Outside the Box Adventure with Liz!
Meet Liz Galloway - Liz is a true "outside the box" kind of traveler and adventurer, which we greatly admire. Liz is an adventure and travel writer, with a lust for adrenaline. She changes her hats as a writer, wellness instructor, consultant, outdoor ambassador, outdoor adventure provider, and media PR curator, depending on the day. It's good to have choices. She has a degree in Business & Hospitality and writes and speaks about reconnecting through discovery, interpersonal relationships, travel and creating meaning with adventure. When she is not eating french fries and sipping wine, you can find her traveling to remote areas, capturing new stories, teaching yoga, or working on her helicopter license. She also aspires to stunt double as a ninja. Connect with Liz on Instagram - where you can click the bio link to learn more about her current writings, e-book, and possibly meeting up with her on a remote adventure getaway.
Whenever we get together with Liz to discuss adventure, always over wine of course, we are chomping to get back out exploring the world! Keep reading to learn why Liz prefers unconventional adventure travel experiences over pre-packaged resort travel. In the end, you might just feel the same way!
10 Reason I Love Adventure Travel: Beyond the Resort Vacays
Expert vagabonding is more than a vacation, it’s a lifestyle. One more people are choosing. The modern vagabonder is not simply an idle wanderer. And as a part time adventurer, I consider myself to be quite responsible. But I also love unexpected, out of the ordinary adventures. Adventure Travel embraces my love of all those things while seeing beautiful destinations and pushing my boundaries. My personal formula for travel: Dream. Plan. Go. Learn. Share. Change.
Big brands are noting big data showing a 46% drop in typically packaged, all-inclusive vacations. These previous experiences are losing market share to extreme adventure bookings, and it’s a game changer. Technology is helping us book adventures faster, check out itineraries across the globe and embark on more “unconventional” travel. There is also a resurgence in travel experts to help you find your next destination, should you have any doubt.
Virtuoso’s CEO, a luxury travel advisor, has said “We tend to talk about luxury travel, adventure, family… all these different travel niches. When it comes down to it though, it’s the transformative nature of travel that is the single biggest motivator. When you travel, it pushes you out of your comfort zone, and fundamentally changes your perception of yourself, your place in the world, of others...”
I agree, and transformation is an important factor in our world. What is billed as “extreme trips” by industry experts is what I seek to put into my every day, becoming somewhat of an expert “travelist” myself. Though a lot of my work is based in travel, you don’t need to be a professional travel writer to enjoy traversing the globe like a local and getting in on the adventure trend. Over the past decade I’ve explored everything from volcanic sandboarding, to stargazing in the Sahara, overlanding deserts, jumping headfirst from bridges (tied to a bungee), flying helicopters, peak bagging mountains in various countries, scuba in tropical locations, kayaking glacier calving icebergs the size of an SUV, survival training in the jungle, ziplining with monkeys, surfing the Mediterranean, and getting caught in the middle of a pod of fifty-foot humpback whales bubble net feeding. Whew! These aren’t bragging rights for the water cooler; all these adventures were and still are a personal journey and a chance to be more than just a “tourist”.
Adventure travel and extreme adventures are becoming more of the travel mainstream, and people are going off the grid to more remote places for their own geographic bliss. Expert vagabonding takes a few tips, a desire to explore, ability to adapt, and taking the leap into booking your next adventure getaway. While there is no substitute for just going places yourself, I can share the top reasons Adventure Travel has become a lifestyle for me, a business, and a learning experience. Ready to come along?
1. Learning new skills: My tolerance for uncertainty has grown with travel. Things don’t always go as planned, and it can be a wild ride. I’ve learned to plan the beginning of a trip with detail, and leave much of the rest on a flexible itinerary. This allows for impromptu trips, tours, and finding local adventures. What are some of the hottest adventure excursions right now? I’ve seen a surge in rock climbing, white water rafting, over landing training, and skill-based retreats like, Barlow Adventures, Four Points Overlanding Tours and Latitude 38 Luxury Adventures. By being open to personal enrichment, I’ve learned kite surfing, sandboarding, scuba diving, hang gliding, conversational Arabic, fluent Spanish, horseback riding, sloth rehab, how to build a temporary outdoor shelter, and many other things I would not have done without travel.
2. Pushing physical boundaries: My physical and mental health have benefited from adventuring. Nature is a perfect playground and a great place to get dirty. Breathe in the air, enjoy the views and grow your hippocampus. Yep, that area that keeps you mentally sharp benefits from outdoor activity. I feel I’m in better shape in my forties than I was in my twenties. Before I made the outdoors a lifestyle, and adventure travel a goal, my cardio endurance was average, now I need to push myself for the same effects as my muscle memory and endurance has increased. Mentally I’ve learned to slow down. If that to-do list doesn’t all get done today, nobody is going to die, and it will be there tomorrow. The world doesn’t run on perfection. Travel forces you to be uncomfortable, to communicate in ways beyond words, and in the case of Adventure Travel to push physical and mental limits that give you a rush most other thing can’t even compare to.
