Here's a little thing about travel: only you decide how far you're willing to go to make each experience unique and memorable. You can book the holiday, take the flights, but still choose the 'safe' confines of Western comforts for the remainder of your trip. Or, you can travel without boundaries, taking on some of the world's most outrageous locations and activities.
Adventure travel has already reached a great height of popularity, with many people opting to combine sightseeing with action-packed excursions. You can go for a guided adventure tour or head out on your own. Regardless of what your style is, here are some places and activities you might want to consider.
Mendenhall Glacier - Alaska, USA
What are all those amateur adventurers doing bragging about exploring caves made from rock and dirt? They've probably never even stepped foot inside a cave made from ice. But you can. Mendenhall Glacier stretches to about 19 kilometres long and on the outside it's a sparkling mass of crystalline ice.
However, it's on the inside where the magic of nature can cradle your heart. As you walk under the ice, the glacier's gentle blue glow and the sound of water splashing onto the rocks around you is a truly soothing experience. The ice's slow melting creates small waterfalls and pools of water inside the glacier caves. Due to climate change, Mendenhall Glacier is steadily retreating, so a visit today will likely be quite different to one years ago.
The Great Blue Hole - Belize
There are colourful reef dives with a plethora of tropical marine life, then there are gritty dives like few others in this world. The Great Blue Hole in Belize is the latter; a 124-metre-deep sinkhole where stalactites and stalagmites, caves and sharks reside. Its considerable depth gives you the ability to descend to 40 metres – the maximum diving limit for recreational divers.
The adventure of the Great Blue Hole lies mainly in the dive, and as you descend through the misty water past jagged walls and overhangs, it's easy to feel the thrill of a dive where anything could happen. There's also marine life to see, particularly the Caribbean Reef Sharks that swim right up close to investigate you and the rare sighting of a hammerhead. When visibility and wildlife activity is at its peak, it's easily one of the world's best dives.
The Shahara Bridge - Yemen
Visiting the Shahara Bridge in Yemen can require some significant physical exertion – a five-hour trek up rocky mountain terrain. Don't let this put you off. The bridge and the ancient fortress (Shahara) it leads to are both worth the effort. If you'd prefer, you can catch a ride to Shahara in a local guide's 4WD, stopping off at the bridge on the way. This mode offers its own form of adventure thanks to the narrow roads and steep cliff face.
The Shahara Bridge stretches across a canyon almost 100 metres deep and one must wonder to what lengths they went to build it back in the 16th Century. It isn't long and technically you could cross it in a matter of seconds, but if you take your time, you can appreciate the stonework, the view and staggering drop below. You might not want to take too long, because it was built to fight off Turkish invaders and legend has it the locals know how to remove the bridge in minutes!
Lofotr Viking Museum - Borg, Norway
One of the best parts of travelling is taking on new activities you might never get to do again. This is certainly the case at Lofotr Viking Museum in Norway, where, during certain months of the year, you can row a reconstructed Viking longboat, shoot arrows from a bow, ride horses and even throw axes.
Designed on the archaeological findings of an actual Viking village, the Museum values authenticity, whether you're partaking in a giant feast, meeting native animals, watching handicraft demonstrations or learning from the colourful Viking characters. If you've ever wanted to discover the fascinating Viking civilisation, this is a great place to begin.