#geo

#geo, #intel

SAVING OUR PLANET FROM MASS TOURISM

Underpinning much of what we do at Adventure Junky is the desire to reimagine travel. Mass tourism in its many guises - packaged tours, large cruise liners, theme parks, bus tours - now dominates our planet in much the same way the junk food industry does, with equally dire consequences for our well-being, environment and cultural identities.

The Tourism industry is like an iceberg. It constitutes 10 percent of the world’s GDP and indirectly creates 1 in 10 jobs, yet is so woven into our lives it often goes unnoticed unless we’re on holiday. Tourism is a complex, layered and pervasive industry and therein lies the problem. The best way to unpack the iceberg analogy is with one of the icons of mass travel – large cruise liners.

We have a top secret, patent-pending algorithm which we use to create a score for each adventure (travel experience) on the Adventure Junky App - but when you boil it down there’s two simple selection criteria we apply:
 1. Is it ‘high’ on experience? (Is it unique, authentic, meaningful);
 2. Is it ‘low’ on impact? (does it respect people and place).

I’ll begin with the question of ‘impact’. Friend’s of the Earth produce an annual report card on Cruise Liners, if you are thinking of cruising I recomend you take a look. Only 4 out of 17 companies received pass marks this year. What strikes you instantly from an impact perspective is the fact that cruise liners legally only need to be 3 nautical miles (5.5 kilometres) from shore before they can dump sewage into the ocean - potentially up to 25,000 gallons of sewage daily from toilet systems alone. 

Then there’s the water from the laundry, pools, medical facilities, spas and dry cleaning stations. It all has to go somewhere. The argument here is that the ocean has miraculous purifying qualities for the fecal matter, bacteria, viruses, pathogens, hazardous waste and pharmaceuticals contained within this sewage. Or it could just be a case of out of sight, out of mind. This sewage is actually extremely harmful to human health and aquatic life. One can imagine the furore if the same was tried on dry land.

According to Ocean Planet, one study of a cruise ship found that an anchor dropped on a coral reef completely destroyed an area about half the size of a football field and half as much again was covered by rubble and later died. It was estimated that coral recovery would take 50 years. In 2015 Carnival dropped an anchor in the wrong place in the Cayman Islands; over a thousand square metres of live coral was damaged or completely destroyed. Officials said it could take 60 years to grow back.

There is of course a considerable argument for the positive impacts of cruising made by the industry itself. Many of these centre on the economic benefit cruise ships bring to local destinations. Having worked in tourism development with indigenous cultures in remote tropical locations I have an intimate understanding of the role tourism can play in sustainable development for such communities. Tourism needs to be conducted on the local community’s terms.

Local people are not generally employed by the ships. It’s true the ships bring an influx of visitors with money to spend, but cruise companies do everything they can to encourage passengers to spend where it suits them - onboard. Stopovers are also very brief and passenger time on the islands is almost non-existent. The estimated amount a cruise passenger will spend on an island excursion, if they do chose to disembark (many don't) is less than $100.

Cruise companies in the Caribbean are now purchasing their own islands or parts of islands to completely bypass the local communities. On these ‘passengers only’ islands cruise companies reap the profits of selling drinks, souvenirs, boat rides, and renting equipment for snorkelling, etc. Of the eight major cruise lines operating in the Caribbean, six own private islands which they include on their itineraries cutting out local ports of call. 

But what of the cruise liner experience? This gets to the heart of what we believe at Adventure Junky. Adventure is a powerful force. Being in nature and engaging respectfully with other cultures, stepping out one’s comfort zone is the best way for us to develop individuals and learn about ourselves and the world around us. The latest cruise ships now come complete with wave machines, ice rinks and climbing walls - but these things exist in the natural world and if you want to get a maximum score on ‘experience’ that’s where they are best enjoyed - authenticity is what makes for the best adventures.

Yet the cruise industry steams ahead. In 2016 and 2017, 15 more new cruise ships will come online adding 8.1% to global passenger capacity and add $3.6 billion in annual revenue. Weeks of fresh sea air, endless sunshine and having every whim catered for does have its appeal. Many cruise passengers report returning home with a sinking feeling. It may be more than simply post-holiday blues. Most cruise passengers gain a pound a day in weight during a two-week holiday at sea - coming back a stone heavier than when they left.

So whilst I haven't held back in my criticism for large cruise liners, there are companies that care. On the whole though the industry represents many of the problems inherent of mass tourism. My point is not - not to travel - but to instead consider your choices wisely and think about the broader implications.

There's plenty of 'high' experience, 'low' impact holidays on the Adventure Junky App.

The mountains are calling and I must go!
Fuchsia Claire Sims

#anti-gravity, #bonfire, #buddha, #dyno, #faark, #geo, #goofy, #groupie, #hugger, #igloo, #intel, #middle earth, #mogul, #nemo, #nutjob, #raider, #self-guided, #topo, #tribal, #tripper, #voyeur, #wildlight

Adventure Junky iPhone app NOW LIVE!

Adventure travel exponents Adventure Junky this week launched the earth’s first adventure travel game. The game brings together adventure travellers of every genre - from hikers to bikers, climbers to divers, sailors to snowboarders and wildlife watchers to wing suiters - on the same playing field, and pits them against one another in friendly rivalry. The goal: to determine the Earth’s Number 1 Adventure Junky.

