Travel with purpose: pack your sense of adventure

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I’m fortunate to live in a destination city. Skiing, biking, climbing, and a bevy of other outdoor adventures are realistic endeavors on any given day. If I want to meet up with my friends for dawn patrol in the backcountry during ski season or hit the mountain biking trails after work on a sunny summer Tuesday, I can. However, my adoration for adventures nearby only fuels my great passion for adventures afar. I’m always asking myself, if this is here, what else is out there?

 

My soul is full of wanderlust.

 

I have discovered that traveling to a destination for a specific purpose, like skiing, biking or going to a yoga retreat, is far better than going somewhere just to go. My trips are almost always activity-oriented because it creates a sense of purpose for my journey—a way to live out loud.

 

When I went to Peru two years ago, instead of just going to see Machu Picchu, I also made a point of going downhill mountain biking in the Sacred Valley and those memories stand out among the rest. Making space for these kinds of extravagances really punctuate the entire voyage. I don’t want the generic version. Whether it’s skiing in Jackson Hole, ice-climbing in Ouray, or surfing on Maui, my goal is to experience each place in a way that is singular to it. I find it very amusing to be able to compare the idiosyncrasies of places, such as the mountain biking trails in Truckee, CA versus Winter Park, CO, or scuba-diving in Costa Rica versus Fiji.

 

Because the nature of adventure travel means that things don’t always align with the way I planned, I like to leave some wiggle room for unknown opportunities or misadventures. This way I can say yes to random and unexpected adventures. Although, it also means packing for the unknown, which can be a daunting task because—in addition to making room for my travel yoga mat, down jackets, and cameras—I also have to decide if I can squeeze in my crampons, bike helmet, or perhaps a scuba mask.

 

I recently visited Iceland for a business convention and decided to add in an extra day there in case I found out about a can’t-miss thing during the conference that would necessitate the extra time. I had a loose plan to fly across the country and visit Godafoss, the most magnificent of all the waterfalls in Iceland. Turns out it was one of the best days ever. Not only did I get to see Godafoss, I was also able to say yes to a chartered flight tour over the erupting Bardarbunga Volcano. After that I decided to go horseback riding on a farm near Akureyri. The term equestrian is not found anywhere in my bio, but the Icelandic horses are known for their distinctness and it’s what people do there. I didn’t want to miss out, so I did that too.

 

Iceland has a great deal of allure for multi-sport enthusiasts like me. Skiing, arctic rafting, mountain biking, scuba-diving, and glacier hiking are all on the menu. I left the country feeling as though not only did I get to do all of the things I went to do, I was also able to do some things I never expected.

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