RETURNING TO NATURE

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Deep within our DNA remains a desire to connect with nature, despite modern society’s best efforts to override it. We now think of our food source as the supermarket, not the soil. Our built environment has taken command of the elements with air-conditioning, artificial lighting and a skyline that interrupts our view of sunrise which disturbs our built-in body clock. We’ve come so far from our origins that we now call it an ‘adventure’ to step back into nature. 

You only have to visit the Yolngu people of North East Arnhem Land to see how far we’ve come. They’ve been observing nature closely for over 50,000 years. They see it like a complex timepiece, each second revealing another element of nature, interacting with the next, themselves included. At birth they are ‘given’ by an elder one element of nature – ‘their dreaming’ – to protect forever. This is more than just our equivalent of a star sign. It’s a means to ensure every living species, plant, animal or ecosystem has a guardian to ensure its survival, indefinitely. 

Travel has become the way most of us now look to reconnect with nature, but we have to look harder than ever to find authenticity. Today’s world is dominated by mass tourism - packaged holidays, cruise liners and theme parks. Each one attempting to outdo the other in the convenience and entertainment stakes, for example ice skating rinks and climbing walls on a cruise liner, what a great idea! The irony is that both of these things exist in nature, for free and more fun! Beyond all its environmental impacts, mass tourism’s greatest crime is the dumbing down of our experience as it removes us from a deep connection with nature and culture alike. 

The Scandinavians understand adventure better than most in the western world. As children they are taught the value and importance of “Friluftsliv” – directly translated to “free air living”. In Sweden ‘Allmansrätten’ gives everyone access to the countryside and wilderness, even privately held land, to camp and forage for food freely providing you leave no trace and stay no more than a few days in the one spot. A recent Adventure Travel conference of Nordic nations discussed a proposal to create wifi-less zones, removing the temptation to check one’s email or Facebook status, and leave visitors with no choice but to reconnect with mother earth! 

This deep respect and connection to their roots allows both the Yolngu and Scandinavians to see the bigger picture, in their own way. No matter what, we will always return to nature. We are part of it and it is part of us. But with over a billion tourists travelling internationally every year, and that number set to double in the next ten years, how can we ensure that the places in nature we so love to visit are protected from the growing tide of tourism? How can we re-imagine a future for travel that has the best of both worlds - that is ‘high’ on experience, and ‘low’ on impact? 

‘Adventure Travel’ is very much answer. The question is why? ‘Adventure Travel’ is often defined as a mix of immersion in the natural environment, engagement with culture, and physical activity, but in its purest sense is much more than that. It’s a mindset that is mindful. It sees the advantage of small groups versus mass. It aims to leave the community and environment with a net gain. It looks for an opportunity to give back, to volunteer, to buy local, to travel lightly and respectfully. 

In our search for the experiences that will define our lives we can get lost in ‘our’ moment. A ‘swim the whale sharks’ tour that allows guests to feed the sharks has changed a centuries old migration path. Many resorts built in idyllic tropical locations create more waste due to their western guests tastes than the local community has infrastructure to absorb. Think for a moment what goes on behind a tiger-selfie. The genuine adventure traveller does not travel blindly, they do their research, become informed and make good choices. Our choices are fast becoming a vote for the future of our planet.

The Adventure Junky community are at forefront of Adventure Travel - by making conscious choices you are the advocates, ambassadors and influencers. You set the agenda whether it be through a purchasing decision, such as which surf camp you choose, or the conversations you have around the campfire or dinner table. So keep using your power. You might even take a leaf out the Yolngu people’s book and adopt one element of nature that you will dedicate your life to preserve and convince all your friends to do the same.

If you've not already please join our movement and book yourself on an adventure! Let's return to nature in the right way because it will make a world of difference.

Well the mountains are calling... that's my cue to go!

