The first time I ever considered going on an all-inclusive vacation was when I was 24; straight out of college and desperate to swim with dolphins, have beach sex with a lonely horny fat drunk girl that I would never see again and board an actual glass-bottom boat.
Unfortunately the trip never happened, because, even more unfortunately, my cousin died in a car accident that fall. When I finally got to go I was 27. By that age, most people aren’t looking at you for casual all-inclusive sex; in fact, most of these chicks would consider you too old (in the all-inclusive spots I had in mind), even the horny lonely fat drunk girls whom I envisioned naked on the beach like beached whales after a long night of serious plankton diving.
Speaking of sea life, the dolphins however love you just the same, despite closing in on your thirties. They don’t judge. They’re awesome! More awesome than kids! If I could have human babies and trade them for dolphins, I would do so in a heartbeat. Their skin feels so cool, like wet, rubbery Doc Martins that crave kisses and lurrrve!
The glass bottom boats, at any age, turn out to be a huge disappointment- so don’t waste your fucking time! I say this because they’re not as cool as I (nor any of us ever) imagined, and the sexual act (of performing a glass bottom boat) would probably be more visually stimulating than the boat ride itself (which I did in fact do at age 27 as well; the boat, not the act). If you’re unfamiliar with what a glass-bottom boat is, the sexual act that is, look it up when you’re done reading this first of seven entries. If you don’t know what an actual glass-bottom boat is, it’s essentially a small boat with a glass window floor which enables passengers to view the ocean below. Boring as shit! Again, skip it if faced with an opportunity!
But now, at 32, all-inclusive vacations suddenly seem very different, particularly if you’re on one alone. Now many people would consider going on one of these things alone to be retarded, but that’s not my issue at all. I love traveling by myself. I’ve been to Israel, Greece, Australia, Fiji, Peru and Guatemala – all by my backpacking lonesome. And I loved every trip. All-inclusive vacations, as different as they are, and I’ve done a few now, can be equally entertaining when done by ones own self. Traveling alone forces you outside of your comfort zone, to talk to people in the hot tub, to read a book, to stare at the stars and the ocean, to enjoy simple moments with nature and even develop a new loving (almost sexual) relationship with your in-room air conditioning. It’s being 32, that’s the kicker! My last one, at 30, I still looked pretty young, so all was good.
However, the past two years have aged me considerably, for no reason at all! My hairline started to fade out of nowhere once I hit 31, my nipples taking on a new middle-aged puffy form (from the tight and flat little coin-shaped solids they once were) and the hair on my calves now rubbing off in patches. Even if people weren’t looking at my hairline, nipples or calves, I still felt the difference when I stepped on to the shuttle bus at the airport, and the feeling grew as I head to the resort. At check-in, all the cute perky twenty-somethings looked right through me, the young children (with their parents) eying me as if wondering where my dumb ass bratty kids were, and the check-in staff seeing me as this sad lonely man.
Mind you, I’m not lonely or sad. At all. I have many friends, and a family I love. They love me. I enjoy my work and colleagues, I enjoy getting up every day, TV’s been good to me lately and my health’s been fine. I wanted this trip to clear my head, see some of Panama if I could drag my ass off-site (of the resort) and maybe even see an actual migrating whale on some offered excursion package.
And yet when I arrived, my intentions had changed. Instead of clearing my head, a part of me would rather use it in a new unforeseen way. Instead of dragging my ass off site, I think I’d rather stay glued to it. And instead of spending 70 bucks to maybe see a whale’s fin emerge from the water, I’d rather spend nothing on seeing what emerges here.
After checking in, I dropped my stuff in my soon to be freezing room, walked around to get the lay of the land, and stopped on the empty beach to feel the ocean water hit my feet in my new flip flops. The sun was almost about to set at that point, and although the first day of my 7 day all-inclusive was already wrapping up (what with the long line at customs, the shuttle ride to the resort, the slow check-in, the settling in my room, etc), this rush came over me as if I had been there for days and already realized this trip’s purpose.
Each trip has it’s own purpose by the way – but I’ll tell you about that later. This trip’s theme had presented itself to me when a sudden powerful tide came and nearly knocked me on to the back of my head, but luckily I regained my balance. What if I had died? What if that rush of water came, knocked me down suddenly, and pulled me into the ocean? Nobody here cares about me, nobody here knows me or my name. Nobody at home is expecting a phone call or an email, not until I get back. It’s one of my all-inclusive rules I have.
This first of seven entries takes you through my “all-inclusive social experiment”…
What if I died here? Fell off the on-site map. Lived as if I didn’t exist. I bet none of those 20-somethings, lonely drunk fat girls, strangers in hot tubs, check-in staff, dolphins or whales would even notice…Day one has passed, night two is now, let’s see what happens tomorrow…