Adventure brings out the best in us. Our comfort zones are shattered, our inhibitions are tested, and we’re rewarded with incomparable feelings of achievement. Unlike travel that stops at visiting easily accessed museums or perfectly paved roads, these trips—often physically challenging, using in remote locations that see fewer tourists—challenge our minds and force us to deal with unknown. As the summer comes to a close and fall creeps around the corner, it’s the perfect time to consider an epic journey full of excitement and thrills.
It’s uncomfortable. Using a collectivo to cross the border in Central America is not a luxurious expensive. It’s extremely hot, you’re surrounded by other travelers, and the unpredictable roads don’t exactly reduce stress. One may be wondering why this is a perk, but the reality is, if you’re completely comfortable during your adventurous getaway, you’re doing it wrong. Being uncomfortable heightens our senses, and we notice things we may not have in luxury, such as stunning natural vistas and completely different ways of life.
There are endless surprises. The internet offers information on any location you can think of. Still, there’s nothing like finding out about little tidbits from the locals in each city. The internet doesn’t catch everything, and a beautiful, serene river may be closer than you realize if you just ask the right questions. Don’t be afraid to talk to people, take a different road to that cafe, or add an extra stop to your trek.
Get a more true-to-life experience. Most adventurous destinations are in remote locations. The small towns that are less populated by tourists usually offer the most authentic cultural experiences, including language, food and daily activities. Watching how people work and live on a day-to-day basis and eating the country’s cuisine creates a connection you won’t find in towns determined to create the ultimate tourist experience. Instead, try visiting neighborhood restaurants and bars, and talking to market owners and guides.
You will inevitably come back better. Difficulty breeds strength. Adventure trips come with challenges and unexpected turns at every corner, and how you handle those surprises will determine how well you fare. For most, going on an adventurous trek means you have some inclination toward thrill-seeking to be begin with. Taking the wrong bus, say, or finding bugs in your room thanks to the proximity of a rainforest, will not only help you get out of your comfort zone but teach the irreplaceable lesson of patience.