For me, going on an organized all inclusive resort is not traveling. At best, it’s all a relaxation, food and alcoholic consumption adventure that characterizes what it’s like being on a cruise ship, unless you of course choose to participate in other more life changing experiences.
In my eyes, travel is about going on journeys to experience new things, people, and places. It’s about gaining insights into new cultures, trying local food and leaving the place with some knowledge of the rhythm of local life and cross-examining their circumstances with yours and feeling a sense of transformation inside because of it.
During our Carnival vacation, at every port we docked, there was little escape from local tour guides trying to coax us to take part in one of their many private excursions to tour the island. The best you can do with that many people talking to you is to politely voice your disinterest and walk away.
While in St.Kitts, I recall saying to one guide that kept flashing his brochure to us, “We’re just going to walk around instead but thank you for the offer” and to that he replied, “You can walk around all day but nothing of what you see will mean anything if there’s no story behind it”.
What bothered me about the statement was that he was right. Generally speaking, tour guides are expected to know a city intimately and offer guests interpretive information such as history and anecdotes on all sites and after some haggling, we were fortunate to book one that offered us all that plus more.
At $25 a person for a 3hrs tour, he was adamant in not being paid until we were brought back to the ship and at that point I sensed his commitment to his profession and not because he marketed himself as “being the best” on what he did but because he wanted to focus on what the tour offered and not on how much it would cost.