Outdoor Adventure travel
Adventure travel is something I always dreamed of, but never really knew what it was. I never dreamed of wandering the streets of far off destinations as a long term globetrotting backpacker. Yet, that was my first outdoor adventure travel. Where my first attempt at solo travel was a 2,500 mile kayaking adventure trip that spanned the entire Mississippi River. From Minnesota to New Orleans. Eventually I found the courage to backpack down through Mexico & Central America. To arrive in Brasil in time for World Cup, and watch the host nation take home the sports most coveted prize.
Since then my adventure travels have taken me from the beaches of Brasil to the Temples of Thailand. Chasing powder turns on my skis in the mountains of Japan to falling love in Paris. I’ve hiked the entire Appalaichan Trail, Pacific Crest Trail & Continental Divide Trail. My outdoor adventure travels have allowed me to call the Grand Tetons, Grand Canyon and Grand Cayman home. Until I felt the need to seek out more outdoor adventure travels through our National Park system.
Where I have had the opportunity to call Rocky Mountain National Park , Glacier National Park & Yellowstone National Park home. Spending an entire summer in each one of these magnificent adventurous playgrounds inspired dreams of adventure travel I never possessed as kid.
My childhood dreams had more of a focus on becoming a spy or world champion. I grew up in the suburbs of Minnesota were normalcy was a complacent disease.
The more you resisted the harder the walls you banged your head on became. My peers, friends and family guided me towards the American dream. College then a reputable job that would eventually lead to family and a mortgage. Where outdoor adventures where comoprised of long weekend getaways to the lake cabin. None of these choices were negative. They just weren’t necessarily appealing to me.
I couldn’t articulate why or select the verbiage needed for you to understand my deep desire for longterm adventure travel. I just had no desire to pursue the path I was being urged to take. It had nothing to do with money, ambition, sacrafice or resources. It just had the allure of boredom. I didn’t want my life to amount to a good credit score, home repair and a list of bookmarked adventure travel ideas I would never experience.
Outdoor Adventure Travel Choices
Without knowing my choices, or realizing there were even adventure travel choices I started down this path of normalcy. How was I suppoed to know that I could travel the world by way of the restaurant industry? How was I supposed to know that being a ski bum would make the world my playground? I didn’t grow up with any globetrotting neighbors. My family wasn’t made of money.
In fact we barely had enough money for school supplies, camping, fishing or hunting. These were our outdoor adventure travels. Our vacations never left the state let alone states. How was I supposed to know how to break the trend? Everyone in my life was pointing me down the same road. How could all of these people be wrong? Why am I the only one with any concern about that path? I wanted to be Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker or one of the Goonies who dodged booby traps and uncovered secret pirate treasure. I wanted to experience the “adventure” of travel in an era where technology has deleted the “adventure” of travel.
We grow up latching onto acceptance. Our peers influencing our choices. Our parents supervising our decisions. Mass media pervasively pursuading our preferences. Its difficult to stray from the pack so I chose conformity. This lead me to a series of dead end jobs, and forgotten times at a variety of college campuses. While stacking up a debt I had no idea how I was going to pay back. I was spinning my wheels on a treadmill. Stuck in neutral. Facing the reality of life and unwilling to except it.
What was I supposed to do, and how am I supposed to do it? Financial aid covers the cost of school, but not the cost of life, food or fuel. A job doesn’t cover the cost of school, and delivers nothing close to adventure travel. I was infected with normalcy and set my sites on a cure.
Since none of my peers could relate to my constant boredom who could I turn to? I had a disease that warranted no public outcry like aids or cancer. I was simply just a young adult rebelling against a system in search for an exotic outdoor adventure travel story to tell my peers.
How Alaska’s Outdoor Adventure Travel Changed My Life
Scouring the internet for anything that would allow me to deviate from this failing “American Dream” produced marginal, but temporary cures. Until Alaska came calling. Mentally anything with the allure Alaska was presenting would have been equally as attractive, but the connection is what changed my life forever. Which is often true for long term travelers. Its not the destinations you hold dear in your heart. Its the people you meet in that time & place that will forever shape and mold you. When Alaska came calling with its invitation to outdoor adventure travel. I was submerged in “clandestine” daydreams set on joining the French Foreign Legion. Whether I chose to recognize it or not I was suicidal, and so absorbed in the moment that I was unaware of the adventure travel I was about to begin.
