I was researching camping destinations recently when I stumbled on an article about ‘The Ultimate Lads Trip’. It was an amalgamation of tank rides and whiskey, sports and gambling, strip joints, fast cars and tough activities in wild locations. And it made me feel a bit disappointed.
There’s nothing wrong with men enjoying sports and beer, just as there’s nothing wrong with women enjoying luxury day spas. But for anyone looking for more from an ‘ultimate trip’, here’s what I’m thinking:
My ultimate ‘girls’ trip…
I want to smoke cigars in Cuba. I want to sit in a field with a tobacco farmer in Vinales, watch his weathered hands rolling the leaves. I want to learn about a craft that’s shaped this country’s identity.
I want to hike, ankle deep in mud, through Colombia’s Cocora National Park. See the tallest palms on earth, swim in rocky creeks, drink tea with flighty hummingbirds.
I want to chase waterfalls in Iceland. Ride horses across barren fields and trek on ash-laden glaciers. Eat ice with an axe and gaze down those dangerous, beautiful, iridescent crevices.
I want to drink raki with Turkey’s finest by the water in Kas. Talk about politics and religion and history in a country on the edge of revolution. I want to hear the passion in my guide’s voice as night descends around us.
I want to sleep in a swag under the stars in the Australian outback. Dance with scorpions and snakes. Get rained on. I want to drink cheap beer in the scorching sun and learn how to find bush tucker with the land’s traditional owners.
I want to swim in icy pools above petrified falls in the middle of rural Mexico. I want to shiver and look out over infinity.
I want to sprawl in the desert with Moroccan friends and break the day’s Ramadan fast with camel milk and mint tea. Feel the heady rush of sugar as the sun sets over those endless dunes.
I want to eat a smoked meat sandwich the size of my face in Montreal’s oldest deli. With extra pickles please (and no, I don’t want to share).
These are a few of the heart-shifting adventures I’ve experienced in the past two years. My Ultimate Girl’s Trip. I feel incredibly lucky, but my appetite for adventure just keeps growing. I want to trek in Patagonia, drink whisky in Japan, drive across the ‘Stans. I want to see the world. Get dirty.
Our experiences shouldn’t be limited by women’s magazines or testosterone-fuelled listicals. I don’t care how ‘bikini-ready’ my body is and I personally don’t want to spend precious lunch dollars on a hotel pedicure. Just like most of my male friends probably don’t want to drive tanks and gamble.
In the words of Hunter S Thompson, ‘Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”.
Whatever your sex, gender, race, religion… make the ride great.
Get out and see the world on an Intrepid small group adventure.