Today’s thrill addicts and adrenalin junkies have never been so spoilt for choice with their adventure breaks. Not for them the predictable, traditional beach/pool holiday, they crave challenge, they hunger for danger to quicken their pulses.
Pioneering spirits of old explorers and pirates live on in people hungry to taste the ‘real’ downtowns of murders or stare at actual crime scenes left by mobs and gangsters. They get a kick from seeing where gruesome things happened; they’re danger obsessives, macabre rubberneckers. Police call them ‘ghetto tourists’ and ‘traveller equivalents of ambulance chasers’. Former World Trade Center memorial site in New York, ‘Ground Zero’, now sees double her visitors than before 9/11.
Living history, yes; ghoulish fascination, definitely. Companies organise ‘dark tourism’ getaways to former extermination camps, killing fields, assassination locations and danger zones. Risk of kidnap or shooting is the authentic ‘fear factor’.
Physical Danger Outings
Others prefer dicing with death through physical danger. Tornado chasing? Climbing erupting volcanoes? While psychiatrists label it ‘in love with danger’, risk holidays can accommodate every desire at a price. Popular extreme sports locations include New Zealand (home of bunji jumping in raw, untamed environments) and Australia (home to the world’s most poisonous snakes, spiders and sea animals). Mexico, Columbia, Russia still welcome visitors, despite a high chance of injury and/or death.
Solo free-climbing excursions using only hands, knees, feet and endurance to ascend steep mountain faces against battling winds require stamina and a head for heights.
Many enjoy parkour/free-running, less to do with speed, more to do with graceful, acrobatic/gymnastic, inventive movement up and down walls, across rooftops, under, over, sideways round urban obstructions.
Swimming with sharks sounds tame compared with one US company’s one day of air assault, facing heavy military weaponry, assault by sledding down mountain roads, paragliding, quad biking across hostile terrain and finishing with realistic stunt experience from driving to being blown up.
The two day version is more extreme plus outdoor skydiving and propulsion into a wind tunnel.
The five day ‘ultimate’ experience does it all with mountain boarding, rock climbing/rappelling, glider plane soaring and tandem-freefalling for good measure. They also offer a customised weekend getaway for thrill seekers pushed for time: skydiving, fast kayaking, jet surfing, off-roading, ice climbing, sand surfing, bi-plane flying, fire walking and blasting down mountains.
Anything that others might find ‘dangerous’ or ‘crazy’ makes for great holidaying for the adventurous, foolhardy/brave extremist keen to ‘get away from it all’. Millions of others, of course, enjoy these extreme happenings, but from the safety of their armchairs on their TV/computer screens in virtual form.
Citations: Images by Rev Stan; Freeflyer09