The Key to Passion: Adventure Travel

Your relationship isn’t boring, your routine is. These four trips will break the rut big-time.

The Key to Passion: Adventure Travel

Researchers and clinical therapists agree that a bit of shared risk benefits relationships. An occasional dose of fear gets the heart pumping, which ups excitement and may be especially key for long-time couples. In turn, helping one another through that uncertainty builds trust and communication, skills that tighten bonds no matter a partnership’s duration. So if you’re in a rut, plan an adventure. Here are five adrenaline boosting trip ideas, each with a more accessible (but still exciting!) alternative a little closer to home.

Go Horse-Trekking

Horses offer a natural way to range deep into the back country, into quiet places without roads or telephone poles. Although your primary trekking partner will have four legs and a tail, evenings leave plenty of time for snuggling in tents or gawping at sunsets with a favorite human companion.

The Ultimate: Kyrgyzstan

For millennia, Central Asia’s nomads have relied on horses to drive cattle, sheep and reindeer across arid steppes and through glacial valleys. Rides among the piney folds of Kyrgyzstan’s Celestial Mountains trace the history of the land and lives of modern-day shepherds. Animal trails switchback steep slopes while yurts and wall-tents dot the flats. Short treks from the village of Barskoon follow ridge lines for a near-constant view of Lake Issyk-Kul’s turquoise waters. More ambitious and experienced riders can climb deeper into the mountains, navigating through, and eventually above, the clouds.

Family owned Shepherd’s Way Trekking runs a culturally and environmentally responsible outfit. Their expert guides, solid translators, and string of about 30 healthy, happy horses lead three-day to month-long treks into the high country.

Closer to Home: Hawaii

Prefer your romance in the tropics? Kalaupapa Rare Adventure, LLC leads 3.2-mile round-trip mule rides through the volcanic bluffs of the Molokai uplands to the village of Kalaupapa. The tour provides information about the history and jaw-dropping ecology of this former leper colony turned national park.

Go Rock-Climbing

Rock climbing is the epitome of a partner adventure sport. Most people grapple with some fear of heights and you’ve got to rely on another person to keep you safe. With the right gear, training and experience, it’s the ultimate exercise in trust. ulti

The Ultimate: Thailand

Separated from the mainland by jungle-coated limestone cliffs, southern Thailand’s Pra Nang peninsula is only accessible by long-tail boats — colorful oversized canoes with rumbling engines tacked onto the back. The rippled limestone karsts tower above powder-soft beaches, burst from translucent cobalt seas, and top many rock jockey bucket lists. To feel part of the climbing culture, stay at Tonsai Beach, where camouflaged gibbons greet the morning with whale-songs and early risers shuffle to the crags ahead of the sun. By mid-day barefoot climbers escape the heat among the palms or refuel on smoothies and pineapple fried rice. Even the most adventurous couples by day will likely be lulled back to romance by dusk, thanks to rosy sunsets and open-air bars.

Experienced climbers willing to schlep forty pounds of gear across the Pacific will find a range of routes from moderate to expert-only and an international community of folks who share their passion. Newbies should hook up with an experienced guide service to climb rope-less above the ocean or scale a shoreside spire.

Closer to Home: Puerto Rico

Don’t Have Quite that Many Miles? Try Puerto Rico’s Nuevo Bayamón. The rainforest just twenty minutes outside of San Juan hides blue-streaked limestone cliffs with routes for all levels. Download an ebook for the area at Aventuras Tierra Adentro or drop into their shop to hire an expert.

Go Diving

Exploring underwater worlds together provides the jolt of a new perspective alongside a healthy dose of adrenaline to up the excitement in a relationship. Better yet? On many trips, non-divers can tag along for the boat ride.

The Ultimate: Iceland

The Silfra fissure in Iceland’s Thingvellir Lake grows each year as the North American and Eurasian continents slowly drift apart. Since the glacial waters hover just above freezing and filter through underground lava channels for decades before reaching the lake, visibility is some of the best in the world. Divers get to swim between the plates, sometimes touching both sides at once. And although fish aren’t as abundant as in other underwater worlds, algae and “troll hair” moss flash neon against the rocky walls.

Closer to Home: Galapagos Islands

A diving tour of the Galapagos Islands makes for a warmer, closer, and more wildlife-focused alternative. Nauti Diving leads single and multi-day dive trips and offers a range of PADI courses for those looking to safely build their scuba skills. As a bonus, views from the deck of the Nautilus Yacht rival those beneath the surface.

City Slickers

Cities, with their abundance of top-end accommodations, ambiance-laden restaurants and amble-worthy streets, get no shortage of love from couples. But urban spaces that get the heart going may be the perfect destinations for adventurers-in-love.

The Ultimate: Delhi

Delhi stirs with the morning sun, shrugging off dawn’s grog in layers of dust and smog. As the city wakes, DelhiByCycle (DBC) leads pedaling enthusiasts through the bustle. About twenty-five million people live in the Indian metropolis, so it takes some grit and bike confidence to cut through the incessant traffic and bump over the narrow potholed alleyways. But the friendly and deeply knowledgeable guides keep things safe and fun. The tours also trace river banks, wind through tree lined compounds, and pause for shade and sips of roadside chai. In the sneeze-inducing spice market, DBC’s smiling canine mascot leads riders to a rooftop for sunlit views. Tours typically start at 6:30 a.m., wrapping up before things get too steamy or busy, and hit spots in either Old or New Delhi.

Closer to Home: Toronto

For city-lovers who want an urban thrill without so much activity, Toronto’s CN Tower EdgeWalk exhilarates. Adrenaline junkies strap into harnesses to teeter on — and lean off — a ledge 1,168-feet above the teeming streets. Guides help everybody find, and push, their personal limits. The really committed can even say their wedding vows above it all.

Stacey McKenna is a freelance journalist covering travel, nature and social justice for print and online publications. Follow her musings and adventures on Twitter or Instagram.

Suggested Reading:

Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel: Our List of the 500 Best Places to See… Ranked
Points Unknown: The Greatest Adventure Writing of the Twentieth Century (Outside Books)


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