Here is a definitive bucket list of the 25 things you need to do as an adventure traveller!
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Every traveller has their own “bucket list,” whether they call it that or not. You can’t travel and not make mental notes about the next places you want to go, the next things you want to do. Obviously, the point is that it’s personal. I can hardly tell you what should be on your bucket list, as mine is likely totally different from yours.
But if you’re into extreme travel — or, if you’re the type to cringe at the thought of bros shouting “EXTREME!” while they crash into things, let’s call it adventure travel — there are some absolute must-dos if you want to cement your status as a globetrotting badass. A lot of the other lists along these lines give you specifics (Climb Everest! Ski K2!), but the point of adventure travel is making it your own and doing something you’ve never done before. So fill in the specifics yourself. But here are some things you absolutely must do
The bungee jump is an absolute essential — the where is up to you. A good option is Verzasca Dam in Switzerland, the jump made famous by the movie Golden eye. The world’s highest bungee jump is at the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado (at a whopping 321 meters), but I always recommend The Wild Swing at Wild 5 Adventures.
Like the bungee jump, the skydive is a must, but where is virtually limitless.
You can do this anywhere there are cliffs and deep water. In fact, this is the one thing you’re most likely to have done already. Because why wouldn’t you? Cliff jumping is great, as long as you’re safe about where you jump. Most spots are reasonably close to the water, and if not, the worst-case scenario (again, if you’re being safe) is you do a bit of a belly flop and earn a sympathetic beer from your friends.
The acronym stands for “Building, Antenna, Span, Earth,” which are the four surfaces one typically jumps off of. Obviously, get comfortable with BASE and with skydiving in general before trying it — this one is a particularly dangerous sport. But some of the jumps are absolutely incredible.
Image Source: https://www.redbull.com/us-en/videos/felix-1
To be honest, as humans, we exaggerate the danger we face from sharks. They generally only kill six people a year, while we kill tens of millions of them. But that doesn’t make being in the water with them any less primarily terrifying. One way to do it is in a protected cage, but extra points for freediving with the sharks.
Hang gliding has a somewhat “unsafe” reputation, but that’s largely because it’s such an old sport, as far as air sports go. It’s been around since the 1880s, back when aeronautics wasn’t particularly well understood. Now, the death rate for hang gliding is similar to that of playing soccer or running a marathon. When you pick the place you’re going to hang glide, try and pick a spot with a good view. Unlike skydiving, you may be able to spend a substantial amount of time in the air, and you want something cool to be looking at.
I’m not gonna lie, rock climbing makes me queasy. But it’s a huge international sport, and there are a ton of different variations on it: artificial climbing walls you’re used to seeing in recreational areas, and then actual outdoor rock climbing. This includes bouldering (ropeless climbing on large rocks), free climbing (climbing with ropes that are there for safety, but not for assistance) and, most terrifying, free soloing (climbing without any ropes and, if it’s not over water, with the serious potential to be killed in a fall).
Really hardcore rock climbers will often spend a number of days climbing a single face. Obviously, this causes a problem: Where do you sleep? Rock climbers used to use hammocks — which are obviously risky if you’re a restless sleeper — but now they use portal edges, which are basically tents they set up hanging from the rock face.
Running with the bulls
Okay, so this one is location-specific — you pretty much have to do it in Pamplona, unless you want to just go out to a farm and piss off some bulls on your own. It’s also a bit problematic if you’re an animal rights person, as the event ends with the bulls being slaughtered in bullfights. That said, the running of the bulls in Pamplona is one of the most iconic yearly travel events. It can be deadly — 15 have died since 1924, and people frequently are gored by the bulls.
I’ve never been able to surf myself —but it’s at the absolute top of my to-do list.
Ziplines are awesome.
Sailing across a major body of water
Sailing is not usually considered an “extreme” sport, but it requires a ton of skill and requires your almost constant attention. I was going to put “sailing across an ocean,” but let’s be honest — that’s not likely. The main reason sailing isn’t more widespread is the sheer cost of the sport, and logistically, crossing an ocean would be incredibly difficult.
Hiking the Triple Crown
The Triple Crown consists of three of America’s best-known trails: the Pacific Crest Trail, which follows the Cascades and the Sierra Nevadas from Washington to Southern California; the Continental Divide, which follows the Rocky Mountains from Montana down to New Mexico, and the Appalachian Trail, which takes you from Maine to Georgia. It will take you a few years at least to do all three — altogether, we’re talking around 7,900 miles.
Making it to both the North and South Poles
This one is another logistically tough feat to pull off. The North Pole is covered in shifting ice; Antarctica, while an actual continent, sees the most extreme weather on the planet. And a lack of infrastructure in both places makes them tough to get to. So you’ll have to be creative — maybe try snowmobiling, or flying, or dog sledding.
The sport itself is practically everywhere — people have skied down K2 in the Himalayas. The safer (and also probably more fun) bet is to go to Colorado, the Alps, or Banff. You could also set yourself a goal of skiing in every mountain range where it’s possible, you could set a total ski distance goal, or whatever — skiing and snowboarding have to be on the list.
The Rickshaw Run
The Rickshaw Run is awesome. Your team is given a starting point and an ending point — nothing else in the way of a route. You spend two weeks trying to get to the endpoint, but your rickshaw (which your team pimps out) is probably gonna break down, and you’re gonna have to figure it all out on the road. It’s sort of a race, but honestly, who cares who wins?
This is one of the easier and less dangerous items on this list, but skiing as a sport is too much goddamn fun to not put on your bucket list. Like snow skiing, there are a ton of variations on it: You can also go kneeboarding, tubing, wakeboarding, or barefoot skiing.
Another must. Whitewater rafting can involve as much expertise as you want it to. Basically, if you know how to swim, you can find rapids that are safe for you. That said, a worthy goal would be to be able to master Category V rapids (considered the expert level before VI and VII, which are much more dangerous), or possibly to take a trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.
This one’s for the photographers and videographers, but it still counts as “extreme” because it can be particularly dangerous, especially when you’re near rotating supercell storms. Supercells can quickly turn into tornadoes, and a recent storm chaser also got struck by lightning. That said, massive storms like these can make for some amazing photos.
Wingsuit flying is a variation on skydiving / BASE jumping. You have a suit that gives you a little extra lift, and this means you can “fly” — or, if we’re being more accurate, “glide” — while diving a bit more.
This is easily the silliest item on the list, but zorbing is where they put you in an air-inflated bubble and then push you down a hill or out on the water. It’s basically a human hamster wheel and, unlike virtually everything else on here, involves very little skill. But goddamn, it looks fun.
Crossing a continent on a bike
You can obviously choose whether you want to go on a bicycle, or motorcycle it up a la Che Guevara, but biking across a continent is a badass trip no matter where or how you choose to go. Extra points to those who find a solid route through South America, Africa, or Asia. Alex Chacon
My vote, personally, is against climbing Everest. For one thing, the price tag is R500,000 to 1 Million, and you’re not guaranteed to reach the top. Plus, recent events have proved that Everest expeditions may be getting less safe for sherpas thanks to the crowds— this year, 16 sherpas died in an avalanche. Besides, who wants to climb a crowded mountain? There are plenty of very tall mountains that are easy enough for beginners to climb.
Really, all scuba diving should be on this list, but cave diving has even more of a claustrophobic element to it, in that you can’t just go straight back up to the surface. It’s also some of the most beautiful diving. There’s a lot of it in Central America
Circumnavigating the globe
Another must, if for nothing else than the awesome map souvenir you’ll be able to get out of it. There are a lot of ways to do this, but extra street cred to the people who take more difficult paths, whether that’s travelling around the world only by human-powered means, travelling by sailboat, travelling by motorcycle, or — god help you — walking, this is a long trip and an experience of a lifetime. If you don’t want to spend a few years planning and executing this trip, you could also buy cruises that’ll take you around the world, or you could fly or take trains.
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