Active and Adventure Travel is a wide category, that brings us back to the roots of traveling, to the voyagers and explorers that are no more. We like the way Daniel J. Boorstin put it: “the traveler was an active man at work … strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience.”
In fact, the word “travel” comes from “travail”, meaning doing something laborious or troublesome, and that’s exactly what active travel should really mean: a lot of sweating and a bit of suffering.
So, no doubt this is one of the most archetypal forms of Alternative Travel, especially if we consider the typical tourist as a “passive pleasure-seeker that expects everything to be done to him and for him.” But who would recognize himself in this profile, right? The active traveler surely not!
Nowadays, Active Travel, or Active Tourism, is normally associated with hiking, walking and cycling holidays, or, in a broader sense, all those types of vacations that imply some sporting activities, such as canoeing, skiing, fishing, or rock climbing, with major benefits for the health and well-being of the traveler.
Adventure Travel, for its part, includes safaris, overland journeys, jungle tours or Arctic and Antarctic expedition cruises, just to name a few. All decent ways to enjoy the wilderness and be with nature in safe mode.
But there are other active ways of traveling that represent the embodiment of a sick pleasure for “people-watching”: Ethno Tourism and Slum Tourism. They refer to visiting tribal natives or indigent people, possibly just for the sake of reinforcing westerners’ feeling of superiority. A perfect example of pseudo-events, that, in our opinion, should be avoided.
A proper adventure, in the end, should mean active exploration, that requires some extra flexibility, to let the traveler fully embrace the joy of the unexpected. Out of their comfort zone, real adventure travelers finally can get what they need: adrenaline, loss of control, a sense of risk.