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Cyber Travel News & Reviews: Adventure Vacations
Judith Albright, Publisher

To many of us, travel is the ultimate adventure. It provides a psychological respite—a break from the ordinary—along with the thrill of doing something new. Travel can also represent a spiritual quest, a link with the past, an understanding of culture, insights into other peoples, an expanded knowledge of the world, intimate contact with nature, and lessons in tolerance. We all seek relief from boredom and sameness. We want challenge and adventure, and travel fits the bill.

Adventure can mean anything from a car trip to California to climbing Mount Everest. The key is the experience itself and what it represents. Today’s travelers are more physically active, curious, and better informed. We want a vacation that expands our horizons, introduces us to something out of the ordinary, or expands our skills and interests. In response to increased demand for the new and different, tour operators, outfitters and travel companies of every sort have risen to the occasion by designing a wealth of vacations designed to match any interest.

If you are itching to get your fingers and shovels into the dirt, an archaeological dig might be just the thing. The Archaeological Conservancy (www.gorp.com/archcons) is a nonprofit organization that pioneered the concept of matching ordinary people with noted university scientists and cultural experts around the world. Through this organization you can volunteer to work on field research expeditions lasting from 1 to 3 weeks in 52 countries and 24 U.S. states. You could find yourself unearthing a Roman fort in North Africa, digging up dinosaur bones in Utah, or studying dolphins in New Zealand.

For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts there are an infinite number of choices focusing on a variety of interests and ranging in length from a few days to several weeks. The following is but a brief snapshot to give you an idea of the wealth of trips that are available. With Baja Air Adventures (www.bajaairventures.com) you can enjoy a wilderness retreat in Baja California featuring sea kayaking, whale watching (in season) or fishing. Mackay Wilderness River Trips (www.mackayriver.com) features family and womenapostrophes rafting vacations on the Middle Fork and Main Salmon Rivers of Idaho, as well as fishing and ranching trips. If golf is your passion, Golf Trips (www.golf-trips.com) focuses on tours and packages in the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico, Ireland, and Scotland. If you are an avid skier, try a heli-skiing get-away to Canada or Alaska. Valdez Heli Camps (www.alaska.net/~heliski) offers all-inclusive helicopter, snowcat and ski touring packages in Alaska from February through early May.

For Old West fans, Rocky Mountain Wilderness Adventures (www.gorp.com/rmwa/Cattledr.htm) operates summer cattle drives and wagon train adventures in the high country of Montana and Idaho. If hot air balloons intrigue you, there are numerous companies to choose from throughout the United States. Above the West Hot Air Ballooning in California (www.nvaloft.com) features personalized flights over the Napa Valley, including shuttle service from San Francisco and a private post-flight breakfast with Napa wines. The Unicorn Balloon Company (www.unicornballoon.com) offers flights for 1 to 11 passengers in the Phoenix area, and at Aspen/Snowmass in Colorado.

These adventures are just the tip of the iceberg. For those of us born with an insatiable wanderlust and a quest for the unusual, there will not be enough time in one lifetime to see and experience all there is. Nevertheless, we can give it a good try, and get going now. An old Genoese proverb says it best: "It is better to wear out one’s shoes than one’s sheets."

Cyber Travel News & Reviews is a regular column by Judith Albright, publisher of Internet Travel Resources: A Comprehensive Guide to Travel Websites. For more information visit her web site at www.notebookpublications.com.

www.notebookpublications.com.