The tantalizing idea of boldly going where no-one has been before – or at least trying – is what drives many of us to book our next trip. Yet adventure is as much a state of mind as stepping out into the unknown. Here are eight ways you can guarantee your fill.
1. Go solo and say yes
The popularity of solo travel is booming – and there's little wonder why. Travelling alone you have the ultimate incentive to meet new people, all with exciting ideas for where their travels will take them, and many happy for you to tag along.
Allowing your plans to be shaped by the whims of your new acquaintances is a direct route to unexpected escapades. You might jump on the next bus to a little-known town or even become a deckhand on a chartered yacht. Either way, you’ll discover how saying yes can be the key to adventure.
2. Seek out local experiences
If you’re looking to get to the heart of the culture and customs of a country, meeting local people is the perfect approach.
Sites such as Couchsurfing and Airbnb put you in contact with tourist-friendly locals keen to swap cultures, while EatWith is a way of getting to the stomach of a place, connecting travellers with local chefs who host visitors for dinner in their homes.
3. Escape the beaten path with volunteering
Volunteering opportunities advertised through Helpx or Workaway can see you living for extended periods of time with local families, far from the tourist trail.
On a remote farm where your only neighbours are sheep, you’ll have no choice but to throw yourself into the experience. Most importantly, you’ll see what life’s really like away from where tourists normally go.
4. Find an alternative way to visit “must-sees”
Some places are justifiably must-visit destinations, but finding untraditional ways of experiencing them is easier than you might think.
The Salkantay trek has become a superb alternative to the more popular Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, while the lesser-known Lares is hot on its heels. In Cambodia, you might be surprised to learn that you can visit one of the world's most-recognised temples, UNESCO World Heritage Site Angkor Wat, on an annual half marathon where competitors wind through the ruins.
Llamas on the trekking route from Lares in the Andes © bchyla/Shutterstock
5. Consider a different way from A to B
You don't have get around by plane or in a comfortable tourist coach; the most adventurous travellers explore the globe in countless different ways.
Think about covering South America by bicycle or motorbike, driving across Europe, riding in the sidecar of a samlor motorbike in Laos, or even hitchhiking in Spain – where safe. Local transport might see you getting out and pushing and maybe even sharing the bus with livestock, but it will also give you some fantastic travel stories to take home.
6. Find places where adventure is the way of life
The most obvious route to adventure is travelling to a place already teeming with possibilities.
Barely-discovered Mongolia is ideal for intrepid explorers seeking the nomadic lifestyle and a stay in a traditional ger. For those wanting to visit some of the world’s last areas of complete wilderness, the more isolated parts of Patagonia's Tierra del Fuego are a haven accessible only with your own vehicle.
7. Pack your home onto your back
There's nothing like the freedom of being able to pick up your bag and go. Taking a tent, sleeping bag, and stove means you’re fully prepared for any adventure that comes your way.
Whether you're hostel-hopping, wild camping or road-tripping, there’ll be nothing stopping you. Make sure to enjoy at least one night beneath nature’s finest light show: the stars.
8. Be at one with nature
Dedication and some decent walking boots are all your need to make your own adventure outdoors, with myriad remote hikes and parks to explore around the world.
The 140 mile Larapinta Trail, from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder in Australia, is regarded as one of the world’s finest bush walks and can be walked in 18–20 days. For a real expedition, check out the United States’ Triple Crown. A 7,500 mile combination of countless national parks, desert plains and wet alpine, this walk combines the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide and the Appalachian Trail.
Top image: Myanmar Inle Lake © lkunl/Shutterstock