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ADVENTURE TRAVEL

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Does the term ďadventure travelĒ mean the traveler must become an Indiana Jones and endure steaming jungles, baking deserts or stormy seas? Does it mean risking life and limb in war zones or regions that have been prone to terrorist attack? Does it mean crawling on your belly in the claustrophobic depths of a cave, or dangling from a rope at a cliff-face hundreds of feet above a torrential river?

The answer is no, even though all of those things are certainly the sort of adventures some people actively pursue. Adventure travel, really, is whatever you want it to be. It might involve physical risk, but it doesnít have to. It might mean travel to a distant and exotic place, but it doesnít have to. It might cost a lot of money, but it doesnít have to. If you travel somewhere, anywhere, and you have an experience that excites you, provides you with an escape from the ordinary, and leaves you feeling happy, then youíve had an adventure.

Of course, every personís idea of what is adventurous is different. A history buff might not be the least interested in a vacation in Las Vegas or a visit to Disney World. But he or she might be thrilled to tour the Tower of London, visit the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, or stand at the Irish graveside of some long dead ancestor. The discovery of some previously unknown ancestorís name in the archival records of a small town can be as exciting for the history lover as landing a prize rainbow trout is to an ardent fisherman.

Most people would agree that adventure travel that involves sky diving, mountain climbing, shooting white water rapids in a kayak, or photographing polar bears in the Arctic would be exciting. But adventure travel can also involve a leisurely trip on the Mississippi River in a paddle wheeler, a stroll across the English countryside in search of a certain species of bird, a tour of the wineries of southern France, or a shell-collecting expedition on an out-of-the-way Caribbean beach.

Adventure travel does not necessarily mean a trip to the airport or train station. Interesting things to see and do are often within oneís own back yard, or at least an easy car drive from home, wherever that might be. They are not as well publicized as major sites or operations, so people have to look for them. They can include small local museums, houses of special interest (the birthplace of a famous person), small sanctuaries for wildlife and flora, restored buildings or even communities dating back to historic times, and so on. Even if one does not own a car, there are sometimes local bus tours to this site, or excursions organized by social groups.

Yes, adventure travel can take you to the other side of the world, to the top of a mountain, or to the wildest places on earth. But it might also take you to the inside of a little old church just around the corner, that youíve walked past a thousand times.


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