Let’s face it. Predictability and routine can be boring, especially when it comes to travel. Whether it’s chancing Class V whitewater rapids or planning an epic solo journey to your dream destination, it’s good to get out of your comfort zone. Chances are, you’ll discover something new about yourself and have fun doing it. That’s why it’s high time you take the plunge and book of one these trips — even if it scares you.
If you’ve always dreamt of getting your scuba certification, what’s stopping you? Scuba diving allows you to explore thrilling worlds beneath the water, from cave diving off the Yucatan Peninsula to deep-sea diving in Belize’s Great Blue Hole. It might feel scary to learn this new skill, but it’s not as difficult as you may think. Most cities offer scuba certification in the safety of a pool, with knowledgeable instructors nearby. Once you get the hang of it, book a scuba diving expedition with a reputable diving company. The best part? From Italy to Iceland, to the Galapagos Islands, there are diving opportunities all over the globe. Where will you go first?
There’s nothing more heart-pumping than racing down a single track on a mountain bike. If you love the sensation of being on two wheels, booking a trip to Moab, Utah, should definitely be on your bucket list. With access to two incredible national parks and some of the best biking in the world, Moab is considered mecca to mountain bikers. Escape Adventures offers several types of multi-day trips in Moab for riders of varying technical levels. Even if you’re new to the sport, taking the opportunity to tour with the pros will up-level your skills and put a smile on your face. If you're still uncertain, look into joining a tour that uses E-Mountain Bikes, which help take some of the work away from you and turn even novice bikers into pros.
The concept of solo travel might sound frightening at first, but it’s actually quite liberating. From backpacking around Thailand on a dime to finally seeing Paris in the spring, the possibilities are endless. And once you finally commit, you’ll see it’s not as scary as you had previously thought. If you’re worried about being lonely, book a room or a shared dormitory in a hostel. You’ll discover plenty of other solo travelers eager to make friends. Otherwise, it’s likely you’ll enjoy a little alone time, especially since it means the ability to create the trip of your dreams.
Allowing unfettered access to steep lines and fresh pow, heli-skiing is the ultimate dream trip for skiers. But, in truth, heli-skiing is also quite terrifying. From flying high into the mountains on a helicopter to the possibility of triggering avalanches or falling into crevasses, it’s not for the faint of heart. But after summoning the courage to get in that helicopter, you’ll be rewarded with long descents, spectacular views, and powder to your heart’s content. Companies like EA Heli-Skiing offer trips to different locations in the Swiss Alps — no doubt your legs will be jelly by the end of the day, but it will be well worth it.
Silent Meditation Retreat
For some of us, there’s nothing scarier than embracing stillness and silence. But since this practice has many benefits, from relieving stress to aiding in sleep, why not take the plunge and visit a silent meditation retreat? It might be nerve-wracking at the start, but after a day or so, you’ll likely find yourself accustomed to the blissful quiet and rhythmic days. Places like The Art of Living Retreat Center offer three-day retreats in luxurious accommodations and a beautiful mountain setting. If you’re on a budget, sign up for a 10-day sit at the Vipassana Meditation Center - Dhamma Dhara in Massachusetts. The entire course is free of charge, but students must commit to the full ten days of silence.
White Water Rafting
If the thought of plunging over and around white water rapids makes you feel uneasy, it’s time to conquer that fear. The Colorado River, which flows from Colorado, through Utah, and down to Arizona is a great place to start. The most famous section of the river cuts through the Grand Canyon, and since many rafting companies offer multi-day excursions on the water, it makes for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Western River Expeditions offers a week-long camping adventure that covers plenty of adrenaline-pumping rapids, in addition to spectacular canyon scenery, tranquil river stretches, and daily hikes off the raft.
While the thought of booking a cruise alone might sound intimidating, the truth is, plenty of people love to cruise solo. And since certain cruise lines have begun to cater to singles, you needn’t be afraid. Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, features studio cabins geared towards single travelers. The 100-square foot cabins are lower in price and allow access to the Studio Lounge, a shared social space for all the singles on the boat. Depending on the ship, there’s also plenty of fun events, like pub crawls and happy hours, that will allow you to meet other passengers on board.
Climbing mountains can be a dangerous business, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have big mountain dreams, it’s about time you went after them. Mount Kilimanjaro is a popular mountain summit in Tanzania, and since it doesn’t require the technical skills of other big mountains, it’s relatively attainable for hikers of all levels. But still, climbing the 19,341 foot-high volcano (don’t worry, it’s dormant) requires a multi-day trek into the wilderness and a good level of physical fitness. Thankfully, plenty of companies offer trips up on the mountain, so you’ll be able to complete the trek with the help of guided expertise.