Adventure Inspiration For 2017
If you’re anything like me, a new year means dreaming up new places to visit instead of a new resolution. Every year I vow to travel more, but the only way to do that is to plan ahead and actually do it! The more I adventure outside of my home, the longer my list gets with cities and countries and people I want to experience. The world is a big place, but I try to travel to the less touristy sites and the more native areas. Don’t let being a college student stop you from traveling. Most of the “travel” I’ve done has been related to my university or summer jobs. Look for opportunities in the areas you want to explore! Here is a list of four places that I want to visit in the near future, because why not dream big with traveling?
Europe: Hallstatt, Austria
Why? Escape busy cities and explore the beauty of Austria!
I don’t know about you guys, but this little town has been popping up in my Instagram feed like crazy the last few months. From autumn until winter, Hallstatt is a gorgeous town in the lake district of Austria. A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site for its several thousand years-old past, archeological excavations, and mountains filled with history. Outside of Salzburg (which should be on your MUST-SEE list if it isn’t already), it is easily accessible but a quiet spot in the lake district. A few things to hit while you’re there: the market square, the Heritage Museum, the Charnel House (a chapel with over 1200 skulls), and the Panorama Trail. Heck, you can take a torch-lit hike of Mammoth cave! For a truly local Austrian experience without the hassle of other tourists, this is the secret adventure you’ve been looking for. Just don’t tell anyone else!
When? April-October, but preferably September-October or December
North America: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Why? Enjoy the busy and alive city of western Canada!
Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, I realize I have explored very little of the Canadian side of the border. After seeing the Winter Olympics on TV in Vancouver, I knew I had to go there. If you enjoy the rush of the city, this gorgeous site is for an adventurous weekend. Focused on sea-life, you can go on a whale watching excursion or to the world-renown Vancouver Aquarium. Filled with interesting history from the past century, explore the architecture of downtown or in the older neighborhoods. It even has a public market, similar to Seattle’s Pike Place. If you’re up for a longer trek, road trip around the area to the mountains or Vancouver Island to meet the lifelong locals. For a truly unique experience in a welcoming city, visit Vancouver!
When? March-May, September-October
Asia: Chang Mai, Thailand
Why? Experience the joy of volunteering at an elephant sanctuary!
I have a little obsession with elephants. However, I get so heartbroken seeing them in touristy areas and attractions, especially when they are mistreated or overworked. If you want to help an elephant who has survived the tourism and entertainment industry, head to the Elephant Nature Park outside of Chang Mai. Explore the chaotic city for a day, then make your way to Lek’s nature park. Spend a day or two helping take care of elephants who need advocates! With the help of volunteers like yourself and thousands of others, the founder Lek has brought many elephants back to happy and healthy lives. The sanctuary will pick you up from Chang Mai and bring you back once you’ve met and fed some elephants. While you’re there, you’ll experience the mountainous beauty of Thailand while interacting with local people who love elephants too. Why not change the world while you travel?
South America: Machu Picchu, Peru
Why? Explore an ancient site that may soon be limiting visitors!
For the truly adventurous, make your way to ancient Machu Picchu before it starts to limit visitors. Due to too many visitors in past years, there will probably be limits placed on how many visitors can trek to it each year. You are required to have a tour guide with you on the trek, but I would highly recommend having one anyways. It is a steep climb to the top with a priceless view of an ancient nest in Wayna Picchu. There are many tours that you can sign-up with, each with a different emphasis from hiking to archeology, even trail conservation (another make-a-difference adventure). If you have health problems that are affected by elevation, exercise, or humidity, I highly suggest talking to your doctor before deciding to trek this very steep mountain. I’m looking for a tour that not only shows you Machu Picchu, but more local areas in Peru.
There you have it! Four vastly different adventures that all help you explore native cultures, from Canada to Peru. Take a leap and try somewhere you never saw yourself going. Literally choose your own adventure! No matter if you’re traveling with friends, family, or on your own, may your adventures be plentiful in 2017.