Tips on Keeping your Favorite, Quiet Vacation Spot to Yourself

"Nothing to worry about. An alligator bit off my arm. I can still drive."  (photo courtesy of Jan Kronsell, WikiCommons)

“Nothing to worry about. An alligator bit off my arm. I can still drive.” (photo courtesy of Jan Kronsell, WikiCommons)

So, you just got back from the best vacation ever: warm, sunny, plenty of activities and not-too crowded. You want to tell people about the wonderful time you had, yet you’re concerned they might blab and your secluded spot will be overrun. What do you do?

My brother has come up with the perfect solution. I didn’t realize what he was doing until some point after he told me the story, but I’ve determined this must be a strategy he is using to keep people from overrunning his new favorite hideaway.

This is what my brother told me about his “fabulous” Florida vacation that included a tour of the Everglades on a swampboat (those boats with the giant fans on back).

To get us in the right frame of mind, my brother says, “So the driver of the boat was missing an arm.” I do a doubletake, and he adds: “Apparently, it’s not uncommon for alligators to jump onto the boat. He fought one off and protected the passengers, but it bit off his arm to the elbow.”

I asked the question you’re asking yourself right now, “You rode on a boat with a one-armed driver? What was he going to do if another alligator jumped on the boat?”

My brother shakes his head. “No, no. I’m sorry. I’m not telling it right. The guy with one arm  was the boat driver that greeted us. Our driver had two arms.”

A driver with two arms is better than a one-armed driver. And probably better able to defend the boat.  I ask, “Do all the drivers have a stick or something to fend off alligators, now?”

My sister-in-law chimes in. “No. You’d think they would, but they don’t.”

This place, so far, is not giving me  the good vibrations yet. I turn back to my brother, who pulls out his cell phone and shows me a picture of his family on the boat. In the photo, everyone is wearing noise muffling headphones.  “Is the boat loud?”

He nods. “Yeah, you have to wear those for legal reasons, so you can’t say they damaged your hearing.”

My eyes widen. A boat ride that can damage your hearing? Not seeing the fantastic here. “Really?”

Looking up from his camera, my brother says,  “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear. What did you say?”

“Nevermind,” I say. He goes on to tell me how beautiful the area is. It has canopies of foliage with lush channels of water carved out in between. At this point,  my 20-year-old nephew, who was also on the vacation, walks into the room and sees his father talking about the trip.

“Dad, tell her about the boat crash,” my nephew says.

I raise an eyebrow.

“Yeah, we were coming around a blind turn, and there was no way to see if another boat was coming. We crashed.”

My nephew pipes in. “The other boat ran up on top of ours and came this close to me,” he says, his fingers showing a gap of just inches.

“It was fine,” my brother says. “No one was hurt.”

At this point, I’m wondering if they would’ve done better with the one-armed, alligator-fighting driver. I’m not sure they could’ve done worse.

“And he tipped the driver,” my nephew says, incredulously.

“Well, they live off of tips,” my brother said. “And it’s really breathtaking. You should go.”

At this, I thought, I am never ever going to this place. Ever.

But, as I got home and thought about it more, I realized this is the best tactic to keep your vacation spot secluded. I mean, whoever my brother tells this story to is never going. Never. He loved his vacation, and he said he loved it, which explains why he’s going back, but no person in their right mind would ever be encouraged to go to this place.

So, if you love your vacation, rave about the trip, but slowly trickle in information that would stop any sane person in their tracks. “Oh, it was lovely to be at one with nature. We even saw a bear maul a man to death just twenty feet away from us.  Just shows you how real nature is, and not to mess with it.” This is the point you turn to your friend, pat them on the back and say. “You’re a good guy; you don’t mess with nature. You should go.”

About RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist who now writes fiction. She's reported for the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, as well as the smaller publications Education Technology News and Campus Crime. She has two published novels, Life First and Second Life and blogs for Indies Unlimited and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. For exclusive content and first looks at her new work, sign up for the newsletter at
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