Why You Need To Add Haiti To Your Travel Bucket List ASAP
Picture this …
Robby walks in the front door after a long day of elbow rehab and off season training. There I am sitting at the kitchen counter sipping on a hot cup of tea banging away on my laptop keyboard.
“Hey babe! How was your day? Oh oh, by the way - I talked to Val earlier today and I’m going to go to Haiti in two weeks.”
*cue the look that your spouse gives you when he thinks you may or may not have 10 heads and are speaking a different language.
I’m a planner. I love the shit out of planning. So for me, it was out of my wheelhouse to agree to embark on a last minute trip without having a highlighted plan. I was even shocked by my own self when I sat at the computer booking my flights. Thoughts like “who is taking over my body” flowed through my mind. To be transparent – I had no idea the adventure I was about to embark on. When friends would ask why am I going I awkwardly didn’t’ have a straight forward answer to give them. Basically I felt this why the hell not pushing me to just go.
Fast forward and there I was, in our closet shoving bathing suits into a suitcase and checking my packing list twice. Before I had a chance to talk myself out of going, I was being dropped off at the Miami airport (thanks to the best Uber driver aka my mom ;) * and … OFF TO HAITI I WENT!
Who did I go with?
What was my overall experience?
Let’s work our way through those questions and, as always, if you have ANY further questions or want to know more – leave a comment at the end of this post and I promise to get back to you!
The trip was organized by KIN TRAVEL – a travel company inspired by safari, committed to sustainability and deeply authentic journeys. One of the incredible things about KIN is that 15% of the trips profits go to local villages (EX: education, health care, water filtration, etc.) Before sending in my trip deposit – I only knew one person, a sweet friend (and insanely talented photographer), Valorie Darling. Her boyfriend is one of the co-founders of KIN and from me to you, I would not have embarked on a trip of this nature if I didn’t have an insane amount of trust in the masterminds behind it all. The other co-founder, Dillion (who is fluent in Creole and has deep ties to Haiti) is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet – for real.
After a quick flight from Miami we landed in Cap Haitian. Now, think of the smallest airport you have ever been to and shrink that by 20. At the airport was the first place that our group met! Introductions were made, hugs were exchanged and the energy was high. The airport was a bit chaotic but the welcoming smiles and coolers full of Prestige (the local beer) upon arrival wiped all worries away. Once our bags were loaded into the vans – THE ADVENTURE OFFICALLY BEGAN. This is my first time in a third world country and to be honest, I was in the dark with what I was about to experience first-hand. As soon as we pulled out of the airport, I was in complete awe. Between the insanely crowded streets, piles of trash, endless vendors and barely there construction – my mind was on overload.
From there, we met our next form of transportation: A Knot (or a small taxi boat, if you will) that took us to the Labadie where Dillion’s (one of the founders) parents have a breath taking home. We greeted by the sweetest welcome committee! We then indulged in a sunset swim, a delicious dinner and a dance party with our new friends :)
From there on out, our days were full of unforgettable experiences. We hiked to and walked through different “towns” where we were able to connect with the locals and experience life through their eyes. The amount of poverty and daily struggles the Haitians live in is truly unimaginable. Even though they are unsure where their next clean cup of water is coming from – Haitians great you with an ear to ear smile that makes your heart want to burst. I was awestruck with how genuinely happy they are and how big of hearts they possess. Their warm hugs and sounds of their laughter is truly something I will never ever forget. Never once, for half a second, did I feel a wave of fear or uncertainty about my surroundings. We had the amazing opportunity to visit Haiti Design Co and make bracelets with the local workers. We visited the Citadelle and the beautiful Sans-Souci Palace. Oh and did I mention we spent an entire day sailing on a dream (sail)boat? The Balance was a huge treat and the perfect way to round out an unforgettable 5-day experience.
Oh and as far as those “strangers” that I met at the airport – after spending unplugged days with them I can say with confidence that we all became family. Each and everyone one of us walks different paths in life and went to Haiti with different intentions in mind but this experience, together, is something that we will always be able to lean back on.
I mean this in the least cliché way possible but I sincerely feel that no words and or photos will do this trip let alone Haiti full justice. It was a trip of a lifetime and I cannot recommend KIN Travel enough. If you are looking for a trip that will fill your soul and leave you feeling renewed – this trip has your name written all over it, trust me.
UPCOMING KIN TRAVEL HAITI TRIPS:
May 24-29th && June 5-10th
visit www.kin.travel to book YOUR trip!