by Ellen Barone
Why do we need it, what are the challenges and joys, what can you expect from an active vacation?
1. No matter how much I love to nap in the cozy sling of a hammock or snuggle up with a good book, my body craves movement. When I walk in nature, bicycle along a country road, or paddle a pristine coastline on an active vacation, I am literally nourishing my body at a cellular level.
2. It doesn’t always feel good. There are times, when I’m huffing and puffing my way up an alpine trail or peddling against gale force winds, that I curse the universe and wonder what possessed me to book an active vacation. But there is joy in the challenge, in the ultimate sense of accomplishment, in knowing that I will return home a better version of myself.
3. You can have your cake and eat it too. For intrepid travelers who want to experience the Call of the Wild, but not at the expense of creature comfort, many top outfitters compliment their active adventures with luxurious accommodations, gourmet meals, rejuvenating spa treatments and extraordinary service.
4. It can inspire courageous transformations. In the midst of zip lining across a glacial canyon or walking in quiet contemplation through an ancient forest, for example, I have suddenly decided to change my life course, drop old habits, or embark on a bolder, more authentic path to my dreams.
5. Clearly I do not want my active vacation to become a sequel to 127 Hours. When I venture into the wilds to scale a mountain peak, raft a raging whitewater river or explore back country canyons, I want an experienced guide leading the way. By signing on with a respected adventure travel company, I know that they take guest safety seriously – their reputations depend on it.
6. Let’s state the obvious: Actively exploring the world is fun. But what might be less obvious is that it’s also a good way to connect with people, experience cultures and appreciate differences.
Photo: Ziplining across a glacial canyon by topher donahue.