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Travel Buzz
The Adventure Travel Myth
By Julia Dimon

When you think about the term “adventure travel” 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 travel” is synonymous with such extreme experiences. There are those who have the perception that adventure travel is reserved for adrenaline junkies looking to push themselves to the brink of their physical and psychological limits. But this pervasive myth about adventure travel being only accessible to the young, edgy and über fit is, in fact, just that – a myth. From culinary tours, to luxury train rides, historic hikes to animal encounters, adventure travel encompasses many types of experiences for nearly all ages and fitness levels.

As an adventure travel writer 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 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 travel” doesn’t have to be extreme or weird or dangerous by nature. It 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 and wonder of the world.

For me, adventure travel is not only an alternative to the resorts, cruises and motor coach tours…it’s a state of mind. It’s a lifestyle for those who have the spirit of exploration pulsing through their veins. The adventure traveler possesses a curiosity that cannot be contained, an eagerness to break out of the confines of their comfort zones, take on the world by engaging in and inviting new experiences.

For a more tangible definition of “adventure travel,” the Adventure Travel Trade Association (an organization established in 1990 for the development of the adventure travel industry) defines adventure travel as having three main components: 1.) physical activity, 2.) a connection to nature and the environment, and 3.) an immersive cultural experience. Note that there is no mention of extreme, heart-stopping activities that defy death.

For those who would like to incorporate more adventure into their future travel plans but aren’t sure where to start, consider booking an organized excursion with a travel outfitter like G Adventures, Rocky Mountaineer, or brite spokes. These companies will arrange all of your travel details and logistics, from the activities to airport transfers.

If you’re traveling solo, with the family or seeking a once-in-a-lifetime experience with your “partner in crime,” G Adventures offers a trip for every interest and budget. Browse through their brochures for an epic list of inspirational travel experiences that will make you immediately want to book a plane ticket. From chilling with polar bears in the Canadian arctic, to exploring the ancient empires of Beijing to Tokyo, cruising Colombia's Caribbean Coast & Lost City, to sailing Australia’s Eastern Coast in style, G Adventures offers responsible and sustainable trips across all continents.

If you’re looking to experience the adventure of train travel and interact with nature, Rocky Mountaineer – the largest privately owned passenger rail service in North America – offers over 45 unique Canadian vacation packages through British Columbia and Alberta. Explore the wild beauty of the Canadian Rockies aboard a luxurious train. Among their many adventures, Rocky Mountaineer offers a new route called the “Rainforest to Gold Rush Discovery Drive.” It’s a nine-day journey from Calgary through Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Whistler and Vancouver. With glacier-blue lakes, rugged terrain and vast forests, this journey will reveal the natural beauty of the Coastal Mountain Range.

For the urban set, brite spokes offers a wide variety of thematic trips and personally enriching adventures across some of America’s most dynamic cities. From fitness retreats, to photography tours, to sports-themed getaways, brite spokes has immersive experiences for the young hobbiest at heart. Foodies will enjoy their “Pleasing the Palate” tour, a five-day epicurean adventure through the hottest gastronomy spots in New York City and Brooklyn. Eat your way through the boroughs, dining with cutting edge chefs, touring local markets and getting your hands dirty with some expert led cooking classes.

With so many organized excursions to choose from, there’s no reason not to incorporate a little more of the “adventure travel spirit” for your next big vacation. Go on. Live your adventure. Break the mold. Bust the myth.

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