Palm Springs, California, is a fabulous hiking destination with desert trails, historic canyons and steep mountain climbs. A popular hike that’s easy to access from downtown is the two-hour Palm Springs Museum Trail. It’s a tougher climb than the name might suggest, so don’t go unprepared like I did. Hiking the Palm Springs Museum Trail […]
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.
Looking for an outdoor adventure in Thailand? Elephant Hills Tented Camp, two hours from Phuket, is an award-winning luxury jungle camp that offers an ethical animal experience in a remote jungle setting. Turns out I’m pretty good with a machete. This comes in handy when preparing a meal for an elephant. I look up […]
Just north of Dublin is the Boyne Valley in County Meath, a destination rich in history, legend and war. Take a Boyne Canal boat tour and paddle in a ‘currach,’ a traditional Irish boat used in A Game of Thrones, and learn about the pivotal Battle of the Boyne, a real life battle that changed […]
Want to go faster than a speeding bullet? Zip World Penrhyn Quarry in Bethesda, Wales, takes ziplining to a new level – a heart-stopping one. The fastest zipline in the world, the Zip World Velocity Zipline sails over the quarry at speeds that can exceed 100 mph (160 km). If I can do it, so can […]
Looking for an action-packed excursion in Wales? Check out coasteering, a sport that follows a rocky coastline both in the water and out. It’s a crazy mix of swimming, scrambling, leaping and caving – and Wales is the birthplace of the sport. Coasteering in Snowdonia – an extreme way to sightsee I’m balanced on a […]
If you’re interested in Canada fishing trips, here’s an outdoor adventure with Pouvoirie du Lac Blanc, an outfitter in the Mauricie region between Montreal and Quebec City. Whether you’re a skilled fisherman or a beginner, a fishing trip in Quebec may just take soul searching to a deeper wetter level. Canada fishing trips […]
Montmorency Falls, Quebec, is one of Quebec City’s top attractions. From a quick sightseeing visit to an extreme adventure such as a via ferrata climb, this Montmorency travel guide explains the best ways to experience Quebec’s natural wonder. Montmorency Falls Quebec City Adventure I’m caught between a rock and a high place. Or is that […]
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 […]
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) […]