Intrepid’s Skye McIver discovered that there are few experiences more poignant or humbling than seeing the pain that other people have had to go through for their gains, and realising what we too often take for granted…
“At the age of 14 I walked the Kokoda Track, an experience that changed my outlook on life forever and ultimately led to me working for a company like Intrepid. Yes, it was physically and mentally challenging, but it was actually meeting the local people and experiencing their way of village life that put things in perspective for me as a teenage girl. Fifteen years on, I had another of these life-altering experiences – I travelled to Cambodia.
Always one to take on a challenge, Intrepid’s Susie Edgewater decided to trek to Everest Base Camp. Here’s how she prepared pre-trip, but will her hard yards be enough to help her reach her goal?…
“As a general rule, the more you train the easier it will be. But now sitting at my desk on the day before I leave I ask myself: am I ready and have I done enough training?The hardest part was trying to balance work, a social life and a respectable amount of exercise in one day. With only 3 months to prepare for my Nepal trek, it didn’t give me long to get in shape. I chose a combination of aerobic training, leg strength exercises and loads of walking, but will I have the recipe for the perfect fitness regime?
Just because Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park to reach Uhuru Point. To earn this climbing certificate you’ll have to rise to the challenge, as Candy Warrick discovered the hard way…
“Trekking Kilimanjaro, in a word: amazing! Sure, it was difficult at times, particularly on the steep ascents, but it was definitely achievable. I made it to the summit at 5895 metres (19,340 feet) above sea level, even though I was a little unfit and hadn’t physically prepared in advance (note to self if I try something like this again!).
Trying to learn enough of the local language to help you get around can really be a challenge for your comfort zone. What’s more unnerving than being warned that a slight mispronunciation can be the difference between saying “thank you” and swearing profusely? But locals really appreciate visitors making an attempt to use their language and will often help with a little coaching, as John Kirk discovered in Vietnam…
“Our group had some time to chill out in Nha Trang, so I decided to hire a bike and explore the surrounding countryside. It was a fantastic way to take in the local sights, but being a scorching hot day I took a break under the shade of a large tree next to the railway line to Ho Chi Minh City. Nearby was a railway crossing attendant’s hut. Its occupant was having a blissful siesta, obviously not expecting either trains or guests, as he had shed most of his uniform in the heat!
It’s hard to imagine a country that challenges the senses more than India. It’s a whirlwind adventure of mind, body and spirit and Briony Hearman loved embracing it all…
“During the 3 weeks of Rajasthan Adventure, I met some of the most friendly, curious and entertaining people that only India can provide. Every day there would be at least 10 somethings that would happen to make us double up laughing or simply blow our minds.
Introducing an amazing woman who knows a thing or two about challenges… after Robin Lim’s sister and her sister’s baby died from complications during childbirth several years ago, Robin and her husband sold their home in Hawaii and moved to Bali to ‘reinvent their lives’. It was there that Robin soon learnt she could help make a big difference to the life prospects of pregnant women and their newborn babies.
In 1994 Robin opened a clinic, Bumi Sehat, so that impoverished local mothers could give birth safely and be treated with dignity and respect. Nearly 18 years on, ‘Ibu’ (meaning mother) Robin has helped to safely deliver thousands of babies. In acknowledgement of her extraordinary work, Ibu Robin has recently been bestowed the wonderful recognition in being named the ’2011 CNN Hero of the Year’.
From Vietnam’s culture and cuisine to its incredible history and idyllic landscapes, Val Wex discovered that this fascinating country has a way of energising weary of travellers…
“After three months overseas, by the time we were on the plane to Kuala Lumpur on our way to Hanoi I honestly felt sorry that we were doing the Vietnam trip, as I wanted to come home. But as is often the case, when you don’t want to do something it turns out being the best thing ever.
As the famous Bobby Troup 1946 song says, “If you ever plan to motor west, travel my way, the highway that’s the best. Get your kicks on Route 66!” And that’s exactly how Intrepid’s Barbara Glanz decided to see a different side of the fascinating United States…
“It’s true that I have seen most national parks in North America, I know many American cities, I’ve explored hidden jewels, such as narrow slot canyons in Utah, and I have manoeuvred my sea kayak between Orca whales up in Alaska. However one big thing was missing: the incredible U.S. Route 66, known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, it’s certainly one of the most famous roads in the world.