Showing posts with label Richard Bangs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Richard Bangs. Show all posts

Video: Adventure Travel in the Alaskan Arctic

I came across this video on Richard Bang's YouTube Channel and thought it was worth sharing. It is a short film made be adventure traveler Connor Callaghan, who takes us along with him to Alaska where we enjoy a taste of some of the amazing scenery and activities that are available there. Alaska happens to be one of my favorite destinations, as it is brimming with great opportunities for outdoor adventure. Take a look at the clip, then put it on your list of places to see.

Adventure Travel Briefs: A Cruise Ship in the Northwest Passage and Is Adventure Travel Endangered?

There have been a number of interesting stories to come out of the adventure travel industry lately, not all of which are worth their own post, but together they make an interesting story to share with readers. For those of you out there who enjoy pursing some adventures of their own, here are a couple of things to have on your radar.

Luxury Cruise Ship Sails the Northwest Passage
In recent years, climate change has allowed the famed Northwest Passage – an area of open sea in the Arctic Ocean above Canada – to become far less treacherous and more navigable by boat. In the past, the ice would either stay locked in place even during the summer months, or the route would remain dangerous due to large ice bergs choking the path. That isn't the case any longer, and for several months each year it is possible to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific via the Arctic.

Now, a luxury cruise ship by the name of Serenity has embarked on a 32-day journey across the entire passage. The ship set sail from Seward, Alaska last week, and is now making its way towards New York City. While small ships have made their way along the legendary route in recent years, this is the first time a large ship has done so. The Serenity can carry more than 1700 people.

Hopefully the cruise goes off without any major issues. The Canadian Coast Guard estimates its response time to an emergency at 11 hours. That's a long time should anything go wrong. Fingers crossed this doesn't become a major trend either, as the Arctic Ocean is still a very fragile ecosystem.


Richard Bangs Takes Us to Madagascar
Mysterious and enchanting, Madagascar is high on my places to visit that I haven't been lucky enough to get to just yet. I'm even more intrigued after reading Richard Bangs' recent article for The Huffington Post, in which he delves into the history, culture, and people that live on the island country just off the coast of Africa.

In the incredibly well written piece, Bangs paints an impressive picture of the place, which is at a crossroads environmentally, and yet is still a fascinating ecological preserve filled with creatures that aren't found anywhere else on Earth. Amongst those creatures are Madagascar's famous lemurs, which are held in high regard by the locals and it is strictly forbidden to kill. But in his travel through the land, Richard goes in search of a rumored restaurant that allegedly serves lemur on the menu. Does he find it? And what other wonders does he discover there? Read on to find out.

Is Adventure Travel an Endangered Species?
Our final adventure travel story come from the blog at Tusker Trail. The article was written awhile back, but still asks an intriguing question – Is adventure travel an endangered species? In the article, the author indicates that fear and a desire for safety and security are causing many travelers to abandon their hopes of living an adventurous life, with many now playing it safe and sticking close to home.

With terrorist attacks taking place all over Europe, strange diseases like Ebola and Zika, striking Africa and South America, and other potential threats making headlines, it is easy to get caught up in the belief that danger is lurking around every corner when you start to wander too far from home. But, in reality, we all know that isn't the case, and that these are mostly isolated incidences that are far from the norm.

Yes, travelers do accept that there is always the potential for danger when setting out on an adventurous excursion. But, isn't that a part of adventure travel? As the Tusker article says, adventure travel may be compromised, but it is far from dead. There are still plenty of amazing places to go, things to do, and sites to see. As the author says, study your destination thoroughly, do your homework ahead of time, and know what you're getting yourself into. Chances are, you'll be better prepared to deal with situations as they arise, and probably avoid danger altogether. At the very lest, don't let fear keep you from traveling the world and seeking out adventure.

Something I agree with wholeheartedly.

Adventures in... Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia isn't a destination that typically ranks high on the list of places for adventure travelers to visit, but my friend Richard Bangs recently shared his experiences there, which included visits to museums and historical sites, camping in the Empty Quarter, and a dizzying array of other wonders, both modern and ancient.

