by Ellen Barone
There's nothing wrong with sitting on the beach feeling the sweet relaxation of sipping a rum drink sipped beneath a palm tree. I love sun, surf and occasional slacking as much as the next travel girl. But after my batteries have recharged and the last drop of stress has evaporated, a new being emerges. Beneath the suntan lurks a curious, openhearted spirit who is ready for the adventure of travel, where invaluable life lessons are learned and hidden reserves of acceptance, appreciation and connection are rediscovered.
Whether it's riding the rapids of the mighty Colorado River, a photo safari in Botswana, heli-hiking in the Canadian Rockies, an expedition cruise down the Amazon, a cycling tour through Provence, or simply a trip around the block, travel invites me to step out of my comfort zone and into to a deeper understanding of the world around me as well as terra incognita within.
"Real adventure is an inside job," says cultural anthropologist, explorer and mountaineer, Dr. Jeff Salz, author of The Way of Adventure (Wiley & Sons, 2000), a wise and wonderful gem of a book. "What constitutes an adventure in my book," says Salz, "is any intentional experience that substantially alters our perspective long enough to see things we have never before seen - and to see the familiar things in ways we have never before seen them."
For me, and many passionate explorers, adventure is a lifestyle not a vacation. While adventure travel may provide amazing opportunities to walk in the Serengeti, volcano hop in Russia, climb majestic mountain peaks in far-flung places, or look a whale in the eye, it's also a chance to discover how I manage the unpredictable, find out how other people think and solve problems, and to practice a level of engagement that enriches and deepens my life on the trip and way beyond, when I return home.
So why are you still home?
See you on the mountain...
Travel entrepreneur Ellen Barone did what many of us only dream of doing: at the age of 35, she traded a successful academic career for the wild blue yonder and set out to explore the world and herself. In the decade since that intrepid decision, she has turned passion into profession journeying to more than 60 countries in search of evocative images and life-enriching adventures. Learn more at EllenBarone.com