So you want to go on an adventure walk do you? Who could blame you!? Maybe you'll see ancient ruins in Turkey, trek along the Inca Trail in Peru or walk across mountains in Italy. If this sounds exciting, you're in good company. But any adventure is going to take a few plans, a little forethought and lots of willingness.
So are you ready?
If so, follow these 5 tips for taking a walking adventure and make your excursion one that you, and your feet, will never forget.
There's a reason we named this article, "tips for a walking adventure" and not "tips for walking around the block." A walking adventure is just that, an adventure! So the first thing you need to do is think big. Yes, you could walk the Great Wall of China, or walk around Washington, D.C. or something like that, but that's not the type of adventure we're talking about.
Think more along the lines of a walkabout in the Australian wilderness. Or maybe a hike up to Machu Picchu. And don't rule out a trek up a volcano in Mexico. Don't be limited by your local geography or your own ideas. Where have you always wanted to visit? Find that place then search for the most adventurous walking journey you can find.
You're walking adventure needs to be two parts adventure and one part walking. There are lots of Web sites that can set you up with the type of adventure you're looking for. You can search from mountains to deserts to caves. Just remember the old saying: Go big or go home.
Yeah, we know all about how to book flights and find hotel rooms. That stuff's boring anyways, so we won't get into it. What you really need to think about is how you're going to accomplish this adventure by walking. Seriously, are you ready for it? If you had to get up from the computer right now and hike up some peaks in Italy could you do it? Would you have to tap out after an hour? Don't let your adventure turn into you snapping pictures of the backs of everyone going ahead without you. It's your adventure, so get ready for it. If you need to workout, do it. Prepare for this journey so you can make the most out of it.
After you've gotten yourself physically ready, you need to plan the way. What type of terrain, climate and scenery do you want to experience? Some adventure walks are planned out for you so you may not have as much leeway on this. But if you're planning this trip yourself then you'll need to map out where you're going, how long it will take, where you can rest, where you can eat, and what the weather will be and all those fun little details.
Remember, planning isn't the enemy of adventure. If you take a short time to plan ahead, you'll reap the benefits when you're on your adventure by experiencing everything you choose to.
Take the Long Road
I once read a story about an author who hiked the Inca Trail in Peru. He said his guide stopped his group along the trail and told them they could take one trail and reach Machu Picchu in just six hours. The other route would go along the Inca Trail, the same way ancient pilgrimages would have been taken. And it would take four days.
Their guide told them the emperor used to make newcomers take the long route because, "the more painful the journey to Machu Picchu, the more the traveler would appreciate the city, once he got there." Needless to say, they took the long route.
Don't skimp on your walking adventure. It might be a little painful at times. And it might be a little uncomfortable. But that's why you're there. You're there to experience everything that's around you and to see something amazing. So do it. Take the long route and don't look back.
Find a Partner
Adventures are much better when you have someone to share it with. You want to go on your walking adventure and be able to relive the memories with someone. So take a close friend, or a member (or two) of your family along with you. Ask someone who you know will love the trip as much as you. Pick a partner in crime and plan the perfect trip together.
There are lots of adventure-walk companies that cater to specific groups. Family adventure walks and women-only adventures are also available from some of the companies.
Think you can't take your kids on one of these adventures? Think again. In the Dolomite Mountains of Italy, World War I soldiers built a series of walkways between the rocks so they could pass safely to the front line of the war. Today, the routes are used for adventure walkers, and kids as young as 8 have taken on the challenge.
So bring someone along on your walking journey. Or at least make some new friends while you're there. Adventures are best experienced when they're shared.
Without sounding to nerdy, adventures can be educational at the same time. Your walking adventure will most likely take you somewhere you've never been before, but somewhere where other people have lived, or at least passed through at some point. So learn about the local people. Your adventure will be much richer if you do.
Consider the adventure walk along Lycian Way in Turkey. The trail goes along the coast and passes by many of the graves and sunken ruins of the Lycians. You can trek near Mount Olympus and learn about the culture of ancient people at the same time. Education and adventure. Who knew?
Whether you decide to go somewhere specifically educational or not, no doubt there will be something to learn about the place you visit. So take it in and experience everything your adventure walk has to offer. You won't regret it.
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Author's Note: 5 Tips for a Walking Adventure Journey
This article made me want to spin the globe (or Google Maps) and randomly pick a place to travel to. A walking adventure seems like the perfect pace to take in everything around you and truly experience a destination. You get the adventure you're looking for, without having to be a skilled mountain climber, skier or biker that other adventures may require.
If I had to choose a walking adventure to take right now, it'd be the Inca Trail in Peru. I better start getting in shape!
- Country Walkers. "Women's Adventures." (June 14, 2012) http://www.countrywalkers.com/how-we-travel/private-&-custom/womens-adventures
- Miller, Donald. "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life." Thomas Nelson. 2009.
- Robbins, Tom. "Five Great Walking Adventures." The Guardian. Oct. 31, 2009. (June 13, 2012) http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2009/nov/01/walking-treks-holidays-mountains-family
- TrekkinginTurkey.com. "About the Walk." (June 14, 2012) http://trekkinginturkey.com/LycianWayContent/aboutthewalk.html