The Adventure Travel Show is a weekend event at the Olympia conference centre in London, “the UK’s only event dedicated to discovering the world off the beaten track”. A maze of stands from adventure travel companies, the show also included inspirational speakers with Ranulph Fiennes headlining the event along with seminars on travel writing and photography.
It’s hard to talk about adventure having heard Ranulph Fiennes – the world’s greatest living explorer, according to the Guinness Book of Records – talk about his time in the army of the Sultan of Oman (fighting alongside Muslims against the enemy of the time, the communists), searching for the lost city of Ubar, travelling down the Nile in a hovercraft, crossing the Antarctic unsupported, et cetera, et cetera…
The key to a successful expedition, as Ranulph Fiennes told us, is motivation. You need to be able to argue with the “wimpish” voice inside you that tries to stop you from continuing on in the face of impossible challenges. And, judging by his talk – with stories of how he struggled through school and failed his A-levels (it was the mini skirts), planned a bank robbery to get into the SAS, and blew up a dam in protest against Dr Doolittle – I’d say that a sense of humour will get you a long way…
But having seen even just a handful of his gruesome photos of the effects of frostbite and hearing stories of ships sinking and planes crashing into volcanoes, invisible crevices and aggressive polar bears, not to mention tsunamis of ice, I’m definitely not tempted to emulate that kind of pioneering Adventurer’s life with a capital A. In fact, I think most of us in the audience would be happy with a more limited and controlled taste of the adventurous life.
With that in mind, how do you fancy horse riding in Patagonia, navigating around Iceland, camel riding in Afghanistan, or mountain trekking in Nepal? There are activities for every level, from leisurely walks requiring no fitness or previous experience right up to extreme sports demanding both physical training and technical skills.
My (not-so) shortlist for possible trips this year (and beyond!):
Trekking to the Mount Everest base camp
Walking the Great Wall of China*
Visiting Petra* in Jordan
Safari in southern Africa
Kayaking in the Yukon
Travelling down to Patagonia
Getting my sailing licence*
*All on my bucket list!
Given my theme of being active in 2015, this year I’ll be focusing on trekking and physical challenges. I’ve already booked dog sledding in the Arctic Circle in March, but clearly I need lots more to fill the rest of the year…
Adventure is out there! Now go out and find it.
Adventure travel companies at the show
Here is a selection of the companies with various tempting adventures on offer:
Discover the World
KE Adventure Travel