Many of our Intrepid Foundation friends have struggled through another tough year in the face of adversity. For this reason we want to send our sincere gratitude to all the thousands of Intrepid travellers who have contributed to Intrepid communities via The Intrepid Foundation in 2010.
Our Christmas Global Gifts campaign has raised over AU$10,000 for 12 charities in 12 countries. The top selling item was the Braille reading kits for blind children in Tibet, provided by the extraordinary organisation Braille Without Borders (BWB). Paul from BWB wrote to us a short while ago:
One of the fun things about facing another year is the worldwide celebration that comes with clicking over the calendar. Intrepid Express reader Marc Voordeckers was in Colombia to see in the New Year and it turned out to be a jewel of a night…
“Myself and a Canadian friend flew into Bogota on New Years Eve with the intention to join an overland tour around South America a few days later. Thinking that we shouldn’t have any problems in joining the festivities in a Latin American country, we set out from our hotel in the evening, looking for a party. Strangely the city centre was absolutely deserted and most pubs and restaurants closed.
Tanzania is one of those in-your-face experiences that remains as a strong travel memory long after the adventure is officially over, so much so that Intrepid Express reader Debra Nooyen is already planning her next trip…
“Africa has always held a special fascination for me and finally I realised a dream come true. I booked an Intrepid trip and was certainly NOT disappointed. During the weeks of my wild and wonderful trip I had some great experiences, including meeting the most fantastic group of people – we are all now connected through Facebook.
We talk about walking in the footsteps of pharoahs, but in reality re-tracing the paths of these remarkable people is a powerful moment, as Intrepid Express reader Chris Powell experienced…
“Slowly I walk downwards, half crouched, into the heat and dust of the tomb, my lantern passing over walls with the most magical scenes – Ramses, hand in hand with his little son, guiding him on his journey to the Underworld. He was only around 15 years old, I thought, how terribly sad.
The Karen people form the largest major tribe in northern Thailand and as Marita Lilley discovered, spending time with them is a privilege…
“On my Thailand Discovery trip, I spent much of my time amongst the locals and participated in various activities. I threshed the rice and pumped the water from a well in a local village, then joined the villagers for lunch and took part in their folk dances.
Considering the horribly harsh winter that the northern hemisphere is currently enduring, the concept of going in search of a white Christmas might seem slightly mad to some. But for an Aussie who’s used to hitting the beach on Christmas Day, all Intrepid’s Julie Keldoulis wanted was to explore East Turkey and see it snow…
“After asking many people and reading many guidebooks I decided on Erzurum [Arz-e Rum] (in Persian this literally means The Land of the Romans). Erzurum was known as ‘The Rock’, as it served as NATO’s southeastern-most air force post during the Cold War. At 1757 metres above sea level, there are many reports about being the coldest city in Turkey. So why not go there I thought. Seems to have a lot of history as well as the near-by skiing resort on the Palandoken Mountain – the summit (Buyuk Ejder – Great Dragaon) reaching a height of 3188 metres.
Intrepid’s Costa Rica Express is a top trip to discover the country’s abundant wildlife, intense volcanic landscapes and superb beaches in a short space of time. But the tip for this trip is what not to pack, as Intrepid’s Jeremy Bookman explains…
“On our first trip to Costa Rica last year, my wife and I thought buying fresh fruit sounded like the perfect refresher for strolling through one of the many beautiful National Parks. Ordinarily I think it would have been, until we came upon an old bridge guarded over by a white-faced capuchin monkey. My wife reached for the camera, but before we knew it he was on the attack and reaching for our bag! Commotion ensued and I grabbed a branch to defend our food. The monkey made for the trees and so it seemed the ordeal was over.
Immersing yourself in the culture and traditions of a country can lead to a much more enriching experience, but as Intrepid traveller Hannah Cartmel discovered, it can also lead to some of life’s challenging twists…
“My smiley Indian teacher asked how much yoga experience I had, and when I said “some”, he replied “oh, great, so you can do headstands, handstands, lotus.” Um, not really, no, definitely not!
When travelling through South East Asia you’ll come across many amazing highlights and hidden gems. Jack Horder spent a few months doing just that and he’s whittled the list of wonders down to his top 5…
“With the strong Aussie dollar continuing to linger and the reeling international tourism industry offering unprecedented deals, there has never been a better time to travel through South East Asia. A budget traveller’s paradise, South East Asia offers a taste of the exotic as well as being a historical and culinary treasure. Here are just a few of my must-see destinations: