What are the best ways to enrich Adventure Travel for you and your companions? Experienced travelers pick up tricks along the way, and I encourage you to add your own to the list. Below are seven ways that visitors to Cape Breton Island have increased their enjoyment of the journey, their stay on the Island and even the magic in their daily lives upon returning home. Notice the common ingredient is connection.
1. A Vision For Your Trip gives your adventure travel a context of what you would appreciate looking back on as a reference point of you being energized, connected with yourself and your environment, a juicy moment that can re-energize everyday life. For Aladdin, it’s a ride on a magic carpet, while for me it is taking a hike with my wife to find a waterfall.
2. A Great Destination: What place engages your sense of curiosity, your sense of where you and your companion(s) would like to explore and even settle in for a time? Many cultures call this developing a “sense of place”.
3 Knowledgeable Local Guides: By guides I mean people who know an adventure destination and are generous and passionate about sharing their knowledge and experience. They may actually escort you on a trip or simply educate you on places off the beaten track, things to do, where to eat or sleep, and where to visit in order to discover special spots mentioned above–to develop your own “sense of place”. These guides can offer a local connection embodying their passion and enthusiasm–they show an adventurous spirit which is joyful, even contagious. Guides offer a connection to local people, places and adventures. They offer you safety and useful information and recommendations.
4. Unique Gatherings The native Mi’kmaq on Cape Breton Island call gatherings “Mao I Omi” and the French call them “place de rencontre” and the Celts “Ceilidhs” (often involving music and dance). What you will find is that meeting other people and sharing your experiences, adventures and stories is a way to feel part of things, to live your adventures and enjoy others’ “magical experiences”, gifts and talents. Local gatherings, events and ceremonies are designed to create connection between people, a sense of “magic”, and the gift of good memories.
5. “An Adventure a Day (mild to wild)” By adventure, I mean something that has a degree of freshness and challenge to you even if you are accomplished at it. It does not have to be hiking up a wilderness trail or rock climbing, it can be as seemingly mild as learning a new recipe from an expert chef or discovering a blueberry patch ripe for the picking with most of the blueberries consumed on the spot and the rest put into a tasty blueberry pie! Easy as it is to overload your travel, with a list of things to do, consider focusing on “an adventure a day”, whether mild, wild or somewhere in between.
6. A Higher Purpose (Through Service and Learning) Besides recreation why travel? And is the adventure travel most significant only for you and your companion(s)? Having a Higher Purpose often adds to the experience and gets you past temporary discomfort and obstacles. One current purpose is what I call the “Green Theme” for adventure travel. Many of us experience what some call a nature deficit disorder (c/o author John Louv) and notice it in our children and others’ children. What happens when you connect with nature–trees, open space, birds and other animals–is a sense of connection not only with nature but with yourself. It gives you a different perspective and often a burst of energy, whether in a city, the country or a wilderness and unspoiled setting. Related to this “connection” with nature is an increasing desire and awareness of the fragile balance between ourselves and nature. Many volunteers and adventure travelers are seeking to stay in places that waste less and encourage use of renewable energy, as well tend to respect and preserve natural areas or at least to do no harm. For campers the expression is to “leave not a trace”. The goal increasingly becomes to be “of service” and to have a higher purpose in adventure travel: one of enjoying and preserving the green around you. The higher purpose for the trip can extend to any number of special areas of adventure and possible learning:, the arts, outdoor recreation, re-building after a hurricane,, team-building, ie is any activity for which you have a passion and can become part of your adventure travel. The goal is to create a result in you or in your environment that is useful and has significance.
7. Well-being, health and safety Find a place and be with people fostering a sense “well-being” or wellness.. After all, our normal routine is often full of work, obligations and, frankly, stress. Have you made space for “healing arts” or what some call “wellness” in your travel plan? Make sure you have enough time and knowledge to not only travel safely, but to catch your breath and to regenerate. Testing Your Brand of Magic in Adventure Travel You are the adventurer, judge and jury. The feeling and experience of the “Magic” is yours and it may be a different experience for your companion(s), but a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you have some stories and memories and even pictures or video that capture some of the juice, energy and enthusiasm of the magic you created during your travel. Spread this spirit of magic upon your return home and the magic will continue.