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Adventure travel: a personal experience or a new industry?

Opinions, perspectives and interpretations may vary when one’s asked to define everyday adjectives such as beauty, fun, relaxing or any other quality of state. In this article, we dig a little deeper into what may be seen as adventurous tourism and tell the story of three young self-proclaimed thrill seekers who surely won’t go for the usual travels. Aino (24), Mark (23) and Mitchell (25) will bring insight into their ways of thinking about adventurousness.

Today, tourism creates endless possibilities and has developed into boundless access to discovery. From short getaways, long-term escapes, pure relaxation to sheer sensation and pushing your limits. Out of all these, we are mostly interested in the concept of sensation, new experiences and how youngsters take risks nowadays.

We’ve asked Aino, a soon to graduate veterinarian and often to be found skiing in her beloved home country Finland, to describe her idea of adventurous tourism.For me, it means wandering in a place I’ve never been. Two weeks ago, I was kayaking and glamping in Sigulda, Latvia, and I would call this trip an adventure.” Her answer to why this specific experience was adventurous to her, is rather unexpected. “I booked the kayak excursion to discover something new. In the end, the route was way harder than I imagined and so I found myself lost for two hours.” According to her, finding the way back and reaching her tent safely, was the ultimate feeling of adventurousness.

Aino takes it to an extreme when asked what the most adventurous thing is she would undertake: “A trip to the moon, without a doubt”. A true proof of 21st century boundless thinking. A stimulus to feed her never-ending curiosity, she finds taking risks in life is enhancing and uses it as a tool to (re)invent herself. Though appreciating all positives of globalization, she does share concerns for the future. “People are now worried about their environment, think of global warming. Some try to travel by ecological means only. Urbanization made us miss nature and we seek for it once in a while. My hope is that everyone is considerate when enjoying our precious earth.”

Sensationalist Mark from Switzerland, recruiter and regularly travelling the face of the globe, has a different approach to adventurousness. ‘For me it must be something outdoors, with adrenaline and excitement”. He explains that it has to do with his upbringing and the surroundings he grew up in: “My parents started skiing from a young age and naturally passed it on. It’s a way of living, especially in Switzerland. Not everyone does it for the same reasons, but I have the advantage of being raised with a passion for adventurous sports.”

Compared to his parents, Mark believes that his generation has more freedom to be adventurous: “Prices are lower, providing us with more activities to choose from. Because it is easily accessible, people try easier, and start sharing their experiences.  Technological innovations definitely made it more convenient”. Sharing content seems to highly affect youngsters, as Mark mentions that he gets influenced by temptations on the internet: “Every day I watch a bunch of extreme-sport videos that give me inspiration and excitement to plan my next trip.”

Down to earth Dutchman Mitchell, marketer by profession, is full of sweet memories from when he used to go on adventurous holidays with his parents. As a result, all of his travels still aim at exploring the unknown, though he has new perceptions on this matter. “Walking in the forest is not particularly adventurous, the term really depends on people’s own mindset. For kids anything can be adventurous”. Contemplative to those days, Mitchell detects a difference: “Nowadays, young people have more money and knowledge to go on trips. Young people are looking for more activities to get an adrenaline boost from, when before these activities might have been told to be dangerous”.

All in all, being adventurous and partaking in adventurous tourism, is what lies within the individual. It seems hardly to be definable into one universal conception. Cultural background, age, financial status, preferences and experience all play a role. The best you can do is to explore your inner adventurer, face your fears, and get to know yourself!

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