We’ve got some bad news. Earth is on the way out. In fact, if the history of our planet were a movie trilogy, we’d be halfway through Return of the Jedi by now.
Don’t grab your supplies and head to the bunker just yet though. Yes, the earth is already 4.5 billon years old – but scientists are confident it will be around long enough to work out how to fit 5.11 billion candles on its birthday cake.
But of course, there will always be those people who jump the gun. So in honour of all who were convinced we’d never make it to 2013, here’s a look back at some of the not-quite-apocalypses that we’ve survived so far…
Since ancient times communities living in the Sacred Valley of the Incas have worshipped nature and the universe. In Peru today many still subscribe to these strong beliefs and whether or not you consider there to be a logical explanation, Intrepid’s Julio Padilla had a heart-pumping encounter with the powers of Pachamama…
“One day my brother told me he had been given a kind of ancient weapon that came from an underground tomb in the coast of Peru, dating back to around 500AD. I told him this could be very bad luck for him, because where we come from in the Amazon we do not touch things that belong to the dead. The belief of our people in the mountains is that the item could either bring you good times or bad times. And when it is about bad times, the energy of the dead could suck up your soul.
One of the things that Denis Sobnakov loves most about being an Intrepid group leader is introducing travellers to inspiring local characters. Mongolia is a perfect example of how in one day you can come away with a lasting impression of a country and its people…
“Despite being a gorgeous and wonderful land, nowadays Mongolia has a lot of social issues that are not easy to overcome in a hurry. One of the biggest problems is the high rate of abandoned kids. Fortunately there are some generous people who have made it their priority to help the local community, like those who run Lotus Children’s Centre.
“No pain no gain” they say, but is it really worth the sweat and tears to steam yourself in a sauna, sizzle in a solarium or dirt-up for a mud bath? All Denise Ellson really wanted was a hot bath, but she got more than she bargained for in Turkey…
“Going to Turkey and not having a Turkish Bath is like going to Sydney and not seeing the Opera House. Or so I was told, as I steadfastly refused to even contemplate the idea of being bathed by someone else. I had never felt comfortable having a massage – in fact I had never had one, and having some complete stranger give me a scrub did not sound like something I simply had to have.
Charley Boorman is an obsessed travel adventurer who is known around the world for undertaking epic, continent-spanning journeys. With his friend, Ewan McGregor, he has travelled overland by motorbike from London to New York, via Europe and Asia for the award-winning series Long Way Round and from John O’Groats in Scotland to Cape Town for Long Way Down.
He has taken part in the Dakar Rally, one of the most demanding and dangerous motor races in the world, and travelled solo from Ireland to Australia using whatever mode of transport he could find for By Any Means. He travelled from Sydney to Tokyo for By Any Means 2.
Peace on earth – this is something we all hope for, but do we really expect to find it? Dara Leonard went in search of somewhere tranquil and her journey led her to Botswana…
“Have you ever felt 100% at peace with yourself and what you were doing? The first time I had this feeling was when I was in the Okavango Delta. If you can picture this scene… the sun is shining bright overhead, there is a slight breeze on a perfectly warm day. You head down to the water’s edge where the mokoros (local canoes traditionally made from a dugout tree) are all lined up with people from the nearby community there to help load the boats. .
How many New Year’s resolutions have you managed to keep? Within weeks we’ve normally reverted to our old habits and forgotten our new plans. But for Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil a promise to themselves on January 1st led to the race of their lives across Africa and now an exciting new challenge in 2011…
“We had been avid travelers for a few years by the time we made that momentous toast in the early hours of New Years Day 2007. However, we hadn’t been on a significant journey for nearly two years and lately we’d been working too hard, sitting on the couch too much and over indulging in the unhealthy pleasures of life that can make us all so plump and lazy. The year 2006 had been one of those times we were stuck in a rut, but after watching an inspiring interview with Ultra Marathon Runner, Ray Zahab, we decided to change our lives once and for all.
We all have those rote learned phrases from our school days that we can miraculously still regurgitate on demand. Most of which we remember for inexplicable reasons, but some of them actually resonate and stay with us for a reason, like the verse of Robert Frost. The Road Not Taken, Frost’s renowned work, is one of those poems that probably isn’t fully comprehended by rambunctious teenagers, but we come to realise later the wisdom in his words. Reaching a crossroad in our lives and having the courage to take the less conventional route can result in great rewards…
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
How do you cope with the daily grind at home after trekking the Inca Trail, learning to Tango in Argentina and bike riding in Bolivia? Emily Mitterhuemer was faced with that very dilemma after her Intrepid adventures in South America, so she’s come up with a few survival tips…
“Coming home from the trip of a lifetime is always hard. After the initial excitement of hugging the cat and the dog and all the family members that you actually like, many travelers find themselves in post holiday depression. It’s that feeling of disappointment when you wake up in the morning and look up at the ceiling and realise that it doesn’t belong to a hostel in an exotic location.