Some travelers go in search of ancient ruins and cathedrals. Others crave exotic foods and rare wines. A third type of traveler is the adventurer who seeks a challenge, usually pitting him or herself against nature for fun and glory.
Don’t settle for boring. Instead set off with a group of like-minded friends or join an expedition to test yourself in some of the wildest places on the planet. Here are three destinations where you can find adventure.
The southernmost continent is one of the most desolate places on earth. Temperatures range from 14 degrees Fahrenheit on the coast to -70 degrees Fahrenheit in the interior. In other words, Antarctica is not for casual travelers. There are no actual cities or towns to visit. Rather, the human population lives in research stations organized by various countries.
Most expeditions to Antarctica occur from the spring to the fall which is roughly from October to March in the southern hemisphere. Depending on your preferences, you can organize activities such as sea kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding on the coast and ice camping and climbing farther inland.
You will be expected to bring basic cold weather clothing, but otherwise, most of the specialized gear will be provided by the travel outfitter or expedition leader. You may be able to find travel deals on an Antarctica cruise.
Visiting Antarctica may be a life-changing experience. You will experience an environment few travelers will ever know and get up close with the creatures that call this frozen paradise home.
This dormant volcano is the highest point in Africa. Mt Kilimanjaro has attracted thousands of travelers wanting to challenge themselves and reach its peak. Climbing Kilimanjaro is not as technical as Mt Everest, but it is still dangerous.
Therefore, unless you have some serious mountain climbing experience under your belt, you should sign up with one of the many outfitters that lead groups up to the almost 20,000-foot peak.
Tour operators advise all would-be climbers to visit a doctor for a check-up before leaving for Africa to ensure their body can take the stress of the adventure. You need to be in pretty good shape to handle the mountain’s terrain and altitude changes. While it is possible to climb Kilimanjaro in four nights, most tour operators recommend taking six to eight nights to reach the summit.
Shortly after sunrise, when you finally stand on the top of Kilimanjaro, you can take pride in your accomplishment as you gaze out over Tanzania. Alternatively, for a more mystical experience, book your climb so that you reach the summit at night during the full moon. Either way, you will have the journey of a lifetime.
The Australian Outback
The untamed center of the continent dubbed “Down Under” is the perfect travel destination for someone looking for more than a typical vacation. Less than ten percent of Australia’s population live in the outback, so you are more likely to run into kangaroos, dingos and saltwater crocodiles.
Once again, hiring a guide to join an expedition is a good idea if you plan to go off the beaten path. Besides the crocodiles, the biggest danger in the outback is dehydration. The temperature can rise over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so staying hydrated is a priority. Therefore, you have to bring water with you or have someone who knows the land lead you to potable water.
The main sights to see in the Outback include Ayers Rock, a massive monolith that rises 1000 feet above the plain. This UNESCO world heritage site features caves to explore and primeval rock art to wonder at. Kakadu National Park will also satisfy your sense of adventure. Here you can learn about Aboriginal culture, see wildlife and marvel at Gunlom Falls.
As you go deeper into the Outback you will be going further back in time. You will see a landscape unspoiled by human hands, where instead you will meet people for whom the earth is sacred.
An adventure is more than just travel. An adventure will change you, make you grow. Go and find your own before these wild places are gone.