Over the course of history humans have embarked on adventures and expeditions to discover new territories, gain wisdom and question the known. In the 1200s Marco Polo was the first explorer to set out on a ground-breaking journey to Asia and China. The Portuguese Vasco da Gama was the first European to reach India. Sir Francis Drake was the first to circumnavigate the world in 1580. But it wasn't until the mid-1800s that adventurers began to push the limits of mountain climbing and river rafting, ascending famous peaks and mountain passes, inspiring people to attempt their own expeditions and experience the unknown. The thirst for adventure hasn't stopped since. Once limited to explorers and athletes, it rapidly became a new form of tourism. Adventure travel as we know today was born. In 1979 Tom Hale founded Backroads in his garage, virtually overnight. His fleet consisted of a couple of vans and a handful of tents and bikes. His first guests were friends he personally recruited. Thirty-eight years later, Backroads is still helping travelers explore the world actively on a plethora of biking, hiking and multi-adventure trips around the world.
So what's the reason for adventure, or active travel's popularity? Why is it the best way to see the world? For the past few months, as I've been leading trips for Backroads, I've posed this simple question to my guests: "Why did you choose active travel?" It's incredible just how many reasons there are to choose to see the world actively. Here are some of the answers from my guests:
- To experience our destination with all our senses: sights and sounds, aromas and flavors
- To see things at a slower pace: our own pace
- To support sustainable tourism and the environment
- To meet like-minded people and make new friends
- To gain new perspectives
- To create healthy family memories to last for a lifetime
- To challenge ourselves, be vulnerable and celebrate our strengths and weaknesses
- To avoid the crowds and tourist traps
- To eat guilt-free and increase well-being
- To be outside and truly immerse ourselves in the surroundings
- To respect the local culture and natural beauty
- To celebrate being alive
Why do you choose active travel? Share your perspective in the comments!