Like a lot of people, I find it difficult to spend a holiday reclining on a sun lounger catching up on the latest airport thriller. I get bored really easily, especially when I’m comfortable. But even when I tried activity holidays I found them to be a little wanting in the thrills-stakes. Sure there’s a lot to be said for the buzz you can get from catching a good wave on your surfboard, or the adrenaline-rush from a skydive or bungee jump in New Zealand, but at the end of the day these are just fleeting moments, and all too soon its back to the relaxation of the beach or your hotel.
No, when I go away, I crave a holiday with a little more bite. When I escape my comfort zone the only way they’re bringing me back is in chains. Extreme holiday-making can be expensive, it can be hard-work, it can be unpleasant and certainly scary at times, but when it comes to thrills, it delivers on a grand scale.
Are you ready to cast off your inhibitions and take a piece of the action? Follow me…
Okay, making an ascent of the world’s highest mountain might be a challenge too far if you haven’t been climbing since you were knee-high. Getting fairly close though, now that’s do-able. Hiking in the foothills of the Himalayas can get you at least as far as the Everest base camp, where you can enjoy some dramatic views and have just as good a snowball fight as you could if you were at the summit.
Up to a quarter of the planet’s land surface is desert, and it’s growing every year. Deserts are some of the most inhospitable places on earth, for humans at least, and even to exist here means daily visits to the amateur survivalist’s handbook. If you can stand the heat, there’s a lot more to do here than wildlife documentaries would have you believe. Try camel-trekking, sleeping in a Bedouin tent or under the stars (watch out for sandstorms); sand-boarding – self-explanatory really; or for the extra competitive among you, take part in a vehicle rally or marathon among the dunes.
Rain Forest Romps
You need to be tough, if you’re going to survive in a rainforest. Sticky, sweaty conditions are just the start of it. Illness from insects bites or dirty water, heavy rainfall causing landslides, and this is before we even cover the wildlife you’re likely to encounter. Trekking is the most common activity here and you’ll find no shortage of guided tours, and I’d recommend you do take a guide, at least the first couple of times.
These are getting worse are worse. This is Palin-country, where they can see Russia from their windows and polar bears are less of an ecological concern than an actual threat to life and limb. Alaska tours offer some of the most stunning landscapes and imposing wildernesses you’ll ever see. And the coldest. Bring a pair of gloves for your gloves.
Never has the thought of sleeping with the fishes been more appealing. Around the world there are now several underwater hotels, notably in Fiji, where the budding Jacques Cousteau’s among us can bunker down for a few nights with the only thing separating you from a watery wake-up call is a thick glass dome. Admittedly while you’re down there your lodgings won’t be exactly Spartan, but the thrills come during the night when all the usual creaks and cracks of a structure seem to hold extra significance!