The New Year at Intrepid means one thing: new challenges. But that’s a little vague, right? I mean, how exactly will you challenge yourself this year?
You could make this the year you stream an entire season of House of Cards in one sitting (which would actually be quite impressive), or perhaps we could set the bar a little higher.
Below we’ve got a few ways you can push your own personal boundaries in 2015. These can be extreme, like walking the Annapurna Trail or conquering Kilimanjaro, or they can be quietly awesome, like learning a new language or tasting deep fried crickets. The choice is yours.
There are better ways to test your sea legs than on a floating resort with a giant buffet and four tennis courts. Try sailing to old pirate coves in the British Virgin Islands, island hopping in Cuba’s Canarreos Archipelago or taking a star-studded voyage along France’s Cote d’Azur. We don’t mind if you think sheets are things that go on a bed; no prior sailing experience is necessary. If you thought marine adventures were out of your depth, think again.
Make this the year you say ‘no’ to meat and three veg. There’s a whole world of flavour out there, from fresh lychees and durian in the Mekong Delta to cinnamon-spiked tajines in the souqs of Marrakech. Whether you’re looking to kebab crawl your way through Istanbul or challenge yourself to a deep-fried tarantula in Cambodia, we’ve got a well-seasoned food adventure for you (and yes, you can have seconds).
If you’ve always dreamt of being chauffeured through tree-lined boulevards with a glass of champagne in hand, so be it. But if your dream is to challenge yourself to some of the most jaw-dropping and isolated roads on earth, we might be able to help. Curl through the clouds on South Africa’s world-famous Panorama Route, road-trip your way from Dakar to Ghana or overland from Ulaanbaatar across the grasslands of the Mongolian steppe.
No matter how far we travel, there are still places in the world that make us stop in our tracks, look up and say, ‘wow’. If you’ve always wanted to challenge yourself to stand in front of the Colosseum, wander the gardens of the Taj Mahal or see Cappadocia from 100 metres in the air, let 2015 be the year you make it happen. There’s so much to see, and so little time to see it. Procrastination be damned.
There are moments in life when two legs just won’t cut it. It’s all very well to hike the High Atlas on foot, but when it comes to navigating the dunes of the Sahara, a camel is kind of necessary. Ride ships of the desert through the canyons of Wadi Rum, hop on a tuk-tuk and dive into the scooter shoals of Hanoi or catch a cable car to Gwongeumseong Fortress in South Korea. We’ve got challenges aplenty: all you have to do is come along for the ride.
They say the journey of a thousand miles begins and ends with a single step, but it’s really the steps in the middle that we’re interested in. You could challenge yourself to another five minutes on the treadmill this year, or you could push yourself a little further. Why not trek through Philippine jungle to meet the mysterious Batak tribe, hike the rhododendron forests of Nepal’s Annapurna Trail or wander along the old stones of the Great Wall? It’s easy: you just put one foot in front of the other.
Some see dancing as the ultimate challenge. It’s not just about finding your other left foot or remembering the words to ‘Oh What a Night’. Dancing is about putting yourself out there physically, testing your limits and giving yourself over to a beat. It’s tough, we know, but we have some serious inducement: follow our lead as we learn to tango with masters in Buenos Aires, samba the night away in the clubs of Rio or loose yourself in the neon cave discos of Trinidad. The trick, we’ve found, is to dance like no one is watching.
Anyone can whip out their phone these days and take a picture, but if you’ve always dreamed of an orangutan close-up in a Borneo rainforest or snapping the vast hordes of wildebeest as they trundle across the Masai Mara, this is the year to do it. Challenge yourself to capture something truly stunning in 2015. Whether it’s the surging waters of Iceland’s Gullfoss or the glowing Gates of Hell in Turkmenistan, all you have to do is point, click and book. Easy.
If you thought trains were sweaty things that drag commuters from point A to point B, think again. Rail is an overland link to some of the wildest and least accessible places on earth. We’re talking cross-continent odysseys on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing to St Petersburg, silver bullet rides through the Japanese countryside and overnight sleepers across the Tibetan Himalayas. Point A to point B never looked so good. All aboard!
Why does learning have to end with your last school exam? Travel broadens the mind, as they say, and we’ve always found the world to be a wonderful teacher. Want to learn a new language? Try haggling with vendors at Bangkok’s floating markets or chatting to bakers over a morning croissant in Montmartre. Pick up meditation tips from Cambodian monks, old hunting techniques from Maasai warriors or didgeridoo lessons in the Top End.
Why conquer the tallest peaks on earth? Because they’re there. That’s what British Mountaineer George Mallory said anyway. But you don’t need to lose a toe to challenge yourself in 2015. Follow us as we climb the steep summit of Kilimanjaro, trek to Everest Basecamp or navigate the High Atlas with Berber homestays en route. Everyone’s got a mountain to conquer – the hard part is picking your favourite.
No matter what your challenge is in 2015, the most important thing is that you love it. Travel should be fun (remember fun?) and you should return home bursting with stories to tell – and hopefully a dozen more trips to plan. So whether you taste it, ride it, walk it, snap it or conquer it this year, make sure you enjoy it too.
- Tell five people that you love them*
- Run naked in a field of wildflowers*
- Climb a tree*
*Trips coming soon
Feature image c/o Stig Nygaard, Flickr