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How to benefit from an All-Inclusive vacation

November 22, 2010

While I was reading, a dragonfly landed on the top of my book.  He sat there quietly, watching me.

I was reading the latest novel by Haruki Murakami while sitting next to the Olympic size swimming pool. Behind me the building of our five-star All-Inclusive hotel stood quietly as it watched over its hundreds of guests unwinding on the shores of the Turkish Mediterranean sea.

Sunset in Antalya, Turkey

Sunset at Turkish Mediterranean coast

The last sentence I read before the dragonfly landed was about throwing a stone in a pond, creating the well-known ripple effect. That part of the book was about things you do in life that create such an effect. Then I met the dragonfly.


He landed without any doubt or concern. He knew his landing spot exactly, at least so it seemed. Maybe he had been looking at me from high above in the sky, waiting for the right moment to float down.

I was surprised, not by the appearance of the insect but the way he looked at me. A dragonfly always puts a smile on your face, but this one did a lot more.

All around me people were swimming, having fun or drinking from their latest cup of coffee. But I was looking at my dragonfly. I thought he would be gone within a second or two, but he did not. His huge eyes seemed to look straight at me. Looking into his eyes was like looking into deep space, with a slight glance of greenish northern light. Hypnotising. After a while I could see his mouth open and close. It looked like he was talking! But what was his message?

Just after the rain..

Raindrops and palm trees

All-Inclusive euphoria spinning around

If you know Murakami‘s style of writing, this could just be a part of one of his novels. It was a moment of surrealism, insects talking to people without making sound. In these 40 seconds I enjoyed my one-on-one with this dragonfly while the world of All-Inclusive euphoria continued spinning around me. I was wondering how to capture this moment, but was I not overreacting? It was just a dragonfly!?

I learned from one week of All-Inclusive in Antalya, Turkey. My first All-Inclusive vacation ever! First of all, it’s a really great way to unwind. There is absolutely nothing to worry about, your mind creates a lot of free space. It’s like deleting your e-mail Inbox. Gone, no more worries. I used that free space to come up with great ideas for my blog!

Secondly it creates the opportunity to think about and appreciate the things in life we tend to consider as normal: sunsets, you and your family together, a good talk with no hurries, the simple beauty of a wooden pier, drops of dew and of course dragonflies!

The pier The wood of the pier

Wooden pier into the sea / Detail shot of the pier

The All-Inclusive concept

Before this vacation I had a very strong opinion about the All-Inclusive concept. It’s a totally different kind of vacation then we were used to. But you have to try it before you can judge it and so we did. It’s a great way of relaxing, especially if you travel with children.

We traveled to other destinations in Turkey on earlier occassions: Bodrum and Istanbul. If you do decide to try an All-Inclusive holiday, try to pick a country where you have been before. The All-Inclusive concept tends to lower your urge to go out and discover the country. And that’s something you do not want to regret later on, I can tell you that!

We stayed at the Hotel Titanic in Antalya, Turkey. This luxury hotel was built in 2003 and has the shape of a ship. The hotel has 589 rooms, 6000sqm of swimming pools, 4 restaurants, a wellness center, bowling alleys and more.

Hotel Titanic Hotel Titanic, Antalya

Hotel Titanic in Lara, Antalya

About Antalya

Antalya is a popular tourist destination on the Turkish mediterranean coast. The area’s around Antalya are well-known for its luxury hotels. The city itself has a historical town center known as the Kaleici. It offers beautiful harbour views and also a long string of souvenir shops.

Outside of Antalya there are a number of cultural sights to be visited like the ruins of Perge and the Roman theatre in Aspendos.

Mosque in Antalya

Turkish flags for sale

Mosque in Antalya / Turkish national flags for sale

This blog post is dedicated to the dragonfly. Dragonfly symbolism is fascinating. In Japan there is great respect for the dragonfly, among others the animal is a symbol of happiness. Also the Chinese consider the dragonfly as a symbol of good luck, harmony and prosperity. It was a pleasure writing this post.


From → Europe

  1. I know all about being mesmerized by dragonflies. Mine was blue and hovered around my private pool at Bali’s Four Seasons – and it made it a torture to write that post…so I wrote about it instead ;)!
    I was in Antalya in the late 1980s when we still lived in Turkey – I remember crystal clear blue waters and many Dutch (! :)) and French tourists….I can’t wait to see it again today!

    • Emiel permalink

      Thanks for your comment. I remember reading about your dragonfly in your post on Bali. Turkey indeed is a beautiful country with a great diversity. A lot still to discover!

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience of All-Inclusive vacation in Antalya, Turkey. No doubt, my next holiday location would be Antalya. Also enjoyed reading your meeting with Dragonfly. You have done it in a poetic sytle. Really Impressed!

    • Emiel permalink

      Thanks for the compliment Ben, very much appreciated! Sometimes small things in life can make a big impact!

  3. This post hit home with me. It’s really well written and brings together the location and the dragonfly in a subtle, yet symbolic way.

    I am recently back from a one week cruise – a form of travelling I never thought was for me. But hey, I liked it! It’s exactly like you say. The way everything is done for you leaves you with plenty of time to indulge in reflecting on the finer things in life.

    By the way – I’m also reading Murakami at the moment. He came with me on the cruise, and was a great travel companion.

    • Emiel permalink

      Thanks Vibeke, great to see you here again! I like it when readers return, that’s a good sign 🙂
      I hear what you are saying about your cruise and I’m glad that you could link it to this post. We tend to be biased about particular forms of travelling, just like we are biased about people, companies, etc. But you have to experience it and indeed it will provide you with great benefits!
      Good luck with your preparations for Laos and Thailand, I’m sure you and your kids will love it!

  4. maryrichardson permalink

    This was a very thoughtful post about all-inclusive vacations. I always thought I would hate them, but I did a club med in japan and it was a lovely experience. There is a certain relief at not having to worry about details like where are we going to eat tonight and how do we get to here from here? I still love braving it on my own when I travel, but for some times in our lives, an all-inclusive is perfect for our needs.

    By the way, I’m a big fan of Murakami myself…

    • Emiel permalink

      Thanks so much! Even the most hard-core traveler needs a break sometimes, glad you liked the post.
      Concerning Murakami, we are waiting here in the Netherlands for the 3rd part of 1q84 to be released spring 2011..

  5. Emiel, I’d take a wild guess, Kafka on the Shore was the novel you were reading?

    I’m on my 20’s and also have a very strong opinion against All-Inclusive 🙂 but you might be right that it is best when travelling with children. My sister-in-law tried it, also in Turkey, and they seemed to have had a good time. Meanwhile for me, I’ll reserve it when I am older.

    About the dragonfly, I used to murder them by number when I was a kid but that’s because I was so fascinated by them. I lived in this very small island with lots of nature so dragonflies abound. I’d sneak up on them while they were peacefully resting on a leaf or a flower, catch them and look in wonder at their beautiful, big eyes the whole day long. By the end of the day, they are dead from exhaustion. And of course, I have to catch another one the next day.

    I kinda regret catching them so much but the fun I had with them is a very big part of my happy childhood.

    And thank you for this post that I looked back to them again.

    • Actually Dheza, I was reading 1Q84. But Kafka on the Shore was a very good guess!
      I love your story about you being a kid and gazing into the eyes of dragonflies. Have you written about your youth on this small island? You should. Everywhere is illuminated and I believe you have great stories to tell.
      Thanks for your comment!

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