From The Straits Times    |

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Sure, it’s easy to travel through a country and hit all the popular tourist destinations,  but as travellers of today, we want a little more out of our travels. A great travelling experience gets out of our proverbial comfort zone and allows us to experience the world for that little sense of adventure and the unknown. 

If you’re looking for your next adventure, here’s a handy list of 11 unconventional travel ideas to inspire your next holiday getaway. 


1) Volunteer at an organic farm


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Volunteering is an intensely rewarding experience, and sometimes even more so in a foreign environment. To get in touch with nature, consider volunteering at an organic farm, where you can work on the land in exchange for food and accommodation.

Check out WWoof, which offers a network of organic farms around the world.


2) Go sky diving

Feed the inner adrenaline junkie in you and go sky-diving. Consider places such as Santa Barbara, for a fantastic view of the California coastline, or Dubai, for an unbelievable view of its towering buildings. 


3) Go shark cage diving


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For some next level surface viewing adventure, dive alongside the sharks in Southern Africa or Port Lincoln in Southern Australia, one of the most sought-after and adventurous activities in the regions. You have the option of diving in with our without a cage to witness these magnificent creatures up close. 


4) Get your fortune told by birds


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Taiwan is sometimes known as the “island of fortune telling.” And at Longshan Temple station’s underground bazaar, you’ll find an unconventional fortune teller – the white java sparrows which purportedly have keen psychic instincts to provide you some guidance in this turbulent world. 


5) Travel by caravan


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A caravan, a road vehicle which you can live and sleep out of comfortably, makes for an unforgettable road trip. It gives you flexibility in exploring off the beaten path towns and destinations which were otherwise inaccessible. And the destinations are endless – drive across Hollywood 101 in California, USA, Alaska, Patagonia, or New Zealand and Australia.


6) Attend a surf retreat


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Why not travel, relax, explore a different culture, all while picking up a new skill? At a surf camp, you can do just that. From Portugal, Hawaii to Bali, many places offer retreats from a range of prices, and you’ll have an instructor, equipment, transport and more taken care of, giving you plenty of time to relax and make the most out of your trip.


7) See the Northern lights

For Mother Nature’s ultimate light show, there is no missing the Aurora Borealis. To catch one of nature’s most majestic artistic displays, they can be found in the ‘aurora zone’ in the Northern Hemisphere, such as Alaska, Northern Canada, Iceland, Norway, Finland, and more, and more most commonly sighted during the winter, when the nights are longer, colder and clearer.


8) Stay in a homestay


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For an authentic, culturally rich experience, consider a homestay. Living with a local is not only a great way to travel responsibly and consciously, but allows you to gain some new perspective and to travel deeper by living like a local. Destinations such as Sapa, Vietnam, or Kazakhstan offer unique homestay experiences.


9) Visit an elephant sanctuary


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Elephant rides are not the most ethical form of tourism, with very low welfare standards for elephants. To truly appreciate these majestic yet gentle creatures, visit an elephant sanctuary instead, where you can feed, bathe and play with the animals. Plus, the money you contribute will go directly towards the elephant’s welfare.


10) Go on a meditation retreat


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If you’re looking to reboot your life, consider a meditation retreat. Places such as Mount Kōyasan, Japan, the centre of Shingon Buddhism and long a destination for pilgrims in search of religious and spiritual connection, offer temple lodgings for tourists to experience meditation alongside the monks in a tranquil, peaceful setting.


11) Go on an adventure hike


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For the adventure traveller in you, a scenic hike offers unparalleled views and an exhilarating adrenaline rush. There are countless destinations around the world, from the Appalachian Trail, which stretches approximately 2,184 miles long across 14 different states, Patagonia, to Mount Bromo in Java, Indonesia – just to name a few, that will give you some truly awe inspiring views and an experience like no other.


This article was first published in The Peak.