Richard describes the Kingdom as the "hardest place in the world to visit," but yet he finds plenty of friendly, accommodating people that welcomed him. Along the way he had the opportunity to explore some truly amazing places, including the Lost City of Qaryat Al Fau – the remains of a civilization that dates back to 1 B.C. – and the tombs of Qasr Al Farid, which are carved out of a single giant sandstone monolith in the desert.

Most visitors to Saudi Arabia come on a religious pilgrimage, although there is a tourism sector there that is growing slowly. The country has very restrictive visa restrictions, which include requiring visitors to have a sponsor before they arrive. Most visa are issued for business purposes only, with general tourism still remaining mostly off limits. In fact, the only company that currently offers regular tours of the Kingdom is Mountain Travel Sobek, which Richard is a co-founder of.

Read more about his adventures in Saudi Arabia in this article from HuffPo, and if you're looking for something a little closer to home, Richard also has details on what he calls "far and away, flat out, the West's best road trip."

Video: Where in the World Are You? - Quest #35

It has been awhile since we've had a new addition to Richard Bangs' fun "Where in the World are You?" series, but he returns with this great video to test our knowledge today. He provides the clues, with plenty of great imagery from the place, and we're tasked with figuring out where he's at. This one is especially good, and as always the clip will inspire you to want to travel there.

Video: A Visit to Puerto Rico's Porta Cordillera Region

In need of an island escape today? You're in luck, our friend Richard Bangs is back with another wonderful video, this time taking us into Puerto Rico's Porta Cordillera region. As you'll see, this wild and remote place is far from the beaches that you would expect in Puerto Rico. Instead, we discover a wilderness that is home to few people, but endless possibilities for adventure. If you think you know this Caribbean island well, but haven't been to this central region, you may want to think again.

Video: Driving Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way is a highway that stretches for more than 1600 miles (2745 km) along Ireland's western coastline. It features dramatic vistas, breathtaking beaches, and ancient structures which all help to give it a unique personality that is all its own. In this video, adventure travel guru Richard Bangs takes us on a road trip along this iconic and beautiful highway, giving us a glimpse of what the Wild Atlantic Way has to offer.

Cycling Through Cuba with Richard Bangs

We are living in a remarkable time. After more than 50 years of ice cold relations, the U.S. and Cuba are at long last thawing their relationship, and it is for the better. The trade embargo imposed on Cuba for decades has been a failed, outdated approach to foreign affairs for a very long time, but fortunately some semblance of sanity is returning, and the two nations are now on a path to normalizing – and formalizing – relations. 

It is in that environment that the travel industry has found a great deal of excitement this year. Cuba has long been off limits for American travelers, some of whom went to great lengths to go there anyway. But now, travel to the Caribbean country is a real option, and many are lining up to visit the place while it is still in its current, preserved state. 

Recently, my friend Richard Bangs led a group of travelers on a cycling journey through the island nation and shared his experience with readers at the Huffington Post. His journey took him through a series of historical sites, beautiful landscapes, and burgeoning urban settings. Cuba, it seems, is still caught in the past, but is joining the 21st century very rapidly. 

The island nation is tailor made for cycling it seems. Richard says that in the 1990's, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, bikes were the dominant form of transportation. Traffic has increased since then of course, but the roads are bike-friendly, and the terrain isn't particularly demanding. 

Richard's journey through Cuba is made all the more memorable as he is joined by his seven year old son Jasper. The young man rides a trail-a-bike behind his father for much of the trip, while having the rare opportunity to explore a country that is opening up to future possibilities for the first time in many decades. The father-son duo roll their bikes past farms, beautiful beaches, and buildings that were the height of luxury back in the 1950's. 

As someone who does a good deal of travel writing, I know that there is immense interest in visiting Cuba right now. Richard's article will give you taste of what it is like there, as the country goes through a transition period. Eventually, Cuba will begin to change, as economic forces from outside start to develop the country. For those who want to see it in its purest form, now is the time to go. While the future does indeed look much brighter for the Cuban people, much of its charm will eventually disappear, lost in the mists of the modern age.

