus on the positive, you still have to let yourself feel the not so good feelings when they arise. They key is to not dwell on them.

10. Tell people how you feel about them: If you’ve ever had somebody randomly acknowledge you and all you do out of nowhere then you know how good that makes you feel. Do that for others. Also, if someone did something to upset you, let them know. Harboring those feelings will just lead to resentment and frustration.

11. Don’t loan people money you can’t afford to never get back: No matter HOW much you trust someone or how little bit of the amount, DO NOT lend people money if you NEED them to pay you back for your finances to be okay. You never know if people will be able to pay you back so just don’t lend it if you can’t afford to never see it again.

12. Find a workout you love to do and never stop doing it: In our younger years it is really important we focus on living a healthy lifestyle to try and avoid consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle in our older years. Exercising releases endorphins and those make you feel good. You will be more motivated to consistently workout if you love the workout you’re doing.

13. Call your grandparents often: When my grandfather passed away last year one thing I could be at peace with was that I talked to him regularly. I can’t say I called him every day and sometimes a week or so would go by but I can say when he died I didn’t have a guilty conscience about not talking to him enough. I was the last person who spoke to him on the phone the night he passed.

14. Make sure you call your friends just to see how they are doing not to talk about yourself: Don’t be the self-centered friend who only calls people to vent about their problems. It’s annoying and people will eventually get over your one-sided friendships. Call (not text because sometimes that shit takes too long) your friends and see how they are. Check in with them. You’d be surprised what people are holding in until somebody asks “how are you?”

15. Always return phone calls and reply to your e-mails: It’s the professional thing to do. You want to build these habits before you enter the actual work force where an e-mail that isn’t responded to can lead to being reprimanded.

16. Sometimes all you need for a better mood is a good night’s sleep: “I’ll sleep when I die” is tired (no pun intended.) Get some damn rest. You would be surprised how much more pleasant your days are when you getting enough sleep. If only somebody had told me this in undergrad (or if I had listened).

17. Unless people ask you for your advice don’t give it to them: Honestly, save your breath. People are going to do what they want to and sometimes unsolicited advice can be annoying. If people don’t ask, don’t tell them what you think they should do. I still struggle with this one.

18. It’s okay to remove yourself from one-sided relationships: I used to be the person that felt I needed to be there for everybody but when I evaluated tough times in my life I could count on two hands who was there for me. Focus your energy on those relationships, not people who always take.

19. Go to the doctor at least once a year for a check-up: DO THIS, no explanation needed. You gotta stay on top of your health, even if you hate the doctor’s office like me.

20. Be mindful of what you say and do in front of children, they are always watching: I hear the craziest things when at work (as a substitute teacher and day camp counselor). You would be surprised how much kids soak up from adults and repeat.

21. Perfection doesn’t exist, just try your best: Don’t beat yourself up about not being perfect, literally NOBODY is. It’s okay. (Mostly a note to self).
22. Don’t get caught up on planning something and the small insignificant details, make a choice and focus on execution: As a creative this is one of the most important things I’ve learned. Nobody gives a shit if you use font one or font two, just pick one and move along.

23. Procrastination is self-sabotage, cut the shit and get it done: Calling all undergrads, grad students, and creatives: Don’t procrastinate. If you “work well under pressure” think how great something could have been if you gave it the time it deserved.

24. People can love you even if you don’t love yourself but you won’t be able to accept their love: I’m sure I’ve had many people who loved me or at least cared about me deeply that I couldn’t handle at the time because I hadn’t learned how to love myself and think I was worthy of it, thus pushing them away and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
25. Love yourself: Self-love is important. Love yourself, flaws and all and forgive yourself for anything you need forgiveness for.
I hope you enjoyed reading the things I’ve learned about myself and others in my 25 years on planet Earth. If you related to any of these or found it helpful, please share it on your social media!

Is there a lesson you think every twentysomething should know that I left out? I’m always open to learning more. Share it in the comments!