top of page

#TravelDeep = Travel Like an Architect™ Fathom DR

Tomorrow morning Lynn and I are leaving for a life-changing (quite literally) experience. For the next two weeks we will Travel Like an Architect. Which means “Travel for Life Long Learners who Desire to See The World in a More Meaningful Way”. Fathom calls this “Travel with a Purpose” or “Impact + Travel”. The Blueprint For Our Next Vacation is below……. DISFRUTA!

love amber cove

Amber Cove – Dominican Republic = Love

Prior to our trip we have our house sitter, and dog watcher, settle into our comfy home. We are lucky to have a small handful of VERY trustworthy and conscientious “young” people – often students – who are able to live, study, eat, and sleep at our home and business. It removes all worry of any “incidents” while we are gone. Our dog Loukas will be happy, as we have arranged for Collin, again.  He watched our house LAST time we were in Amber Cove with the Greg Gallello Fan Club Cruise.  <CLICK HERE> for that post.

We will drive to Chicago Saturday evening and stay at the Hyatt Regency Ohare where our car can park securely in a covered deck while we are gone. GREAT way to avoid that EARLY morning drive/commute to Ohare.


We get up before the sun and fly from Chicago to Miami. We will catch a cab (MIA does not allow Uber at their airport) to the Port of Miami. At the terminal building we will go thru the Check-in process, find our room (YEA – thanks to fathom we have a Balcony!), and unpack. Rob has organized a Cruise Critic Sail Away event, so at 4:30pm we will all meet on the upper deck as we leave the harbor. This is one of the most fun, for us, parts of cruising – I hear “Love Boat, Exciting and new……” EVERY time we depart a port. You can even watch us sail away live at the Port of Miami Deck Cam. Later we will meet up with other World Travel Holding Agents for a Meet-and-Greet-and-Drink at the Lido Bar. That evening we will have a nice meal, and make some new friends.

cruise terminal

Looking at the Adonia from the Cruise Terminal


Our Favorite Spot on this Ship. (original R-Class)


Monday is a sea day – will we sleep in??? Maybe. Fathom has impact activities planned for the two sea days on this trip. These will include ice-breakers, educational instruction, and perhaps learning to salsa. We are MOST interested to learn what this entails, and will provide more details when we return. AND…. it would not be an Impact VACATION if there were not sun, deck chairs, and a pool. [easy-image-collage id=4149]

Wonder if WE get to draw on the ship………  Travel Like An Architect™ – bring your creativity!


We do not arrive in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, until late morning. This means we can have a relaxing and restful morning. Perhaps breakfast on our balcony.


Your Cruise INCLUDES Delicious food!!!!

Upon arrival we have our first Impact Activity. We are SURE to get our hands dirty with this one:

Reforestation and Nursery

According to fathom: “Reforestation is of great importance in the Dominican Republic, where the livelihood of many citizens relies on activities dependent on their natural resources (agriculture, tourism, logging, etc.).” We may start our day by assisting in the production of seedlings and community education at a central nursery, while working alongside local community members. Later we are scheduled to plant trees and other indigenous plants in deforested areas. The long term goal of this activity is: “To help restore local ecosystems and help mitigate the negative environmental effects of deforestation.” Our work here will have a long-term that directly or indirectly impacts the lives of many people in the Puerto Plata province.

planting more trees

Working with seedlings


Seedlings in the Nursery

planting the trees



Concrete Floors in Community Homes

This will be a FULL and HARD day’s work – but nothing new to us. We will replace family homes’ unsafe dirt floors with leveled cement. We may also get to assist with other small home improvement projects. According to Fathom: In the homes of poorer communities, the common basic dirt floors are a genuine health risk. In addition to the hazards of dust and waterborne illness, these floors are impossible to clean.” We are looking forward to a first-hand look at the construction techniques in this country, and MIGHT even have some advice to leave. The cement floor we help to install will: “prevent the flooding and standing water that occurs in dirt-floored homes during the rainy season, thus reducing the prevalence of diseases and damages to the property.”

mixing concrete

Mixing Concrete the Dominican Way. Wait until we show you the AFTER photos from our day of labor!


We have scheduled a BUSY day today. One activity in the morning, and another in the afternoon.

Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative

In the morning we will learn more about our favorite food group – CHOCOLATE!!! According to Fathom: “This specific Cooperative Model is executed in the Chocal Factory, located in Altamira, Puerto Plata. The model consists of a mix of production station rotations in the chocolate factory. Our morning activities will start off with a warm up dynamic followed up by 4 different work stations. A final “experience sharing activity” (we will let you know what that is – EATING?) is held prior to moving to lunch. We will learn about the specific impact our participation had on the Island, and people, at the end of this activity. We are REALLY looking forward to the locally cooked meal.


Packaging Chocolate – Can we Sample It Too??


Caco Beans Drying

cooking dominican style

Home Cooked Dominican Lunch!

Recycled Paper and Crafts Entrepreneurship

After our DELICIOUS lunch, Fathom says we will: “Spend a half day working with the members of a community co-op, making handmade recycled paper and other unique art products using recycled waste with a group of local artisans”. We will get to be part of the paper making process, which “consists of shredding paper, making pulp, molding sheets and smoothing and drying the paper.” Sounds like an nice “artsy” adventure for two VERY “artsy” people. Because the community co-op is limited in sales based on the human production capacity, our contribution will help “open new markets and as a result create new jobs for other people in community.” AND…. if you have been to an island, we will be aiding in the recycling of waste from nearby neighborhoods and companies.

making paper

Recycling junk into new “fancy” paper. We are MOST interested to learn how…..


Friday is a half-day in port. In the afternoon we have to leave and start our trip back to Miami.

Student English Conversation & Learning

According to Fathom, “On a national level, young Dominicans face almost insurmountable obstacles to academic success. One of the skills most in demand by local employers is basic English. However, a shortage of trained English teachers and lack of academic support at home make a formalized English learning curriculum difficult to sustain.” We will have the opportunity to work with both teachers and students on activities designed to create interest and excitement in the learning process and aid in language retention. We will engage in games, simple vocabulary lessons, and small-group conversations that hope to provide much-needed confidence. We VERY much understand the value of our help here. We both took basic Spanish MANY MANY years ago. In preparation for this trip, AND our desire to BECOME Impact Guides, we have renewed our study skills. We have been fortunate enough to be able to retain on On-Line Spanish Tutor – Sylvia on Upwork. We will be pleased to have an impact on these children’s English skills, and provide them an opportunity to better themselves and their families. Fathom anticipates that, within five years, more than 2,200 of the students whose lives we’ve touched will have achieved working proficiency in English and will be prepared for jobs that can raise the income levels of their families.


We plan on making MANY new friends!


Saturday is a FULL day of excitement as we sail back to Miami. We HOPE to sleep in a bit, and rest – on deck. However the Crew has wrap-up activities planned to help us bring back – TO ROCKFORD – what we have learned. We look forward to meeting Colin and Katie Dow – the Lead Impact Guides – and their team of people. THEY are the one’s who will fulfill that “Desire to See The World in a More Meaningful Way”


fathom’s impact guides #traveldeep = #travellikeanarchitect

Remember, watch our Social Media from May 8 to May 15 for current photos of this experience.  We hope to pull off a live broadcast, AND, as always, a FULL write-up after we return.

YOU TOO can have an adventure like this.  When we return we will be all ready to help you with your’s.  Can’t wait?  Check out the pricing and dates HERE

And….. This is just the first week of two with Fathom on board the Adonia. Look for our itinerary on CUBA, in your mail box NEXT week!!!

buen viaje

See ALL the Cruise to Cuba options and pricing > CLICK HERE

See ALL the Cruise to Dominican Republic options and pricing > CLICK HERE

Rob and Lynn Belles are seasoned travelers and Cruises Inc. Travel Agents – gathering up the best experiences on the Globe to share with you

for the purpose of inspiring you to go into the world and learn………..

Donating helps cover the cost of producing the post that helps you and others! Just decide what the info was worth to YOU and click the Donate button below! Select an amount to Donate: $2$5$10$15$20$25

Travel Like An Architect™ – Book a Cruise!

We travel to get away and to be together, to learn and to teach, to experience and become wise, to turn off the news and ignore the clock, to connect to the world in a peaceful way all while leaving a bit of our wealth with someone else who needs it more than we do.  We know you could do this too or we wouldn’t be promoting it.  Go ahead step out of your comfort zone and dream a little then let us show you just how affordable your dreams really are!

Call 815-516-0300 for travel quotes and more information!

Follow us on Social – Click the Icons in the footer

6 views0 comments


bottom of page