A Visit to the Red Centre of Australia

One of the most interesting and adventure-packed places I've ever visited is the famous Red Centre of Australia. Perhaps best known for being the home of Ayer's Rock – aka Uluru – the Red Centre is a fascinating mix of culture, history, and exploration. This is the true Outback, rugged, untamed, and with miles upon miles of open space. It is a place that every traveler should see, with landscapes that are humbling and awe inspiring at the same time.

Recently, my friend Richard Bangs visited the Red Centre and shared his experiences in a wonderful article published at the Huffington Post. Richard went to this remote region of Australia to take in all of the amazing sites for himself, and to go on a few adventures along the way as well. His travels took him on a camel trek into the Outback, hiking along some of the local trails, and into Alice Springs, the main outpost in this very wild part of the world.

Of course, many people come to the Red Centre simply to visit Uluru and climb to its summit. When the lands surrounding that iconic rock were returned to the Anangu Aboriginal tribe back in 1985, it was a stipulation in that they continue to allow visitors to climb to the top. But for the Anangu, Uluru is scared ground, and while they don't prohibit anyone from climbing it, they do go to great lengths to discourage it. On his visit, Richard – who has just returned from a climb up Cotopaxi in Ecuador – decided to respect the wishes of the Aboriginal and stay off the Rock.

In his article, and the video below, he shares a wealth of things to do while you are there that don't involve climbing Uluru. Trust me, there are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied. For instance, I'd recommend hiking the Larapinta Trail, a 223 km (138.5 mile) long path that passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the region. While you're there, also take a dip in the Finke River, widely considered the oldest in the world at 350-400 million years. Spend a few nights camping under the stars as well, as you'll rarely find a better night sky than in the Outback.


Video: Where in the World Are You? - Quest #89

Looking to test your geographical skills and travel knowledge today? If so, we have another edition of the Where in the World Are You? series from Richard Bangs. This time out, Richard takes us to some very iconic places, in a part of the world that is known for being remote and wild. Can you guess where he is at based on the clues that he provides? The landscapes in particular should be a dead giveaway for this location.

Video: Where in the World are You? Quest #55

It has been awhile since we've had a new "Where in the World are You?" video. Hosted by adventure travel guru Richard Bangs, this series of videos provides viewers with a set of clues, and challenges them to identify the location based on what they've seen. The travel destination depicted can be anywhere on the planet, which makes it fun to try to guess exactly where Richard is at any given time. The latest of these clips can be found below. Can you identify the place?

Must Read: The Good Guide Paradox by Richard Bangs

Legendary river guide and television host Richard Bangs has written a very thoughtful piece for HuffPo entitled "The Good Guide Paradox." The article not only examines the importance of having a good guide on expeditions to remote areas of the world, but also takes a very personal look at how those guides manage to become good at their jobs in the first place. 

The article begins by first mentioning the notorious 1996 spring climbing season on Everest, in which eight people were caught in a storm on the mountain and perished there. Amongst them was Rob Hall, who was widely considered one of the best mountain guides in the world at the time. But Richard asserts that in a bid to get good press (Hall was hosting Jon Krakauer for Outside magazine), Rob had several lapses in judgement that would ultimately cost him, and his client, their lives. In a quote from the article, Bangs says "He put his own self-interest ahead of his client's, and they both paid the price."

Those probably sound like harsh words, but Richard speaks from a place of experience. He goes on to recount a tale in which he made a similar decision that he would ultimately come to regret. At one point, Bangs ahas leading an expedition down the Baro River in Africa, and he allowed an inexperienced person to join the team, mostly because he was offering a substantial amount of money. It was enough money in fact that he could almost fund the entire expedition just on what this one client was offering alone. The promise of quick cash led to a clouding of judgement as well, and when disaster struck on the river, this wealthy, but inexperienced, client was lost. 

