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From Mediocre to Magnificent! Changing your mindset to make the best of a mediocre situation.

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From Mediocre to Magnificent! Changing your mindset to make the best of a mediocre situation.

From Mediocre to Magnificent!

Changing your mindset into making the best of a mediocre situation

By Severen Henderson for Department3C

I just came off of vacation and had the most okay, alright, mediocre time that a person can have on vacation. 

Honestly, I'm upset with how I feel after the trip. 

So here I am with another blog. The attempt is to turn my okay time on a trip into a positive and motivational post.

I write reviews for various events in my life. I usually write when something is great, and I want to promote and share the experience. Or I write when something is horrible, and I don't think anyone else should be subjected to whatever it was because it was an absolute disaster. If I don't think that anyone should touch it with a 10-foot pole, I want to warn readers to watch out! This trip doesn't fit into either category of disaster or an excellent trip. The trip wasn't great. The trip wasn't bad. It was just mediocre. And this blog is going to show you why that is okay. 

For starters, my party and I went on two different excursions. One was exciting, fun, and fantastic! And the other was one of the worst excursions I have ever been on. 

I will review both. The first one made the trip seem like it was going downhill fast, while the other more fun excursion brightened up the trip!

So without further ado. Here is my trip to the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana review. 

Punta Cana is the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic. It is found on the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It's mostly known for beaches and clear water. An area called The Bávaro, and Punta Cana combines to form La Costa del Coco or the Coconut Coast. This area is full of lavish resorts. Popular attractions include windsurfing, zip-lining, sailing, and kayaking. 

The excursions that we chose were a doom-buggy ride around town, with stops at a cenote and a stop at a beach that had restaurants and where the locals had different souvenirs for sale. Since this was the first excursion, I'll begin my description of events with this trip that we went on. 

Pre-Trip photos are a must!

The trip began in a souvenir shop. Here the local merchants were selling various knick-knacks and touristy items that the area is known for. A tourist staple is MamaJuana, a concoction of wine and honey over a bark. The beverage is supposed to be an aphrodisiac. The taste isn't horrible or tasty for a description. Come to think of it, this was kind of the start to the just okay theme of the trip. The taste reminds me of corner store wine. Something along the lines of Wild Irish Rose, but with a woody, then sweet flavor. 

As the saying goes…." When in Rome." 

After the time spent in the gift shop, you are then escorted to the buggies to drive. I was part of a party of 4 people total. They had the option to have one driver of your group for four people. We decided to split our party and ride two and two. There was a mix-up of the cars where the staff thought that we all wanted one car. Still, after some phone calls and a slight debate, we got the split of originally requested cars when we booked the excursion. 

Because of the split, we received some newer cars. They looked slightly newer than the cars running for everyone else. Also, they didn't break down during the trip. So there's that as a plus. 

Now off starts the trip. Local townspeople, especially kids, come running up to your car as we ride through town. They offer different things like flower petals, drawings, or just anything they can find to earn money as they are running. It's kind of cute as they run beside the car. But at the same time, it's kind of sad too. 

I think it is sad for a couple of reasons to me. First, we were going on this excursion on a weekday. That brought to mind the question. Why weren't these kids in school? It was the time and season that they should have been somewhere learning. And the second issue was the fact that this is what they felt needed to be done to earn some money. Our party did give in and offer some donations. But again, this is a time where I appreciate my "First World Problems."

We continue through the city and see the sights. There are horses, cows, and other farm animals along the way. Some look like they are in great shape for animals, others not so much. Some of the lands look to be well maintained, and other land doesn't. Various trees are growing different types of vegetation. Mangoes, almonds, and oranges seem to be the most common. 

You can clearly see the look of disgust on my face.

Upon arrival to the cenote, there are signs outside that say "Dominican Costco, and Dominican Macy's," another opportunity to shop. The buggies didn't stop there, though. Once inside, we walk down to a hole in the ground known as a cenote. 

On a previous trip to the same country, I took a trip to another cenote that was less touristy. The water's temperature was decent. The water was deep at approximately 15 feet, and the area was a lot smaller. The cenote wasn't deep at around 3 to 4 feet in depth on this trip. There was a waterfall inside, and the overall distance of the area was about 150 feet. The temperature was a bit cold to start, which caused some people to not get into the water. Still, the temperature was acceptable as long as you got your entire body into the water. 

Fun in the cenote.

After the trip to the cenote, we were off in our doom buggies again. So here is the point and why this excursion was so disappointing to me. Again I had been on this trip before, so there was a certain amount of speed, adventure, and getting dirty that I expected this time around. There was absolutely none of that! 

The speed at which we traveled was about as fast as we could have gone on a bicycle ride. Even a slow trot on a horse ride would have been faster! Additionally, the reason for the doom buggy was to get down and dirty! While on the ride, the guides had us ride through a puddle with a water hose turned on. At that spot, photographers were set up to take pictures that were supposed to make it seem as though this was an exciting adventure. It wasn't.

I eluded to this previously in this post. While on the trip, multiple other doom buggy cars broke down on the side of the road. Ours didn't but watching everyone else break down offered a sense of impending breakdown of the car we were traveling in. 

Our last stop on the trip was to the beach. The water was beautiful, and the temperature was perfect. Restaurants on the beach served cold beer and hot chicken. So that part was excellent. Again on the beach, there were vendors with various items for sale. A local was on the beach with a monkey for tourists to pose with for a small donation. I have to admit that the scenery was beautiful. 

At this point in the trip, we are on our way back to the start point of the destination. There was more of the same scenery that I described before on the way back. The ride was still prolonged and disappointing. To make matters worse, we crossed paths with another doom buggy tour, and their cars were all kinds of dirty and muddy! We were so jealous of the fun that it looked like that other tour was having. 

You can see the hose off to the right in this photo.

Besides the scenery, I give this excursion a D-. The only reason that it's not a complete F is that our cars got to the destinations without breaking down, and the cenote and beach were decent. 

The final part of the excursion was returning to the area where we were sold items before. Only this time, in addition to small take-home souvenirs, we were also sold the pictures from the excursion. The cost wasn't terrible, so we bought the package of photos.

Excursion #2 Dolphin experience!

To me, this was THE BEST EXCURSION EVER! Well, at least the best for this trip. This excursion was where a person swims and experiences the joy and entertainment that playing with dolphins offers. 

We don't have many pictures from this excursion because you can't take your camera. And while we did purchase the photos from this excursion, all of the sights that we saw could not be captured by photo. 

To begin with, the first thing that you do is get fitted for life jackets. Life jackets are provided because of how far out and deep you are with the dolphins. Even if you are a good swimmer having a life jacket is vital because you get to float for some of the pictures and experiences of this excursion. Plus you don't have to concentrate on your excellent swimming skills as the dolphins entertain you and your group. 

Speaking of group, this is definitely one of those excursions you can enjoy even if you are a solo trip-taking person. You don't need a group of people because you are set up within a group. 

To keep it simple, you float, pose with dolphins, and swim out to the middle of an enclosed area, and the dolphins bring you back in while you hold on to their fins from different angles. It's a great experience!

There is a show with a sea lion that performs awesome tricks with various props to end the excursion. And finally, we went to a birdcage area. Here you get to head inside the cage through a double door. Once everyone is inside, and no birds can escape, you are given seed in your hand, and the birds come up to you and eat out of your hand! Again this is a beautiful experience and a great way to connect to animals in their natural habitat. The experience is peaceful, serene, and gives you an appreciation for nature. 

After all of the excursions, you are taken back to your hotel. Some of the rides were better than others. I appreciate the ride there and ride back because you get the opportunity to see what other resorts in the area offer. While you can't judge a book by its cover, at least you can get a quick view of other resorts that you might want to visit on your next adventure to another country.

Besides the excursions, my visit to The Dominican Republic was just okay. If I won a free trip back, I would certainly take advantage of the trip. But to plan to go again on purpose, that will have to be a no for me. 

The biggest reason why. The food. I'm a real-life foodie! I know that it's only nutrition and sustenance for the body, and I wish that I could look at food in that light. But I appreciate the flavors and texture of the food. And with this being the second time that I was in this country and area, I can confirm that the food isn't the main attraction. 

To offer a bit of context, the main dish or the national dish for the area is rice. Rice. Out of all the foods served and offered, plain rice is the national dish. 

Not all of the food that I had was from resorts either. My party and I ventured off of the resort grounds to try some local food. And while it was better than the resort food, it's still nothing to write home about. 

So that's a wrap on the reporting of this trip. To sum it all up. The trip was undoubtedly needed as far as vacation and giving myself the time and opportunity to refresh and recharge my batteries. 

The sun, the temperature, the water, and the fun offered were great! And just like the title says, sometimes you have to make the best of an okay situation. In comparison, this isn't my first pick of somewhere to go on vacation. I'm not going to sit around and be a bump on a log because everything on the trip wasn't exactly ideal to me. I still found things on the trip to appreciate, and as far as travel, I just want to encourage you, the reader, to get out there and explore the world. 

When you go on trips, take a minute to appreciate all you have. Appreciate the fact that you were able to travel. If you are going along with family or friends, take the time to appreciate that you have people to enjoy the trip with. Even if you aren’t enjoying yourself you can take solace in the fact that you have a new experience and a new story to share. 

Appreciate the fact that you have a home to travel back to. And as long as you made it to your destination and back home safely, you have had a successful trip. No matter the circumstance, as long as you check all safety boxes. Count your last trip as a success, even if it's just mediocre. Mediocre is an experience within itself. It could even be considered an adventure! Experiences are the stories that make up our lives. Experiences and stories are small mementos of the times that we have here on this planet. So share the outstanding times as well as the mediocre times in your life. Mediocre is better than horrible, and mediocre is better than nothing at all.  

Severen Henderson is the Owner/Operator of Department3C. You can connect with him on most social media sites @iamsevy or  @deaprtment3c. Let's keep in contact, so please head over to our website www.department3c.com to see what we are up to! For e-mail inquiries, contact us at info@department3c.com.

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