In 1995, when Krista and I moved to Santo Domingo, we had no idea what our life in the Dominican Republic would be like, that we wod spend most of our adult life there, eventually becoming citizens and the deep impact this new culture would have on us. We’ve had the privilege to travel quite a bit in our three decades together and I say, with confidence, we’ve not met a people with hospitality so naturally engrained in their DNA as Dominicans.
Our first Christmas in the DR, we had no money for gifts let alone funds to buy tickets to fly back to the US to be with family. We hadn’t been in country barely 4 months and our Spanish was marginal at best. We had met some new friends through our crazy Friday afternoon rock climbing event along the mirador and these new friends, who we barely knew, invited us into their homes, into their families and they shared their Christmas holidays with these two lonely gringos. We never forgot this early experience of generosity, which flowed so naturally during our first Christmas in the capital. We are continually reminded of this incredible gift of hospitality that the Dominican people have.
Much of our two decades living in the DR, both in Santo Domingo and in Jarabacoa was spent hosting people, practicing, and perfecting the lessons we were taught by our host culture. Both of our biological daughters were born and raised in the DR, and they fiercely defend their Dominican roots. All of us are dual citizens, and we are proud to so closely identify with a culture that treated us as their own from day one. As a family, we are most happy and full of joy when serving friends and family. Whether it’s an intimate gathering in our home with a few close friends or a full blown party of more than 300 new and old friends at Spirit Mountain, hospitality is what we do best as a family.
As we look to the future, Krista and I are realizing that everything we’ve done in life has somehow been equipping us to lead a community and foster hospitality, and the Dominican people have showed us the way, by their humble example, of what it means to be generous.
As I lead our team in building community and conceptually designing what Estancia Natura will be, Krista has been busy developing the hospitality side of our community. Krista has a special gifting and ability to lead a team of people and we are all so thankful for her commitment to providing an amazing guest experience. A book we recently read as a team, Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara, rocked our world and raised the bar for what we want to accomplish with regards to how we love on and serve our guests. One theme we borrowed from Will’s story was the idea of Legendary acts of hospitality. He encouraged his staff to not only go the extra mile, but to look for ways to blow guests minds with special acts of hospitality. Acts that would become legends unto themselves. Legends Hospitality is the name of her team and I can say for certain, this fledgling group are on the hunt for opportunities to create legendary experiences for guests visiting the farm.
An example of this legendary hospitality at an EPIC scale was the Dominican Enduro Series mountain bike race we just hosted last weekend. Our team worked relentlessly, for the past 4 months, along side DES organizer, Waldo de la Mota and his team, to pull off the most epic and fun party the town of Manabao has ever seen! We had at least 300 guests cheering on 75 competitors from morning to night. I’ve never been prouder than I was on September 9th of a team so selflessly committed to making sure our guests had an amazing experience! And it was EPIC! Anyone who was there to witness Round 3 of the Dominica Enduro Series at Spirit Mountain knows the magnitude of what we all pulled off together! The Tri-Mountain MTB Park at Spirit Mountain, which we dreamed up 10 years ago, came to life in a huge way!
As we look to the future and begin building a community of like-minded friends, I am already seeing the fruit of people who are committed to loving one another and creating a safe ecosystem for healthy, thriving relationships. There are so many informal members of the Spirit Mountain community who are already collaborating to make Estancia Natura an amazing place. From the mountain biking community with DES, to the educational community with Hummingbird Adventures and the Doulos Discovery School, to our birding friends and our environmental friends. Our Architecture and design friends, our Ecotourism and adventure friends. The amazing list of the people we love, who also care deeply about one another just goes on and on.
The only way you can really appreciate what we know to be true and real is to become apart of the community yourself. No where have we found a more joyful and fun, sincere, and generous community of friends and family, than in the DR! This journey, we unintentionally started almost 30 years ago, has lead us to this point today, and it is with a full heart that we, the Wallace family, invite you to join us. Come for a visit and stay in our little treehouse. Bring you bike, some good shoes and your binoculars. Come ready to get dirty and bring your friends! You won’t regret it, I promise!
Un Fuerte Abrazo,