Life vs Adventure

So, hypothetically. A person visits a country. Goes from airport to shuttle to an all-inclusive resort. Spends a few days there. Goes from resort back to airport via shuttle. Goes back to country of origin.

Did they visit a new country? Does that visit merit a passport stamp of “I’ve been to…”?

I went to Playa del Carmen, Mexico and stayed at an all-inclusive resort. While it was beautiful blue water, a far cry from my New Jersey roots of green-brown ocean water (I’ve never seen the allure of the Jersey Shore) I felt like I was in a overwhelming French-Canadian, quasi-American “tropical” environment. If I so desired, I could have gotten by without a word of Spanish (I didn’t so desire). If it weren’t for a taxi cab ride into Cancun, enjoying the city nightlife … music, vendors, food and other smells wafting into the streets, life buzzing around, anyway, if it weren’t for that mini-excursion, then I don’t think I could properly say, “I visited Mexico.” Why? Because I haven’t experienced Mexico. I barely had to figure out currency, because when at the resort, I didn’t have to pay for anything and when outside of it, I could use the dollar.

I’m not trying to downplay the experience of an all-inclusive resort. But at least for me, it’s not a taste of the country. I’ve had people tell me that people are so friendly in such and such a country, but the people that they are talking about are the people that are being paid to dance, instruct, entertain at a resort. Of course, they are friendly. I can find friendly people in the northeast, too.

Someone was telling me about their favorite adventure being a trip to Vietnam where they got lost, sick, abandoned by their driver, dropped off on the wrong side of the island that they were visiting and had to drag their luggage through a quarry … and it was her most memorable, yet amazing trip. That, to me, constitutes visiting a country.

In less than 1 month, I’ll be in Peru, Colombia, and possibly Bolivia. The first week will be a lot of hiking, and a lot of point to point to point travel using planes and trains. For my second week in Peru, I have to travel 1500 miles (approx 2400 km), and I have no idea how I’m getting from point A to B … but after my first week there, I’ll have a better sense of how things roll, and I’ll be able to adjust the itinerary as needed.

Anyway, back to my hypothetical. Does that trip count as visiting a foreign country?

1 Comment

  1. This is such a good post! I never really thought about it before but it would really tarnish your perception of a country when you are being fed and watered in your enclosed little area. Personally, that kind of holiday wouldn’t be for me anyway, but it does beg the question as to whether or not people can genuinely say they have visited somewhere else.

    Like

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