The tragedy sent Bangs into a tailspin, and for months he questioned many of the things that he had felt so strongly about prior to the expedition to the Baro. For a time, he turned his back on guiding and exploration altogether, as the entire experience left a bitter taste in his mouth. His own failure as a guide stung on numerous levels, and he no longer trusted the instincts that had served him well on many first descents and river trips in the past. 

It took a long time for Richard to recover, and it wasn't until he returned to the activities that he so dearly loved that he began to make sense of the situation. But it was then that he realized the "guide paradox" that is referenced in the title of the article. In order for a guide to become good at his or her job, they must first gain experience, and sometimes that experience will come as a result of bad judgement calls. As Bang himself says in the story, "you have to risk and fall down to get to that high place of judgment that is sound."

If you're looking for perspective on what separates good guides from poor ones, and what drives them to do the job they do, then this is certainly an article you don't want to miss. Richard has years of experience in the field, with rich stories to share. In this particular article, he shares a couple of very personal ones, as well as the lessons he learned along the way. There is something we can all learn from those experiences, whether we are serving as guides ourselves, or traveling with someone who is. 

Video: Where in the World are You? Quest #78

It has been a few weeks since we've had a new "Where in the World are You?" video from our friend Richard Bangs. He's been busy traveling the globe to places like Bosnia, Croatia, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. But, he did find time to fire off this latest video, which will once again challenge viewers to name the location from a series of clues. This time out, we'll travel to a place that truly lets you get up close and personal with some amazing creatures. See if you can name this destination.

Video: Where in the World are You? Quest #11

When he isn't flying around southern Africa in BushCraft airplane, Richard Bangs is visiting all kind of other amazing places around the world. Today, we have another video from his "Where in the World are You?" series, which challenges viewers to identify a location based on visual clues, and other bits of information. This time out, we head to the Caribbean. Can you identify where Richard is at this time?

Exploring Southern Africa by Bush Plane

Southern Africa remains one of the most wild, and remote, destinations on the planet, with beautiful landscapes, wondrous wildlife, and a dizzying array of destinations to explore. Recently, adventure travel legend Richard Bangs made a fantastic journey through the region aboard a tiny aircraft known as a BushCat, which gave him an up close, and very personal, look at a part of the world that many never get the chance to see. His travels took him from South Africa into Namibia, a country that offers as much opportunity of adventure as any place on Earth.

Richard has recounted his experiences in a wonderful piece that he wrote for the Huffington Post. In the article, he shares the tale of a group of adventure travelers zipping off by BushCat to roam the wild African landscapes. Their journey takes them over expansive deserts, past dazzling waterfalls, through deep gorges, and into abandoned diamond minds. They also manage to find time to visit a remote vineyard, as well as a number of other off-the-beaten path locations, including the famed Skeleton Coast.

As the expedition continues, the travelers are able to spot wildlife from the air, turning their journey into an airborne safari of sorts. Elephants, zebras, giraffes, and all manner of African animals are on display. But not content to just look at the animals from the safety of their aircraft, they also visit a conservation area, where they can track collard cheetahs in the wild. Elsewhere, they go in search of the elusive desert elephants that are known to inhabit the Namib.

The story is a long one, but it is a great read, and an indication of just what kinds of unique adventures can be found in southern Africa. I particularly enjoy the angle of this story, with much of the travel being done in the small BushCat aircraft. These tough little planes are capable of a lot of things, and they are being employed across the continent to help authorities hunt for poachers, while aiding in animal conservation efforts as well. Using one to explore these amazing landscapes sounds like an amazing experience to me, and this article will make you feel like you're along for the journey yourself.


Video: Where in the World are You? Quest #19

It is Wednesday, which means it is also time to play another round of "Where in the World are You?" with our friend Richard Bangs. This time we're off to a country whose capital was once known as "Linenopolis" and is home to a ship building industry that once built the biggest ship in the world. There are a number of other clues to be had from the video as well. See if you can guess Richard's destination!