Adventure travel is definitely for those that enjoy more active ways of traveling and exploring, but you don’t need to be popping wheelies to enjoy a bike ride through pastoral Peru. Active trips, often referred to in the travel world as adventure travel, are equally for travelers that want to immerse and engage in the places they visit. The activity secondary to the experience it allows for.
For instance, maybe biking along you pass a farmer. Maybe he’s carrying a blanket full of a rare potatoes you’ve never seen before. He cuts one open for you to see. It’s yellow on the outside, but pink on the inside! It’s one of the 4,000 varieties of potatoes they’ve learned to cultivate in Peru. The sun peaks out from behind fluffy and full cumulous clouds, warming the chilled mountain air. You take a moment to bask in it’s warmth and then just like that the sun is swallowed up by the next cloud in the sky and a chill descends over the valley. As you reach for your jacket you think, “well, it’s easy to see why the Inca’s worshipped the sun!”
A thoughtful adventure trip merges the adventurer into their surroundings. The activities serve a purpose. It’s not ziplining for the thrills as if you were at an amusement park. It’s to soar through the forest canopy like a bird or a monkey. Or maybe it’s there for the advantageous view down into a canyon. It’s not just there for there’s sake.
It often involves human powered modes of traveling – like sea kayaking or hiking and biking. These are the antithesis of destination checklist travel. They slow you down. They allow you to be mindful of your surroundings. Which countless research shows is something very good for us human beings living in this fast-paced, tech-crazed, screen addicted world we’re creating.
In all my years at Detour there are very few travelers who come home raving only of, say, Machu Picchu. My bets are on that unplanned encounter with the potato farmer. And what a much more interesting story.