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For those jet-setters who've ticked off a healthy slew of bucket list destinations, we applaud you. It is quite the accomplishment to have been almost everywhere. Still, we just added a new destination to our own list and we think you may want in. You see, for the first time in 33 years, commercial trips from New Zealand to Antarctica have, once again, become a possibility.
There's a reason they ended in the first place, however; a tourist flight crashed in 1979 and proved fatal for all aboard. It's been long enough for airplanes and navigation and all sorts of other technology to improve and so, this upcoming February, sightseeing flights to the polar cap will once again become a normal departure from NZ. The day trip will see a chartered Qantas Boeing 747 take off from Auckland and travel due south to fly over the ice mass.
How's this for extreme sports: run a marathon in Antarctica a few hundred miles from the South Pole. In December. Plus, you'll be at an altitude of 3,000 feet and have to brave a windchill of -4 degrees. The 26.2-mile, eight-day Antarctic Ice Marathon is the southernmost marathon on Earth.
Although the December 12 marathon seems like a long ways away, now's the time to register. And you'll need a head-start to save up for the hefty price tag that's just shy of $17,000.
Marathoners will meet at Punta Arenas in Chile, and from there, a jet will bring you to the race site. The round-trip flight as well as the meals and accommodations in Antarctica are all included. But you'll have to bring your own gear to prevent freezing your bootie off.
Here's your chance to hike the Great Himalaya Trail—and we're not talking like "hike the Appalachian Trail" à la South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. For the first time, a tour operator is bringing groups through the trail on an intensive 157-day hike.
Even experienced hikers will need some help on the Great Himalaya, the longest and highest alpine route in the world. The trail winds between the largest mountains and the most remote communities in the world, connecting Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
In the US, rescuers have been complaining about "Yuppie 911." This happens when inexperienced urban hikers try to rough it and discover that nature is actually kind of brutal, so they use their personal locator beacons to call in helicopters because their water tastes salty (sweat) or because they heard a loud noise (thunderstorm). The underlying problem is that adventure tourists often simply don't realize what they're getting into.
In New Zealand their extreme travel tourism problems are less humorous and, at least recently, more tragic. The April 2008 death of Emily Jordan, a 21 year old who was killed in a river boarding accident, triggered a review of the entire industry. Now a new UK group, led by Emily's father, is demanding that the government take steps in the meantime to make adventure tourism safer:
Earlier this year, a Washington Post writer named Maryann Haggerty and her husband decided to take the ultimate vacation: an around-the-world journey. The problem was, they had only 29 days to spare for a trip that most travelers set aside six months for. But they did have plenty of cash for direct flights and decent hotels, and they didn't feel compelled to wander too far off the beaten track, so they were like "Screw it, let's do it." So they did it. And from the looks of things, they did absolutely everything right. Circling the globe in a month is a daunting task, but in an interesting wrap-up of her journey in the paper this weekend, she dishes on the details that helped her and her husband visit eight countries in just over four weeks and actually enjoy the experience.
If you're not quite ready for your summer vacation to end and you've got $60,000 burning a hole in your pocket, the professional travel planners at ekoVenture are ready to take you on a two-month adventure across Antarctica. The trip has a difficulty level of "strenuous" and the comfort level is rated as "bare bones," or, in other words: awesome.
If that last part doesn't give you an adequate sense of what you're in for, the trip overview begins with the following: "this unique expedition has the goal of arriving to the south pole unsupported, which means without any help or food caches from its beginning to its completion." On one hand, arriving at the south pole sounds mind-blowingly incredible. On the other hand, aren't "food caches" traditionally helpful things? Why would anyone want to give up on something with a name like "food caches"?
What is up with celebrities and extreme activities? Yesterday, we had Cindy Crawford doing some indoor skydiving and today, we learn that Zac Efron spent the weekend bungee jumping in Whistler, during a break from the filming of his new movie, The Life and Death of Charlie St. Cloud. People magazine has the pertinent details:
With a broad smile and no hesitation, the light-footed crooner lept off a bridge over a raging river – and he did it gracefully, of course. He even managed an acrobatic back flip as he went down. "Zac really loved his jump, he seemed to be having a really good time and was excited to make his jump, but he only jumped once," an employee of Whistler Bungee said.
