My Favorite Adventure Trips

I am often asked what my favorite adventure trips have been.  Looking back over 30 or so years and 7 continents of travel, I’ve never had a bad trip.  There are, however, 5 trips that stand out in my mind.  Here they are, in no particular order:

Chinstrap Penguins

Antarctica:  One of the most difficult places on earth to get to, Antarctica is truly unique and special.  We traveled on a Russian Ice Breaker across some of the roughest seas in the world to spend 2 weeks exploring the Antarctic Peninsula.  The scenery was absolutely stunning!  Some of the Antarctic wildlife can be found nowhere else on earth.  The penguins are just so much fun to watch – we never grew tired of their antics.  We also had the opportunity to climb peaks that no one else on earth has summitted.  We traveled with a naturalist and a professional photographer and two of the most friendly and laid back guides on earth, all enhancing our wonderful experience in this barren, but beautiful, landscape.  If it weren’t so expensive, I’d return to Antarctica in a heartbeat.

Bhuddist Stupa near Mt Everest

Nepal:  Nepal was my first international adventure trip and will forever hold a special place in my heart.  I have always been drawn to the mountains and you can’t get any better than Nepal.  I can’t even begin to explain how awe-inspiring it is to gaze upon the highest mountain in the world!  But beyond the scenery, it is the people of Nepal that made this such a special place.  The people of Nepal, though some of the poorest in the world, are also some of the happiest people on earth.  They are extremely friendly,  naturally inquisitive, and beautiful.  The many varied cultures of this region really must be experienced.

Borneo Pygmy Elephant

Malaysian Borneo:  I don’t know of any other place else where you can summit an almost 14,000 foot mountain one day and scuba dive off beautiful white-sand beaches the next day.  Not only that, the wildlife of this island is not easily surpassed.  We visited islands where giant sea turtles return from years at sea to lay their eggs.  We visited Orangutan sanctuaries where orphaned and injured Orangutans are rehabilitated, and were lucky enough to see several of the severely endangered species in the wild.  We took river tours where we saw the awfully strange-looking Proboscis Monkey, crocodiles, and the rare Borneo Pygmy Elephant. 

Trevi Fountain in Rome

Italy:  Italy is just one of those places that I cannot get enough of.  The food is spectacular, the opportunities for exploring art, architecture and history are endless, and Italians have perfected the art of enjoying the outdoors.  We hiked the Cinque Terre, taking in the fresh sea air and all of its spectacular and colorful views. And we went trekking in the northern Dolomites.  Nothing beats hiking along the spectacular mountain trails all while being able to stop at almost any time for a cappuccino break or a flavorful Italian lunch. 

River Crossing on Camel

Mongolia:  Mongolia still hasn’t been discovered by many adventure travelers.  Outside the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, many of the citizens live as their ancestors have for thousands of years (well, except for the single solar panel and black and white television set that you’ll find at many of the ger sites).  We spent nearly 3 weeks trekking through the Altai Mountain region of this sparsely populated country and fell in love with it.  The people welcomed us into their brightly colored gers, or yurts, to share in home-made cheeses and yogurt and their favorite beverage: fermented mare’s milk.

My advice for adventure travelers:  pick a country, or even a small part of a country, and explore it in-depth, over an extended period of time.  You will gain an appreciation for the people, their culture and history, and all of the other things that make that country unique.  I think this is a much better way to travel than signing up for a tour that takes you to 15 countries in 12 days.  You may take home a lot of photos from such a trip but you won’t have the personal memories of the places and people that linger in you memory long after your trip is over. 

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About Mike

I have a passion for adventure travel that began in 1989 with my first overseas trip: climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Having never been to a foreign country, Africa felt like being on another planet; I knew then and there I was hooked on travel. Since that time, I have visited all seven continents and dozens of countries. I’m using the experience I’ve gained in planning my own trips to help my clients plan their own adventures through my adventure travel company (http://www.offtrailtravel.com). After working as a firefighter for the US Forest Service in California and Wyoming for three years, I moved to Durango, Colorado where I graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in accounting. After graduation I moved to the Denver area where I worked in a Big Eight accounting firm to obtain my CPA license; soon afterward I began a career as an auditor with the Colorado Department of Education. My background in accounting helped me develop detailed-oriented skills that have been extremely useful in researching and planning my own travel over the years. I think this provides a unique asset to my clients in putting together their adventure travel plans. I currently live in Golden, Colorado with my wife Valerie, who shares my love of adventure travel. I’m an active member of the Colorado Mountain Club where I lead trips for club members and have taught ski lessons in their Telemark Ski School. I enjoy skiing, mountain hiking, trail running, photography, and astronomy. I take any opportunity I can get to explore new places, whether it’s on the other side of the world or just down the road.
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