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Whether you’re prepping for a marathon or braving the cold in search of the Northern Lights, this list takes you from epic walks to rafting down the Ganges. Pick your adventure – and get a fresh perspective on the definition of a holiday.
1. Dog sledding in Lapland
A multi-day dog-sledding trip in Lapland with husky care and your own sled is worlds apart from your typical Nordic weekend away. Plan it right and your trip will coincide with the Northern Lights, making for multiple nights of marvelling at the sky. After full days of fresh air and uncountable kilometres conquered, cosy up in a different cabin every night across the northernmost part of Finland. Following a good night’s sleep, wriggle back into your many, many layers before setting out for more of the same.
2. Motorcycle expedition in Ladakh
A legendary trip to take in the Jammu and Kashmir state in Northern India, a motorcycle journey to Ladakh can last up to 15 days if your starting point is New Delhi. With stops in Manali and Leh along the way, it’s a striking adventure through a rugged mountainscape punctuated by starry nights and ending at the base of the Himalayas. Make food a priority on your trek, pausing for samosas, palak paneer and aloo ghobi en route.
3. Hike the Appalachian Trail
While tackling the full Appalachian Trail takes five to seven months (and only one-in-four are said to complete it), taking on just a chunk of the trail is completely doable. Stretching from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Spring Mountain, Georgia, this trail is the stuff of American legends. Plan your trip in autumn if you want to explore the northeastern portion of the hike, or venture out in spring if you’re looking to spend time in the Deep South. A hike on the latter section of the trail will also guarantee some fantastic fried green tomatoes and cornbread as a reward, while the former will likely end with an enormous stack of pancakes doused in maple syrup.
4. Canoeing in Canada
A Canadian summer-camp staple, this two-month canoe trip between dozens of lakes is practically a rite of passage. For those who don’t have a full summer on their hands, there are also plenty of itineraries that take just one or two weeks to complete. A group trip if there ever was one, with lake baths and nightly s’mores while stargazing, it will take you right back to your childhood days. This trip will also give you a major sense of accomplishment. Transporting canoes between lakes during portages and paddling for hours on end will have you fit for an Ironman race by the end of it; this trip isn’t for the faint of heart.
5. Cross-country skiing in Norway
Hardcore athletes, take note. There are many options for taking on a multi-day, cross-country skiing journey in Norway. ranging from two to six days. In addition to being the workout of a lifetime (you likely won’t need to exercise for weeks following this trip, save for the odd yoga class to get all the kinks out), it’s also a spiritually cleansing experience. Feeling like you’re light-years away from civilisation (including phone service, for the most part), you’ll be focused on your day-to-day goals and present state… and probably your aching legs towards the end of it.
6. Road trip through Joshua Tree
This variant on the conventional Californian road trip is longer because it involves a number of components. Pile into a rented Jeep with your crew and set out from LA until you hit the desert. Beware of wind fields en route if you have your roof down – though nothing says adventure quite like having to make a quick repair stop on the side of the road. Once you’ve made it to your next Geotag, settle into a few glamping tents in preparation for a multi-day hiking holiday.
7. Heli-skiing in Alaska
To catch better snow than any Austrian or French resort has to offer, head to the untracked powdery plains of Alaska. Only accessible by helicopter, these pistes ensure you get first tracks all day long – not to mention the thrill of teetering at the very top of the mountain before zipping down. Stay in a luxe lodge by night (think Ryan Reynold’s family estate in The Proposal) and alternate between evening hot-tub sessions and early mornings floating above the frosty Alaskan landscape.
8. White-water rafting in Rishikesh
At the foothills of the Himalayas, the Rishikesh section of the Ganges is a world-class location for all rafting levels. With names ranging from Sweet Sixteen to the Golf Course, encounters with a range of rafting grades is par for the course (sorry, we had to). With shallow spots, frothy waves and rocky drops, adrenaline seekers will be exposed to a range of rafting challenges. Rishikesh also happens to be a yoga capital, so stretching out after a long day of paddling is bound to become a late-afternoon ritual.
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