12 surprising things I learned while in Botswana


For the past couple of years, I’ve had the word “Botswana” scribbled on a note above my desk, a place that I’ve been longing to visit for as long as I can remember.

Ever since I was a little girl, I would rip out pages from my parent’s National Geographics depicting lions on the hunt or Jane Goodall with the chimps, my curiosity piqued; even then, I had the desire to travel to these places and experience their wonders for myself. A few years ago, I visited South Africa for the first time, and I was hooked.

I have been counting down until I could return to Africa.

My curiosity was and is immense for Africa, and was fizzing with excitement to return, this time traveling to Botswana with De Beers Group. Yes, those De Beers. The diamond ones.

botswana travel

botswana travel

While going on safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana had been a dream of mine since I was little, deep down, I knew there was much more to learn about this unique part of Africa. I’ve been itching to dig deeper on my travels, and share stories and cover beyond the expected.

We all know that Africa is so much more than lions and gazelle. A complex and profound part of the world, I was eager to explore it through an entirely new lens – community, people, economics.

Almost as soon as I stepped off the plane in Gaborone, I realized that nearly all of my preconceptions about Botswana were off-base. But that’s why we travel, and I never forget that.

botswana travel

botswana travel

Botswana is special. Really special. And its uniqueness comes directly from something you might not expect – diamonds.

The cradle of humankind, the ancestral home of humanity, is right here in Botswana, and it is the people here who have made all the difference. Kind and welcoming, they have moved me tremendously. As I listened to their stories of how many opportunities they’ve had (thanks, in part, to De Beers Group and its partnership with the government of Botswana), I could feel the sand shifting beneath my feet of everything I thought I knew.

Botswana taught me so many things, and now it’ll sit firmly in my psyche as a place of exceptional education for me. Here are some of the most surprising things I learned while exploring Botswana – enjoy!

botswana travel

botswana travel

1.  Botswana is one of the world’s biggest producers of diamonds

While diamonds have been discovered all over the world, from South Africa to Russia, Botswana is undoubtedly at the heart of the diamond world. In fact, Botswana is one of the world’s largest producer of diamonds by value, contributing around 20% of the total world production of diamonds.

Botswana also contributes 60-70% of De Beers Group’s total diamonds, and diamonds count for nearly half of the government’s value.

Did you know that diamond revenues enable every child in Botswana to receive free education up to the age of 13?

botswana travel

botswana travel

2. The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world.

The Okavango Delta has topped the bucket lists of most travelers enamored with wildlife who dream of safaris in Africa.

Perched at the geographical heart of southern Africa, Botswana’s Okavango Delta is the closest thing to Eden left on the planet.

As crystal clear waters trickle down thousands of kilometers from wet highlands of Angola, they disperse almost finger-like out into the hot sands of the famous Kalahari desert. Here, classic Africa wildlife thrives in the largest wetland in the world.

Though right now the Delta is sitting in a drought, which is why it looks so dry.

botswana travel

botswana travel

3. The growing economy of Botswana is powerful

Fifty years ago, Botswana was one of the poorest places on the planet.

With only a couple of kilometers of paved roads, three secondary schools nationwide, and only one doctor for every 48,000 people, you don’t need me to tell you that the future seemed tough, and the outlook for many was bleak.

Then in 1967, a year after gaining independence, the first diamonds were discovered in Botswana, and everything changed. Instead of descending into chaos like you might have imagined (me), Botswana flourished.

De Beers Group partnered with the people of Botswana, setting up a 50/50 partnership called Debswana to mine diamonds. Not only that, but 15% of the whole company is now owned by the government of Botswana too – wow! So for the past 50 years, billions of dollars have been invested back into the economy here.

81 cents of every dollar from the partnership with De Beers Group in Botswana goes straight back to the country’s economy. In effect, the people of Botswana own part of De Beers Group. Let that sink in for a second.

Now, Botswana is considered to be an upper-middle-income country with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Its GDP has grown 500 times since 1960, and Botswana is in the top 5 countries with the highest increasing GDPs per capita. 

botswana travel

botswana travel

4. Botswana’s currency means rain

When 84% of a country is covered in a sandy desert, there is one word that reigns above the rest – rain or pula.

Pula is so significant to the people of Botswana that it also is the currency. After all, what is more critical here than rain?

Pula is also used as a greeting that means welcome, farewell, blessings, and cheers, among other uses. 

botswana travel

botswana travel

5. Botswana is home to the world’s largest African elephant population

Honestly, is there anything better than watching elephants in the wild? Especially babies?

Nope, didn’t think so.

botswana travel

botswana travel

6. It’s not a cheap tourist destination

Botswana is by far the most expensive country to go on safari in Africa.

Botswana is not the cheapest tourist destination to travel to. However, their policy is “High quality, low impact,” reducing visitor numbers by bringing in those willing to shell out for it. Appealing to those who want to enjoy a wildlife safari without the tourist crowds that are so common in many other national parks, Botswana is worth every dollar.

Conservation is vital in Botswana, and it’s been a global leader in a national commitment to protecting wild spaces. Approximately 38% of Botswana’s territory is protected as national parks, sanctuaries, reserves, and wildlife management areas.

Botswana has one of the highest conservation land ratios in Africa, with more than 25% of the land area set aside for parks and reserves to conserve the national heritage.

botswana travel

botswana travel

7. Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa

Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa, according to the findings of the annual Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. Ranking 34 out of 180 countries, Botswana has consistently ranked high in terms of least corruption, outpacing even countries in Europe.

botswana travel

botswana travel

8. The value of diamonds in Botswana is both ethical and priceless

Diamonds represent up to a third of Botswana’s GDP and are an inevitable fact of life here. Botswana is peaceful, and all diamonds mined here are conflict-free.

Around 13,000 people in Botswana are employed directly through the partnership between De Beers Group and the Government of Botswana. With tens of thousands more supported through the supply chain of diamonds, and through the spending on employees and suppliers within the economy. In fact, around one in every 20 jobs in Botswana stem back to De Beers Group’s partnership with the government.

Even the first lady of Botswana was once an employee of Debswana, De Beers Group’s mining partnership with the government.

botswana travel

botswana travel

9. Zebras are Botswana’s national animal

Zebras were chosen as the national animal of Botswana for the most beautiful reasons. Seemingly harmless and lovable, they’re popular with the people of Botswana and are full of symbols for this unique country.

Zebras, with their iconic black and white stripes, signify the racial harmony in Botswana. These stripes join on the face of the zebra to form a diamond shape – remarkable given the role diamonds have played in Botswana’s development.

When Botswana became independent in 1966, the black and white stripes on the new flag were primarily influenced by the zebra, and the stripes were meant to represent the harmony between people of different races and ethnicities in Botswana.

botswana travel

botswana travel

10. Though maybe termites should be the national animal

Back in the ‘60s and ’70s, scientists discovered minerals from kimberlite, a type of rock that hosts diamonds, on the surface of the Kalahari Desert. But how did diamond minerals that dwell 40 meters below the surface of the earth come to see the light of day?

Termites dug them up while looking for water, building large mounds they call home. Termites led to the discovery of the Jwaneng mine – considered to be the richest diamond mine in the world.

Team Termite!

botswana travel

botswana travel

11. There’s no room for tribalism in Botswana

As I was flying from Botswana, editing photos, and listening to podcasts, This American Life started to share the most exciting story about Botswana’s progressive democracy. To combat tribalism, Botswana requires all civil servants to move to a different tribal area from their own for a few years. Holy crap! I’ve never heard anything like this.

While I’m far from educated enough to A. have an opinion on this and B. fully understand the nuances of something so complicated as tribalism in Africa, here’s the gist of what I’ve learned.

Post-colonial Africa is complicated, and a standard narrative is that after independence, ethnic violence ensues. When Botswana became independent 50 years ago, they were afraid that tribalism would rip the new nation apart so they did everything they could to create a feeling of one country and to avoid the patriotism of tribes, even forcing civil servants and teachers to live outside of their “tribal” areas.

botswana travel

botswana travel

12. Botswana is home to some of the kindest people

While in Botswana, I was always impressed by the kindness and friendliness of locals.

I saw and heard firsthand so many compelling stories from the people that live there. I learned so much about how diamonds have changed lives here. I could really see how De Beers Group has spent decades working on building a long-term positive legacy and creating a future for the people of Botswana.

The story of Botswana is fascinating, and the people are amazing. Now, when can I come back?