3. Real cultural interaction: Travel gives me space and time to reflect. Don’t we all need more of that in our life? Take a moment to meditate and watch the local life. Start conversations with local people. Don’t worry about language or looking foolish, nobody cares, yes really, we are all trying to communicate. I use sites like Trip Tribe, (http://www.triptribe.com) Triip, (http://www.triip.me) Get Your Guide,(http://www.getyourguide.com) and Airbnb Experiences (http://www.airbnb.com) to connect with unique locally based outings usually led by a community influencer, a student, or someone with a small business. You’re putting your dollars directly into local communities, plus you get to see the area from the eyes of a local. This is how I connected with Sapa Sisters (http://www.sapasisters.com), an all women owned nonprofit run by Hmong Tribeswomen in Vietnam, who took me to villages and homes of locals for hiking, food and hospitality. Triip.me was also how I experienced the best food and bars in Vietnam, plus the secret local’s spot for the famous green bean and egg whipped beer. It’s a flavor that works, trust me.
4. Making a grassroots difference: Increasingly intrepid travelers are choosing adventures with social return that targets the betterment of the world. This includes environmental efforts, voluntourism, working with marginalized people, and visiting areas that are being changed by climate. South Africa, Great Barrier Reef, and Cuba have all had spikes in tourism, according to U.S. Travel News. I’ve also had great luck in researching places once on the ground, and visiting them face to face to express interest in volunteering. This is how I worked directly with handicapped women in Marrakesh creating crafts for tourism. Niche adventure companies are competing for seamless travel experiences and charitably inclined travelers. Two brands working towards travel as a force for good are Good Travel (http://www.good-travel.org) and Travel Plus Social Good (http://www.travelplussocialgood.org). Find more ways to travel with them and get involved directly on their sites.
5. Connecting with natural surroundings: Ready for an African Safari, trekking through Antarctica or peak bagging your local mountains? Connecting with nature is a big part of travel, and I encourage you to enjoy vast natural habitats that will fundamentally change your perception of things. Over the years, this seems to have become sterile in travel...trading the real connection with nature, wildlife, and natural surroundings for the familiar trappings behind resort walls. Take a moment to breathe in and appreciate the areas that are still preserved. Those remote lifestyles seemingly frozen in time, like the Nenets reindeer migration in the Arctic Circle, or remote indigenous tribes on the borders of Panama. Connecting with guides and experts who can provide a one of a kind experience into natural surroundings is one you should not pass up. A great option is to start in your own backyard with a trail walk or hike, and work your way into your next adventure.
6. Collective adventurous mind melt: The mind gains a certain fluidity, and increased growth in the amygdala and hippocampus with new language, logistical complexities, and relieving stress, according to Psychology Today. A chance to travel increases that.
Plus travelers know travelers, and you are bound to run into interesting characters, and people to join up with for a section of your travel. People who you can relate to and who have left behind one place to set off for immersive experiences just like you. You enter new places both intrinsically and extrinsically that have never seen this version of you, these places may startle a little at your arrival, but will know you well. Each journey can be a sacred thing, and a collective of meeting similar mindsets.
7. Adrenaline rush: This could be at the top of the list, as it is truly addictive. Seeking adrenaline can take you a lot of places. I have made skydiving an almost annual birthday tradition to start out the new year with a rush. Pre-jump shot of Johnnie Walker Black, optional. I thought I’d pee my pants when I lunged head first from a bungee into the 264-foot ravine from the old Colorado Bridge in Costa Rica. But the gut dropping neurochemical rush gave me a permanent smile and natural high for days, and I would do it again. The pursuit to higher and higher boundaries (within reason) is part of the transformation. You can feel yourself changing. Challenging yourself just a little bit more each time you go. You reach a goal, you gain knowledge, confidence, and open yourself up to serendipity. This rush is in part responsible for the growth in the extreme adventure travel sector.
8. Making lifetime connections: Whether you save for an annual blowout trip, take a gap year (it’s not just for college kids anymore) or you fall in love with long sojourns from “normal” life to discover and experience the world in your own terms. When traveling you are bound to make a few lifetime friends and connections to visit in the future. It seems I’ve collected friends around the world, and with social media shrinking our geographical boundaries we can stay in touch anytime, reliving travel memories and time away. Most travelers want to share their experiences and tips with like minded people. It’s likely if you’re looking for suggestions to a location, you’ll get an earful. Spots to find a future trip? I love Trip Savvy (http://www.tripsavvy.com) as an option. Adventure travelers have a passion and are not shy about it. We want to invite you to what the French call, Depaysement; to be taken out of a familiar world and placed into a new one.
