With thick forest and scenic hills surrounding the spa town of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic, it’s no surprise that hiking and strolling are two of the town’s top activities. There are many Karlovy Vary walks , but one of the most popular is to the Diana Lookout Tower and to Jeleni Skok, the Deer […]
Soft adventure - outdoor adventure travel for the 'fraidy cats
Welcome to my Soft Adventure Category Page. First I'll explain what soft adventure is and why travel and outdoor adventure go together like sandals and pedicures. Or, scroll down to my various soft adventure travel blog posts below.
The only extreme type of travel I engage in is when it comes with spa treatments attached. When it comes to sporty things that involve daring, bravery, action and adrenaline I like to take it slow. This is why soft adventure and I get along so well.
Whale watching! (For some reason I seem to think they'll be flying through the air.)
What is soft adventure?
Soft adventure is a type of outdoor travel that pretty much anyone can do. It's a way of having fun and adding some physical activity to your travels without having to risk life and limb. It's particularly good for those - like moi - who love the outdoors but have zero skills in the coordination department. (Except for rock climbing and ping pong - I'm oddly moderately decent at those.)
Woohoo! Look at me!
Soft adventure can be extreme ... in its own way
Don't think soft adventure isn't challenging. I suppose my recent foray into Devil's Pool at the top of Victoria Falls could be classified as soft adventure since it required nothing in the way of skill. Still, it took an extreme amount of willpower for me to get in that whirling frothy water, sure as I was that my 'soft' adventure would quickly snowball and become a deathly adventure when I tumbled over the lip of the falls.
So, while certain things may technically classified as soft adventure, if you're pushing your limits (any kind of limits at all) it will always be a hardcore adventure in your mind and therefore, you should be just as proud of yourself as if you'd just won the Tour de France.
Not the Tour de France
Slow adventure can be meditative
At the sleepy end of outdoor adventure, canoeing along Bow River in Banff for an hour is a fine example of this type of excursion. The river is calm, you can go as slow as you like and, once you get to the Vermillion Lakes, you can stop all together and drift around and still make it back in time for lunch.
Why add soft adventure to your travels?
The main reason to add soft adventure to your travels is because it's fun. It's a good break from sightseeing. Because let's face it. Much as you adore history, there are only so many museums and cathedrals you can take before you go bleary-eyed and all you're hearing from the guide is blah blah blah. That's when it's time to do something active to get the blood flowing back to your brain.
So. Put down the guide book and dive into some slow adventure.
Minutes before the fall ...
Rent a bike and go on a city tour (but don't fall off your bike in Barcelona and break your camera and bash up your face like I did). Take a hike through a forest. If it's an ancient historic forest like the one around Lake Hintersee in Germany where the Romantic artists liked to paint, you can enjoy your walk and take in some culture at the same time.
Soft adventure - when someone else does the moving for you
Some soft adventures don't even involve movement, at least not the self-propelled kind. For example, you could do an afternoon jeep tour into the Judean Desert. All you're really doing is sitting in the jeep, and getting out every now and then to look around, but the desert is so remote and the setting so exotic that it feels adventurous indeed.
You could also take a helicopter tour from Vegas to the Grand Canyon (a ride that's supposed to be the ultimate in romance but, if you're married to my husband, it isn't, because he only wants to talk to the pilot).
You could go on a day long catamaran trip in the Bahamas and not even get out and snorkel and still call it soft adventure. See how easy it can be?
This type of easy adventure travel can involve animals - but please, stick to ethical places that don't exploit or mistreat animals. Possibly the most exciting travel adventure of the animal variety is snorkelling with wild belugas in Churchill, Manitoba - now that was a trip I'll never forget.
You can go on a safari in a South Africa National Park or walk with lions at a conservation park such as Ukutula Lion Park, a wildlife centre and lodge in South Africa that does some major research to help save white lions. You can even stand on a tiny island in the Seychelles trying not to be bulldozed by the giant tortoises who think they own the place.
Yes, I know it's not my best look, thanks.
Soft adventure is a celebration
So you see, soft adventure is a celebration of the physical world while staying away from anything too extreme or scary. (Except sometimes it's scary, but not as scary as say, walking a tightrope across Niagara Falls. That would be hardcore.). Soft adventure is ziplining in the Honduras or kayaking through bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico. It's doing a night submarine dive in the Cayman Islands and possibly, though this might be a stretch, it could even be doing water aerobics at your beach resort.
Staying active when you travel helps keep you healthy. It's a great way to connect with nature and with the locale you are in, and by keeping your adventures soft, you'll stay (hopefully) on the safe side of fun.
Skiing in the Alps is a dream trip but how do you plan it? An all-inclusive ski vacation at the family-friendly Club Med Peisey Vallandry in the French Alps is easy, and a ski package is more affordable than you might think. Here’s my experience. (Or scroll down for a travel guide.) Skiing in the […]
Scottsdale, Arizona, has a lot to offer desert lovers, and the Four Seasons Resort at Troon North has a prime location near Brown’s Ranch, part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. This protected desert preserve is perfect for a Scottsdale mountain biking adventure, so turn up the heat and add a mountain biking tour to your Arizona getaway. Should I stay (at the resort) […]
For the ultimate beluga adventure in Churchill, head to northern Manitoba in Canada, where wildlife and adventure meet In the future please address me as Beluga Whisperer. After two days in Churchill, Manitoba, high up north in the Canadian tundra on the lonely shores of Hudson Bay, I’ve kayaked with, boated around, sang to, spied upon and […]
A Camelback Mountain hike is a unique way to experience Scottsdale, Arizona. Combine it with a stay at the nearby Sanctuary Resort for the perfect desert adventure. Here’s my experience. I padded out to the patio of our cool white casita at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa just outside Scottsdale, Arizona. The birds sounded delirious […]
Visiting Israel? Try a Judean Desert jeep tour. This otherworldly desert above the Dead Sea is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, where biblical history was made and where adventure beckons. And where things get lost for centuries … Judean Desert Adventure I’m scrambling around in a panic, flinging things out of my suitcase. “Where is it? Where is […]
When it comes to extreme adventure vacations, Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe has become a prime destination. And this may be the ultimate thrill: tempting fate in Victoria Falls’ Devil’s Pool “You’re not going to do that!” my husband says, as we scroll through photos of a bunch of crazy tourists sitting […]
My husband has a new fixation – hiking. (I blame Reese Witherspoon in the movie Wild, and Bill Bryson for writing A Walk in the Woods). Apparently we ( Mark and I, as far as I know, Reese and Bill aren’t coming) are going to hike the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, a pilgrimage route through Spain. […]
It’s not easy to keep up a blog while traveling – especially when you’re exploring the Engadin St Moritz region of Switzerland with a group of travel writers and your time is not your own. But how could I not pause to blog about St Moritz, Switzerland, the elite of the elite of the ski world and a superb […]
Looking out the plane window on our flight to the Riviera Maya, watching the lights of Toronto shrink into specks as we rose into a still-dark sky, I was thinking of beaches, palms and papayas. I was thinking of a nap by the pool. I was thinking the seats on Air Transat are really quite comfortable, that the […]