Did you know any of this about Botswana? What did you know about diamonds before? Are you Team Termite too? Spill!

botswana travel

botswana travel

Many thanks to De Beers Group for hosting me in Botswana, like always I’m keeping it real. All opinions are my own like you could expect less from me!

The post 12 surprising things I learned while in Botswana appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

12 surprising things I learned while in Botswana


For the past couple of years, I’ve had the word “Botswana” scribbled on a note above my desk, a place that I’ve been longing to visit for as long as I can remember.

Ever since I was a little girl, I would rip out pages from my parent’s National Geographics depicting lions on the hunt or Jane Goodall with the chimps, my curiosity piqued; even then, I had the desire to travel to these places and experience their wonders for myself. A few years ago, I visited South Africa for the first time, and I was hooked.

I have been counting down until I could return to Africa.

My curiosity was and is immense for Africa, and was fizzing with excitement to return, this time traveling to Botswana with De Beers Group. Yes, those De Beers. The diamond ones.

botswana travel

botswana travel

While going on safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana had been a dream of mine since I was little, deep down, I knew there was much more to learn about this unique part of Africa. I’ve been itching to dig deeper on my travels, and share stories and cover beyond the expected.

We all know that Africa is so much more than lions and gazelle. A complex and profound part of the world, I was eager to explore it through an entirely new lens – community, people, economics.

Almost as soon as I stepped off the plane in Gaborone, I realized that nearly all of my preconceptions about Botswana were off-base. But that’s why we travel, and I never forget that.

botswana travel

botswana travel

Botswana is special. Really special. And its uniqueness comes directly from something you might not expect – diamonds.

The cradle of humankind, the ancestral home of humanity, is right here in Botswana, and it is the people here who have made all the difference. Kind and welcoming, they have moved me tremendously. As I listened to their stories of how many opportunities they’ve had (thanks, in part, to De Beers Group and its partnership with the government of Botswana), I could feel the sand shifting beneath my feet of everything I thought I knew.

Botswana taught me so many things, and now it’ll sit firmly in my psyche as a place of exceptional education for me. Here are some of the most surprising things I learned while exploring Botswana – enjoy!

botswana travel

botswana travel

1.  Botswana is one of the world’s biggest producers of diamonds

While diamonds have been discovered all over the world, from South Africa to Russia, Botswana is undoubtedly at the heart of the diamond world. In fact, Botswana is one of the world’s largest producer of diamonds by value, contributing around 20% of the total world production of diamonds.

Botswana also contributes 60-70% of De Beers Group’s total diamonds, and diamonds count for nearly half of the government’s value.

Did you know that diamond revenues enable every child in Botswana to receive free education up to the age of 13?

botswana travel

botswana travel

2. The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world.

The Okavango Delta has topped the bucket lists of most travelers enamored with wildlife who dream of safaris in Africa.

Perched at the geographical heart of southern Africa, Botswana’s Okavango Delta is the closest thing to Eden left on the planet.

As crystal clear waters trickle down thousands of kilometers from wet highlands of Angola, they disperse almost finger-like out into the hot sands of the famous Kalahari desert. Here, classic Africa wildlife thrives in the largest wetland in the world.

Though right now the Delta is sitting in a drought, which is why it looks so dry.

botswana travel

botswana travel

3. The growing economy of Botswana is powerful

Fifty years ago, Botswana was one of the poorest places on the planet.

With only a couple of kilometers of paved roads, three secondary schools nationwide, and only one doctor for every 48,000 people, you don’t need me to tell you that the future seemed tough, and the outlook for many was bleak.

Then in 1967, a year after gaining independence, the first diamonds were discovered in Botswana, and everything changed. Instead of descending into chaos like you might have imagined (me), Botswana flourished.

De Beers Group partnered with the people of Botswana, setting up a 50/50 partnership called Debswana to mine diamonds. Not only that, but 15% of the whole company is now owned by the government of Botswana too – wow! So for the past 50 years, billions of dollars have been invested back into the economy here.

81 cents of every dollar from the partnership with De Beers Group in Botswana goes straight back to the country’s economy. In effect, the people of Botswana own part of De Beers Group. Let that sink in for a second.

Now, Botswana is considered to be an upper-middle-income country with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Its GDP has grown 500 times since 1960, and Botswana is in the top 5 countries with the highest increasing GDPs per capita. 

botswana travel

botswana travel

4. Botswana’s currency means rain

When 84% of a country is covered in a sandy desert, there is one word that reigns above the rest – rain or pula.

Pula is so significant to the people of Botswana that it also is the currency. After all, what is more critical here than rain?

Pula is also used as a greeting that means welcome, farewell, blessings, and cheers, among other uses. 

botswana travel

botswana travel

5. Botswana is home to the world’s largest African elephant population

Honestly, is there anything better than watching elephants in the wild? Especially babies?

Nope, didn’t think so.

botswana travel

botswana travel

6. It’s not a cheap tourist destination

Botswana is by far the most expensive country to go on safari in Africa.

Botswana is not the cheapest tourist destination to travel to. However, their policy is “High quality, low impact,” reducing visitor numbers by bringing in those willing to shell out for it. Appealing to those who want to enjoy a wildlife safari without the tourist crowds that are so common in many other national parks, Botswana is worth every dollar.

Conservation is vital in Botswana, and it’s been a global leader in a national commitment to protecting wild spaces. Approximately 38% of Botswana’s territory is protected as national parks, sanctuaries, reserves, and wildlife management areas.

Botswana has one of the highest conservation land ratios in Africa, with more than 25% of the land area set aside for parks and reserves to conserve the national heritage.

botswana travel

botswana travel

7. Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa

Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa, according to the findings of the annual Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. Ranking 34 out of 180 countries, Botswana has consistently ranked high in terms of least corruption, outpacing even countries in Europe.

botswana travel

botswana travel

8. The value of diamonds in Botswana is both ethical and priceless

Diamonds represent up to a third of Botswana’s GDP and are an inevitable fact of life here. Botswana is peaceful, and all diamonds mined here are conflict-free.

Around 13,000 people in Botswana are employed directly through the partnership between De Beers Group and the Government of Botswana. With tens of thousands more supported through the supply chain of diamonds, and through the spending on employees and suppliers within the economy. In fact, around one in every 20 jobs in Botswana stem back to De Beers Group’s partnership with the government.

Even the first lady of Botswana was once an employee of Debswana, De Beers Group’s mining partnership with the government.

botswana travel

botswana travel

9. Zebras are Botswana’s national animal

Zebras were chosen as the national animal of Botswana for the most beautiful reasons. Seemingly harmless and lovable, they’re popular with the people of Botswana and are full of symbols for this unique country.

Zebras, with their iconic black and white stripes, signify the racial harmony in Botswana. These stripes join on the face of the zebra to form a diamond shape – remarkable given the role diamonds have played in Botswana’s development.

When Botswana became independent in 1966, the black and white stripes on the new flag were primarily influenced by the zebra, and the stripes were meant to represent the harmony between people of different races and ethnicities in Botswana.

botswana travel

botswana travel

10. Though maybe termites should be the national animal

Back in the ‘60s and ’70s, scientists discovered minerals from kimberlite, a type of rock that hosts diamonds, on the surface of the Kalahari Desert. But how did diamond minerals that dwell 40 meters below the surface of the earth come to see the light of day?

Termites dug them up while looking for water, building large mounds they call home. Termites led to the discovery of the Jwaneng mine – considered to be the richest diamond mine in the world.

Team Termite!

botswana travel

botswana travel

11. There’s no room for tribalism in Botswana

As I was flying from Botswana, editing photos, and listening to podcasts, This American Life started to share the most exciting story about Botswana’s progressive democracy. To combat tribalism, Botswana requires all civil servants to move to a different tribal area from their own for a few years. Holy crap! I’ve never heard anything like this.

While I’m far from educated enough to A. have an opinion on this and B. fully understand the nuances of something so complicated as tribalism in Africa, here’s the gist of what I’ve learned.

Post-colonial Africa is complicated, and a standard narrative is that after independence, ethnic violence ensues. When Botswana became independent 50 years ago, they were afraid that tribalism would rip the new nation apart so they did everything they could to create a feeling of one country and to avoid the patriotism of tribes, even forcing civil servants and teachers to live outside of their “tribal” areas.

botswana travel

botswana travel

12. Botswana is home to some of the kindest people

While in Botswana, I was always impressed by the kindness and friendliness of locals.

