Sure, golf is good for business, and pick-up basketball games are a great way to blow off steam in the middle of the day, but do you ever find yourself wanting more from your athletic pursuits? More challenge, perhaps, or an excuse to take a week off of work to enjoy them? Everyday sports are for everyday people and everyday life – which, admittedly, is appropriate most of the time – but every once in a while, it’s a good idea to switch things up and have an adventure you won’t soon forget; you might be king of the links, but there’s no way walking 18 holes of golf can compare to hiking the Appalachian Trail or base-jumping Everest. If you’re in the midst of a three-tee-times-a-week rut, why not try:
Glacier Climbing in Iceland
Iceland is a “glaciated country,” which apparently means it’s full of badass terrain left over from the last ice age that’s now available for your hiking pleasure. If you’ve always longed to hike to the top of something you can’t pronounce, then take a jaunt over to Reykjavik for an 11,000-foot glacier-volcano hike and food that “benefits from the open-mindedness of the Icelandic people and the willingness of the culture to adapt foreign tastes to its own”. The price of the hike even includes fish soup, so you really can’t miss with this one.
Biking through Italy
Why walk from vineyard to vineyard when you could bike tipsily instead? Toast the natural beauty of Italy’s terrain (and its inhabitants) with a glass or ten of prosecco on a seven-day bike excursion in and around Venice, a trip which will not only ensure that you work off your gnocchi, but also that you bask in the glory of adjectival splendor while marveling at “verdant pastures, robust vineyards, opulent villas and fortified towns.” Best of all, you can sleep off your buzz at a five-star hotel in between leisurely pedal sessions.
Canoeing the Amazon
This is a far cry from the dinky canoe trips you used to take at summer camp for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that the Amazon is the second-longest river in the world. (Well… there’s some contention about that fact, but we’ll get to that in a minute.) Plus, “in one second, the Amazon pours more than 55 million gallons, or 600,000 cubic meters of water, into the Atlantic Ocean, which dilutes the ocean’s saltiness for 100 miles from shore.” That is, by all accounts, wholly intense. Your trip starts in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, and ends somewhere downstream in the heart of the mysterious Amazon rainforest. However, if you, like many Brazilian scientists, disagree that the Amazon is slightly shorter than the Nile, then perhaps you should do your own research by:
Sailing the Nile
Chartering a boat to cruise down the Nile – which English sportsman Charles Caleb Colton once said “begins in minuteness but ends in magnificence” – is sure to win you major points with your girlfriend, wife, estranged children, or otherwise erstwhile companions, especially since you’ll give them a chance to visit Abu Simbel, the “sentinel of Eternity”. You’ll have to do without a business center for a few days, but that sounds like something no one can turn down.
Snorkeling through the Galapagos
If you’re more of an underwater-adventure-aficionado, then take your pick of any number of diving trips in exotic locations. Lux travel company Geographic Expeditions sails its Galapagos Yacht “La Pinta” to various spots around the islands where you can snorkel with sea lions, learn about pirates and reenact your favorite scenes from Mutiny on the Bounty, all from the comfort of an air conditioned, “environmentally state-of-the-art” vessel. With more and more companies traveling to the Galapagos, though, you might be more inclined to choose a less-traveled path and hit up the Great Barrier Reef or the untamed waters off of Belize, hopefully before humans have had a chance to completely ruin everything forever.
Kite Skiing in Antarctica
According to the folks behind this adventure, kite skiing is “the newest form of ‘polar travel’,” blending skiing, snowboarding and parasailing to create something that few people can say they’ve done. You even have the option to stay in an igloo or watch penguins mingle in their natural habitat. Antarctica also boasts 24 hours of sunshine a day in the summer months, meaning you never have to feel embarrassed that you’re still partying ‘til dawn despite your (advancing) age.
Staging a More Amazing Race
Perhaps you’ve watched a few episodes of the now-iconic program, or perhaps you haven’t, but either way, you’re surely familiar with boring, museum-centric vacations and how much they (for lack of a better word) blow. Competitours is a company that seeks to turn your boring vacay into a Eurotrip of epic (and lucrative) proportions by transforming “tourists into reality travel players, sightseeing into dynamic sightDOING [and] Europe into one of the world’s largest game boards,” a la Phil and the Amazing Race. They even promise “0 shenanigans,” which should please the less-tolerant among you. Cross-continent battles of wit and stamina beat the Mona Lisa any day.
Racing in Spain
Those of you unfamiliar with race history might not know Alberto Ascari, but you should; he was the first double-world Formula One champion and allegedly a supercool dude. Ascari Cars, founded by Dutch billionaire Klaas Zwart (award winner for raddest name in this post) and named after the aforementioned supercool dude, not only manufactures insanely slick speed demons, but also owns a race resort in Southern Spain where visitors can test Formula One cars and, according to the website, “meet, form friendships and play”. It’s so innocent and happy-go-lucky! And fast! It’s like playing inside giant matchbox cars that go 1,000 miles per hour! This is awesome. Ascari Race Resort also boasts a track that has tested the BMW M3 and the Mercedes C63 AMG, which should help you in the car cred department when you return stateside.
Snowboarding through a Dormant Crater
For snow-junky thrill-seekers who’ve grown tired of the same old places and the same old powder, Access Trips is here with a ski/snowboard excursion to some of the most scenic sites in Japan. In between “amazing tree runs, magical backcountry tours, endless trails and an unforgettable ride in a dormant crater,” you’ll chill with snow monkeys and lounge in Japan’s onsen (also known as hot springs, or nature’s answer to Sybaris pool suites). However. If, even after all of this, you still can’t imagine taking a vacation that doesn’t involve golf, then why not switch it up a little by:
Golfing at Midnight
Living in the US means missing out on a lot of things, including, but not limited to, free healthcare and all-night golf games. While Obama tackles the former, the Arctic Open is here to remedy the latter, offering “round the clock golf in mid-summer at high latitudes” at the Ayekuri Golf Club in Ayekuri, Iceland. Get your membership now and get ready to enjoy the pride of traveling far, far away to say you teed off at 2 AM.