The Fathom Travel Difference – Making An Impact On The Dominican Republic

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Gayle Turner joined Fathom on our inaugural voyage to the Dominican Republic in April. She is a lifelong educator and travel writer. Her full post can be found here.

From the moment you step onboard you know you’re about to be a part of something that will change your life. But it’s the change that comes from within you that makes the Fathom Travel difference much more than just another vacation, but rather a journey into self-discovery and more.

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Last week I had the honor of experiencing this newest way of cruising when I took part in the inaugural cruise with Fathom to the Dominican Republic, as part of their innovative way of travel that combines the best in cruising with a desire to give back. With a #TravelDeep mantra to guide us on our journey, it was during this week I truly came to understand what it meant to be able to see the world around me in a way like never before – to see beneath the surface and to see myself and others in a whole new way.

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The electricity from my fellow passengers, that literally became my family over the week, was palpable from the moment we stepped onto the deck of the Adonia for its first sailing. From the flair of the décor, to the music and food that reflected our Dominican Republic destination, to our social impact guides who helped to ready us for the journey that awaited us upon docking in the new Amber Cove port, which unlike most cruises, would serve as our home for three days, the overall feeling of knowing something special was about to happen was in the air everywhere.

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Although part of the Carnival Cruise Line, because Fathom is a smaller, more intimate setting, it allowed you to not only get to know your fellow passengers, but to quickly form bonds with them that would further enhance the experiences that we would share.

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From the very start the role of the onboard experience was all there to be custom fit, as it were, as to what I wanted to take away with me at the end. Being an educator for the past 30 years, to be able to touch the lives of the students there and teach in their classrooms, knowing that I would impact them in some small way, was of course paramount to me personally. But what I was not prepared for was how much joy they would bring to me and how my outlook on life would be forever changed because of them.

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The opportunity to go out and connect with and work with the families of the Dominican Republic, and connect with them in a positive way in their communities was way beyond my expectations. I wish I could find the words that could begin to explain the feeling that you walk away with. When looking back, knowing that I was a small part of something that will be continued and carried on throughout the years to come and will have a long term positive impact on others around me; it just doesn’t get any better than that. Just look at what we were able to do in one week:

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  • 2,408 trees were planted. With time this will lead to more nutrient-rich soil, reduction in soil loss, improved localized air and water quality, an increase in localized biodiversity, and higher agricultural yields.
  • 208 pounds of nibs cleaned. 6,320 chocolate bars wrapped. Travelers direct impact helps this company to grow sales and thrive, and provide critical income opportunities in the region as well as greater overall well being of employees.
  • 584 sheets of paper produced. Travelers hands-on support helps all aspects of this company grow, increase production and sales. As a result, the employees report greater overall well-being.
  • Concrete floors were installed in 2 homes. Providing safer homes and improving quality of life for 20 people (total people living in these homes).
  • 50 water filters produced. This will provide Clean Water Access to 50 homes, whose inhabitants will experience a significant reduction in waterborne illness instances. Indirect benefits will include better work and school attendance.
  • 636 persons amongst students and community members benefited from effective foreign language interaction with native English speakers.
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And the best part is, it doesn’t stop there. It’s a journey that will continue on as twice a month, like-minded travelers come in to pick up where I left off. But even better, it’s still a cruise to a place that is waiting to be explored, so not only are you experiencing a chance to get to know the people that call the Dominican Republic home and touch their lives in some small way, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy everything from snorkeling to zip lining to touring the city. To enjoy the pool and area around Amber Cove, or just take part in one of the many activities that await you onboard, all purposely designed to enhance your week from start to finish so you come away with a feeling of knowing in your heart that you will be forever changed.

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So what is the Fathom travel experience? It’s people reaching out to people, joining together to have an impact on the world around us in a holistic way. It’s the transformation of lives and the experience of travel as we know it. It’s a shared humanity opportunity, with each one of us coming together to bring things we never knew we had inside of ourselves, and to take away within ourselves things we could have never have begun to imagine. But in the end, it’s the shared vision of positivity that comes from when people come together to help make an impact and touch the lives of others.

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They say it’s not about the destination you head for but the journey you take that makes life worth living. Nowhere is this more profoundly true than when you’re a part of travelers who are willing to do travel boldly and in doing so, touch the lives of others. Coming up next, what it’s like onboard a Fathom cruise. Want a chance to change the world and combine your love of traveling with your passion of touching the lives of others?

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