|What is your city, state and country of residence?||Ormond Beach, FL|
|How old were you during the intercultural travel experience you are sharing? How old are you now?||I was 45 and now I’m 51|
|Where was this intercultural/travel experience (geographically)?||Dominica|
|Was this your first time in this country &/or with individuals from this cultural background?||Yes|
|Describe the intercultural experience you wish to recall in detail:||My fiancée and I were traveling on a cruise ship and decided to go off on our own for the day to see the beautiful waterfalls in Dominica. We disembarked the ship and got in line for a taxi (all taxis come into a gated area at the port). We climbed into the next taxi and off we went through the gates. Upon leaving the gated area our driver pulled to the side and started to talk with another young man, who then got into our vehicle. Our driver turned to us and said, “This is my brother, we call him Shy Guy and he is going to go with us today.” We became extremely nervous as we had no way of knowing what would happen next.
Being from New York and a pretty good judge of character I introduced myself and said, “This is my fiancée Victor.” Shy Guy turned around and said, “Victor … Victor Neuman?” (the character from the soap opera They Young and The Restless – my favorite of 15 years) I replied, “So you guys have The Young and The Restless here too!” And our new-found friendship began!! Needless to say we spent the rest of the day with our new friends – they took us all over – to the waterfalls, they watched all of our things for us, told us about life on the island and we had lunch and local beers together. We were supposed to go out with them that night to watch Shy Guy’s band play at a local bar but were afraid we would miss the cruise ship leaving.
|How did you arrive in the location?||We sailed in on our cruise ship, Silver Seas|
|Had long were you there and had you been there before?||We were there for only a day and it was our first time.|
|How did you feel different than those you were encountering? Describe in detail.||At first we felt worlds apart but within 30 minutes we felt as though we had known each other since childhood. We have so many material possessions and they just aren’t as important to the people we met on this trip. I do feel as though “island people” live a life with more peace and less stress than we do, not that their lives are less stressful they just handle it in such a better way – they get the real meaning of life. They appreciate each day and each experience and treasure the moments in life.|
|What was the biggest surprise, difference or shock between your pre-travel perceptions to your actual experiences?||I didn’t really have any pre-travel perceptions but I was so happy to see how warm and inviting each island and its citizens were.|
|What was the best (most memorable) and the worst part(s) of this experience?||Meeting these two young men was the best part of this trip and we shared such a wonderful day/experience with them – the worst part was a bit of sea sickness heading up to Barbados.|
|What was the most beneficial part of this experience for you (what did you learn)?||I learned that you need to put yourself out there sometimes and not live in fear and worry as you will miss a lot of great experiences. You still have to be smart and safe but go outside of your comfort zone sometimes.|
|What are the most important insights of your experience you feel are most critical to share and/or emphasize?||Live, love and laugh – be open to new experiences.|