Scooby’s Adventure Travel Channel!
To me, adventure travel is not zip-lining or a 4WD Jeep tour. Although these might be fun, they are activities I can do at home. Adventure to me is sleeping in a bamboo hut on stilts without any running water or electricity. Adventure travel to me is biking on a 6″ wide levy between two disgusting fish ponds in Vietnam knowing that if I lose my balance, its all over. Adventure to me is hiking hut to hut in the breathtaking Swiss Alps. Adventure to me is waking up in the morning in the Amazon only then realizing that my room is missing one entire wall that is open to the jungle.
For a first trip outside the USA, many people choose a bus tour. This is a great way to get over your initial fear of leaving America, but after that first trip, there is SO much more to be seen by incorporating fitness and adventure into your travel! Buses and trains only reach the big city “top 10 tripadvisor” tourist destinations where you see … tourists. If you want to actually feel the country and have real adventure, you gotta get out in the countryside! Unlike when you are on a bus, when you are biking or hiking, you can go wherever you want, you have a 360 degree view, and you can stop when and where you want. When you do stop, you are a welcome visitor in someone else’s world rather than looking like a tourist with dollar signs over your head.
When you are hiking or on a bike, it becomes about the journey rather than the destination. You can look around and take it all in and enjoy the moment. Since the locals you meet have not been inundated with hordes of tourists, they are often very eager to talk/communicate with you. I have been biking in many places where they have never seen a big white bodybuilder on a bike and for the locals, its as exciting as a visit from the Queen of England. Parents flock to the roadside holding their toddlers so they can wave and laugh. People who have never left America often are very concerned about not speaking the language. I can tell you that communicating like in the game of “charades” always works, just laugh at yourself a lot and have fun!
For me, fitness is a huge part of my travel adventure. Not only as a method of locomotion but as a way to really get a feel for the country. Many might consider going to a gym on vacation a “waste of time”, but to me, not only is a just a part of my lifestyle but its a way to meet locals. Fitness is universal and if you go into a gym in a foreign country, I can guarantee you that you will have a very enlightening and interesting conversations with fellow weightlifters there. Much of what I have learned about the countries I have visited is thru talking to fellow bodybuilders at gyms and meet and greets.
My styles of adventure travel
Hiking is not only a great way to travel, but in some cases, its the only option. For example, the Alps is only accessible by foot and it has an amazing network of huts is set up for overnight accommodations. There are many other parts of the world that are set up for hiking tourism. My favorite one which I have done twice is the Costwalds in England. Another is the Camino de Santiago in Spain which I hope to do soon. Hiking treks you can use an organized group or just go on your own.
Although I do hiking and love it, biking is my preferred method of international travel. You can access virtually all the same places you can by foot and it has the advantage of allowing you to cover way more territory. It also makes it a lot easier for solo trips because your bike is an excellent pack horse to carry all the gear you need for an extended trip. Read more about bike tourism.
When most people think “cruise”, they think about sitting by the pool having fancy drinks with umbrellas in them brought to their lounge chair. Cruises can be 100% relaxation if you want, but they can also be 100% adventure. Think of your ship as a floating hotel that takes you to your new daily adventure. A cruise can remove the overhead of travelling from city to city, checking in and out of hotels. If you want adventure in your cruise, its essential you choose the right cruise because on many, adventure as I define it is simply not an option. For example, an Alaska cruise might be breathtaking and spectacular but exploring on your own is virtually impossible. Caribbean cruises are cheap and warm but many of the ports are depressing poverty stricken tourist traps of little interest to an adventure traveler like myself. For adventure, you can’t beat European cruises in the Mediterranean, Baltic, or North Seas. Every day, these ships dock in amazing port cities with thousands of years of history and culture just waiting to be explored. Skip the organized tours and set out on your own. Get an offline GPS map to find your way around because depending on cell coverage for your google maps can be a very expensive mistake. Even better for adventure are the riverboat cruises because unlike sea cruises where the port city is often annoyingly far from the places in the city you want to see, a riverboat cruise drops you off right in the middle of the city. Make a list of the places you want to visit and follow your offline GPS app there!
Language tourism is a kind of adventure travel virtually unknown to Americans but I have been doing it since 1988. “Language tourism” is taking an immersion language class in a foreign country, and although this does not seem like an adventure, it is! A great example of language tourism as an adventure is the two week Goethe Institut German course I took in Vienna last summer. The way it works is that for 4 hours in the morning, you are in the classroom, in the early afternoons there are optional guided tours (in German) taking you places the tourists never see, and the rest of the day you are on your own to explore, go to the gym, or whatever. Accommodations can vary from a room in a host families home to a private apartment in a dormitory. I can guarantee you that being in a hotel in Vienna for two weeks, you will only experience 1/100th what I did as a student there. I have also done a 4 week course in Germany at Priem am Chemsee and Muenchen. My upcoming language adventures will be Vienna again in 2020 and then starting Spanish in 2021.
I often use trip advisor but not for the reason you might think. I used them for awhile and then realized there was a pattern. I found that the activities on TripAdvisor “top 10” lists were either tacky or boring. Not only that, I noticed that at these “top 10” activities, all I would see is Americans. I have the resources to live anywhere on the planet except Switzerland and choose to live in America but when I travel, I do NOT want to hobnob with Americans! Now I use the TripAdvisor top 10 lists as a list of places to avoid :)
I thought Scooby just did fitness videos!
Although I am still very active in fitness behind the scenes enhancing my fitness tools like CustomMealPlanner and adding content to my website scoobysworkshop, I have retired from the public side of fitness to free up time to pursue my passion for adventure travel and aviation. Although I will no longer be doing new fitness videos on YouTube, I will be doing adventure travel videos when I travel. Here is why I am retiring from fitness and how you can contact me and get your fitness questions answered. Watch the below 30 second trailer to see how my travel channel is a different from the rest: