When most people think of adventure travel, they only think of two types. Thrill seeking, adrenaline junkie, extreme sports adventure or the physical, white water rafting, hiking, biking for days adventure. But there is one more… Adventure for the Senses…. Where you are going to excite you senses, your sense of touch, smell, taste, the sights you take in or changing the way you think.
What is this adventure travel of the senses I talk about? These are multi-sensory experiences that wake up all of our senses when we are traveling. They bring new meaning to the way we think about other cultures. It allows us to try things, whether that is learning to cook new foods in another country, taking a dance class, discovering centuries old castles and vineyards, or learning more about the world in which we live. This style of travel is all about authentic experiences, where you will learn more, not just about the world but about yourself. These adventures are custom built just for you, whether you are traveling as solo, a couple, or in a group, from friends to families of all ages. Imagine taking your children beyond the pages of their textbooks in school and bringing them right to where history was made.
When I think about a few of the times I experienced this type of adventure, the ones that most capture that sense of awe that will forever change me, the ones at the top of my list are. The time in the Maasi Mara with my children in a safari vehicle, I remember the delight I felt when seeing lions up close, so close in fact that if I got out of the vehicle, I could touch them. (Not recommended, travel insurance would be voided) We had a first-row seat to the circle of life in the beginning from two lions who were in love. The amazement of when a water buffalo began charging our vehicle because she thought we were getting too close to her newborn calf. And the excitement and humor of watching a cheetah being chased by a troop of chimpanzees, I had no idea that they were the ones in charge.
Next was on a river cruise sailing the Rhine River. Here you are sailing in the area called the Rhine Gorge. Entering the Rhine Gorge is like entering a fairy tale with centuries old castles and fortresses, the stories told are filled with enchantment, desire, romance and courage. Visually you don’t know where to look next, thankfully as we were sailing through, our cruise director read a narrative of what we were seeing and some history of each castle.
Italy was a wonderful place to experience as a family. On our first full day touring, we had the pleasure of experiencing a traditional Sunday family meal. A small family who owned a lovely piece of property that had grape vines which the family used to make their own wine, a small meat cellar that was used to cure the meats we were eating, a small garden, and a few cows, goats and chickens, was talked into opening up their home for people to experience local cuisine. As we sat around the table, 20 of us in total, all shared stories of our own families. The meal was 8 courses of deliciousness and kept us with this family for 4 ½ hours. By the end of the meal, the couples’ young daughter had warmed up to us all, the family dog was enjoying all the attention he was getting and we left feeling like we had new friends. Meals like these show us that we are not really all that different from each other. They also build a bridge that allows us to connect with one another for what could be a life long friendship. During our tour we met a couple who were artists. We were invited to their home where we saw their spin on recycling and how to use nature to create new works of art. When we arrived at their home, outside in the yard stood all kinds of metal sculptures made out of recycled material. From wheels that were turned into alligator, to a family made up of an assortment of items found along the road or in a junk pile, everything I saw was made out of something that had a different use previously. The wife who was a stone carver and taught people how to carve stone, introduced us to one of her students who was in the outside studio carving a statue. We learned about the very long and tedious process which gave us a new appreciation for what we see in museums. And finally, we learned how to make prints and paints from the plants around the house. The couple had made a press that they used to transfer the plant material unto the paper to make the prints, once dried you could really see the shapes and fine lines from the leaves. We then enhanced our prints with the paint we learned to make from leaves, grapes and other berries. Before it was time to leave we enjoyed some wine, cheese and meats with this couple who opened their home to us and allowed us in to see their world.
Other adventures for the senses throughout the world include destinations such as Machu Picchu in Peru. The views of this historic site is amazing, but many are surprised by the flora and fauna including the Winay Wayne Orchid. Winay Wayna means “forever young” in Quechua, its essence is actually said to preserve youth and vitality. Even with Machu Picchu calling you in the distance, you will likely stop once you spot this beauty with it thin white and fuchsia blooms.
To really get your senses tingling, take a visit to Argentina. The sights of the architecture, the sounds of the T
ango, and smells of the food in this city are unforgettable. The food, oh the food… their pasta is amazing with so many options to choose from and don’t forget Argentina is famous for its beef. Did I mention sweets…If you have a sweet tooth you will not be disappointed. Dulce de Leche is in everything, cookies, cakes, pastries just to name a few.
Finally let me tell you about Budapest. Your 5 senses are sure to be satisfied with a trip to Budapest. Budapest is named Europe’s most beautiful city. Here you will find sculptures, gardens and the historic castle district all set against the Danube river. Music lovers won’t be disappointed, folk, jazz, rock and classical music can all be found somewhere in Budapest. If you a classical or opera fan, plan on visiting during the Budapest Spring Festival. The smell of coffee is everywhere. Budapest’s coffee houses were believed to serve as meeting places for underground criminal activity as late at 1950 so the houses were shut down during Communist rule. Thankfully things changed and we can all enjoy a good cup of coffee in coffee houses as old as the Ruszwurm which was built in 1827 or as upscale as the Zsolnay Café which the locals describe as snooty. Who would have thought of coffee as taboo?!
There are so many destinations around the world that will inspire your version of adventure, regardless of what your definition of adventure is. Working together with you, as your travel professional I will custom design an itinerary that will delight your sense of adventure and take your family beyond the pages of a textbook in a classroom.