How Adventurous Would You Get?

What?s the craziest activity you?ve done while traveling? I?ve jumped out of a perfectly good plane over a glacier in New Zealand with a parachute (and a professional) strapped to my back. I?ve had an extremely large rubber band tied to my ankles and jumped off a bridge over a gorge? twice. Did I mention I?m afraid of heights? I am. However, my sense of adventure and desire not to miss an experience propels me (literally, in this case). My travels through six continents have held a lot of ?firsts? and probably just as many ?never agains?, but there are still numerous activities I?ve yet to try and hope to.

1. Dog sledding. I dislike the cold, but I love dogs and I think this is just such a unique experience as there are probably only a few places where one can experience this (at least as a tourist).

2. Balloon safari. Yet again I?m a glutton for punishment on the heights fear. There are resorts and tour companies in Africa that offer sunrise and sunset hot air balloon safaris and I can only imagine the feeling that accompanies this.

3. Camel ride in the desert. Most likely in Northern Africa though Mongolia would be incredible as well. Let me specify that I don?t want to do one of the 10 day camel rides where you sleep in tents overnight. A day trip, an overnight if necessary, is plenty for me. I just want to experience it. Again, one of those things you can only enjoy in select locations.

4. Swim with (or near) turtles in the Galapagos. I?m not a huge swimmer. I have a bit of a fear of being underwater too long due to claustrophobia (I?ve never SCUBA dived though I?ve snorkeled). This, though, is a situation in which I?d make an exception. I?ve swum with sharks and rays, which was less terrifying than it sounds. The history of these creatures, however, must be respected and being near them would humble me.

5. Swimming with dolphins. I plain just think this would be fun. I would only do this, though, in a setting that I thought was fair to the dolphins. I don’t want some resort where they’re penned in a pool smaller than the size of the kids swimming pool.

6. Hang glide. Can you imagine hang glide off of a towering sand dune? I hear this is a tricky undertaking, however, and I suspect I might get frustrated.

I?m sure there are plenty more. Almost virtually every day I see a twitter post or a Facebook photo from one of my fellow travel enthusiasts and I think ?I have to try that!?.

What are your bucket list activities? What incredible adventures have you already had?

Packing with a Purpose

Packing for a vacation is always one of the trickier parts. Do you really need to bring your umbrella or rain coat? How often can you wear the same jeans before you officially feel gross? How many pairs of shoes can you shove in your suitcase? Ok, that last one might just be me, but packing truly can be one of the most challenging parts of preparing for a trip, especially when traveling to multiple destinations that may have varying weather. With city travel, you can pretty much manage to get by your traditional everyday outfits unless you completely misjudge the weather. On a safari, however, what you pack actually can affect your activities and therefore takes a little extra planning.

While some of what you pack will certainly depend on the type of safari you?re taking, the time of year, and the destination, here are some general tips that can apply to most safaris.

1. If you?re planning a walking safari (or think you may partake in one) pack some neutral items of clothing to blend in as much as you can. Bright colors will draw attention to you, which could be unsafe – think of the red flag that the matadors wave to entice bulls.

2. Pack lotions, shower gels and other bath/body products that have light or no scent. Again, anything too strong could draw the attention of the animals. While it?s not particularly likely unless you?re wearing something especially pungent, it?s better to be safe (literally) than sorry.

3. Bring clothes that layer well. If you?re staying at a game park, game drives are often scheduled for early in the morning and around sunset. Temperatures in Africa can change dramatically throughout the day, and morning drives in particular get can start out chillier and end up quite warm.

4. The rainy seasons in Africa vary from country to country, and sometimes even in different regions within a country. If you?re planning a multi-destination safari, it?s possible that you may hit the rainy season, or at least the cusp of it, at least once. Rain jackets are relatively easy to pack and don?t take up too much space. Some countries, such as Botswana, can get quite severe thunder storms and with much of your time spent in wide open spaces (even at the lodges), this is a case in which a rain jacket is most certainly preferable to an umbrella.

5. Some countries require vaccination records, particularly for yellow fever. If the countries you?re visiting require this, make sure to pack this in a secure but handy spot for when you enter the country. You can learn more about required and recommended vaccinations on the CDC website.

Check out the Chimera Travel Blog for more packing ideas!