Adventure Travel: Why Lara Croft provides an effective Antidote to Bridget Jones every time…
I have been travelling for over a decade now, never constantly in the mad, passionate scheme of the nomad, but silently and deftly taking whatever time I could to explore the world. I have read many books on the subject of Adventure and have my own heroes and heroines that have trail-blazed the way: from late nineteenth century figures such as Gertrude Bell, Freya Stark and Lawrence of Arabia to Beryl Markham, Jackie Cochran and the modern day fictional yet completely unforgettable, Lady Lara Croft.
My own first real-life adventure happened in Egypt – a land so completely different to any country I’d ever previously travelled to before. I vividly remember looking out at the Nile in front of me, at beautiful sailing ships in the distance, hidden in part by the mist, and boardered by palm trees swaying in the breeze on the banks of the river. As the sun rose each day, these boats brought me to new inspiring places, cultures, temples and souks. With my senses completely on overload, I began to feel in a way that I didn’t usually feel about myself back home. I felt courageous and spirited, like an intrepid explorer venturing out into the heart of the unknown. I was Lara Croft for a moment in time – and I loved the feeling!
After that I began to look for adventure in many places with the key ingredients being interesting landscapes and places, different cultures and a sense of knowing that the trip had the potential to unfold like a story book. Catching an overnight ferry to Sicily, staring up in silence at the beautiful Acropolis buildings in Selinunte; breath taking views of crystal blue bays and the majestic Mount Etna in Taormina; trekking through the Sahara with UNICEF; and literally waking up and seeing zebras lying on the doorstep of my hut in Africa are just some of the wonderful pages of those storybooks that will always be with me.
Over the years cities like Rome and Florence have become to feel like old friends. These cities literally speak to every human soul who is fortunate enough to wander along their streets. Architecturally stunning, historically relevant, hustling and bustling scooters and motorbikes buzzing, each of these cities is so alive in every sense of the word. On top of these vibrant visual memories I still smell the scent of orange blossom trees that line the streets, and how this scent lingers and fills you up as you walk along the romantic passages of the city in the early evening.
As the pages of each of my trips unfolded I realized that in addition to seeing and feeling so many amazing things, I was indirectly developing confidence, self-belief and new skills – in photography, in languages and a motorcycle license that has allowed me to extend and enhance my adventures further – circumnavigating the UK and Morocco on a BMW F650 GS Motorcycle, and riding off-road in the Moroccan desert.
Adventure travel experiences help us to develop a can-do mindset that’s able to plan, to be observant even though there might be a million and one things going on around, and to keep calm under pressure. A mindset that believes that anything is possible…
Although I still haven’t found Lord Croft yet (!) I never miss the ghosts of boyfriends past anymore. Instead I suffer from ‘far sickness’, a term a friend of mine coined while I was living in Germany – that longing to be somewhere, to feel the hum of a vehicle and the pull of the road ahead, and pictures flashing by, beneath warm, sunny, blue skies. It is a condition that I will continue to suffer from for the rest of my life….
Adventure travel has the power to intoxicate like love itself; it is a love affair with the world around us. It holds the full capacity of the mind and soul once experienced, just as love does, but when it ends the mind has nothing to recover from – just the simple joy of having been there…and a longing to be there again. The feeling is infinitely more wholesome than pining for unrequited love, or being miserable because someone’s walked out of your life; and the beauty of it is is that it really can be experienced by anyone – no matter what age, situation or background…
Somehow in living a life filled with adventure (akin to Lara Croft), our ‘Bridget Jones’ is in receipt of a beautiful antidote to a broken heart; better able to move forward with courage, strength and character in life and reach the most amazing potential!
by Jackie Moreton
Co-Founder of Abeona Adventures