Perhaps he only jumped once because it's rather expensive? Whistler Bungee charges $120CAD for the first jump and $50 for any additional jumps. Any of your friends who want to come along and watch will have to pay $10. The company does offer shuttle service from Whistler Village to the bungee site at Cheakamus Canyon and first-time jumpers get a free t-shirt.
Looking for more adventure in Whistler without having to jump off a bridge high above running water? Consider snowmobiling or ziplining. PS. We kinda hate how good Zac looks even while bungee jumping. Damn, young kids!
We love a nice relaxing beach vacation as much as the next person, especially when umbrella drinks are involved. However, sometimes you want a little more than poolside waiter service. Sometimes, you wanna get dangerous. Cue the Roxette song, "Dangerous" please.
But how far are you willing to go for some thrills? Would you go deep sea “heli-fishing” or surfing off the coast of a volcano? Maybe your idea of adventure would be to try some "bizzare foods" or to visit some sex museums. Heck, maybe you even got Locked Up Abroad.And if you consider getting up close to the polar bears at the Berlin Zoo as far as your thrill-seeking will go, that's ok too. Because that can actually be very dangerous.
So let us know what kind of crazy possibly (hopefully?) death-defying stunts you’ve experienced or some or rebellious acts you've committed while on holiday in the comments below. We wanna hear your stories, mostly so it will inspire us to be a little more adventurous on our next trips.
Related Stories: [Photo: chego101]
·The Uncertainty of Handing Over Your Passport at Border Crossings [Jaunted]
·Open Threads coverage [Jaunted]
Real thrill-seekers will love Jaunted cousin Concierge.com's list of Mind-Altering Vacations. From absinthe in Paris to peyote in Mexico, their suggestions will certainly help you get your mind off your jumpy 401(k) and the security of your job. But if you want to run for President someday -- or if you're Lindsay Lohan -- check out our slightly more licit thrills. Voyages for the killjoy, right here:
Nothing is more relaxing than taking a stroll down to the local fishin’ hole. However, fishing does get boring at times, all the waiting, the sitting, and disappointment—hours on a boat with nothing to show for it. That’s why one man has taken a more proactive approach to fishing, and his style is far a cry from those ESPN2 fishing guys on Saturday mornings.
Matt Watson got tired of catching marlin the old fashioned way in his native New Zealand, so he decided to jump in the water after them. This crazy Kiwi hunts fish from the air in the “safety” of a helicopter—and when the moment is just right—he jumps right onto the back of the speared fish. It’s almost like some sort of underwater rodeo. It's definitely not safe and definitely not sane. However, somehow he’s pretty good at it, and makes it look like something anyone can do. He’s already been on Letterman—talk about a stupid human trick.
We know it’s still cold across much of the country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fulfill your summer vacation dreams right now. The water is still flowing in the rivers—even if it’s a little icy—so jump in and enjoy. Many whitewater rafting companies are happy to take you for a trip down river, and they’ll even make sure you stay nice and toasty.
As we slowly creep towards spring, you might be thinking of getting more in touch with nature and maybe some wildlife. If that’s the case, then you’ll be the perfect candidate for a weekend at rodeo school.
Sankey Rodeo Schools offers classes across the country to get you more familiar with bull riding, bareback riding, and even being a rodeo clown. All the equipment, gear, and critters are provided, so just bring yourself—and a Xanax.
There’s no mechanical bulls here, only the real things full of horns and fur. The school caters to both the casual thrill seeker as well as those looking to make it a career, so you’ll get the full experience. Most classes offer a weekend adventure where you’ll be paired with a critter that’s in your league, and the instructors promise they are there for you to learn. If you’re looking for a last minute Valentine’s Day idea there’s even a class taking place in Summerville, Georgia this weekend. The bull riding classes here will set you back $410.
The school maintains high safety ratings and has been chosen to do the safety demonstrations for rodeo associations across the country, but that really doesn’t make us feel any more secure. There’s a definite risk here, and it’s a far cry from your dad’s dream vacation at the dude ranch. Best of all, if you really get into, the school offers more advanced classes that can make your cowboy dreams come true.
Related Stories: [Photo: Paul J Everett]
·Sankey Rodeo Schools and Equipment [Official Site]
·Spain's Running of the Bulls Launches Feminist Debate [Jaunted]
·Rodeos coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: Paul J Everett]