The Beauty of Adventure Travel
The Beauty of Adventure Travel by Sara Roberts
|Adventure Travel: “Vacation or trip to a natural environment or remote location with the specific purpose of active physical participation and exploration of a new experience.”-Dictionary|
I was both nervous and excited when I embarked on my first international adventure travel experience. I was doe-eyed about the world and had no idea what was to come. My first adventure trip began in Europe and led me to spending the better part of five years on what I feel was one continuous backpacking trip. The majority of my belongings traveled with me from Europe, throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. While I’m currently sitting in my fully furnished apartment (filled with more things than I could ever dream of fitting into a backpack!), I reflect on those years of constant travel. I consider everything my adventures taught me about the importance of being a woman who goes out and explores the world.
Traveling solo as a woman can be overwhelming—and ladies, this is not because we are incapable! Different countries have different cultures, and sometimes you can feel a bit out of place or uncomfortable, and it’s crucial to always be on guard. I used to (and many times still do) like to travel alone. I love the freedom to independently plan (or not plan) where I’m going to go, what I’m going to see, what I will do next. Even though you will meet people along the way to share a pint or go on a hike with (which is one benefit of traveling solo!), you come home having many great pictures of scenery–or the now ever-popular selfie–because you were experiencing everything on your own.
After spending months backpacking around the world I returned to the U.S. determined to continue my nomadic lifestyle. This led me to Intrepid Travel, an adventure travel company looking for guides to lead 1-3 week long budget lodging/camping trips for international passengers throughout the U.S. and Canada. I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do: meet interesting people from around the world and take them off the beaten path and expose them to real American culture (other than MTV). Two things I noticed about the clientele on my tours was that they were predominately women, and many were single travelers. What I loved is that these lone travelers weren’t afraid to leave home on their own to experience a new country. This style of travel also allowed them to meet others to share the adventure with. Over a 1-3 week period, these strangers from around the world became a “road family,” bonding over shared moments like seeing the sun set at the Grand Canyon, hiking up to Angel’s Landing in Zion, or simply sitting around a campfire eating s’mores. I still talk to former passengers and enjoy hearing stories about friendships they maintained with their fellow travelers. Although they may have started as strangers in a New York City van, after spending three weeks traveling cross-country to Los Angeles, they now share a bond that no one, aside from those that went on the journey, can understand.
After spending years leading adventure trips all over the States and easing the burden of organizing holiday travel plans for my passengers, I decided I should try out an organized tour abroad, and I would also bring a friend. I have to admit I was a bit nervous to let someone else be “in control” of my holiday, since I had made a career around planning them for others. Thoughts like, “What if my guide isn’t good?” (because of course I would know) and “What if I don’t get to do all the things I want because I am on group time?” passed through my mind. I was also concerned about having a traveling companion. Would traveling every day with a friend and sharing a tent for a month be a disaster? As soon as the tour began my fears disappeared. Our guide was fantastic, my best friend proved a perfect travel companion (in fact we decided we would pretty much kill on Amazing Race with our travel prowess) and I got to see and do everything I was looking forward to. And, as with many of the tours I have guided, I met fantastic people. We were strangers from around the world when we stepped on our bus in Nairobi and left as great friends when our journey together ended in Zanzibar. We shared experiences that no one else could quite understand, like just how close that hippo came to our camp…and potentially eating us in the middle of the night. Yikes!
No matter what style of travel you choose it’s about taking a risk and pursuing adventure. Take a week, month or more, pack your rucksack and go explore. It is always worth it if I do say so myself. The perspective you gain, the cultures you learn from and the people you meet will impact you forever.
Currently, I’m restless to pack a bag, get on a plane and travel to South America for a few weeks, on another group tour…with the same best friend (we spand we survived the first time, after all…). While now and again I will still travel alone and embark on the unplanned adventure, sometimes it is nice to have a little help along the way.
Great deals for your next adventure:
Now it’s your turn! Do you have adventure travel plans? If not, now’s your chance to make some! Intrepid Travel has kindly offered Stonewear fans 10% off their next trip.* Just enter code 11258 at checkout and you’ll be on your way to adventure.** Check Intrepid out here. Offer expires July 15th, 2014 for a trip planned through Dec. 31st, 2014. Valid on all products except Polar and must be booked directly with Intrepid US. Our standard booking conditions apply.
And once you’ve booked your travel, you’ll need some help packing. We’ve got you covered there, too. Prepare your bag, browse Stonewear’s travel looks, and head on over to Kelty and enter code Stonewear at checkout to receive 20% off your online purchase. Offer expires August 10th, 2014.***
**Offer valid 6/17/14-7/15/14.
***Offer valid through 8/10/14