One night we were sitting around with a handful of other couples, sipping red wine and playing card games. Eventually we got bored with the Rummy and Catch Phrase. We decided that instead it would be fun to go around and choose one word that best described each pair. Cute, intelligent, and classy were just a few of the descriptions thrown out. When it came time for our label, we held our breaths, hoping (a bit unrealistically) that perhaps our new friends would choose attractive or funny. Instead, they unanimously agreed:
We can’t say that we were completely surprised, but it continues to sound so foreign to our ears. Growing up, we were both painfully shy and quiet. If you could tell our fifth grade teachers what we’re up to now, they likely wouldn’t believe you. And most days of the week, we certainly don’t feel adventurous. Especially if on that chosen day we are being asked to eat an unidentifiable animal organ.
However, we do actively seek to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and into new experiences, regardless of what level they are on the ‘adventure scale’. That means that sometimes adventure might mean skydiving or white water rafting, while other times it equates to trying stinky tofu or learning to drive a scooter. That’s also why we believe adventure travel is for everyone—regardless of how ‘adventurous’ a person you believe yourself to be.
Still, we suppose we have done some pretty cool things over the years. Here are our top 3 adventures we’ve had since we’ve been married, all exciting ventures for their own particular attributes.
1. Road-tripping Across the U.S.A
This was our first adventure as a married couple, so naturally it’s first on the list. It was also the reason why we started our travel blog in the first place, giving it a few bonus points. On our honeymoon road trip, we started in North Carolina, headed over to California, went up to Seattle, and then crossed back to our home Tar Heel state once more. All in all, we covered 8,490 miles in a little over 7 weeks. In a Volvo Station Wagon. The very same Volvo that broke down on the way to our rehearsal dinner. See? Adventure! The idea for our honeymoon was met with mixed responses (You mean you don’t want to go to a tropical island? You’re going to register for gas cards rather than kitchen appliances?), but we of course have absolutely no regrets. Plus we now have about 30-something photos of us doing this in every state:
2. Running the Taipei Marathon
This was a total mind-body-soul adventure. When we first decided to tackle a full marathon, we would have been lucky if we could finish a 2-mile jog without a lung collapsing. We had never even run a 5K before! But in our typical style, we decided to go big or go home. So 26.4 miles it was. We trained for the marathon for nearly a year, and in many ways, the training aspect was the greatest part of the adventure. While it is amazing how quickly the body can adapt to the physical pressures placed upon it, I’m not sure I can say this is always true of the mind. But when you’re running for hours at a time, it really is more of a mental activity than a physical one. Come the day of the marathon, we finished under our target time at four hours and forty-two minutes. (We held hands crossing the finish line, which is why our end time was exactly the same.) This adventure completely transformed our health and fitness levels, and it’s one adventure that we hope to have again soon.
3. Cycling the Length of Vietnam
In terms of straight-up adventure, this one definitely fits the bill. It’s the most challenging adventure we’ve had, both physically and emotionally. It wasn’t that long ago that we shared our stories with you on the blog, so we won’t elaborate about it again quite yet. But if you missed it, or you’re just looking for a good adventure read, we highly recommend these posts.
Those are a handful of the adventures things we’ve done since we tied the knot. We’re not done quite yet though. Here are just a few adventures that are certain to get our adrenaline pumping once more:
1. The Rickshaw Challenge
What better way to discover India than from the driver’s seat of an auto rickshaw?
Last time I was in India, I considered riding in a rickshaw to be an adventure of its own; racing my own would take some serious guts. If you’re not familiar with an auto rickshaw, it’s sort of like a tricycle with a lawn mower engine. They’re easy to break down and not exactly the safest vehicle on the market, but a common mode of transportation for many Indians. There are a variety of routes to choose from, but we would opt for The Classic Route- about 1000km of rickshaw driving from Chennai to Trivandrum. If you want to truly immerse yourself in the dynamic culture of India, this could be the perfect adventure for you—just be ready for plenty of mayhem and mishaps along the way!
2. The Caucasian Challenge
11 countries. 17 days. The vehicle of your choosing. That’s the Caucasian Challenge.
This drive-your-own-vehicle rally takes you from Istanbul to Yereven, where you can experience the lesser-known beauties of Europe. Nightly base camps are established, but there’s little to no assistance along the way. Rather, you and your team must rely on your own ingenuity (or that of the locals’) to help you along. And when they say you can drive anything, they’re serious. Station Wagon? Check. Moped? Sure. Rolls Royce? Why not. This isn’t for the faint of heart, but a journey for serious adventurers still seeking those hard to find, off the beaten track experiences. You’ll also be given the opportunity to raise money for a local charity and give back to the communities you’re traveling through, which is pretty awesome.
3. The Central Asia Rally
This rally is similar to the Caucasian Challenge (also encouraging participants to raise funds for charity), but in a unique area of the world. This journey will take you from Astrakhan, Russia, through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan, to a finish in Kyrgyzstan. Sounds like a must for any serious explorer to us!
Luckily, we can do all of the adventures listed above via our friends over at Travel Scientists. We totally agree with their mission, which is: “to renew the sense of fun, adventure, and discovery that used to go hand-in-hand with world travel. Because what is the point of journeying thousands of miles just to visit a slightly transformed version of home?” And as a special holiday bonus, Travel Scientists is offering A Cruising Couple readers a special discount on all their expeditions. Just mention A Cruising Couple when you contact them to get a quick and easy 10% off! But be quick- sign up is already available for their adventures in 2014!
We’re excited for all the big and small adventures 2014 is bound to unveil. Our first adventure is set for January 3rd when we fly to Mexico and attempt to find a rental house for a month in the small town of San Pancho. It sounds easy compared to the crazy escapades with Travel Scientists, but it’s certain to be an adventure in its own right. Wish us luck!
What was your greatest adventure of 2013? Would you try any of these races with Travel Scientists?
Travel Scientists compensated us for this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed above are our own.