Last fall break, my mom handed me a tiny blue booklet. My first-ever passport had arrived while I was at school.

A smile immediately spread across my face.

Holding the small blue book in my hands, I ran my fingers over the crispness of its pages. The newness radiated from it, invigorating me with the desire to travel the entire world in that exact moment.

From the moment I got my passport, I was thinking of where to get it stamped first. After much discussion, my mom and I settled upon christening my passport on a tropical spring break getaway.

As we began planning our trip, it seemed like everyone wanted to offer their own prime destination: Cancún, Aruba, Punta Cana, Costa Rica, US Virgin Islands and so many more.

After meeting with a travel agent, we settled on an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana called “Dreams.” We spent four nights there, but I honestly wish we had stayed longer.

The resort was like something out of a movie. The architecture and landscaping were almost too flawless to be real, and the mixture of chirping birds and rustling palm trees was like the perfect ambient noise machine come to life.

To say that I was in awe would be an understatement.

After settling into our room, my mom and I decided to enjoy the afternoon sunlight by the pool. We soaked up the rays and swam until the sun started to fade behind the tall palm trees.

We spent most of our days poolside, even when the sun was covered by gray clouds and rainstorms. It rained three out of four days we were in Punta Cana, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying our trip.

There were always activities held around the resort that we could attend whenever we wanted. If we ever got bored at the pool, we could go to a foam party on the beach, get cooking lessons by the bar, or watch a dance show on one of the patios.

Our travel agency also offered various excursions such as swimming with dolphins and day trips to other islands, at an additional cost. Although these were certainly tempting, we decided to stay at the resort to soak up what little time we had to spend there.

When the time came to leave our resort and return to reality, I was left wanting more. The Dominican Republic was beautiful, and even though I was only in Punta Cana for four days, I made countless memories in that time. I swam in the ocean for the first time, got some much-needed relaxation after a taxing spring semester and spent quality time with my mom.

As my first international trip, Punta Cana will always have a special place in my heart. It definitely didn’t disappoint and I can’t wait to go back. This trip gave me the travel bug and I can’t wait to see where I go next.

carlintm@miamioh.edu

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