What does adventure travel mean to you? I’d imagine for some the mere word “adventure” conjures up thoughts of skydiving or perhaps bungee jumping off the nearest bridge. For me, adventure travel means kayaking on the nearest river or setting up camp in northern Wisconsin and hiking around natural waterfalls to enjoy nature at its finest. Adventure travel can take many forms – from risky to simply awe-inspiring.
The fact is, adventure can truly be in the mind of the traveler and can encompass a mixture of emotions and experiences — pure terror, raw adrenaline or utter amazement and joy. Perhaps what unites adventure travelers of all types is the sheer mystery of venturing into the unknown or embarking on an experience that few dare to take. It’s finding yourself in a whole new way and sometimes realizing the magnitude and tragedy of nature itself.
One of my best adventure travel experiences happened while kayaking on the gently flowing Wisconsin River. I was with friends — all weaving in and out of islands with our personal boat — admiring nature and the occasional rumble of thunder in the distance on a hot summer day. One word of advice… admire the thunder but heed its powerful warning. We were about a half mile from shore when the squall line moved in and the once gentle river became a swirling pot of raging water, threatening to topple us all into the recently revived undercurrent. Whether we were truly paddling for our lives or in a state of pure awe-induced adrenaline to simply fight the wind torrents and choppy waters back to the nearest dock is anyone’s guess – but we made it. The story went down in our friendship’s history as the day we fought the water and won.
While my story might not be nearly as epic as some, it was my personal adventure. What’s your best adventure or outdoor travel story? We’d love to hear it!