An era of wild and crazy expedition tours
There are so many great ways to get out and explore, and lots of innovative tour companies to help you do it. Nowadays, you can row across an ocean, cycle the wilds of Mongolia, or go into space, all under the helpful guidance of someone way more experienced than you.
Okay space exploration isn’t really at our door step yet. Sure a handful of wealthy people have forked out several million for a trip on a Russian spaceship, but Elon Musk and Richard Branson’s more consumer friendly ventures (still $200,000 or so) have yet to blast off.
So, if you can’t go into space, second best might be the middle of the ocean. In 2017, ocean rower Sonya Baumstein, is organizing the Bahamas 400 series, a 2-week program to train you to row an ocean followed by a 400-mile race from the Bahamas to South Carolina. They supply everything from the ocean rowboat to the know-how, all that’s needed is some courage and sea-sickness pills. A perfect introduction to ocean rowing.
If land is more your thing, there are some pretty cool cycling trips out there. My friend, Liz Ferris, just completed a 26-day trip through Mongolia and Siberia. They averaged 100 km a day, including rest days, of which there were not many, and over terrain that is anything but easy. Muddy roads, flooded rivers, sinking sand. If the topography was flat that might provide some reconciliation, but the cyclists climbed the height of two Mt. Everests in those three and a half weeks. Colin travelled some of this terrain in two earlier expeditions and he was astonished at the pace and geography of the tour. But then, this wasn’t any ordinary tour company, TDA Global Cycling is the god of crazy long bike trips; they are after all the folks that put on the Tour d’Afrique, the 12,000 km race from Cairo to Cape Town. Even though this trip was tough, there was beauty everywhere and some of that lies in the challenge.
When Liz described her trip, she illustrated one of the reasons we explore. “My biggest take away from this trip has been the recognition of how much more I’m capable of than I realized. I haven’t yet met my potential, pushed past my limit, or achieved all that I am able to. I look forward to continuing to push past previous boundaries and experiencing life with this expanded sense of self.” If that isn’t a resounding endorsement for exploration, I don’t know what is.