Hands up if this year you just want to have a quiet one, do nothing much and spend most of your time on the couch? Not likely, right!
This isn’t the time to plan a mundane existence. Now is when you want to work out how to make this year even better than your last, so we’ve come up with a list of 8 travel challenges to help make 2014 your best year yet…
Challenge your mind:
Discover the history of Petra in Jordan
An ancient city carved into rose coloured rock with cooling caves, impressive tombs, an amphitheatre and monastery, Petra is laden with a rich history that will boggle the mind. Learn why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and be blown away by its beauty.
Could 2014 be your year to get really high? We mean a 5,895 metre kind of high…to the roof top of Africa! And why might you do it? For the personal challenge of pushing yourself beyond your usual limits? To get more girls into school? Because it’s there?
Well the answer for Intrepid employees Amy Bolger and Ronnie Albanis and two groups of Intrepid travellers who recently conquered Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, was all of the above! And what an experience it was! They tell us more about the whys, the highs and the preparation needed to get there:
“How did people build a temple as big as Angkor Wat 1,000 years ago before machines?”
“Why does $1USD buy so much of the local money?”
“Why were Americans fighting in Vietnam?”
These were some of the many questions my children asked during our two weeks travelling through Vietnam and Cambodia with Intrepid. They also asked more unanswerable ones, like “Why would Pol Pot kill people just for being educated?” Or less perplexing, but equally tough to answer, “Why is everyone always beeping their horns?”
Algeria has been off the map for mainstream tourists for around 20 years, after a fairly destructive civil war during the 1990′s rendered it off-limits. Though peace was restored by 2003, it took some time for the scars in Algerian society to heal and now most of the country is safe for travellers to return.
Algeria has not experienced the major tourist development and commercialisation that neighbouring countries have undergone in recent decades – it’s like Morocco was before hoards of visitors wanted to follow in the footsteps of Hendrix and the Rolling Stones – and the way Algerians remain unaffected by the presence of tourists is particularly refreshing.
It seems many travellers either love or hate their hammam experience, but either way a tour of Turkey wouldn’t be complete without getting your kit off to try this local bathing tradition, as Margaret Morse explains…
“I asked Gaye about Turkish baths. She smiled and said that would be a great way to unwind from the air flight over. She phoned friends who knew where there was one open on a Sunday and made arrangements for us to go. I had been keen to go to one of these, but not game to go with a stranger, so I was very pleased she could take me.
Our ‘hairy neck’ in Peru, David Knight, has shared with us many wonderful insights into Peruvian life the past 6 months. But now as his time as Intrepid’s Community Based Tourism researcher is drawing to a close, it’s hard not to wonder if his alternative career ambition is to be a world food writer!
We’ve heard all about spicy aji on the side of soup, the delights of cuy (guinea pig), chicha (corn beer), ceviche, the best quinoa soup around, fresh honeycomb and ‘spider’ punch. Now David shares with us the triumph of the humble tater…
2013 has been a big year for Intrepid’s Project SAMA. We have been busy, reaching out to over 10,500 people about the issues around gender inequality and we have raised over AU$92,000 for projects around the world that address these issues.
Intrepid’s Project SAMA hosted two fundraising trips up Mt Kilimanjaro, which saw our hikers raise over AU$30,000 for our early education project in Uganda, in partnership with Plan, an Intrepid Foundation partner. And we hosted a Gala evening and a number of events that raised over AU$30,000 for our other Plan run early education project in Laos.
Why celebrate the start of a new year only once? If you time your trip right, like Intrepid’s Maya Markowitz you could enjoy another chance to start afresh and feel cleansed, plus have a whole lot of fun in the process…
“My friend Catie and I went on an epic 9-week adventure through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The trip was one of the best I have taken and included everything from snorkeling off Phu Quoc Island in South Vietnam, to staying with a local family in the country side of Cambodia and timing our trip to coincide with a fantastic local festival in Laos.
What goes swing, swing, shimmy, scramble, thump? That’d be one of our closest genetic relatives leaving one piece of remnant rainforest in search of another. The Bornean orang-utans have lost much of their natural habitat and need our support, and The Intrepid Foundation is delighted to come on board to help.
We have partnered with HUTAN – Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Program to support their work to develop and implement innovative solutions to conserve the orang-utan in Sabah. Intrepid travellers on tours to Borneo, currently have a great opportunity to see wild orang-utans in the Kinabatangan River region. But the ease with which they may see orang-utans is sadly not all good.
Almost everyone who has done a tour of East Africa will tell you it’s fantastic. It’s renowned for being wild, authentic, spectacular and rugged, but Intrepid’s Skye Gainey wondered if it would live up to her high expectations when she finally had the chance to travel to Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania…
“Let me start with the game viewing. Never would I imagine seeing so many animals in such a short period of time. In Rwanda we hiked deep into the forest to spend time with a Gorilla family – a silverback, mature males and females, juveniles and babies! Watching these primates interact with each other and recognise us as friendly visitors truly makes you believe in evolution.