I saw and heard firsthand so many compelling stories from the people that live there. I learned so much about how diamonds have changed lives here. I could really see how De Beers Group has spent decades working on building a long-term positive legacy and creating a future for the people of Botswana.

The story of Botswana is fascinating, and the people are amazing. Now, when can I come back?

Did you know any of this about Botswana? What did you know about diamonds before? Are you Team Termite too? Spill!

botswana travel

botswana travel

Many thanks to De Beers Group for hosting me in Botswana, like always I’m keeping it real. All opinions are my own like you could expect less from me!

The post 12 surprising things I learned while in Botswana appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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How to be an adventurous traveler when you’re not all that hardcore


The older I get, the more self-aware I become, and the more comfortable I get in my skin. About. Damn. Time.

And after a decade of world adventures, I’ve come to realize quite a few things about my style of travel in particular. While I love adventure and exploring and trying new things, I’m not all that hardcore. Not remotely.

Sure, go ahead and laugh. The original “Adventuress” isn’t that much of an adventurer in the literal sense anymore. You won’t find me taking skydiving lessons, skiing off cliffs, or biking around the world. That’s not my style, and it’s definitely not been since I hit my 30’s.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

world adventures

world adventures

While the extreme world adventures that you might imagine don’t appeal to me anymore, that doesn’t mean I don’t love adventure travel. My definition of experience has just changed quite a bit the more I grow up.

It’s funny, to my hardcore adventurous friends, I’m super vanilla, but to a lot of people, I seem extreme. It’s all about perception!

Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is that adventure travel doesn’t have to be hardcore – it could just mean trying something new and exciting.

world adventures

world adventures

To me, adventure travel is for everyone, and it’s all about how you define it.

For me, I find much more purpose these days in taking on a big challenge on my travels, to test myself and sense of adventure, and then revel in achieving it. I’m not one for any big adrenaline rushes anymore or looking for quick thrills.

Give me a good old hike or session in the snow and call me happy. My world adventures are not stopping any time soon.

Here are some of my best tips for adventure travel when you’re like me, and you’re not really all that hardcore – enjoy!

How to be an adventuress

world adventures

world adventures

Take the plunge

Scuba diving can be a fantastic excuse to visit some of the globe’s best most scenic destinations. Recreational diving is one of my favorite past times, and I’ve been diving around the world, from right here in New Zealand to Bali and the Maldives. 

But if diving’s not your thing, snorkeling is a great alternative, and often heaps cheaper.

There are loads of tropical spots that offer boat trips to reefs and islands where you can see spectacular fish and reefs – just for inspiration, check out the Phi Phi islands and Koh Tao in Thailand. There’s the Yasawa Islands in Fiji, so many places in the Seychelles, and Hawaii, and last but not least, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands. 

world adventures

world adventures

Sign up for a safari

If you’re a fan of wildlife like me, there is nothing better than going on safari. 

Traveling to safari lodges in Africa tops the bucket list of many and with good reason – it’s pretty damn amazing. The ultimate “softcore” adventure, most safaris take you around in a 4WD vehicle for game viewings, not requiring any serious physical strengths.

Of course, there are self-drive, walking, boating, and riding safaris, too, but the traditional way is usually in an old tricked out Landrover.

Having just returned from a few days of safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, my mind has been blown away again.

world adventures

world adventures

Catch a wave

If you’ve never surfed and thought you couldn’t, why not give it a whirl with some surf lessons. It’s quite the workout but super fun. 

Don’t worry about feeling silly – you’re bound to be learning alongside other first-timers.

Or, if you’re committed, consider a women’s surf camp – a great bonding experience and a different way to see a country. Good options include Bali, Australia, Hawaii, Portugal, India, Nicaragua, and Morocco. Women’s surf camps and retreats are becoming increasingly popular. 

world adventures

world adventures

Sail into the sunset

The very friendly sport of sailing is open to all levels of ability and can be done in so many areas around the globe.

For instance, in Australia, there’s a tradition on Wednesday afternoons where many yacht clubs invite would-be sailors to join them for a sail and possibly a race, usually for free.

Or if you’ve dreamed of sailing around gorgeous coastlines and dropping anchor at deserted islands, there are plenty of sailing holidays where you can do as much or as little as you like – check out the Greek islands, Croatia, Australia’s Whitsundays, the Caribbean, and New Zealand. 

world adventures

world adventures

Guided adventure trips

It’s one thing to have an idea for an adventure, then go out and acquire all of the necessary skills to be able to do it safely. For me, I much prefer to go on guided adventures with an expert, someone who has certified guiding experience, which can both show me a fantastic time and keep me safe as.

From rafting the mighty Landsborough River here in New Zealand to guided via ferratas in the Dolomites in Italy, there’s always a guided adventure to be had!

world adventures

world adventures

Stand up paddle-boarding somewhere special

Stand-up paddling, or SUP as it’s known, is one of the fastest-growing watersports.

After some initial wobbles, most people find they can stand up and begin paddling on calm waters – surf may take a little extra mastery. It’s a great way to get fit and explore a landscape (coastal and rivers) on water.

Doing it in a group makes it friendly, too, and I’ve often joined in on guided SUP missions while traveling. Check out your options in Australia, the Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Slovenia.

Here in New Zealand, you’ll find me out on the lake and coast on my Moana inflatable SUP board, which I love to take out and about.

world adventures

world adventures

Take a hike

Walking holidays are graded for all levels of fitness. Above all, hiking is great for solo travelers as you can get to know people in a relaxed setting.

The possibilities are endless from short hikes just about anywhere to more extended expeditions such as the Camino Trail that passes through France, Spain, and Portugal.

In addition to other hotspots include hiking New Zealand, Peru, Japan, and Iceland.

Active Adventures runs guided hiking adventures around the most beautiful parts of New Zealand.

world adventures

world adventures

It’s snow time

Never tried skiing or snowboarding, never fear – that’s what ski school is for.

Prepare to have fun and a few tumbles, with days punctuated with hot chocolate and spectacular winter scenery. It’s always ski season somewhere in the world. The US, Canada, Japan, Europe are all exceptional during the northern hemisphere’s winter, while New Zealand is the place to go from June to September.

If skiing or snowboarding isn’t up your alley, consider cross-country skiing in Scandinavia or Austria.

world adventures

world adventures

Hop on your bike!

Not fit, but love to pedal? No worries. Cycling opens up the world adventures to all.

There are cycling trips for all levels, from touring vineyards in France to meandering through the rice paddies in Vietnam. From tackling hilly rides in Sri Lanka, cycling is a great way to see the country and boosts your fitness levels too.

Some cities are bike-friendly too. Check out bike hire or have an urban cycling adventure on one of the free bikes offered in places like Geneva and Zurich. You can also take part in bike-sharing schemes in Paris, London, Dublin, Melbourne, and Mexico City. 

Now with the popularity of e-bikes, cycling holidays have never been more accessible – phew!

world adventures

world adventures

Guided expedition trips

If you don’t want to stick to one kind of activity, there are adventure tours that combine it all. From trekking, kayaking, cycling, temples, and wildlife, even with accommodation ranging from camping to homestays to luxury lodges. 

One of my favorite guided expeditions was to ride horses in Mongolia, a trip that truly changed my life.

A week in Cuba could see you hiking to waterfalls, taking salsas lessons, and soaking up the atmosphere in Havana. Or, if exploring markets, beaches, and temples is your thing, Cambodia or Thailand could be the go. Intrepid Travel has some great options, including trips just for women. 

Join an expedition ship to Svalbard, the Antarctic, or even New Zealand’s subantarctic.

world adventures

world adventures

There are so many world adventures waiting for you out there. In fact, there is something for everyone and every budget. It all depends on you.

From easy hikes in your backyard to a holiday spent on the high seas, adventure travel is out there. Rewarding and life-changing, I can’t get enough of it, and I enjoy watching my travels evolve as I grow older.

For me, the only question is, what’s next?

How do you define adventure travel? Are you a fan of getting out and challenging yourself when on the road too? What are your favorite world adventures – spill!

world adventures

The post How to be an adventurous traveler when you’re not all that hardcore appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Meet this season’s kākāpō chicks


What’s chubby and feathered but can’t fly? Nocturnal with booming calls and can live for almost a century? Green and fluffy with the cutest muppet faces but super rare, and you probably won’t ever see?

