I’ve just returned from a new experience. An all inclusive holiday.
It’s not the kind of holiday I go on, this is uncharted territory: two weeks in an all inclusive hotel in a touristy part of Turkey.
It was, however, pretty damn fine. The hotel was by far the best I’ve ever stayed in – not that I’ve really stayed in that many, my accommodation usually comprises of hostels, Airbnbs and people’s spare rooms. I could eat and drink pretty much whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted (drink of the holiday = white Russians), lounge about as much as I wanted and explore the local town and coastline whenever I wanted. The view from every single angle in every single place I stood/sat/lay was also always, without exception, amazing.
And it was quiet. It was April. There were few tourists. Especially few “Brits abroad”. This was good.
Mostly because one of the things I hate the most when on holiday is feeling too much like a tourist. I especially don’t want to be put into a box with all the other British tourists, who, if we’re being honest, don’t have the best reputation in foreign parts. I like to be able to get around without the use of a map, be able to ask for what I need in a foreign language, and generally do my best to blend in.
Of course, whilst in tourist-town in Turkey this presents several problems: a) I definitely cannot pass for Turkish; b) this is tourist-town, where, if you can’t pass for Turkish, English is the go-to language, and; c) you have no choice but to walk around wearing your hotel’s wristband, which of course just screams tourist.
Anyway, I learned to embrace it. I became a tourist. Last year I went to Italy and whilst totally not passing for Italian, somehow ended up being French, which made conversation somewhat easier. This year, I was unmistakably British. No getting round it. For a start, there weren’t any French tourists to blend in with. But also I learned that one of the great things about this type of holiday is that you don’t have to think. You can just lie back by the sea, relax, and wait for the next beer to appear without feeling at all guilty about it. I won’t be going on the same kind of holiday next time, but can see myself doing so in the future. I’ll probably be coerced into it at any rate.
There’s definitely something to be said for just letting yourself do nothing for a while.