Adding some soft adventure to a trip is a great way of enhancing a vacation. But what is it? It’s a way of enjoying adventure travel without being extreme, and a terrific way to explore the outdoors.
Adventure for Everyone
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 me – 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!
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. Therefore, you should be just as proud of yourself as if you’d just won the Tour de France.
Not the Tour de France
A Meditative Way to Enjoy the Outdoors
At the sleepy end of outdoor adventure, canoeing along Bow River in Banff, Alberta, 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 Adventure to Your Travels?
The main reason to add soft adventure to your travels is because it’s fun.
It’s also a good break from sightseeing, because let’s face it. As much as you adore history, there are only so many museums and cathedrals you can visit 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.
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 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 of Israel.
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 extreme.
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 and eat the Twinkie in the packed lunch).
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 major research to help save white lions.
You can even stand on tiny Moyen 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.
A Celebration of Nature
So you see, soft adventure is a celebration of the physical world while staying away from anything too scary. (Except sometimes it’s scary, but not as hardcore as say, walking a tightrope across Niagara Falls like 23-year old Maria Spelterini did in 1876. That’s 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 agreat 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.