Breaking Point – The New Way of Adventure travel
What’s the new buzz in adventure travel? Embracing a way of life that will put you out of your comfort zone and change you! A new high of going about travel is to be introspective, face your fears and ask big life questions – adventure-travel operators are customizing psychological thrillers and brainwaves for people who might have achieved everything in life but have still got a few fears left to conquer.
When was the last time you were well and truly out of your comfort zone? When was the first time you camped beneath the stars? Do you remember the uncanny feeling you had of sleeping on grass with the wolves prowling in the dense undergrowth surrounding the camp fire? Have you ever been out in the mountains for a week with nothing but a basic survival kit, water and food? Well, it’s time to take it a notch up! Have you ever thought of iceberg climbing at the end of the world or foraging for food in the desert of Kalahari? Moments of real discomfort, when you actually wanted to escape a situation, may have felt excruciating when living it. Now, perhaps you understand the value after the experience: it must have been unexpected and scary but wasn’t it at the same time motivational and liberating?
That travel has always had this power is not a wonder. Experiencing unfamiliar places leads to surprises galore. Now a handful of adventure-travel operators are leveraging this to their and the travellers’ benefit. Breaking point travel is the new ‘it’ thing across millennials and baby boomers. It is what people who have experiences it all, a more refined sect of travel enthusiasts, are looking forward to in order to learn a new skill and become what they are not.
Collaborating across a network of the most unlikeliest of places, where conventional organizations would never look at, the bespoke travel experts are talking to scientific expedition teams, naturalists and mountaineers, monks in monasteries, militaries and even remote tribal societies. This combined with unparalleled geographical expertise and access, journey curators are crafting experiences that are profoundly physically or psychologically challenging, to put people before their fears and their angst and make them overcome real life obstacles. The goals can vary: to surmount professional or personal obstacles, to address an addiction or disorder, or reclaim a sense of direction and meaning in life. Call it an experiential self-realization or extreme life coaching through travel but whatever it is, it’s now big business.
A fair bit of that business, not surprisingly, comes from men and women who have achieved great success professionally. High end adventure expedition cruise companies are saying that their clients come to them knowing exactly what they want, because that’s how they became as successful as they are – or they feel they’ve done everything, in which case they’re often dealing with a real lack of purpose or direction.
The forbearer of the phenomenon of breaking point travel is Calum Morrison, founder of the Extraordinary Adventure Club. Morrison works by personal recommendation only and proposes ongoing engagement as opposed to one-off experiences. To quote him- “It’s about getting your compass bearings again, identifying your values. For many people, there’s a divergence between the life they’re living and those authentic bearings, and the greater the divergence, the more pain or lack of fulfillment they experience. Transformation requires endeavour. You have to find the edge of your capabilities and push them out. That’s where we come in: to create programmes that stretch you.”
The point is not to do away with enjoyment or leisure entirely. The idea of a journey or engaging with indigenous culture is fascinating and if there’s a personal penchant that can help pull someone through an obstacle out there in the remote wilderness, great! Thus, if camping and luxury came up as a passion Morocco can be the answer Sudan or if another always fantasized about a motorcycle journey, the Mongolian steppes might figure. Ultimately, it is about inspiring to create change. It doesn’t really matter where you take the experiences, it is about what happens when you’re really there.