If you guessed the kākāpō, you are exactly right! I’m so proud! You guys have paid attention to all my years of yarning on about odd native New Zealand birds! Anyone? Anyone? *crickets* just my mom and me then!

Well, if the kākāpō perhaps wasn’t what immediately springs to mind AND/OR you have never heard of my favorite creature on earth, well, you’re in for a treat!

Get ready for a bombardment of adorable baby kākāpō photos and stories!

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

Kākāpō claim the somewhat unique title of being both one of the weirdest and rarest birds on the planet. Only found in New Zealand, kākāpō are nocturnal, flightless forest parrots who can live up to 100 years, and look kind of like an avocado and an owl had a baby.

There are only 211 total kākāpō alive today, thanks to the biggest breeding season on record this year, 2019 and the tireless hard work of the fantastic Kākāpō Recovery team. And guess who got to hang out with the new chicks?

In short, kākāpō are special. Really special, and they need our help. Read on, dear ones!

The Story of the Kākāpō

kakapo chicks
Hoki at her nest by Dr. Andrew Digby here

kakapo chicks

Before humans came to New Zealand (and ruined everything in terms of biodiversity – jokes, jokes, but not really), there were no native mammals on this tiny island nation in the South Pacific. No cats, nothing furry, no rats, nothing. Only two types of bats.

It was indeed a land of birds, all of whom evolved without any predators. The only thing that hunted them were other birds. Then humans came and brought with them all of the nasty mammals we hate here today, like possums, stoats (ferrets), cats, rats, etc. Around 50 species of birds went extinct after humans arrived here.

We’ve got some making up to do, am I right?

**Follow kākāpō scientist Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter for the most up-to-date info around these marvelous birds


Our poor unique native birds had no defenses – it was a veritable slaughter.

Nowadays, more than 80% of New Zealand’s native birds are in serious trouble, many facing extinction. And it’s estimated that rats, possums, and stoats kill 25 million birds a year here in New Zealand. Let that sink in for a moment.

However, New Zealand is committed to restoring the ecosystems to how they once were, even launching an ambitious campaign Predator Free 2050 to remove pests from NZ.

The story of wildlife in New Zealand is a tragic one, but one also full of hope too. Let’s look at the kākāpō, a bird by all accounts should not have survived.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

Once the third most common bird in New Zealand, the charming kākāpō didn’t stand a chance once mammals entered the scene. Flightless but well camouflaged, their primary defense mechanism was to freeze and avoid being seen. This worked well when eagles hunted them but didn’t stand up once mammals arrived and hunted by smell.

Another quirky fact about kākāpō is that they have a strong scent to them – super weird, right!

You often can get a whiff of them on the breeze before you see them (if you can see them at all), and the rangers who lovingly tend these parrots have described it to me as the smell of the inside of an old violin case. Musty, sweet and old, rather like these creatures.

Pungent, chubby birds who can’t fly and stand still when scared? Well, I do believe we call that easy prey. The kākāpō didn’t stand a chance.

kakapo chicks
Sinbad kākāpō

kakapo chicks

By the 1970’s century, kākāpō were thought to be extinct, before a handful of old males were living at the very top of some of the steepest mountains in Fiordland. A while later, another population was found living on Stewart Island, though feral cats were decimating them.

The kākāpō weren’t going to survive much longer, and from the ’70s to the mid-’90s, all of the birds were moved to predator-free islands. Then the Kākāpō Recovery Programme was established in 1995.

Now, kākāpō are lovingly tended by a dedicated team of rangers, scientists, vet, volunteers, and donors who are doing everything possible to try to bring back these incredible birds from the very brink of extinction. They’re funded in large part on donations and sponsorships from DOC and Meridian Energy.

Donate to Kākāpō Recovery. All donations make a difference

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

The majority of kākāpō these days live on a few predator-free islands, like Anchor Island and on Codfish Island / Whenua Hou, which I was lucky enough to visit a few years ago.

One reason that kākāpō have struggled to bounce back from the brink of extinction is that they only breed every two to four years when Rimu tree’s fruit grows abundantly – the period is known as a “mast year.” Because they are so inbred, genetic diversity is a big problem, and more than half of their eggs are infertile.

It’s an uphill battle.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

But lucky for us, 2019 was shaping up to be a bumper breeding year for kākāpō with an overwhelming abundance of fruit.

Time for all hands on deck!

A great podcast by RNZ called the Kākāpō Files was released this year

kakapo chicks
Hoki on the nest looking like a proud mum, photo by Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter
kakapo chicks
Rakiura-1-A-2019 in Rakiura’s nest, 3 days old by Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter

2019 was a kākāpō breeding season full of highs and lows.

The somewhat quiet offshore islands where they call home quickly become extremely busy throughout the summer as teams of rangers, volunteers and scientists travel down to do everything they can to make it the most successful breeding season possible.

2019 biggest ever on record after a mast year leads to unprecedented amounts of rimu fruit, which is necessary for kākāpō to breed and hatch chicks successfully.

A record of 71 chicks survived through to juvenile age; the previous record was 32.


For many reasons, some chicks were taken off the islands to be hand-reread in special facilities on the mainland, which doesn’t impact them at all if they are raised together – and not alone like Sirocco was – the kākāpō who thinks he’s human.

Later the chicks are released into the wild, tagged with a transmitter.

I was lucky enough to visit some of this year’s chicks down in Invercargill as they were being raised, and it was a life-changing experience, as you might imagine. Making do with limited resources, people, and budget, it’s compelling to see what the kākāpō recovery team can manage.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

Every time I visit them, I dream of the day I am a millionaire so I can adequately fund all of the conservation projects I care deeply about. Sigh. I know it’s a big dream, but one day guys!

In the meantime, if there are any millionaires out there with idly bank accounts looking to support birds, do get in touch.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

The steps taken to look after the chicks are immense, and I can’t even begin to say thank you to the incredibly hard-working kākāpō team who run around like crazy for a year during a breeding season doing everything they can to ensure these birds survive.

It’s dedication and passion that inspires me to my core. These birds wouldn’t have a chance without them.

Suitably sterilized, zipped up, and croc-ed out, I was able to weave my way through the facility to meet this year’s kākāpō chicks.

kakapo chicks
by Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter

kakapo chicks

Greeted by a gaggle of kākāpō in a pen, snorting and chortling their way around a makeshift indoor forest, I let out an audible sigh of deep contentment.

How amazing to see such rare creatures come back from the abyss?

And also, they are seriously so cute. How could you not love them? They literally make snorting noises like a little pig.

I spent hours observing the new chicks, watching them come out and learn how to climb on the branches, try and eat berries and get it all over their faces, and interact with each other. It was such an exceptional experience, and I felt so honored to be part of their story.

I left Invercargill the next day filled with hope and inspiration, but we all know that what goes up must come down, right?

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

It felt like almost as soon as I left, we were hit with the devastating news of a fungal outbreak that was killing kākāpō.

Aspergillosis is a fungal infection threatening kākāpō on Codfish Island / Whenua Hou and can be extremely deadly to birds. Luckily with swift action, many of the infected birds have been hospitalized and treated on the mainland and have survived, though a few have died as well.

Two more kākāpō chicks just died from aspergillosis, and the threat isn’t over yet, with two more chicks dying last month.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

2019 has definitely been a year of ups and downs for kākāpō in New Zealand, and even after some hard times and trials, things are looking up as this year’s chicks make it through the first months of their long lives.

But now the question is, where are they going to live? We’re running out of space!

Ultimately the big goal is to get kākāpō back on mainland New Zealand. With so many more kākāpō, it means we’re running out of pest-free places where we can keep them safe.

What an exciting new problem to have!

Have you heard of the kākāpō? Are they your new favorite bird? Share!

Donate to Kākāpō Recovery. All donations make a difference

kakapo chicks

The post Meet this season’s kākāpō chicks appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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How to be an adventurous traveler when you’re not all that hardcore


The older I get, the more self-aware I become, and the more comfortable I get in my skin. About. Damn. Time.

And after a decade of world adventures, I’ve come to realize quite a few things about my style of travel in particular. While I love adventure and exploring and trying new things, I’m not all that hardcore. Not remotely.

Sure, go ahead and laugh. The original “Adventuress” isn’t that much of an adventurer in the literal sense anymore. You won’t find me taking skydiving lessons, skiing off cliffs, or biking around the world. That’s not my style, and it’s definitely not been since I hit my 30’s.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

world adventures

world adventures

While the extreme world adventures that you might imagine don’t appeal to me anymore, that doesn’t mean I don’t love adventure travel. My definition of experience has just changed quite a bit the more I grow up.

