Amazing Travel Tips: Boundless Journeys Adventure Travel May 11th, 2009 • by Matt Holmes Adventure travel – whether hiking through the hill towns of Tuscany, trekking through Bhutan and the Himalayas, or sea kayaking in Baja’s Sea of Cortez – creates a sense of excitement and anticipation in even the most seasoned of travelers. This type of travel provides a way to escape the ordinary, and discover and explore with a fresh perspective. Many however are often scared away by the term “adventure”, and according to Webster’s Dictionary: “adventure” is defined as: 1. a hazardous undertaking 2. an unusual or suspenseful experience 3. participation in hazardous or exciting experiences “travel” is defined as: 1. to move from one place to another: JOURNEY 2. To journey from one place to another as a traveling sales representative 3. to be transmitted, as light In these words lie the loose definition of “adventure travel.” Strictly defined, “adventure travel” could mean: “a hazardous undertaking as a traveling sales representative” or “a suspenseful experience being transmitted as light.” However, there is much latitude to create a definition unique to your desired experience. For example, the true essence of adventure travel to me is defined as “unusual or exciting experiences journeying from one place to another.” Or more succinctly stated “Boundless Journeys.” Dial up the adventure, or turn it back. How exciting or how unusual you prefer your travels defines the personal experience that all of us have while traveling. Here are a few travel tips to help you prepare for your next adventure: From National Geographic Adventure: Text by Brad Wieners Premise: If anyone can tell you how to travel outside your comfort zone, embrace risk, and come back alive, it’s the creators, host, and winners of TV’s The Amazing Race “Above all, know that the world is really a very safe place.” –The Amazing Race cocreator Bertram van Munster Out of the gate it looked as if The Amazing Race, the adventure-travel reality-TV show that made its debut September 5, 2001, on CBS, might end up a one-season wonder. “When I saw the billboards [advertising the series] in lower Manhattan coated in ash from the World Trade Center, I really thought we were in trouble,” recalls the program’s cocreator Bertram van Munster. “I mean, who would want to watch a show with all these airplanes?” Instead of packing it in, The Amazing Race has taken flight and managed over seven subsequent seasons to sustain a word-of-mouth rep as “the thinking person’s reality-TV show,” even though that sounds oxymoronic to some thinking persons. During each 13-episode run, 11 duos vied for a cool million in cash. (The show’s fall format has ten teams of four extended family members.) By the time it’s over, the racers have completed up to 30 scavenger hunts, physical or phobia-related challenges, and culturally specific rituals-all while circumnavigating the globe in 29 to 30 days. Perhaps the most exceptional thing about The Amazing Race is its inviting worldview. “It seems like all we ever see of the rest of the world is the aftermath of a natural disaster, war, or someone who hates us, burning an American flag,” says the expat New Zealander Keoghan, who resides with his wife and daughter in Santa Monica, California. He adds, “Our President is constantly warning people about all the ‘evildoers’ out there. It’s no wonder some Americans think they’ll be safer staying home.” Say what you like about The Amazing Race: that its appealing images of exotic locales act as an antidote to war-on-terror hysteria, or that what the show really delivers is a spot-on satire of the breakneck speed at which Americans travel. Either way, the folks responsible for staging the race indisputably know their way around. Doganieri and van Munster typically travel the 35,000-mile (56,327-kilometer) itinerary of the race twice, and sometimes three times, before each contest gets under way. In all, they’ve visited more than 70 countries, ironing out all the logistics of the show. Their travel savvy, along with advice from Keoghan and season-seven winners Joyce and Uchenna Robinson-Agu, follows. You needn’t be racing to put it to good use. 10 Adventure Travel Tips From The Amazing Race By Phil Keoghan 1. Face your fear. At 19, Keoghan nearly died when he was trapped inside a shipwreck off the coast of New Zealand during a deepwater dive. Once rescued, he wrote out a “life list” of adventures he wanted to have before he really did cross over and then got paid to do many of them as the go-anywhere, try-anything host of TV magazines Phil Keoghan’s Adventure Crazy and Keoghan’s Heroes (Keoghan rhymes with Hogan). “A recurring theme when people make their lists,” he says, “is that they almost always put down things they’ve been afraid to try.” Keoghan encourages everyone to make these a priority. “I can’t tell you the number of times someone has done something they feared and then found themselves able to make other major life decisions,” he says. It’s corny, he admits, but it works. (For the record, Keoghan is claustrophobic, but he adds, “I’ve managed to push the fear back. It doesn’t inhibit me.” His therapy? Diving to one of the world’s longest known underwater tunnels, Nohoch Nah Chich, under the Yucatán jungle.) 2. Don’t panic. “When you’re trying something you’ve never done before, most people find themselves really hyper about being in a situation that’s out of control,” says Joyce, who watched the show prior to appearing on it. “We learned not to get so excited about everything because there are going to be a lot of new things coming at you all the time.” 3. Pack for one week. “Whether I’m going out for a week or several months, I only ever pack for a week,” says Keoghan. “Because you don’t want to be weighed down, and you can always wash up.” 4. Have a plan before you clear customs. If you aren’t sure where you’re going, ask for information in the airport before you pass through security into the public waiting areas. And get the map. 5. Stick to backpacks, not messenger bags. “If you’re going for anything longer than a weekend, make sure your bag has two shoulder straps,” says Keoghan. “I find the [single-strap] shoulder bags just bugger your back.” 6. Avoid checking bags. Or, if you can’t get yourself down to one carry-on, keep your total number of bags to an absolute minimum. The more items you have, the more you have to keep track of, and the more you stand to lose. “It’s in the belly of the plane that things can start to go bad,” van Munster warns. 7. There is no simple, over-the-counter solution for jet lag. 8. Never wear shorts. At least, not if you’re male and not if you leave the grounds of a resort, the trail, or the beach. “I recommend lightweight long pants,” says van Munster. “They’re protection against mosquitoes, fleas, dog bites, snakebites…. Many people take malaria drugs, but I don’t. I just keep covered, and I blend in, because in most places adult men wear long pants.” Also, avoid matching outfits. This verily screams “tourist.” 9. Schedules are subject to interpretation. Go with the flow. In Zermatt, Switzerland, your train will depart at exactly 8:42 a.m. as noted, but in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, an 8 a.m. bus might, or might not, leave anytime before dinner. Adjust your outlook accordingly. 10. Always act the guest. If you’re respectful of your foreign hosts and try to see things through their eyes, you’ll most likely find that you’ll be treated hospitably. “People may not like our foreign policy, but people everywhere like Americans,” says van Munster. “There really is something of an American spirit, and people are drawn to it. You’ve got to have confidence in that, and, above all, know that the world is really a very safe place.” About Boundless Journeys Selected as one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure, February 2009. If diversity of adventure is what you are seeking, Boundless Journeys has trips to satisfy your most imaginative spirit. Offering worldwide adventure tours, featuring experiences ranging from wilderness treks to cultural journeys, we always find the hidden gems of each destination. Small group or private itineraries, memorable accommodations, and expert local guides define the signature Boundless Journeys adventure travel experience.