Fear and Living in the Dominican Republic
It’s with this kind of fear that I begin to write the history of what happened last week.
Our plane bumped down on a boiling runway. As we snaked our way through the outdoor airport terminal, the balmy tropical air salted our skin and fleets of mosquitoes salivated over our sweet American blood. I left the comfort of first-world living back at JFK airport and stepped into the unknown. I was stepping outside the barbed parameter of my carefully delineated comfort zone and, again, it struck me: I was up a creek without a paddle. Or, more specifically, I was in a Latin American country knowing only a handful of Spanish and next to nothing about Dominican culture and customs.
This journey of a thousand miles (across the Atlantic) began with just one step or, more specifically, with just one evening (of more than one beer). A month or so prior, Bobby Rio and I were sitting in a Mexican restaurant on 3rd Avenue, comfortably eating fajitas, sipping Coronas, and basking in the familiar sounds of rush hour in midtown. After we’d sucked down enough cervezas, Bobby looked up, grinned, and said a TSB trip to the Dominican Republic was a possibility, we could swing it.
“You in?” he asked.
“A week of partying in the DR?” I laughed. “Of course I’m in!”
“Just know what you’re getting into,” Bobby cautioned. “Sure we’ll have fun. But it’s probably not what you think it’s going to be. We’re not staying in some American resort. It’s not going to be Spring Break like you see on MTV.”
“Pfft,” I snorted. “Whatever! I know I can handle myself. I’m in—for sure.”
Days later, when Bobby forwarded me my plane ticket, things got more real. Suddenly a spattering of objections flooded my booze-inspired decision. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all … isn’t the DR dangerous? And will I be able to spend a week away from work? Plus I don’t speak the language … and besides why don’t I just party in the US?
Despite my objections, I let those old, wonderful clichés keep me locked into the trip. You know, the ones like: “You only live once,” or, “What doesn’t kill you will only make you more awesome.” The prospect of adventure outweighed the prospect of business-as-usual, mundane domestic living. In fact, the definition of “adventure” hinges on risk and a degree danger.
And so, a few short weeks later, I found myself shouting over a mariachi band as I explained to a Dominican customs official my reason for visiting. Once Bobby and I stepped out of the airport, my concept of existence was twisted in a way that was uncomfortable, exhilarating, and paradigm-shifting—all at once.
Over the course of my week in the Dominican Republic, I hung out with 10 awesome characters—all unique and interesting in their own way. We met tons of women—both natives and tourists who redefined my idea of attraction and dating. Lived like kings or drug lords (drug lord kings?), laid on white sandy beaches, ate amazing Latin food, engaged in reckless and ill-advised behavior, and had a week that no one will forget.
Though, the story is secondary to the theme. While I could regale you with the awesome events that transpired last week (and I will gladly, in a more appropriate setting, such as a dive bar or in a frat house), I’d rather point out how all of last week’s awesomeness almost never existed simply because I was scared of the unknown. Opportunity rarely knocks twice. Although, most people think opportunity is loud, obnoxious, and in-your-face obvious. It’s not. Opportunity is as subtle as breathing.
Opportunity is life itself. If you’re alive, reading these words, you have the freedom to live out experiences beyond the barbed parameter of your carefully delineated comfort zone. Almost everything you desire is sitting precariously nearby, in that little space you know but you don’t know. And because you don’t know, it makes you nervous. It floods you with objections. If I learned anything last week it’s that one of those old, wonderful clichés rings true in every aspect of the unknown: when you risk your safety and comfort to do something you want, you are taking a risk; however, by succumbing to your anxiety and living in safety and comfort you’re taking an even bigger risk—one you won’t realize until it’s too late.
The only fear you should feel is the fear of almost not doing what you want. Live the adventure. Do what you want. Trust me, do it.
>>>To Learn More From Rob, Check Out “The 4 Elements of Game” where he breaks down game into four simple adjustments.
About Rob J. Rob J. is a writer and dating instructor in New York City. Themes that resonate in both his teaching and writing are masculinity, genuineness, rational self-interest, and general awesomeness.