It’s funny, to my hardcore adventurous friends, I’m super vanilla, but to a lot of people, I seem extreme. It’s all about perception!

Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is that adventure travel doesn’t have to be hardcore – it could just mean trying something new and exciting.

world adventures

world adventures

To me, adventure travel is for everyone, and it’s all about how you define it.

For me, I find much more purpose these days in taking on a big challenge on my travels, to test myself and sense of adventure, and then revel in achieving it. I’m not one for any big adrenaline rushes anymore or looking for quick thrills.

Give me a good old hike or session in the snow and call me happy. My world adventures are not stopping any time soon.

Here are some of my best tips for adventure travel when you’re like me, and you’re not really all that hardcore – enjoy!

How to be an adventuress

world adventures

world adventures

Take the plunge

Scuba diving can be a fantastic excuse to visit some of the globe’s best most scenic destinations. Recreational diving is one of my favorite past times, and I’ve been diving around the world, from right here in New Zealand to Bali and the Maldives. 

But if diving’s not your thing, snorkeling is a great alternative, and often heaps cheaper.

There are loads of tropical spots that offer boat trips to reefs and islands where you can see spectacular fish and reefs – just for inspiration, check out the Phi Phi islands and Koh Tao in Thailand. There’s the Yasawa Islands in Fiji, so many places in the Seychelles, and Hawaii, and last but not least, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands. 

world adventures

world adventures

Sign up for a safari

If you’re a fan of wildlife like me, there is nothing better than going on safari. 

Traveling to safari lodges in Africa tops the bucket list of many and with good reason – it’s pretty damn amazing. The ultimate “softcore” adventure, most safaris take you around in a 4WD vehicle for game viewings, not requiring any serious physical strengths.

Of course, there are self-drive, walking, boating, and riding safaris, too, but the traditional way is usually in an old tricked out Landrover.

Having just returned from a few days of safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, my mind has been blown away again.

world adventures

world adventures

Catch a wave

If you’ve never surfed and thought you couldn’t, why not give it a whirl with some surf lessons. It’s quite the workout but super fun. 

Don’t worry about feeling silly – you’re bound to be learning alongside other first-timers.

Or, if you’re committed, consider a women’s surf camp – a great bonding experience and a different way to see a country. Good options include Bali, Australia, Hawaii, Portugal, India, Nicaragua, and Morocco. Women’s surf camps and retreats are becoming increasingly popular. 

world adventures

world adventures

Sail into the sunset

The very friendly sport of sailing is open to all levels of ability and can be done in so many areas around the globe.

For instance, in Australia, there’s a tradition on Wednesday afternoons where many yacht clubs invite would-be sailors to join them for a sail and possibly a race, usually for free.

Or if you’ve dreamed of sailing around gorgeous coastlines and dropping anchor at deserted islands, there are plenty of sailing holidays where you can do as much or as little as you like – check out the Greek islands, Croatia, Australia’s Whitsundays, the Caribbean, and New Zealand. 

world adventures

world adventures

Guided adventure trips

It’s one thing to have an idea for an adventure, then go out and acquire all of the necessary skills to be able to do it safely. For me, I much prefer to go on guided adventures with an expert, someone who has certified guiding experience, which can both show me a fantastic time and keep me safe as.

From rafting the mighty Landsborough River here in New Zealand to guided via ferratas in the Dolomites in Italy, there’s always a guided adventure to be had!

world adventures

world adventures

Stand up paddle-boarding somewhere special

Stand-up paddling, or SUP as it’s known, is one of the fastest-growing watersports.

After some initial wobbles, most people find they can stand up and begin paddling on calm waters – surf may take a little extra mastery. It’s a great way to get fit and explore a landscape (coastal and rivers) on water.

Doing it in a group makes it friendly, too, and I’ve often joined in on guided SUP missions while traveling. Check out your options in Australia, the Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Slovenia.

Here in New Zealand, you’ll find me out on the lake and coast on my Moana inflatable SUP board, which I love to take out and about.

world adventures

world adventures

Take a hike

Walking holidays are graded for all levels of fitness. Above all, hiking is great for solo travelers as you can get to know people in a relaxed setting.

The possibilities are endless from short hikes just about anywhere to more extended expeditions such as the Camino Trail that passes through France, Spain, and Portugal.

In addition to other hotspots include hiking New Zealand, Peru, Japan, and Iceland.

Active Adventures runs guided hiking adventures around the most beautiful parts of New Zealand.

world adventures

world adventures

It’s snow time

Never tried skiing or snowboarding, never fear – that’s what ski school is for.

Prepare to have fun and a few tumbles, with days punctuated with hot chocolate and spectacular winter scenery. It’s always ski season somewhere in the world. The US, Canada, Japan, Europe are all exceptional during the northern hemisphere’s winter, while New Zealand is the place to go from June to September.

If skiing or snowboarding isn’t up your alley, consider cross-country skiing in Scandinavia or Austria.

world adventures

world adventures

Hop on your bike!

Not fit, but love to pedal? No worries. Cycling opens up the world adventures to all.

There are cycling trips for all levels, from touring vineyards in France to meandering through the rice paddies in Vietnam. From tackling hilly rides in Sri Lanka, cycling is a great way to see the country and boosts your fitness levels too.

Some cities are bike-friendly too. Check out bike hire or have an urban cycling adventure on one of the free bikes offered in places like Geneva and Zurich. You can also take part in bike-sharing schemes in Paris, London, Dublin, Melbourne, and Mexico City. 

Now with the popularity of e-bikes, cycling holidays have never been more accessible – phew!

world adventures

world adventures

Guided expedition trips

If you don’t want to stick to one kind of activity, there are adventure tours that combine it all. From trekking, kayaking, cycling, temples, and wildlife, even with accommodation ranging from camping to homestays to luxury lodges. 

One of my favorite guided expeditions was to ride horses in Mongolia, a trip that truly changed my life.

A week in Cuba could see you hiking to waterfalls, taking salsas lessons, and soaking up the atmosphere in Havana. Or, if exploring markets, beaches, and temples is your thing, Cambodia or Thailand could be the go. Intrepid Travel has some great options, including trips just for women. 

Join an expedition ship to Svalbard, the Antarctic, or even New Zealand’s subantarctic.

world adventures

world adventures

There are so many world adventures waiting for you out there. In fact, there is something for everyone and every budget. It all depends on you.

From easy hikes in your backyard to a holiday spent on the high seas, adventure travel is out there. Rewarding and life-changing, I can’t get enough of it, and I enjoy watching my travels evolve as I grow older.

For me, the only question is, what’s next?

How do you define adventure travel? Are you a fan of getting out and challenging yourself when on the road too? What are your favorite world adventures – spill!

world adventures

The post How to be an adventurous traveler when you’re not all that hardcore appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Meet this season’s kākāpō chicks


What’s chubby and feathered but can’t fly? Nocturnal with booming calls and can live for almost a century? Green and fluffy with the cutest muppet faces but super rare, and you probably won’t ever see?

If you guessed the kākāpō, you are exactly right! I’m so proud! You guys have paid attention to all my years of yarning on about odd native New Zealand birds! Anyone? Anyone? *crickets* just my mom and me then!

Well, if the kākāpō perhaps wasn’t what immediately springs to mind AND/OR you have never heard of my favorite creature on earth, well, you’re in for a treat!

Get ready for a bombardment of adorable baby kākāpō photos and stories!

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

Kākāpō claim the somewhat unique title of being both one of the weirdest and rarest birds on the planet. Only found in New Zealand, kākāpō are nocturnal, flightless forest parrots who can live up to 100 years, and look kind of like an avocado and an owl had a baby.

There are only 211 total kākāpō alive today, thanks to the biggest breeding season on record this year, 2019 and the tireless hard work of the fantastic Kākāpō Recovery team. And guess who got to hang out with the new chicks?

In short, kākāpō are special. Really special, and they need our help. Read on, dear ones!

The Story of the Kākāpō

kakapo chicks
Hoki at her nest by Dr. Andrew Digby here

kakapo chicks

Before humans came to New Zealand (and ruined everything in terms of biodiversity – jokes, jokes, but not really), there were no native mammals on this tiny island nation in the South Pacific. No cats, nothing furry, no rats, nothing. Only two types of bats.

