When you think about the term ‘adventure’ some extreme images may come to mind: Daredevils base jumping from jagged cliff faces, hurling themselves into the air. Thrill seekers rafting down torrential foaming rivers, darting danger at every bend. Risk takers, with a need for speed, sand boarding down dunes on a quest for their next rush.
For many, adventure is synonymous with such extreme experiences, but adventure can simply be the thrill of the journey into the unknown: that moment when you stray off the beaten path, interact with locals and experience the unexpected beauty with wonder.
As an adventure travel journalist, travel influencer, female travel blogger and travel addict who has been in the business for the past decade, I’ve had the good fortune to experience a spectrum of adventure travel experiences across some 80 countries and all seven continents. Among a few of my most memorable moments: I’ve kayaked with penguins in Antarctica, hiked along the Great Wall of China, camel trekked in Jordan and swam with whale sharks in Mozambique.
While I will admit that some of the world’s most bizarre experiences in some of the world’s most foreign spots do hold an exhilarating appeal (like when I ate deep fried scorpion in Beijing or spent a night in a former prison in Latvia), “adventure” doesn’t have to be extreme or weird or dangerous by nature. You also don’t have to travel all the way to China to infuse a little adventure into your life. There are plenty of adventures to be had close to home, in your own back yard.
If you’re looking to turn your next weekend getaway or staycation into an adventure, here are a few tips:
1) Excite Your Senses: Take a self-guided culinary tour of the ethnic communities in your own city: eat injeera (thin fermented bread) and spicy Vegan dishes in Little Ethiopia, sample Dim Sum in Chinatown or BBQ pork ribs and pan fried octopus in Koreatown. Journey around the world through your taste buds – using your palate, not your passport.
2) Get Out in Nature: Explore the great outdoors. Hike, bike, raft, kayak and climb. Some outdoor outfitters, such as REI, offer classes and organized outings in neighborhoods throughout the country; everything from introduction to GPS navigation and essential wilderness skills, to stand up paddle boarding outings, and guided trips to Zion National Park.
3) Embrace the Random: Write down a bunch of adventure activities you’d like to experience in your area, dump them into a hat, pick one out and do it! This “choose your own adventure” approach keeps things fun and random.
4) Sleep Somewhere Strange: Instead of the hotel experience, embrace connecting with local people in an unusual form of accommodation. Airbnb has many treehouses, yurts, shipping containers, retro fitted campervans you can rent that will take you out of your day-to-day reality. Here’s a list of some super cool tree houses you can rent to tap into your inner Magical Forest Fairy: https://www.airbnb.com/wishlists/airbnb_picks