He walked in a zig-zag fashion across an endless path of shifting white sand. Above his head, the smiling sun wrapped his tanned hardened body in a blanket of warmth as beads of sweat formed above his brow. The air is fresh like a newly opened bag of potpourri. The turquoise water caressed his feet while tropical fish could be seen meandering the depths just a couple feet away. People are all around him swimming, lounging, chatting and posing for pictures—but they are merely particles of dust beyond his peripheral vision. He is living in the moment, and deep within his heaving bosom he can sense a deep joy trying to burst out of his chest. He stumbles into the hut with the straw roof and the wind blowing circles of sand gingerly around the blades of green grass jutting out from behind a fence. Indeed, he does feel something bursting within. He grabs the seat with both handles and… BARF!
Lesson Learned: mixing three Coronas, four Pina Coladas, two soft shell tacos, one scoop of strawberry ice cream, BBQ glazed ribs and a tequila shot to round things out on a Tuesday afternoon seemed like a good idea at the time… but, in actual fact, is a worse decision than watching Iron Chef on an empty stomach.
Having recently come back from an all-inclusive resort in Mexico with 13 other friends, I would like to share my opinion on the subject, as the experience is still fresh on my mind. As someone who values travelling to different countries to experience their culture, food, history and architecture, the all-inclusive vacation was a different style from my norm. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t enjoy lying on a beach all day drinking and eating to my heart’s content with not a worrisome thought on my mind. I knew this wasn’t going to be a “cultural” adventure, but I was ok with that. I got the opportunity to leave the resort and do a little bit of sightseeing, but my main intent was to have a good time with my friends and just chillax.
As you can probably guess, this vacation is nothing close to green or sustainable. As a matter of fact, it would be considered the complete opposite and I am sure some of you are feeling a wave of disappointment in me right now—like the time they changed the recipe for Girl Guide cookies.
All you can eat, all you can drink, thousands of beach towels tossed in the laundry bin in exchange for a fresh one each day, water spraying everywhere to sustain the deep green colour of the grass, locals making USD$20 a day to bust their ass cleaning rooms. Nevertheless, thousands of Canadians (and there were definitely lots) go down south every year to take a break from the rain and snow. I think it’s easy for some people to label the all-inclusive vacation as evil, but I personally think this is more grey than black and white.
Sometimes people just want to enjoy themselves and that kind of experience is the hassle free, cheap and fun route to take. It is like smoking a cigarette or watching back-to-back soap operas all morning. People know that it is bad for them (and their environment), but they do it anyways.
So perhaps the best way to sway the green vote is to apply an All-Inclusive “Nicotine” patch. Instead of getting rid of all-inclusive resorts, provide some alternatives. Perhaps a resort covered in Astroturf instead of grass that doubles up as a giant mini-golf course. Sounds like a crazy idea, but sometimes you need to be creative to be sustainable.