It was indeed a land of birds, all of whom evolved without any predators. The only thing that hunted them were other birds. Then humans came and brought with them all of the nasty mammals we hate here today, like possums, stoats (ferrets), cats, rats, etc. Around 50 species of birds went extinct after humans arrived here.

We’ve got some making up to do, am I right?

**Follow kākāpō scientist Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter for the most up-to-date info around these marvelous birds


Our poor unique native birds had no defenses – it was a veritable slaughter.

Nowadays, more than 80% of New Zealand’s native birds are in serious trouble, many facing extinction. And it’s estimated that rats, possums, and stoats kill 25 million birds a year here in New Zealand. Let that sink in for a moment.

However, New Zealand is committed to restoring the ecosystems to how they once were, even launching an ambitious campaign Predator Free 2050 to remove pests from NZ.

The story of wildlife in New Zealand is a tragic one, but one also full of hope too. Let’s look at the kākāpō, a bird by all accounts should not have survived.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

Once the third most common bird in New Zealand, the charming kākāpō didn’t stand a chance once mammals entered the scene. Flightless but well camouflaged, their primary defense mechanism was to freeze and avoid being seen. This worked well when eagles hunted them but didn’t stand up once mammals arrived and hunted by smell.

Another quirky fact about kākāpō is that they have a strong scent to them – super weird, right!

You often can get a whiff of them on the breeze before you see them (if you can see them at all), and the rangers who lovingly tend these parrots have described it to me as the smell of the inside of an old violin case. Musty, sweet and old, rather like these creatures.

Pungent, chubby birds who can’t fly and stand still when scared? Well, I do believe we call that easy prey. The kākāpō didn’t stand a chance.

kakapo chicks
Sinbad kākāpō

kakapo chicks

By the 1970’s century, kākāpō were thought to be extinct, before a handful of old males were living at the very top of some of the steepest mountains in Fiordland. A while later, another population was found living on Stewart Island, though feral cats were decimating them.

The kākāpō weren’t going to survive much longer, and from the ’70s to the mid-’90s, all of the birds were moved to predator-free islands. Then the Kākāpō Recovery Programme was established in 1995.

Now, kākāpō are lovingly tended by a dedicated team of rangers, scientists, vet, volunteers, and donors who are doing everything possible to try to bring back these incredible birds from the very brink of extinction. They’re funded in large part on donations and sponsorships from DOC and Meridian Energy.

Donate to Kākāpō Recovery. All donations make a difference

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

The majority of kākāpō these days live on a few predator-free islands, like Anchor Island and on Codfish Island / Whenua Hou, which I was lucky enough to visit a few years ago.

One reason that kākāpō have struggled to bounce back from the brink of extinction is that they only breed every two to four years when Rimu tree’s fruit grows abundantly – the period is known as a “mast year.” Because they are so inbred, genetic diversity is a big problem, and more than half of their eggs are infertile.

It’s an uphill battle.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

But lucky for us, 2019 was shaping up to be a bumper breeding year for kākāpō with an overwhelming abundance of fruit.

Time for all hands on deck!

A great podcast by RNZ called the Kākāpō Files was released this year

kakapo chicks
Hoki on the nest looking like a proud mum, photo by Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter
kakapo chicks
Rakiura-1-A-2019 in Rakiura’s nest, 3 days old by Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter

2019 was a kākāpō breeding season full of highs and lows.

The somewhat quiet offshore islands where they call home quickly become extremely busy throughout the summer as teams of rangers, volunteers and scientists travel down to do everything they can to make it the most successful breeding season possible.

2019 biggest ever on record after a mast year leads to unprecedented amounts of rimu fruit, which is necessary for kākāpō to breed and hatch chicks successfully.

A record of 71 chicks survived through to juvenile age; the previous record was 32.


For many reasons, some chicks were taken off the islands to be hand-reread in special facilities on the mainland, which doesn’t impact them at all if they are raised together – and not alone like Sirocco was – the kākāpō who thinks he’s human.

Later the chicks are released into the wild, tagged with a transmitter.

I was lucky enough to visit some of this year’s chicks down in Invercargill as they were being raised, and it was a life-changing experience, as you might imagine. Making do with limited resources, people, and budget, it’s compelling to see what the kākāpō recovery team can manage.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

Every time I visit them, I dream of the day I am a millionaire so I can adequately fund all of the conservation projects I care deeply about. Sigh. I know it’s a big dream, but one day guys!

In the meantime, if there are any millionaires out there with idly bank accounts looking to support birds, do get in touch.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

The steps taken to look after the chicks are immense, and I can’t even begin to say thank you to the incredibly hard-working kākāpō team who run around like crazy for a year during a breeding season doing everything they can to ensure these birds survive.

It’s dedication and passion that inspires me to my core. These birds wouldn’t have a chance without them.

Suitably sterilized, zipped up, and croc-ed out, I was able to weave my way through the facility to meet this year’s kākāpō chicks.

kakapo chicks
by Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter

kakapo chicks

Greeted by a gaggle of kākāpō in a pen, snorting and chortling their way around a makeshift indoor forest, I let out an audible sigh of deep contentment.

How amazing to see such rare creatures come back from the abyss?

And also, they are seriously so cute. How could you not love them? They literally make snorting noises like a little pig.

I spent hours observing the new chicks, watching them come out and learn how to climb on the branches, try and eat berries and get it all over their faces, and interact with each other. It was such an exceptional experience, and I felt so honored to be part of their story.

I left Invercargill the next day filled with hope and inspiration, but we all know that what goes up must come down, right?

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

It felt like almost as soon as I left, we were hit with the devastating news of a fungal outbreak that was killing kākāpō.

Aspergillosis is a fungal infection threatening kākāpō on Codfish Island / Whenua Hou and can be extremely deadly to birds. Luckily with swift action, many of the infected birds have been hospitalized and treated on the mainland and have survived, though a few have died as well.

Two more kākāpō chicks just died from aspergillosis, and the threat isn’t over yet, with two more chicks dying last month.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

2019 has definitely been a year of ups and downs for kākāpō in New Zealand, and even after some hard times and trials, things are looking up as this year’s chicks make it through the first months of their long lives.

But now the question is, where are they going to live? We’re running out of space!

Ultimately the big goal is to get kākāpō back on mainland New Zealand. With so many more kākāpō, it means we’re running out of pest-free places where we can keep them safe.

What an exciting new problem to have!

Have you heard of the kākāpō? Are they your new favorite bird? Share!

Donate to Kākāpō Recovery. All donations make a difference

kakapo chicks

The post Meet this season’s kākāpō chicks appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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5 crazy solo female travel facts that will blow your mind


Traveling solo is one of the biggest travel trends at the moment, and women are leading the pack. FINALLY. Times a million.

It feels like I have been waiting all my life for solo female travel to be normal and not just on the fringe. I was really getting tired of people staring at me like I grew a second head whenever I spoke about my deep and abiding love to travel alone.

As more women take off on their amazing adventures, travel companies and businesses are coming to the party and making it more achievable and affordable to travel alone, safely as a woman.

So whether you’re considering your first solo trip, or need an excuse to plan your next one, here’s a few solo female travel facts to encourage you to lace up your travel boots and get packing.

10 of the safest destinations for solo female travelers

solo female travel facts

1. It turns out we outnumber men – bigtime!

Solo women travelers outnumber men almost two to one, and the numbers are growing. Take that, patriarchy!

A global survey recently found that more than one in two women has taken a solo vacation, with 75 percent of them planning solo trips in the next few years. Web searches for ‘solo female travel’ have also risen drastically in the past five years, and it seems that American women are leading the charge. You’re bloody welcome. 

Around nine million women depart the US to travel overseas each year, taking an average of three trips annually.

solo female travel facts

2. Millennials are busting out

Worldwide, one in five women has gone solo, with millennials outnumber other groups. What a surprise! 

Though that’s not always the case, for example, in the UK,  women over 50 are leading the solo travel boom, but other age groups are growing too. I’ve met plenty of these “grey nomads” on my travels and to be honest; they give me LIFE. 

I literally cannot wait to be like them when I’m older, a young-at-heart adventuress.

solo female travel facts

So why are women finally feeling free enough to travel without their partners or just on their own because they feel like it?

Among the motivations for traveling alone is the freedom to set your itinerary, as well as an increased sense of independence and a boost in confidence. As someone who hates compromise, I can back this up for sure. Meeting new people is also a large part of it – healthy social boundaries often disappear when you’re traveling solo. 

