Imagine the smart ass remarks you’d get, right? “Hey lady, you’re surrounded by food, just decide what you want to make for dinner, go around and gather all the ingredients, then go home to cook it (weirdo),” the clerk would be thinking, even if he didn’t say it. And if you can’t think of anything to cook, he suggests, why don’t you poll the other shoppers or wander around copying what someone else puts in their shopping cart?
That may sound ridiculous, but a similar thing happens on Trip Advisor every day. Some misguided soul wanders into one of the destination forums to ask the community, made up of independent travellers and hotels and restaurants that cater to them, for recommendations on a travel tour company. Not surprisingly, a bunch of people quickly chime in to point out how you can do the same itinerary independently, and cheaper.
Hey, I get it; I’ve been so overwhelmed at the supermarket with the seemingly infinite choices and the effort to put it all together that I’d ask the supermarket clerk for a restaurant recommendation on the way out. And he’d probably just say, “Why would you ever go to some
overpriced restaurant when you could cook at home for a fraction of the price?”
He has a point, but eating – like travel – isn’t always about the cheapest way to get sustenance, I’d retort. I love to cook, but I don’t have the time or energy to cook for myself tonight, or I just want to treat myself to a night out with friends. What I’m really in the mood for is the comfort of a limited menu. The chef has put some thought into how to put together the freshest ingredients in some imaginative way, the staff has set the table, the waiter has greeted you and asked you what you’d like to order, and then delivers a delicious meal to your table – and doesn’t even make you clean up afterwards.
The last time I went out to eat at a great restaurant with friends I soaked up the atmosphere, traded banter across the table, insisted everyone had a taste of my entree because it had been cooked to perfection, and discovered my new favorite wine that the attentive waiter recommended. But what I and everyone else at the restaurant didn’t do, was pull out a calculator and add up how much the ingredients might have cost and then
compare it to how much I was charged for it! It never crossed my mind. The only calculations I did that lovely evening was how figure out how much to tip the waiter to adequately show my appreciation.
The cost of the parts was not the sum effect, in fact, the literal sum of the parts had absolutely nothing to do with the effect. What counted was the total experience because that’s what I’d be talking about the next day at the office and why I’ll be going back the next chance I get.
So let’s get back to the store. Within five minutes of your going to the store to ask about a restaurant, a dozen folks who care about the cost of all the parts would have pulled their calculators out and chimed in to tell you it’s a rip-off to dine at a fine restaurant. They’d tell you to go home and fix dinner yourself. Have I made my point?
Toiling away in the kitchen by yourself is hardly comparable to eating at a restaurant. Ask those who pay $24.95 to get a Wolfgang Puck burger, I bet ya the ingredients are $5.00 tops! And that woman on Trip Advisor, she should come on one of the many active travel trips there are; in fact come on ours at ACTIVE Adventures!
If you’re still following my long winded foodie analogy, bear with me for a bit longer. Travelling on a small group tour with a reputable adventure travel company is like eating at a fine restaurant (not necessarily the priciest by the way). If you’re happy to shovel down spaghetti in front of the TV night after night or insist on ordering the same thing at the same old restaurant, then I’m sure you’ll have a great time at that beach resort package you book every year from your local travel agent <snore>.
But, if you’re the type that is into novel experiences–new restaurants, new classes at the gym, new releases of any sort, and you relish doing something, anything, you’ve never done before and are looking for inspiration rather than escape, you might just become an [adventure travel] junkie like me and all the people at ACTIVE Adventures. But I also like going to restaurants <wink>.
Written by Pam