When I’m travelling, I always look out for the more adventurous options. I’ve ridden on the backs of numerous trucks, most memorably almost being crushed by a cargo of 20 gallon water containers. I’ve hitchhiked alone, forced into doing so because I was stranded in the middle of nowhere. I’ve hitchhiked across South America, meeting fascinating local people along the way and never, except on one occasion, feeling anything but safe.
More often than not, my adventuring has taken the form of a bus out to a small town where few tourists go, hoping to see historical sites or to admire beautiful rural landscapes. I’ve also walked in some spectacular parts of the Bolivian countryside, and travelled up an Amazon tributary into the jungle.
‘Adventure travel’ is all about your perspective
It’s incredible to read about other travellers reaching the Everest Base Camp, or camping beneath an active volcano – stories that are truly inspirational. But I can’t ever imagine myself doing anything quite as adventurous.
Adventure travel – or what I want to call adventurous travel – is more about you and your own personal travel goals. What you regard as adventurous might not even compare with another travellers’ concept of adventure: but, who cares. I don’t travel so that I can participate in the one-upmanship over who’s got the best travel tales that you find in many hostels. We don’t need to try and outdo each other with our stories: the only person you need to outdo is yourself.
What’s your approach?
As I’ve been starting up this website, I’ve read a lot of other’s work, and a recent post that I felt helped to illustrate this point was on the travel blog Migrating Miss.
She stresses that the purpose of travelling is about pushing yourself (gently, or more roughly, as required) towards the point where you escape your inhibitions and try something new. Whether it’s getting into a sniper-hole in Vietnam (as she demonstrates!) or taking a bus on your own in a foreign country, travel and being adventurous are about our own boundaries, and how far out we want to reposition them.
In my own experience, it’s particularly difficult sometimes for female travellers. On the whole, we’re often more cautious about risk-taking when travelling solo, and that deciding to adventure – whether it’s wild camping or off-tourist-trail exploration – can seem daunting.
What I’ve learned over the past 14 months is that you can start small
I really like the idea of micro-adventures; a concept pioneered by adventure-lover, Alastair Humphreys. From bivvy bagging overnight in the Cotswolds in the south of England, to walking a lap of the M25 near London, his point is that adventure is something that we can build into our daily lives, whether at home or abroad.
I like his perspective that adventuring is not about an experiences that’s crazy, dangerous, or something your mum would tell you off for doing, but more about putting ourselves into a new place, or discovering somewhere known but from a different perspective.
I hope that with this blog I can give you inspiration for some adventurous travelling ideas: places in South America that you can discover or ways that you can become more adventurous in the way that you travel. Hopefully my experiences – and misadventures – can get you thinking about your next trip.
Tell me about your thoughts and approach to adventure travel
And I’d love to hear from you: what adventures have you had when you’ve been travelling? And where’s your next micro-adventure? What’s your approach to adventuring, what inspires you and what adventurous steps or experiences have made you most proud about yourself?