Looking for something more adventurous than your typical planned vacation? Want to explore a different way? Limit yourself in one direction so you can grow in another? Here are a few ideas, ranging from semi-normal to slightly wacked.
1. Get a work permit and go to Australia. It is relatively simple to do, so I’m told, and if you work a job for at least three months in rural area, you can extend your permit to a full two years. The farm work can be boring (packing tomatoes for 12 hours a day for five or six days a week) but you should get paid for it. Sometimes the work might be interesting, like looking for pearls on a beach. After, you can get hired anyway anyone will take you, from bars to nice, salaried jobs. From Australia you can visit New Zealand and maybe Southeastern Asia.
2. Book a flight into one city, a return flight from another city (preferably 400+ miles away) and make no plans in between. Just show up with your passport and go wherever you feel like, whenever you feel like. Fly into Istanbul and fly out of Berlin. Or fly into Singapore and fly out of Delhi.
3. Do a safari expedition in Africa, perhaps with a tour, like G Adventures, and meet fabulous people and exciting landscapes. Camp for two months and visit multiple countries along the journey.
4. Volunteer in South/Central America by teaching English or training teachers somehow. Give to the community and enrich your experience abroad.
5. Travel by boat through Greek islands. Or Hawaiian islands, or the fjords of Chile, or the Galapagos of Ecuador. Do whatever you can to stay on a boat rather than buses or airplanes, just to see new things.
6. Drive to Tierra del Fuego from wherever you live. There’s a whole blog about a guy who took is car from the American midwest and drove down to the southernmost tip of the Americas, then back up again. The most inconvenient part was the ferry across the Panama Canal, I think.
7. Work on a farm for two/three months and see how the rural locals do things. Work with your hands and learn about the land
8. Be an au pair. These rarely pay, but you live in another country and grow close to a family and their children.
9. If you have money to burn, ride the Orient Express. The classic ride is from London to Venice or London/Venice to Istanbul. Use that as an entry point for the Middle East. Classic, glamorous, luxurious, and historical, this is something you will never forgot.
10. Only travel with overnight buses or trains. See where it takes you. Stay as long as you like, but only leave on another overnight trip. This should be a pretty budget-conscious way to travel as well.
11. Shut your eyes, point to a map, and go wherever your finger has landed. This can be a world map, country map, or regional map. Just go!
12. Visit every country on a continent without flying. This is probably easier in areas like South America, where most people travel by bus, or the region is open to ecotourists that like bicycling or motorcycling. But I’m sure you can do it almost anywhere in the world.
13. Travel by alphabet: Your first stop is a city that begins with A. Your next, B. Your third, C. Or, start with a city that begins with A but next go to a city that’s name begins with the same letter as the last. So, for example, begin with Aachen, Germany and later move on to Naples, Italy. After Naples go to Saelen, Sweden. And so on and so forth.
14. Show up at the nearest airport and buy the cheapest ticket to anywhere. In that airport, buy their cheapest ticket to anywhere (as long as it isn’t back home). Repeat in total four times (or however many you like) and at the fourth time, leave the airport and tour around. Just take your passport with you!
15. Stay in your home state (or department or region) and travel, telling people you’ve never been here before and need touring advice. See things you’ve never heard of before, just a couple of hours from your own home.
16. Try your own Gilligan’s island by renting a deserted island from the Kingdom of Tonga, a tiny polynesian country located in the South Pacific. I think the Marshall Islands will do the same thing. A boat will drop you off and pick you up at the end of your stay. This runs between a few hundred to a few thousand USD.
17. Travel without bags, only what you can fit in a napsack/purse, like passports and toothbrushes. This was recently blogged about as an OkCupid date, and the author details her experience with humor.
18. Walk in the footsteps of great explorers, like Lewis and Clark (And Sacagewea!) or Marco Polo. Seriously, a trip along the Silk Road sounds pretty amazing. Bonus points if you attempt to travel it the same way they did (or is that a little too insane?).
In the end, while it’s fun to push yourself and do “cool” and “adventurous” things (which is partly why I’m traveling right now myself), in the end these trips shouldn’t be about bragging rights, book deals (ha! I wish!) or even solely about self-exploration. The most important thing on this earth is people. Walking through the ‘stan countries is a huge accomplishment and provides a great rush, but if it is devoid of relationships, people, and love, it won’t really make our lives better. A person that works with at-risk youth all their life and never leaves their hometown has accomplished more and has lived a more meaningful life than someone that walked from China to England.
Have fun planning your vacation! I had fun making this list. But remember to connect to people (some way or another) and create meaning as you go.
What other travel ideas or advice do you have?