9. Making lifetime memories: There will be no unfulfilled last-minute bucket-list wishes on my death bed. Make no excuses. If you want to make those memories, you’ll find a way. Take time off work, pet and house sit, work remotely, break from the kids, or take them along. Make no excuses. Creating travel memories and learning new things is not something I’ve ever regretted spending my time and money on. You can choose to join the adventure travel trend by going away for the weekend, or jumping right in to extreme locations like Canada’s Mount Thor, the steepest peak with a 4,101 foot vertical, or a trek with Secret Compass’s (http://www.secretcompass.com) Iranian desert hikes or Siberian crossing. Take the once in a lifetime chance, capture that amazing photo, see unfamiliar places. I’m going to keep looking for memories to push my mind and body, and surround myself with amazing views. Who knows I may even finally complete the 160-mile endurance race with Racing the Planet (http://www.4deserts.com) through otherworldly lands like the Atacama Desert, the Gobi or Sahara.
10. Creating my own adventure retreats: It’s not all fun and games, there is a lot of time and effort that is put into planning, organizing, and traveling to more remote destinations. It can be exhausting and slow at times, and this is where your superpower level of patience and adaptation come in. I’m typically a solo traveler for convenience, and it is infinitely easier to plan for one than two or more. But with many of the resources here, there are options for finding experts on and off the beaten path getaways that you’ll remember for a lifetime. To share my passion with others and the secret spots I love, I have been able to provide exclusive retreats and getaways for people that focus on the unique. Sharing my passion has been like creating a family. We all have adventure waiting for us.
I guess you could say I suffer from acute wanderlust, and by following my intuition, pushing my boundaries and being willing to go the distance, I’ve had some amazing adventures. Adventure travel is here to stay and there is something for everyone. From beginner to a higher level of risk, real or perceived. If you’d like to come along, it only takes that first leap. It could be the best decision you ever make.
Favorite Travel Memory: All of them. That’s a hard one. But many include extensive travel with my son, and that has been unforgettable. To be able to introduce him to cultures, language and travel is irreplaceable.
Favorite meal or food experience: I love Thai and Vietnamese food, and after traveling to those places, I feel totally spoiled for the real thing. I love the noodle and vegetarian dishes and that seems to cater to what I love. Tons of spices, and simple ingredients that pack a big punch. Some of the go to’s are Pad Thai, Spring Rolls, Pho Xao, and Bot Chien, with chunks of crispy fried dough with egg, and slices of papaya, shallots, green onion, chili sauce and whatever else you want to toss on top.
Three essential items for travel carry on:
1. Earplugs (for sleeping) and earbuds (for pre-loaded playlists, meditations, movies, and audio books)
2. Mini recovery kit: Antibac gel, Tylenol, gentle laxative (yes really), a sleep aid, wet wipes, and snacks (nuts, chips, crackers, dried fruit etc.)
3. Hydrating essential oil infused facial spritz (green tea and aloe or eucalyptus and mint are favs) it’s all about creating your own “om” space.
What fuels my love of travel: To collect more moments than things. I can’t believe how much stuff I have given away, or “shed”, especially after living overseas. When you’ve moved from one country to another four times, you learn to keep what’s important and let the rest go. Each move was a new beginning and a chance to furnish a new place with all new things in a new environment. I love both the freshness of it, and the adaptation to let a new inner self shine through, learning more and more as time goes on. Momento Mori.
Favorite book or movie about travel: I never really thought about it until this question, and realized I love travel movies or books about places I have been. I find myself listening to all the background noise, and reminiscing about my time there. The film, Vicky Christina Barcelona comes to mind because of it’s locale, but also how it refers to finding the love of your own passions, but knowing when to place the boundaries on them.
Next on bucket list adventure: I have two planned right now and am working on final logistics for a bike packing trip from Santa Barbara to Sonoma, a 400 mile meander with simple living, winery tastings and good ol’ physical exercise.
The other is one that has been on my list for some time, and that is Tanzania. Hiking Kilmanjaro, and taking a length of time to photograph local villages and tribes. This is a country that fascinates me.
Travel With Liz!
Looking for adventure options? Launch your year with me in Bali and a power filled, mind blowing retreat focused on adventure and healing at Soul Shine Bali (http://www.soulshinebali.com), founded by singer Michael Franti. Join me for solar powered DJ’s, yoga mats, adventure tours, wildlife, data packed workshops, boundary breaking and soul seeking. This is your invitation to connect to your instinct.
Taking applications for 2019. Find out more here... https://lizgalloway.lpages.co/bali-adventure-immersion-retreat/
Thanks for sharing your journey with us Liz and we hope to see you out on the Indigo Highway!
We look forward to Liz's next adventure and hope you are able join her. If not, hopefully you've made some good notes on how to travel beyond your comfort zone. As always, remember to #AjourneyShared + #IndigoHighway for a chance to win travel goodies for your next adventure.