Explore Off the Beaten Path

Exploration comes in all shapes and sizes. From an Arctic hike through the freezing tundra to a bike ride through the Austrian countryside dotted with castles and churches, adventure can be found in all corners of the world.  Turn these miles into memories with your friends and family! 

For those who like the peacefulness of the European landscape, a river cruise has you covered with bikes on the ship for you to explore either on your own or with a small guided group. Pedal along the sloping riverside and gaze at the skyline at your own pace. Feel free to park your bike and take in the surroundings of church towers and castle steeples as you bike your path of excitement. 

Getting into the heart and soul of a destination is a must. Curiosity and respect for different cultures not only develops you and your outlook on life but also impacts the locals and how they respond to different visiting cultures which promotes cross-cultural understanding on a deeper level. Try using public transportation and staying in a smaller scale, locally owned establishment. Buy locally grown produce and grab those unique souvenirs from local artists. Intrepid Travel has a wonderful list of their top responsible travel tips: 

Intrepid’s Top 11 Responsible Travel Tips 

  1. Before leaving home, learn as much as possible about the countries you are visiting – the religion and culture, the local rules and values.
  2. Learn some of the language and don’t be afraid to use it – simple pleasantries will help break the ice. Keep practicing.
  3. Learn what’s appropriate behavior and body language. Like the concept of ‘saving face” in Asia or giving the thumbs up in western or central Europe.
  4. Support locally owned businesses, hotels, restaurants and other services. Eat local food and drink local brands and brews. Use public transport, hire a bike or walk where convenient – you’ll meet local people and get to know the place.
  5. Think first. It’s best not to eat in restaurants, shop in stores or visit local shows, markets or zoos that promote cruelty or exploitation of endangered species.
  6. Shop from traditional artisans and for locally made products, helping keep traditional crafts alive and favor local products over imported items. Bargain if that is a local practice, but bear in mind that a small amount to you could be extremely important to the seller.
  7. Dress respectfully with an awareness of local standards. Dress modestly at religious sites and check what swim wear is suitable for pools and the beach.
  8. Always ask first before photographing or videoing people. Send them back copies of photos to help make it a two-way exchange.
  9. Be wary of giving gifts or money to beggars, children and people you have just met. Supporting the community through a local school, clinic or development project may be more constructive.
  10. Leave only footprints… take care of the environment as you would your own home. Take out all you take in, to areas away from the cities. Use alternatives to plastic and say ‘No’ to plastic bags.
  11. After returning home think how you can support programs and organizations that are working to protect the welfare, culture and environment of where you’ve been lucky to visit.

If you are one for an all-out adventure, exploring the vast expanses of Greenland or the towering waterfalls of Iceland or gazing up at the colorful Northern Lights, then Quark Expeditions has you covered. From getting down and dirty by sailing on an icebreaker in the Arctic to viewing the stunning wildlife and floating ice sculptures of the Antarctic Peninsula, their expedition teams will lead you on an exploration beyond your imagination. Imagine hiking on a penguin safari or photographing breaching whales as your zodiac gets you candid encounters with these amazing creatures. Quark’s voyages yield unparalleled adventure for you at both poles of the world. 

As you can see by just a handful of examples, adventure is all around us! Decide for yourself where you want to explore and make it happen.