An initial 500+ adventures, from almost every country and culture have been hand-picked by the Adventure Junky team for their authenticity, sustainability and uniqueness of experience. Add to that a rapidly growing number of adventures drawn from players and Destination Partners. Each adventure has been allocated a Points Score, based on a set of challenge factors. Players earn Points and progress up the Leaderboard by completing Adventures.

Adventures range from the softer, such as a Patagonia winery safari or foraging in the Sweden wilderness, to the extreme of summiting the seven volcanoes of Guatemala or a Favela tour in Rio. There’s self-guided (DIY) local adventures for the weekend warrior and fully guided international trips, led by the world’s best operators. Whilst the adventures are undertaken by individuals in the real world, the game is played in the digital world via the Adventure Junky App. 

The Adventure Junky App has been designed to streamline the traveller’s journey from the high of one adventure to the next. On it users can browse, bucket list, book, plan, share and add adventures. The app keeps track of, ranks and rewards their achievements. Friends and heroes can be followed creating a strong social community. The App is available on iPhone and iPad, with Android available shortly.

Australian Adventure Junky co-founders Fuchsia Sims and Nigel Malone have a pedigree in tourism marketing, having rebranded three World Heritage Sites and become recognised as specialists in cultural tourism. They’ve also both worked as adventure guides in past lives. Their evidence-based business model was built after a solid six months of market research into the experience economy. The Chairman of Adventure Junky is John Morse AM, former head of Tourism Australia.

Mr Malone outlines the phenomenal growth in Adventure travel. “Of the more than six billion trips that travellers make every year, 40% have an adventure component. That’s 2.4 billion adventures a year, and growing at 15 per cent per annum. Gamification is the glue that can bring adventurers together,” he said. “You only have to look at Fitbit and Strava to see the rise in massive online communities created through gamification.”

But for the founders, it is the psychological side of adventure and games they find most fascinating. Ms Sims explains, “Adventure is addictive. It takes you out of your comfort zone. But not all those who wander are lost. Adventure enables us to grow and develop as individuals. To better understand the world and people around us. It can heal the greatest lows, and inspire us to the greatest heights. Our mission is to fuel the addiction to adventure.”

#geo, #hugger, #self-guided, #tribal

Authentic Adventures #AdventureJunky #SeeAustralia

A few weeks ago I heard someone use the world 'McTravel' and it summed up my thoughts about why we started Adventure Junky. We live in an age when consumers no longer define themselves by the brands they buy, but rather by the experiences they keep - and share. The more authentic, unique and meaningful those experiences are - the more valuable they are, and come to define us as individuals.

At Adventure Junky our mission is to find the earth's greatest adventures. The sort of adventure you’ll take a Land Rover, not a Greyhound bus. A kayak, not a cruise liner. From every corner and culture of the earth. Small group, low impact adventures. Most importantly they are authentic, meaningful experiences, that respect people and place.  

Download our iPad App and see for yourself, or set up an alert at AdventureJunky.com to be notified when iPhone and Android apps are released.

 

#anti-gravity, #geo, #self-guided, #tribal

Not all those who wander are lost...

Uluru-gallery-1.png

Adventure is addictive. It's like a drug – firing the synapses and quickening the pulse. Once you’ve felt that first high you'll just want more! Adventure takes you out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. But not all those who wander are lost...

Adventure enables us to transcend our limits, to grow and develop as individuals, to better understand the world and people around us. It is a powerful force that can heal the lowest of lows, and inspire us to reach our greatest heights

Adventure Junky’s mission is to fuel this addiction. To identify the earth’s greatest adventures. To partner with the most outstanding operators and adventurous destinations. To streamline the traveller’s journey from the high of one adventure to the next.

To bring together all the sailors, spelunkers, the hikers, the bikers, the balloonists, climbers, skiers divers, kayakers, slack-liners wildlife watchers, the trailblazers ALL of you! To acknowledge your achievements, and determine the earth's #1 Adventure Junky!

Download our iPad App, or set up an alert at AdventureJunky.com to be notified when iPhone and Android apps are released

#faark, #geo, #mogul, #nutjob, #self-guided, #topo

Adventurelog: Cycling to Russell Glacier #Adventurejunky

Kangerlussuaq is a stunning inland area, famous for its stable climate and rolling tundra filled with wildlife. It is also the easiest place to access the Greenland Ice Cap, due to a road established by the U.S. military forces during their presence in Kangerlussuaq. Kangerlussuaq was founded in 1941 by the U.S. Air Force base and Americans remained there until 1992. 

For those who don't mind some heavy-duty biking, it is possible to cycle to Russell Glacier. This challenging 25 kiilometer route will take the better part of a day to complete, and you should expect that you will cycle over stones and sand to get there. Your journey will take you over scenery that echoes the Scottish Highlands,  passing lakes, mountains, plains and the occasional military wreck. There is also the possibility to see Greenlandic wildlife such as the muskoxen, hares and birds. 

Once you have reached the picturesque Russell Glacier, it is possible to cycle further on to Point 660, or return back home. Bikes can be hired from a few places in Kangerlussuaq town and airport.  The season is summertime from approximately June to September. 

Download the Adventure Junky iPad App to learn more about this and more of the earth's greatest adventures. iPhone and Android apps coming soon. Subscribe at AdventureJunky.com for alerts.

Photos by Mads Pihl