Of course, where as here, G Adventures simply did not deliver a good portion of what was promised in the itinerary and delivered other portions out of context and time, there is no way around the frustration of the missed opportunities...especially when in an area that most will only visit once in a lifetime. (I must note, however, that G Adventures is extremely concerned over the failures on this tour and have been extraordinary in communicating with me and working on making things as right as possible. Things happen and G Adventures is an excellent company with a mindset and philosophy that I wish more companies had. Sometimes out of something not so good, very good things happen. I will keep you posted.)
That said, there are a few techniques that I use to assure I am not blinded by the "admiration of problems", but have the vision to see through the issues and not miss out on all that is still actually there. I have embraced this after listening to some of my clients that, unfortunately, become so emotionally wrapped up in the problems that are degrading their vacation by 10% that it becomes more like a 75% problem. (This is probably one of the toughest things for some to accomplish, but it is well worth the effort.)
The first one is to keep things in perspective. Put into play here: I AM IN THE AMAZON! HOW COOL IS THAT!
So while I am sitting in the lounge/dining room organizing and editing my photographs to the din of yet another round of cards, beer drinking and inane conversation, while the recently sunk skiff is still being repaired, I look out the window and see gray Amazon river dolphins feeding and playing. I take my camera outside and take this photo:
|Gray Amazon River Dolphin showing off|
The second thing I do is make sure that their loss is not my problem. On this trip I was truly shocked that some of my fellow passengers were technically well-traveled, but actually were tourists that focus on getting good deals to exotic places so they can say they were there. I didn't hear one of them tell a story about when they were someplace; only that they were there. Ironically, the first thing that jumped into my mind was the long, and usually humorously, debated, "Is cruising really travel?" which I now must expand and restate!
If I didn't love to tell stories interrelated with my travel I would not be able to write this blog and, importantly, I wouldn't be able to see my kids' eyes roll and then say, "Dad, not another story...PLEASE!)
|Local Amazon fisherman cleaning fish caught |
in one of his gill nets on a creek.
|School children we were supposed to be visiting with...waiting to be recognized |
while some in my group waited...to pose with a baby sloth.
So just as I looked behind what was simply in front of me, while some of my group chatted on the skiff about whatever (which became nothing more than a drone not dissimilar to that of the engines) I looked up (as did some others in our group) and saw macaws:
and, honestly, the beauty of the colors flying overhead will remain an inspirational memory of mine far longer than than those later while sitting underneath some other macaws...and that was pretty special.
A third thing I do is find "alone time"...time to just go "WOW":
|Just another awesome Amazon sunrise|
|Just another awesome Amazon sunset|
|Looking to Starboard Cruising Down the Amazon River|
|Looking to Port Just After Looking to Starboard - Amazingly Beautiful|
There are alternatives at varying price points that provide you with very similar itineraries. For example, Aqua has a true luxury cruise with high tech skiffs, gourmet cuisine and a gorgeous ship. Prices start at $6,650 per person (more than 2.5 times the cost of the G Adventures trip).
|Aqua Amazon River Cruise Ship|
|International Expeditions' La Estrella Amazonica River Cruise Ship|
But remember, I have been to the Amazon on both a river cruise and a land tour. For me a land tour gives you far more opportunities and allows you to have an experience that is greater in depth..but some of it is quite rustic. International Expeditions offers a 14 day land itinerary that does a good job of balancing the "get out there" with a respite of modern amenities. That also helped with my keeping perspective as rarely does a cruise provide the same amount of time (or quiet) to explore.
While it is my job to really analyze any trip I am on and ask if it delivers for me and if it will for my clients, I do not lose sight of the fact that being in the Amazon is - with all of the compromises that need to be made - so well worth it. This was my second trip there and I know that there will be a third one. It will be longer (as a week just isn't enough for me).
Comments? Please post them on The Gold Standard Luxury Travel Forum.
If you are interested in visiting the Amazon, please give me a call at (877) 2GO-LUXURY or +1 732-578-8585 or email me at email@example.com.