Another surprise is that a large number of solo travelers aren’t single. OMG shocking – you can travel without your other half. Alert the press!

solo female travel facts

3. Women rule on activity tours

Many activity-based tour operators are reporting that the majority of women on their trips are going solo these days. A fantastic way to travel solo is to join in on some guided experience, activity, or tour. It’s a great way to meet people on the road. 

More than half of small-group specialist Intrepid’s customers (around 75,000 annually) are solo travelers, and it has introduced several women-only women-only trips to destinations such as India, Morocco, and Peru. Travel and tour companies are keen to woo solo travelers, with some operators offering same-sex room share options. 

Often these days single supplements aren’t applied anymore, and you can even get a better rate on your own.

solo female travel facts

4. Women are heading off the beaten path

Some of these solo female travel facts are almost hard to swallow. Would you believe that Cuba topped the list for American solo female travelers, followed by Macedonia, Guatemala, and the UAE as places where women are keen to explore solo?

India is one of the fastest-growing destinations for solo female travelers. Sri Lanka, Peru, Italy, Greece, and Spain are also popular choices. People still ask me all the time about my solo trip to Turkey six years ago. 

With its cosmopolitan atmosphere, beautiful architecture and low crime rate, Israel is fast-growing in popularity. The numbers of solo female travelers to the Philippines have surged by 43%, shocking.

The more women go to places considered a bit adventurous, the more they pave the wave for future girls.

solo female travel facts

5. Safety influences our destination choice

Nearly 65% of solo female travelers check out how safe a destination is before they go. To get a feel for a country’s safety levels, we’re most likely to reach out for advice from others who have traveled there. We also read reviews, consult guide books, looking at local crime statistics, or visiting message boards or travel communities for information.

I don’t know about you guys, but I do this!

Iceland, Norway, Uruguay, and my adopted home of New Zealand are among the ten safest destinations for solo female travelers. And it’s an ever-changing picture. Often referred to as the happiest country in the world, Bhutan is also becoming safer, rising 43 places in the Global Peace Index rankings in the past 12 years.  

What do you think of these solo female travel facts? Do you have any crazy facts about solo travel? Any wild stories to spill? Share!

solo female travel facts

The post 5 crazy solo female travel facts that will blow your mind appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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5 crazy solo female travel facts that will blow your mind


Traveling solo is one of the biggest travel trends at the moment, and women are leading the pack. FINALLY. Times a million.

It feels like I have been waiting all my life for solo female travel to be normal and not just on the fringe. I was really getting tired of people staring at me like I grew a second head whenever I spoke about my deep and abiding love to travel alone.

As more women take off on their amazing adventures, travel companies and businesses are coming to the party and making it more achievable and affordable to travel alone, safely as a woman.

So whether you’re considering your first solo trip, or need an excuse to plan your next one, here’s a few solo female travel facts to encourage you to lace up your travel boots and get packing.

10 of the safest destinations for solo female travelers

solo female travel facts

1. It turns out we outnumber men – bigtime!

Solo women travelers outnumber men almost two to one, and the numbers are growing. Take that, patriarchy!

A global survey recently found that more than one in two women has taken a solo vacation, with 75 percent of them planning solo trips in the next few years. Web searches for ‘solo female travel’ have also risen drastically in the past five years, and it seems that American women are leading the charge. You’re bloody welcome. 

Around nine million women depart the US to travel overseas each year, taking an average of three trips annually.

solo female travel facts

2. Millennials are busting out

Worldwide, one in five women has gone solo, with millennials outnumber other groups. What a surprise! 

Though that’s not always the case, for example, in the UK,  women over 50 are leading the solo travel boom, but other age groups are growing too. I’ve met plenty of these “grey nomads” on my travels and to be honest; they give me LIFE. 

I literally cannot wait to be like them when I’m older, a young-at-heart adventuress.

solo female travel facts

So why are women finally feeling free enough to travel without their partners or just on their own because they feel like it?

Among the motivations for traveling alone is the freedom to set your itinerary, as well as an increased sense of independence and a boost in confidence. As someone who hates compromise, I can back this up for sure. Meeting new people is also a large part of it – healthy social boundaries often disappear when you’re traveling solo. 

Another surprise is that a large number of solo travelers aren’t single. OMG shocking – you can travel without your other half. Alert the press!

solo female travel facts

3. Women rule on activity tours

Many activity-based tour operators are reporting that the majority of women on their trips are going solo these days. A fantastic way to travel solo is to join in on some guided experience, activity, or tour. It’s a great way to meet people on the road. 

More than half of small-group specialist Intrepid’s customers (around 75,000 annually) are solo travelers, and it has introduced several women-only women-only trips to destinations such as India, Morocco, and Peru. Travel and tour companies are keen to woo solo travelers, with some operators offering same-sex room share options. 

Often these days single supplements aren’t applied anymore, and you can even get a better rate on your own.

solo female travel facts

4. Women are heading off the beaten path

Some of these solo female travel facts are almost hard to swallow. Would you believe that Cuba topped the list for American solo female travelers, followed by Macedonia, Guatemala, and the UAE as places where women are keen to explore solo?

India is one of the fastest-growing destinations for solo female travelers. Sri Lanka, Peru, Italy, Greece, and Spain are also popular choices. People still ask me all the time about my solo trip to Turkey six years ago. 

With its cosmopolitan atmosphere, beautiful architecture and low crime rate, Israel is fast-growing in popularity. The numbers of solo female travelers to the Philippines have surged by 43%, shocking.

The more women go to places considered a bit adventurous, the more they pave the wave for future girls.

solo female travel facts

5. Safety influences our destination choice

Nearly 65% of solo female travelers check out how safe a destination is before they go. To get a feel for a country’s safety levels, we’re most likely to reach out for advice from others who have traveled there. We also read reviews, consult guide books, looking at local crime statistics, or visiting message boards or travel communities for information.

I don’t know about you guys, but I do this!

Iceland, Norway, Uruguay, and my adopted home of New Zealand are among the ten safest destinations for solo female travelers. And it’s an ever-changing picture. Often referred to as the happiest country in the world, Bhutan is also becoming safer, rising 43 places in the Global Peace Index rankings in the past 12 years.  

What do you think of these solo female travel facts? Do you have any crazy facts about solo travel? Any wild stories to spill? Share!

solo female travel facts

The post 5 crazy solo female travel facts that will blow your mind appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

What no one tells you about adventure travel


Today I found myself filling out a form for a travel conference next year, and before I knew it, I was being asked to tick the inevitable box of the type of travel I prefer. Sigh. Nothing makes me cringe quite like having to put myself into a box.

Alas, Google Docs has no patience for my existential crisis of the morning; so I went with ticking my usual “adventure travel” box. After all, I boldly claimed the title of Young Adventuress a decade ago, with nothing to my name but an absurdly bright Blogspot with too much Comic Sans and a hunger for adventure.

Guys, I was going places!

Born and raised by the likes of Kerouac, Krakauer, and Tolkien, my childhood was shaped by a desire to live out my days traveling the world in pursuit of adventure and truth; this is a theme that I’ve carried with me on my travels over the past decade.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

Myths around adventure travel are rampant these days, but also the profound experience that comes from it isn’t talked about as much as it should be either.

Adventure travel is powerful and transformative, and in today’s day and age that focuses on epic photos with neglected stories behind them, that experience is often left by the wayside. Tell me what it took to get to get to that fantastic spot, how life-changing it was to do that, what you felt in the deepest recesses of your heart at that moment. Now that is what I crave – more authentic storytelling.

Whether it’s getting into nature, challenging yourself physically or mentally, or mixing with people from other cultures, we can’t help but come back a little changed from a travel adventure. 

So here you go – all the mighty and beautiful things that come from challenging experiences and what no one tells you about adventure travel.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

Adventure is good for your health

I’m sure you’ve experienced how adventure travel can make you feel even more alive – well, it turns out that it may also help us live longer.

Activities such as visiting a wilderness area or spending time in a rainforest, or any forest, can boost our immune systems, which can only be a good thing, right? Experts also reckon that active adventures help reduce our stress levels and even help us sleep better. Good news for those of us who struggle with, you know, healthy living. 

Slowly raises hands and looks side to side.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

I can personally attest to the amazing benefits of going on an adventure, especially getting back out into nature. The harder, the better. The more I challenge myself, the higher the personal triumph and feeling of success when you’re done. It’s a fucking amazing feeling.

