Ever get the feeling you’re not like ‘normal’ people? When you think of a holiday, do you think of lazing by a pool… or do you start planning massive adventures to push your boundaries and scoop you well clear of your comfort zone? Do you look for thrills, rather than chills? Do you yearn to return home, a better you, filled with long-term inspiration from valuable life lessons?
Are you aching to use your ‘down time’ to do something crazy? Does the idea of switching off for a week or two, go against every fiber of your perpetually active mind and body?
Oh, you’re not alone! There are more people than the vacation ads would dare tell you, who can’t wait to clock out of the office to jet off for an action-packed period away, pushing themselves and looking for a new challenge.
Lazing by the pool is out… breaking new ground, and seeking dizzying new heights, is in.
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So, what are the best holiday destinations for those who seek adventure, exercise, and thrills? Where is the best place to go if you simply can’t shake the bug? Taking all considerations into account, here is a selection of excellent destinations for those who need more than a lilo and a few cocktails…
Let’s start with an obvious one. California.
The Golden State has EVERYTHING on offer for those looking for adventure. Whether you want mountains, spas, deserts, forests, beaches, surf… aah, the list could go on and on.
California really does have it all on offer… but, what’s that you guys are thinking? Iron? No problem! Anyone who’s seen Pumping Iron (and who hasn’t seen it 30 times?) knows what Cali is all about.
The biggest, best, and most visited, bodybuilding gyms in the world are in California. From Gold’s to Muscle Beach, you’re not going to be disappointed. This is the stuff of dreams. Working the bench in The Pen, or smashing the dumbbells at one of California’s big iron palaces, you won’t be disappointed for one second.
I mean, who doesn’t want to visit the stomping grounds of their heroes? Get on the plane, get down there, tread some famous boards, and rejuvenate your inspiration.
Thailand has plenty to offer the intrepid adventurer.
Want to take off on foot and explore barely charted terrain? Want to meditate with Buddhist monks and delve into your inner strength? Want to get your head beaten about in the most vicious fashion?
Thailand has some beautiful scenery to enjoy. You will never run out of ancient paths and places to explore. From rivers to forests, to temples, and everything between, The Thai landscape is a veritable gymnasium for the explorer. Step off of the treadmill and into some fantastic culture.
At the end of a long, inspiring day, why not try a spot of Muay Thai? Muay Thai is a brutal, local martial art that is practised worldwide, but nowhere so fervently as Thailand. Aside from the punches, kicks, knees, and elbows you will be subjected to, the core training principles will push your body to places you never thought imaginable. Give it a go!
The Hawaiian islands have much to offer those of the adventurous persuasion.
Hawaii is a place synonymous with the sport of surfing. Some of the most famous surf spots in the world are found among the little Pacific islands. Huge waves have been recorded and successfully surfed in those waters. This is the mecca for big surf and the ideal place for beginners to learn from seasoned pros.
Hawaii also has some seriously rugged terrain to get to traverse. Fancy hiking up the side of a volcano, surrounded by scenery that will make you rethink the meaning of the word beauty? Look no further.
And, after all, that energy expenditure, you can head off to one of the many yoga centers and retreats in Hawaii. Indulge in the ultimate relaxation of both mind and body, while working on your flexibility.
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Back in the mainland states, and up to snowy Colorado. From the mecca of surfing to the U.S. ski headquarters, Aspen.
If the mountains are your thing, and the idea of hurtling around on the white stuff, appeals to you, look absolutely no further. Skiing is a great workout, pushing muscles and sinews that you never thought you possessed, in ways you never thought possible.
If speed and balance really aren’t your thing, and you’re looking to push your cardio a little harder, give cross country skiing a go. After lung-bursting efforts through magnificent scenery, you may want to take a day off to experience one of Aspen’s many health spas.
Heading further afield again, if you’ve never visited Australia, you really should add it to your bucket list.
Despite what many people believe, Sydney is not actually the country’s capital, though it’s probably the most famous city on the giant island.
But, Sydney is a hub for thrill seekers and active jet setters. Again, surfing is a top priority, with possibly the most famous surf spot in the world, Bondi Beach, lying along Sydney’s central coast.
The fitness vibe in Sydney, and indeed most of Australia’s major cities, is strong. Outdoor activities are everywhere, sports clubs are plentiful and welcoming to outsiders, and you can barely move for joggers. Think Venice Beach, with more BBQs!
Just a short journey inland has you facing the stunning Blue Mountains. Words can scarcely describe the visual assault they offer. You really do have to be there to get it. Though many potential dangers lurk at the rainforest floor beneath the heavily wooded peaks, there is much exploring to be done for the seasoned or guided hiker.
Not straying from the big mountains now, but moving back stateside.
The Appalachian Trail is one of the most famous hiking routes on the planet. The 2160 mile, epic path runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine and is one of the most famous hiking routes in the world.
Don’t worry, you’re under no obligation to walk the whole thing! There are many well set up start and finish points, as well as overnight cabins, as the trail winds through no fewer than fourteen states and five national parks!
Look out for bears… make sure you have all possible provisions and emergency supplies… and pack the sunscreen!
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Time for a little foray into Europe now and Spain is our destination.
The Spanish islands, along with most other Mediterranean sanctuaries, are regular vacation destinations for Europeans and intrepid international travelers, alike.
Majorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands and is often associated with nightclubs, partying, booze, and debauchery… but don’t let that put you off.
Venture just a short way back from the beachside hedonism and you have rolling hills and mountains, drenched in sun, and just screaming for exploration. Cycling is probably the biggest sport on the island, aside from stumbling and speed drinking. Many world tour cycling teams, including the mighty Team Sky, head to the island every year for some serious training.
There’s nothing better than cycling for boosting your cardiovascular endurance without smashing your knees to pieces. Bicycle hire is plentiful, and guided tours are easy to find.
Due to the heavy tourist trade, travel to the island from mainland Europe costs next to nothing. Food and board are also on the budget side, considering the beauty you get for your money.
You’ll find plenty of more secluded beaches to unwind. Grab your snorkel and explore the seabed in the crystal clear Med waters. To coin a strange phrase, the world really is your oyster when it comes to active getaways, and you’ll be surprised how far your money can go with a little planning.