 

Article by Fuchsia Sims, Adventure Junky Co-Founder
 

Adventure Junky: Here for the long run

Every day 3 million travellers cross international borders. By 2030 that number will likely double. Overtourism is already leading to the degradation of natural wonders, such as Thailand’s Koh Tachai island. In cities such as Barcelona and Venice residents are taking to the streets to protest tourism’s effect on rental prices, congestion and air quality.

Is there such a thing as sustainable travel? Adventure Junky’s Fuchsia Claire Sims ventured to Patagonia to find out. The short film ‘Here for the long run’ follows her journey into Torres del Paine National Park to visit the Patagonia EcoCamp – the world’s first geodesic hotel and member of The Long Run.

“I wanted to see how a tourism business could work in harmony with nature and culture to ensure the people and places we love to visit are here for the long run.”
Fuchsia Claire Sims, co-founder Adventure Junky App

Patagonia EcoCamp is just one of over 1,000 travel experiences featured on the Adventure Junky App. Geared toward the Millennial, the app makes a game of sustainable travel. The more experiences you complete, the more points you earn. You can play against friends, or for the title of Earth’s Number 1 Adventure Junky.

Sims co-founded the Adventure Junky App with Nigel Malone. Their shared experience ranges from helping troubled youth turn their lives around through adventure in the jungles of Costa Rica, working with indigenous communities to develop self-sufficiency through cultural tourism, rebranding World Heritage Sites, to advising corporations on how to become carbon neutral.

“We developed the Adventure Junky App to give travellers more sustainable options, but not at the expense of the whole point of an adventure or holiday – enhancing our wellbeing. That’s why a partnership with The Long Run made perfect sense.”
Nigel Malone, co-founder Adventure Junky App

Developed by Jochen Zeitz, Co-Chair with Sir Richard Branson of ‘The B Team’, The Long Run is a collective of the world’s most exotic Eco-lodges that strive for excellence via the 4C’s – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce.

The Long Run members, of which Patagonia EcoCamp is one, have safeguarded over 12 million acres of nature, celebrated 86 cultures and positively impacted the lives of more than 520,000 people. All of The Long Run Eco-lodges can be found on the Adventure Junky App or at The Long Run website.

‘Here for the Long Run’ makes it cinema debut at the Mountain Film Festival touring Australia and New Zealand beginning March 2018. (details below). Please share this Vimeo page as widely as possible to support those leading the way in sustainable travel.

‘Here for the Long Run’ was written, directed and shot entirely on iPhone 6+ and Osmo Mobile by Adventure Junky. To discuss marketing partnerships, and/or the creation of a film for your destination/travel experience please contact Nigel Malone on nigel@adventurejunky.com


The Long Run thelongrun.org
Patagonia EcoCamp ecocamp.travel
Mountain Film Festival mountainfilmausnz.com

CROSSING AFRICA - MEET MARIO RIGBY OUR NEW #1

Mario Rigby has leapt to the top for the Adventure Junky Leaderboard this week after Crossing Africa by foot! He literally trekked across the entire African continent from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt.

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His epic two-year journey covered uncharted terrain, 12 countries and a diverse range of environments, including deserts, jungles, and areas of civil unrest. Not only did he embark on this quest to share the beauty of Africa and its people to the world here is what else he had to say... 

"I have completed my walk from Cape Town to Cairo entirely by foot/kayak. This rigorous 2 year and 11,500 km expedition proved to be the most challenging and yet rewarding things I have ever experienced. I have met tribes that date back thousands of years, I was welcomed into villages, nearly drowned twice along the South African coast, got shot at by rebel forces in Mozambique and decided to kayak across the 4th largest lake in Africa never having kayaked prior to it. These experiences have brought me exponential growth.

I love more, hate none and see all things from opposing views. Our world is ours because we are a part of it, as an infant cannot discern between itself and its environment. I feel like this infant, reconnected to our universe. Please stay tuned as I plan to undertake projects that directly impact the very impact destroying our relationship between earth and humanity, renewable and sustainable energy is something I'm working on. Thank you and much love for all the people who have stood by my side, supported me, believed in me and the people who don't even know that they have impacted my life in this direction.

