Nov 2nd, 2009 Posted in Trip Ideas | No Comments »
A buddy of mine has been on an epic trip across Eurasia, and adventure he calls Off Silk Roadin’. His blog is a fairly long form recounting of his tales, but I recommend checking it out mixed in with browsing through his pictures on Flickr. He’s done some in depth touring in places that are often forgotten by travellers, and without saying it, gives a powerful recommendation for going to the Asian Steppes.
One of his best talents is starting conversations with strangers and thereby making friends and getting a much better place for where he is visiting. One quick tale for example:
I popped into a Photo studio for some visa pictures. The three guys who ran the shop were Armenian and eagerly recounted the histry of their families, which lived in what is now northeastern Turkey (where we had just come from) before the “Armenian Genocide” (something I have to learn more about having heard so many conflicting accounts. They sat around, solved crosswords, drank coffee, brewed us a tasty batch, and when they got wind of our journey, pulled out an old Soviet Atlas, pointed at things and recounted stories of their service in the Soviet Army that took them places where we were going to go. A sailor came in and introduced himself as a “semen” (seaman) and when I took a picture of him, suggested I not post it since he travels to the US frequently, and doesn’t want to be listed in the rolodex of the CIA (to which I was presumably contributing.) We encountered this kind of Soviet relic paranoia in several instances, particularly Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan so far.
And tales like that with some of these pictures, and I get that itch on my feet and can hear the open road whispering in my ear.
Oct 23rd, 2009 Posted in Trip Ideas | 1 Comment »
With a price tag of $10k I’m not the target audience for this adventure, but I’ve very tempted to make my own Global Scavenger Hunt. In their game, you are given a travel itinerary and a set of tasks to complete in each location. I imagine that for a couple in their 40s-50s who are looking for a brief taste of backpacker style adventure it is just about right.
The basic idea of a scavenger hunt is great, I think it’s just the way they play that isn’t right. How about this for a set of rules:
- There are 100 different tasks with a variable number of points for perceived difficulty (ie: visit the highest and lowest points on a continent within 72 hours – 50 points, sail across an ocean – 75 points, visit as many countries as possible in 24 hours – 1 point per country)
- No flights longer than 1 hour.
- You have 365 days to gather as many points as possible at meet back at the starting point.
- Each team has $10,000 per member starting money, but you can spend any other money that you earn during the year.
- Teams can have any number of members, but all members must be present for every activity for points to count.
If you ask me, that would make for a hell of a year of adventure. I bet you could even make a pretty wicked show out of it, which might help pay for prizes for the winning team. And it would certainly be a better way to spend $10k traveling if you ask me.
Oct 8th, 2009 Posted in Trip Ideas, tips | No Comments »
There are scores of companies that are willing to give away something fairly valuable in exchange for giving them your email address and touch of demographic information. I’m not really a gambling mad, but I’m willing to hand out my email address (my spam address of course) in exchange for a slight chance to win a trip. If you’re of the same mindset and have an hour to burn, you might want to enter all of these:
I’m sure there are other travel sweepstakes out there, so if you know of any, please post them in the comments. And less cross our fingers that someone in the Questing for Adventure communty scores one of these trips!
Oct 4th, 2009 Posted in Trip Ideas | No Comments »
CBS’s David Price is on an interesting seven day adventure across America with only $50 and an arsenal of hand-held technology to connect to every form of social media which he’ll use to find rides and lodging as he goes. I should make for an interesting week, and of course because mainstream media loves social media – hours of television.
Call me old fashioned though, but it seems like it would be a much cooler challenge to do that trip without the social media help and the notoriety of being on TV. Just hitching and couchsurfing your way across the country. Not that the social media way of doing it isn’t cool, It’d be a great trip and a cool way to involve other people in the journey. But perhaps a bit selfishly, I think it would a cooler trip just talking to folks along the way and seeing how far you can get.
To follow along with David’s trip, you can check out his page on CBS, Twitter, or Qik.
Oct 3rd, 2009 Posted in Trip Ideas, tips | No Comments »
Today if the first day of the 2009 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. It’s the biggest gathering of hot air balloons in the world and the most photographed event in the world. If there’s anything that makes me a little bit homesick for the place I grew up (other than friends and family of course), the Balloon Fiesta is it.
I can’t recommend the Balloon Fiesta highly enough. You spend your mornings checking out the Balloons and then in the afternoons have time to kick around the town and surrounding mountains. If I were to plan a long weekend for Balloon Fiesta, my itinerary would look something like this:
Day 1: 5 AM – 9 AM watch the first mass assertion, 600 balloons taking off as quickly as possible, from the Balloon Fiesta grounds. Then take the Sandia Peak Tram to the top of the Sandia Mountains and see the Balloons from above as they continue to drift around and start to land. Then take a good long hike along the crest trail and eat a leisurely lunch at High Finance overlooking Albuquerque. Take the tram back down and wander your way back to the Balloon Fiesta for the balloon glow and fireworks.
Day 2: 4:30 AM arrive early to crew for a balloon – registration is closed for this year, but as you’re planning your trip check back and sign up. You’ll then spend the morning helping getting a balloon in the air and then back to ground and packed up. With any luck you’ll also have a chance to take a ride in the balloon too (I did when i crewed). Then spend the day in Albuquerque, maybe having some delicious New Mexican food with your crew mates or checking out Old Town Albuquerque. In the evening drive up to into the foot hills and see if you can spot any balloons over the city.
Day 3:If there are any events like the special shapes rodeo (imagine giant balloons in the shapes of cows, dinosaurs, motorcycles, etc – it’s cool) then head back for one last early morning. Otherwise head up to Santa Fe for the day, and back to Albuquerque for an evening flight home. Don’t forget to grab a last taste of New Mexico at La Hacienda Express in the airport.
If you have more time, of course you should crew multiple days so that you can try out chase crew – following the balloon form the ground so you can be there when they land. You could also give yourself a little more time to explore the mountains around Albuquerque, the Sandias and Manzanos offer some beautiful short camping trips. But even with s few short days I promise you that you’ll have a great time.