It’s why I learned to snowboard and why I pop myself on adventures like riding horses across Mongolia, even though I’m not a natural outdoors person. I’m here for all my fellow dorks and book nerds, even you can have an adventure too! We can all be an adventuress!

The euphoria from this kind of travel is extraordinary, and I’m hooked on it.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

It gives you the chance to grow

Research by the Adventure Travel Trade Association has found that our priorities and motivations are changing around the reasons we seek adventure travel.

In the past, adventure travelers were more motivated by risk-taking, but today we tend to look at it more as a chance for personal growth, not to mention the other incredible benefits such as being in a variety of different environments.

I know that’s true for me.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

Adventure travelers learn amazing skills on the road, such as problem-solving, survival skills, adapting to travel in different countries and cultures, and learning other languages. Visiting developing countries can also help us appreciate what we have back home by putting things into rather a harsh perspective. Oh yes, we don’t know how good we’ve got it until we spend time in places without toilets or running water. 

Most of us return from trips a little different to how we started, with a fresh perspective on life and new skills that get transferred into our personal and working lives and give us a sense of accomplishment.

And those people that don’t change? That isn’t shaped by travel experiences? Well, I can’t help you.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

It’s good for the brain

Adventure travel is often very physically active, and it turns out that it has a positive effect on our minds.

If you want to improve your memory, cycling and hiking are the way to go, according to US researchers. They found these kinds of activity help grow the hippocampus (the brain’s center of emotion and memory, which naturally shrinks with age), and this helps ward off Alzheimer’s and dementia.

An active vacation involving new challenges is the most beneficial, helping to build connections between brain cells. I knew getting outdoors and being active can change your life, and hiking in New Zealand has changed my life too!

What no one tells you about adventure travel

Helps you expand time

If you feel like every day is like Groundhog Day and the weeks go by with nothing to punctuate them, an awe-inspiring adventure may be in order. The monotony of routine that has no light at the end of the tunnel was something I have always struggled with. 

Research by Stanford University has found that people who experience awe tend to be more satisfied with life and prefer experiences over physical products. It seems that feeling awe brings us into the present moment, and that makes us feel like we have more time available.

So, having adventures seems to be a way to break up the normal flow and expand our perception of time.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

It allows you to give back

Far from being a selfish pursuit, adventure travel opens up so many opportunities to give back in the countries we visit. 

When you travel with a responsible tour operator, your money will help local economies. Operators who are committed to responsible tourism, such as Intrepid Travel, operate trips to remote and untouched areas and can be a driving force behind conservation efforts (like banning elephant rides), as well as improving education and health for local communities. 

Of course, you can also go independently, but if you do, try and be responsible and ethical about what you’re doing and where your tourism dollars are going by asking questions and doing some research in advance.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

But above all, the one thing that one tells you about adventure travel is how profoundly life-changing it can be. Whether you’re stepping out of your comfort zone in the Himalayas for the first time or just going on a hike by yourself, getting out and challenging yourself can only lead to good things.

Do you crave that euphoria from adventurous experiences too?

What do you think? Are you hooked on adventure travel like me? What’s something no one talks about when it comes to the power of an excellent old fashioned adventure? Share!

What no one tells you about adventure travel

The post What no one tells you about adventure travel appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

What no one tells you about adventure travel


Today I found myself filling out a form for a travel conference next year, and before I knew it, I was being asked to tick the inevitable box of the type of travel I prefer. Sigh. Nothing makes me cringe quite like having to put myself into a box.

Alas, Google Docs has no patience for my existential crisis of the morning; so I went with ticking my usual “adventure travel” box. After all, I boldly claimed the title of Young Adventuress a decade ago, with nothing to my name but an absurdly bright Blogspot with too much Comic Sans and a hunger for adventure.

Guys, I was going places!

Born and raised by the likes of Kerouac, Krakauer, and Tolkien, my childhood was shaped by a desire to live out my days traveling the world in pursuit of adventure and truth; this is a theme that I’ve carried with me on my travels over the past decade.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

Myths around adventure travel are rampant these days, but also the profound experience that comes from it isn’t talked about as much as it should be either.

Adventure travel is powerful and transformative, and in today’s day and age that focuses on epic photos with neglected stories behind them, that experience is often left by the wayside. Tell me what it took to get to get to that fantastic spot, how life-changing it was to do that, what you felt in the deepest recesses of your heart at that moment. Now that is what I crave – more authentic storytelling.

Whether it’s getting into nature, challenging yourself physically or mentally, or mixing with people from other cultures, we can’t help but come back a little changed from a travel adventure. 

So here you go – all the mighty and beautiful things that come from challenging experiences and what no one tells you about adventure travel.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

Adventure is good for your health

I’m sure you’ve experienced how adventure travel can make you feel even more alive – well, it turns out that it may also help us live longer.

Activities such as visiting a wilderness area or spending time in a rainforest, or any forest, can boost our immune systems, which can only be a good thing, right? Experts also reckon that active adventures help reduce our stress levels and even help us sleep better. Good news for those of us who struggle with, you know, healthy living. 

Slowly raises hands and looks side to side.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

I can personally attest to the amazing benefits of going on an adventure, especially getting back out into nature. The harder, the better. The more I challenge myself, the higher the personal triumph and feeling of success when you’re done. It’s a fucking amazing feeling.

It’s why I learned to snowboard and why I pop myself on adventures like riding horses across Mongolia, even though I’m not a natural outdoors person. I’m here for all my fellow dorks and book nerds, even you can have an adventure too! We can all be an adventuress!

The euphoria from this kind of travel is extraordinary, and I’m hooked on it.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

It gives you the chance to grow

Research by the Adventure Travel Trade Association has found that our priorities and motivations are changing around the reasons we seek adventure travel.

In the past, adventure travelers were more motivated by risk-taking, but today we tend to look at it more as a chance for personal growth, not to mention the other incredible benefits such as being in a variety of different environments.

I know that’s true for me.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

Adventure travelers learn amazing skills on the road, such as problem-solving, survival skills, adapting to travel in different countries and cultures, and learning other languages. Visiting developing countries can also help us appreciate what we have back home by putting things into rather a harsh perspective. Oh yes, we don’t know how good we’ve got it until we spend time in places without toilets or running water. 

Most of us return from trips a little different to how we started, with a fresh perspective on life and new skills that get transferred into our personal and working lives and give us a sense of accomplishment.

And those people that don’t change? That isn’t shaped by travel experiences? Well, I can’t help you.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

It’s good for the brain

Adventure travel is often very physically active, and it turns out that it has a positive effect on our minds.

If you want to improve your memory, cycling and hiking are the way to go, according to US researchers. They found these kinds of activity help grow the hippocampus (the brain’s center of emotion and memory, which naturally shrinks with age), and this helps ward off Alzheimer’s and dementia.

An active vacation involving new challenges is the most beneficial, helping to build connections between brain cells. I knew getting outdoors and being active can change your life, and hiking in New Zealand has changed my life too!

What no one tells you about adventure travel

Helps you expand time

If you feel like every day is like Groundhog Day and the weeks go by with nothing to punctuate them, an awe-inspiring adventure may be in order. The monotony of routine that has no light at the end of the tunnel was something I have always struggled with. 

Research by Stanford University has found that people who experience awe tend to be more satisfied with life and prefer experiences over physical products. It seems that feeling awe brings us into the present moment, and that makes us feel like we have more time available.

So, having adventures seems to be a way to break up the normal flow and expand our perception of time.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

It allows you to give back

Far from being a selfish pursuit, adventure travel opens up so many opportunities to give back in the countries we visit. 

When you travel with a responsible tour operator, your money will help local economies. Operators who are committed to responsible tourism, such as Intrepid Travel, operate trips to remote and untouched areas and can be a driving force behind conservation efforts (like banning elephant rides), as well as improving education and health for local communities. 

Of course, you can also go independently, but if you do, try and be responsible and ethical about what you’re doing and where your tourism dollars are going by asking questions and doing some research in advance.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

But above all, the one thing that one tells you about adventure travel is how profoundly life-changing it can be. Whether you’re stepping out of your comfort zone in the Himalayas for the first time or just going on a hike by yourself, getting out and challenging yourself can only lead to good things.

Do you crave that euphoria from adventurous experiences too?

What do you think? Are you hooked on adventure travel like me? What’s something no one talks about when it comes to the power of an excellent old fashioned adventure? Share!

What no one tells you about adventure travel

The post What no one tells you about adventure travel appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link