The drive for curiosity and exploration is vanishing in today's fast-paced and digital world. I think unlike past generations, more people are hesitant to venture out and meet strangers. We are all filled with unimaginable potential - perhaps my adventure will inspire others to move away from their comfort zones and unleash theirs."
- Mario Rigby

These are wise and inspiring words Mario, you sure have reminded us ALL that anything is possible when you put your mind to it and have the strength to keep stepping out your comfort zone - we are thrilled to see you at the top of the leaderboard. These are wise and inspiring words Mario, you sure have reminded us ALL that anything is possible when you put your mind to it and have the strength to keep stepping out of your comfort zone - we are thrilled to see you at the top of the leaderboard. Keep following Mario's incredible journey here

Now the really BIG question, who's got it in them to catch him now?!

SPOTLIGHT - JESS CLARK

What does adventure mean to you Jess?
Adventure to me is the constant search for life's highlights. Those moments where you're scared, excited, and completely out of your mind, yet somehow still manage to calculate risks and surprise yourself every step of the way.

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Tell us a little about your self?
My adventurous self can be very impulsive, and also extremely cautious. I think the combination of characteristics has served me well and will continue to... The activities I like range from extreme to mellow. The thing that really gets me going is combining the two. For example, I love to slackline, but when the snow arrives in Canada how the hell can you slackline?! You do it in socks and have your mate constantly dust the snow off the line like a curling rink, that's how! Figuring out how to accomplish things that others find impossible or absurd is what I love. That being said, finding likeminded people is what really makes these adventures possible. Adventure Junky connects so many people and places that it's much easier to find epic adventurers these days. It's like one big tribe all coming together in an app.

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What was your BEST adventure?
My best adventure so far has been learning to kiteboard. I remember seeing people doing it on the beach about 5 years ago. I was so unsure of myself back then that the possibility of accomplishing it or even trying it never even popped into my head. I simply thought "wow those people are so intensely awesome" and went about my life. 5 rotations around the sun later, I suddenly got the courage and the motivation to try it. Second day on the water I was harnessing the wind and riding on the ocean screaming at the top of my lungs from sheer stoke. I don't remember a time when I've been that excited and happy within myself. (Girls, you can do it! Don't doubt yourself!)

What's at the top of your Bucket List?
Right now, the top of my bucket list is completing my Commercial Helicopter Pilot License. Learn to fly, then fly away!

What is your favourite object to travel with?
Aside from being an adventure junky, I'm also a creative junky and video has been a passion of mine since highschool. So my GoPro and my drone are my favourite objects to travel with.

Anything else weird, wild or wonderful you want to share about yourself?
Wild: My hair.
Wonderful: I can confidently say that I have a huge heart, and gladly open it to anyone if it can help make their day better. We all could use a little more open-ness and vulnerability. Whole-hearted living and loving is where it's at peeps 🤙🏻

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Do you have any feedback for the Adventure Junky app?
Keep inspiring people... seriously that's what you're doing. Your app is innovative and will constantly grow. Enjoy the process of this journey with all the ups and downs and don't change your spirit because that is what makes the app. Without that, it wouldn't be what it is!

Keep following her adventures...
On the app: Jess Clark
Instagram: @jessclarkcreative

ADVENTURE OF THE WEEK: CANYONING IN TYROL

Around AREA 47 you have plenty of opportunities to explore the Alps in a particularly spectacular way. While canyoning in Otztal you get straight down to business - you discover a realm which would otherwise only be accessible using a rope and with a great deal of bravery!

While abseiling through thundering waterfalls, leaping from metres high cliff into the dark green puddles and while sliding at speed through gullies you get to see who has nerves of steel. 

See this adventure on the app