So, as my 4 years of adventures around the world were coming to an end, I kept hearing a recurrent question: What’s next?
Though I don’t have any planned adventures up my sleeve, it’s a thing I’ve been thinking about for endless hours while cycling, rafting or walking: Which adventures seems interesting?
Here’s some thoughts and I would be beyond proud if anyone took them up or somehow got inspired by some of it. Anyways…
Europe in a kayak
Get a kayak and start rowing yourself into the vast networks of rivers that span across Europe. From the Baltic to the Mediterranean, out to the Atlantic or reach the Black Sea: There are plenty of options. Sleep along the rivershore, float through tiny villages and huge capitals, sneak up and tie yourself to a barge when the current is too strong or simply just go with the flow.
Or the Med in a kayak
Paddle your way through the Mediterranean, along the coast of Croatia, Italy, Albania, Turkey. Drift up into the Black Sea or simply linger on the myriad of small islands in Croatia and Greece. Endless options and great weather.
Or a big river
A kayak or canoe, a long river and a curious soul. Adventure starts. The Yangtze in China? The Brahmaputra in India? The Yukon through Alaska? Or small upstream tributaries of the Amazon basin? All of the above…
So you got those skins that you attach to the bottom of your skies and you can go “ski touring” as it is also called. Through endless remote, magic, white landscapes. There might be huts or you can simply sleep in a basic shelter. You can also snow-shoe into desolation. All alone in winter wonderland, sounds great to me.
Anyone who does not want to sail around the world, raise their voice. Roaring silence. I thought so. But ok, it doesn’t need to be around the entire world, but a sail boat is an amazing way to go explore tiny islands, remote locations and foreign cultures. Yes, a boat does coast some money but 1) you don’t have to get a huge luxury yacht 2) they hold value very well and sell with little loss. If you know how to sail, you can quickly get an adventure rolling by crew’ing on boats or engaging in transport jobs where you simply sail other peoples boat from a to b, check the internet. Many options on a boat.
Devote some time to it and climb the back out of yourself. Dive into the community, connect, engage, learn, see, challenge, understand. You can either go really technical and devote yourself to increase your climbing skills and start sending tougher and tougher routes. Or simply just engage in climbing for the beauty, the nature, the community, the adrenaline, the views and the photos. In Spain, Laos, Australia, Japan, USA, Chile, you name it.
Basically same approach as climbing, but higher peaks, lower temperatures, more snow. Same cohesive community, same connection with nature, same physical components, same international scene.
Camels across a desert
Like, Bedouin-style. Pack food, water, maps and compass and start tramping into the vast, flat, hot, brownish sand, aiming for trader villagers and the atmosphere of 1001 nights. Spending the many dark hours underneath the endless, star-packed sky and seek shelter under a carpet in the hot hours.
Horses across the steppes
Get some horses, familiarize yourself with them and head out into the vast grass steppes of Mongolia or Kazakhstan. Nomad cultures, warm fermented horse milk, yurts, isolation, nature.
Devote some time and just surf the hell out of yourself. Engage in the community and swallow some saltwater, twice the amount of drinks and thrice the amount of kisses. Wave, wind or kite? The westcoast of the Americas? Indonesia? Australia? Morocco? Palm trees, sand between your toes, basic cheap bamboo bungalow, meditation in the morning, candles for light. I am already dreaming…
The hippie van
Yes, it’s kliche. And no, I couldn’t care less. It’s still a wonderful way to go explore a region or continent: In some kind of campervan, equipped with your interests and hobbies: surf, photo, art, whatever. Take road-trippin to the extreme as you drive along tiny rural roads in Romania or park at the Pacific in Panama. Bring a friend or your love. Maybe paint it, just to take the kliche to the extreme. And don’t come knockin if the van is rockin…
USA has a large handful of amazing maintained long distance trails. Europe has a vast network, though the trails are a bit shorter and more civilized. Te Araroa spans across New Zealand.
Or walk in civilization: along roads and through towns and villages, in China, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, whatever.
It’s the most basic and old school form of travelling and there’s something utterly humbling about transporting yourself vast distances on your own legs.
This could get really funny. For an example, get a little motorbike with a side-trailer, as every street chef has in Vietnam. But don’t just travel, start cooking and sell your food, like the locals. Go to odd areas in the country and strike up conversation with hundreds of people everyday that will be thrilled that some foreigner now is acting local, rubbing shoulders with the other street-chefs. Or make chapatis with dal in India. Or fry up some larvae and cockroaches in the streets of Bangkok. Or run some mototaxi service in Peru. It’s an odd idea, who knows what’ll happen? All I know, is that you’ll never forget it.
Get a rickshaw, throw your backpack and a friend in the backseat and start touring. Maybe run a little taxi service with it, know that you have it. Either way, you’ll have a spacious vehicle and the locals will love it.
Swim a river
Smaller stints can be done with a drybag and possibly resupplying in towns that you swim through. Larger stints will require some support vessel. It’s a wild one: watch out for current, animals, pollution and the fact that you can hardly bring anything with you. But start small and take that step 400 million years back in evolution, back to the water where all life comes from. Hey, a 58 year old German swam the entire Amazon!
Just anything. Go to Guyana and study butterflies for 3 months. Learn everything there is to learn about the Chinese Wall while walking it. Learn to play some indigenous instrument. Map out the sephardic traditions in Andalucia. Whatever drives you or whatever doesn’t. I’m sure you’ll meet people in the process and will leave with an impression for life.
Get your dive on
Devote some months or more to diving and start exploring entire regions. Connect with other divers, learn to ID all the fishes, corals and nudibranches. Wrecks, reefs, drift dives, caves, deep dives, wall dives. And add plenty of snorkelling into the equation.
The motorbike adventure
It’s a classic and not very original and I would LOVE to do it. ‘nuf said.
Ride freight trains
It’s original, illegal, dangerous and borderline crazy. But here’s the concept: Pack an old, small, canvas hippie pack, don’t wash your hair, carry an instrument, start to write poetry or prose, smoke rolling tobacco, drink whisky out of a bottle, be or act broke. Bob Dylan, basically. He rode freight trains, back in the days when there was no anti-terror law and you couldn’t get chased by dogs or armed guards when the train rolls into an industrial complex. But seriously, jumping those trains and just ride towards an unknown destination, hiding on logging carriages. Yes, it’s a gamble. Maybe I shouldn’t suggest it. But I did.