ALASKAN OUTDOOR ADVENTURE TRAVEL
I had no expectations of Alaska other than it seemed like an exotic adventure that I couldn’t wait to tell others. I had never been to Alaska. Never read about Alaska. I had no expectations because I knew nothing except its location. It seemed very unlikely that anyone I knew would ever be able to say, “They had an adventure travel story from Alaska.” Which was my only concern. A story or an outdoor adventure from some far off exotic place that no one in my circle could ever relate or duplicate. Everything about my reasons for going to Alaska were superficial & materialistic. Two things Alaska was going to eradicate from my persona.
When you have no knowledge, expectations or experience disappointment isn’t an option. When a friend destroys a dream its devastating, but when a stranger becomes a friend its magical. Alaska was a wizard that brought 30 strangers together to become life long friends. On an island in the Pacific Ocean. Nothing we did was extraordinary. Nothing we said was enlightening, and nothing we accomplished was unique. But everything about it was magnificent. Alaska was life changing!! Not for the outdoor adventure travel options it provided, but because it gave me the opportunity to connect with strangers on a level I never knew before.
Alaska’s Outdoor Adventure Travels
The entirety of it all was so new that everything became an adventure. Walking a mile to work surrounded by mountains towering out of the ocean was awe inspiring. Add whale tails slapping on the surface as you pass by a hundred seasonal waterfalls was an outdoor adventure I had never experienced back in the suburbs of Minnesota.
Ziplining through the trees with the eagles over the feasting bears below was the outdoor adventure travel I had been craving for all these years. Becoming raging alcoholics on the beaches of Ketchikan Alaska with thirty strangers who were becoming life long friends was adventure travel peers I had been searching for all my life.
Camping in a moss covered forest that I’d never seen before was the exotic outdoor adventure travel I couldn’t capture with my camera. Travelling to this strange land to play a game of yuker with my Michigan roommates was an adventure travel I couldn’t wait to tell back home.
Every day was a new experience & new exposure to culture, personalities, mentallities and activities. It was a job that was challenging, rewarding and frustrating on a daily basis. It was a way of life that revved the RPMs & held my interest. Constantly. I couldn’t get enough.
Strangers had connected with me. Held similar interests, and exposed me to a variety of life changing ideas. Concepts that continue to influence my life today, and shape my future. Before my Alaska Adventure Travels I would have never considered the mountains to be my home, or ski resorts as my playgrounds. The idea to drive to the end of South America found its conception while adventure traveling in Alaska.
Alaska was my breeding ground for my adventure travels yours may be Thailand, Ohio, New Zealand, Brazil or London. It doesn’t matter the path or the destination to find your outdoor adventures, but that you do find your adventures.
Acceptance deletes confusion, frustration and uncertainity. Adventure begins when your planning ends. Time will not stand still, and will not hold any grudges. Let delay be your only regret, and follow your travel dreams.
Adventure Life or Normal Life?
I say this with confidence because I was were you are now. Searching and seeking for answers. Everything seemingly unobtainable or impossible. Nobody to relate to, and everyone pushing you in a direction that seems illogical. The answers are out there, and only ambition or creativity can find them. I have been traveling the world by way of dead end jobs since 1998. You can too. Read how I saved $20,000 in less than 3 months.
Work your way around the US. Start in the West, and work your way East. Slow travel your way from big cities to small mountain towns following the seasons you enjoy.
Would you rather work to fulfill someone else’s dreams, or to fulfill your dreams? Long term travel has so many variations there is no way to define them all. There is equally no way to have a universal way of funding your travels. You can save up a bunch of money, or you can start traveling today.
Pick a destination and go. Friends and family will support you. Jobs and housing are everywhere. There is no right or wrong answer here. Credit scores are temporary. Happiness is permanent. Are you happy now? What would make you happy.
If your reading this travel blog I doubt its a bunch of monthly obligations you struggle to meet. Or maybe your just reading this travel blog looking for ways to delete your monthly bills. Buy an RV!!! Especially if its summer time. Go buy some cheap RV, and get a monthly rental spot at the local campground. Five months from now when your looking at 3 months worth of paychecks in the bank account you’ll be asking yourself why you never thought of buying an RV sooner.
Adventure travel’s definition is nowhere near solidified, and quite open to loose interpretation. My definition of adventure travel is easily obtainable if your ambitious enough. Travel is travel, and adventure is adventure. If your doing both, and your happy whats wrong with how you got there?
Share in the comments below about your outdoor adventure travels. How did you chase down your travel dreams? What made them so memorable, or life altering? What do you hope to encounter on the rest of your adventure travels?
Travel is a classrom everyone should enroll in for at least one semester if not two, and I would encourage you to choose the destination you know nothing about. Set no expectations, and let your outdoor adventure unfold naturally. The best advice I could give any new traveler is to pack light, be open, and let the places you visit change you. I promise you won’t regret it, and you might even become pleasantly surprised about the treasures you unconver.