How Desab, Haiti, Taught Me How to Travel with Purpose

The world has this unorthodox way of showing you things. It’ll raise your blood pressure one day and calm your mind the next. It can piss you off and make you fall in love in a split second.

It has this ability to provide answers to questions that you didn’t realize you had yet. And it has this remarkable way of walking you through the day-to-day, providing direction, and preparing you for something much bigger than yourself.

I credit Desab, Haiti for answering the hardest thing I’ve ever asked myself. “Do I genuinely love to travel and help others, or do I just like the idea of it? Is this what I was put on this earth to do or am I trying to force a lie?” No one ever warned me about the trials and tribulations that would come along with trying to figure that out. It took one of the most challenging situations I’ve ever been in to find truth.

No electricity, no air conditioning, surrounded by poverty, tarantulas, miles from clean water, and 12 college students – most that have never traveled outside of the comfort of their own homes in the United States before. Whoa.

Haiti sunrsie

Our team spent a week in Desab, a Haitian community that is so rural you can’t find it on a map. Honestly, most Haitians probably haven’t heard of it either. To paint a picture, it’s about an hour drive away from the nearest paved road and if you aren’t constantly being followed by a goat, then you’re probably in the wrong place.

Our group participated in community service projects for the local school throughout the week, and don’t get me wrong… everything we did impacted me in its own unique way, but it was something much more powerful that changed the game for me.

In seven days, I witnessed growth, hurt, love, despair, hope, confusion, happiness… and more than anything else, LIFE. Everything that rocked my world that week came from sitting back and watching.

As an outsider looking in, there are a lot of things that one could find “wrong” with Desab. But when you completely immerse yourself in the people and culture of an area, you discover a new side of what living is about. It’s about dancing, singing, and playing the drums late at night in the pitch black because you don’t have electricity. It’s about “Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes” – on repeat because the giggles that result from it make you absolutely melt on the inside. It’s about rejoicing in your dried sweat after hiking to a waterfall because you get to submerge yourself in the cold water.

Haiti waterfall

It’s about awkward sunburns on your legs from reading a book on the patio. It’s about watching the sunrise every morning. It’s about conversations of goals and visions of growth. And have mercy, it’s about the best cup of locally grown coffee that you’ve ever had.

Desab taught me that sometimes it’s not always about the place, but about the adventure and what we can learn if we sit back and absorb. If we don’t take the opportunity to simply GO, then we prevent ourselves from finding the answers that the world can offer. Haiti gave me mine.

Haiti baby

I discovered my purpose is to travel and be a servant to others. It just so happens, the beautiful exchange in that mission, is that for as much as we can give, we will receive so much more.

Bethany Green
Bethany Green

Co-founder of High Tide Adventure, a nonprofit crafting unique opportunities for today’s youth to develop leadership and social skills through adventure and service experiences.

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