“Adventure” means different things to different people. To some of us, it’s about trekking in Patagonia, paragliding over the Andes, or rappelling off the Statue of Liberty. To others, it’s a hot stone massage followed by a hot toddy.
Point being: You don’t have to take your life in your own (or someone else’s) hands to have yourself a little rumpsringa or holiday. You just have to step outside your everyday self. This can be done at a five-star hotel with 800 thread count sheets, in a tent in the wilderness, or perhaps best of all, in a happy combination of the two.
Maybe your first exposure to adventure travel was a backpacking trek through Europe right after college, a time-honored ritual in some circles, replete with overnight stays at grubby hostels and hooking up with that cute Swede.
But now, you probably prefer a few more creature comforts when you travel, says Edward Piegza, president and founder of Classic Journeys.
But, he adds, that doesn’t mean you don’t want adventure during the day. Like what? He’s quick to reel off a list of possibilities: glacier hiking in Iceland, swimming with Galapagos penguins, or cooking with a chef in her cliffside home a thousand feet above the Amalfi Coast.
“Everyone is saying 50 is the new 30, 60 is the new 40, and we are seeing that in the travel trends,’’ says Ann-Rebecca Laschever, executive vice president of Geoffrey Weill Associates, a travel public relations firm. Her term for these travelers: “bucketlisters.”
One of the better definitions of adventure travel comes from Mary Bemis, the editorial director at the InsidersGuidetoSpas.com: “A real adventure is when you’re no longer thinking of your daily life—when you’d rather be someplace else.”
At some level, she adds, an adventure happens when the outcome is unknown and there’s a little risk involved. When that happens, she says, you’re taken out of your everyday reality and forced to confront the present moment.
Here are nine ideas of how to exit your everyday and meet a little adventure head-on, including suggestions for almost every kind of traveler: