15 Adventurous Things You Should Do Before You Die
There are some adventures that are simply out of reach for most people. It reportedly cost space tourist Guy Laliberte $35 million for his ticket on the space shuttle, which means that one very common dream is out of reach even for the most diligent 99% types.
On the other hand, $20,000 will secure a reservation on a suborbital flight on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, which is still testing its aircraft. When that gets going, the full fare for a ride into space will cost $250,000, according to the company's enticing website.
We'll step it down a notch to list more accessible (but still fantastic) adventures that everyone can aspire to experiencing. (See also: Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards)
1. Tour Europe
The standard London to Paris and back again is a nice option. Many try London to Paris with one extra destination thrown in, often a side trip that caters to a very private romantic destination, like Venice or the Greek islands. (See also: The Cheapest Way to Fly to Europe)
While in Europe, You Should...
Try to make a guard at Buckingham Palace move; visit the Mona Lisa and the Eiffel Tower; visit Prague; ride a gondola in Venice; see the Sistine Chapel; smuggle a chocolate bar out of Switzerland; meet an old friend in Moscow's Red Square; and climb to the Acropolis in Athens.
2. Island Hop Hawaii
There are tropical islands of vivid beauty, and then there's Hawaii. The state includes six main islands, which include Hawaii, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai. Although a tourist destination, everyone knows Waikiki Beach for good reason: It's a sandy paradise fringed with palm trees and popular with bathing beauties of both genders. Due to the islands' geological isolation, it is the home of a unique collection of flora and fauna, boasting hundreds of bird species that includes honeyeaters, honeycreepers, and 45 different types of gulls.
While in Hawaii You Should…
Hit the beaches; visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; visit the Kona Coast for water sports and Kona coffee; go on a bird walk; watch surfers try the big waves on the North Shore; attend a luau; eat fresh pineapple.
3. Go on an African Safari
A pretty standard bucket list item is a visit to the great plains of Africa to see elephants, lions, leopard, water buffalo, and gazelles in their own element. This typically costs $800 to $1,000 per night per person.
While on Safari You Should…
Photograph a lion sleeping in a tree; watch a cheetah chase down dinner; spend quality time with a cute monkey; and get home without being eaten.
4. Scuba Dive (or Snorkel) the Great Barrier Reef
If you're going to scuba, the Great Barrier Reef is the place to be. The water is warm, the beer is cold, the beauty of a coral reef unforgettable.
While at the Great Barrier Reef You Should…
Feed graham crackers to a jewel fish; watch a spotted leopard ray swim underneath you; swim alongside a sea turtle; and get home without being eaten.
5. Raft the Colorado River
The boat floats, the beer floats, and the breathtaking red-clay scenery floats by. With spectacular mesas as a backdrop and a wild river in the foreground, hold onto your hats; it's going to be awesome. Whether you attempt the big rapids or chose a placid float downstream, you are traveling through a surreal environment, as if a scalpel had cut through layers of time and left this navigational river that is beautiful and wild and crazy at the same time.
While on a Colorado River Rafting Trip You Should…
Bathe in a waterfall; pull a rainbow trout out of the water and fry it up; start a campfire with the relaxing scent of sage; wear a bandana around your neck; memorize "El Paso" and sing it through with no mess ups; tell a funny cowboy poem at the campfire; and find the best canyon walls for harmonizing with your own echo.
6. Drive on the Autobahn
Autobahn is German for "What were you thinking? Are you nuts?" It is also the name of the highway with stretches that have no speed limits, which attracts, well, people with really cool cars. It is recommended that you stay below 81 mph in those sections, but "that's only a recommendation," says Car and Driver Magazine.
While Driving on the Autobahn You Should…
Wear leather driving gloves; ride with a passenger who doesn't scream; look like driving 100 MPH is no big thing; keep right unless passing; and avoid the guardrails.
7. Eat an Expensive Meal in Paris
The best food in the world: French. The best restaurants in France: There are probably many, but the priciest are in Paris, topped off by Le Meurice, which costs about $500 per person (tax, tip, and beverages are extra). This includes one of the world's most elegant dining rooms, described as not unlike dining with royalty. I'll bet the flatware is nice, too.
While Eating an Expensive Meal in Paris You Should…
Drink one bottle of wine recommended by the waiter and try an eight-course sampler meal; have dessert no matter how much it hurts.
8. Party at Mardi Gras
If life is a party, this is literally party central — the biggest, most sprawling, wildest public debauchery known, and you don't have to overdress to attend. This is about hot food, hot weather, hot bods, hot music, and a big parade to celebrate all of that sweaty fun.
While Attending the Mardi Gras in New Orleans You Should…
Play poker in a bar; listen to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band; attend a concert by John Rebennack or the Neville Brothers or both; and drink beer and eat jambalaya.
9. Golf at Pebble Beach
This is one pricey and beautiful golf course, both elegant and adventurous. You will need to bring your best game and a prayer book, but you'll be walking in the footsteps of all the great ones.
While You Are Playing Golf at Pebble Beach You Should…
Hire a caddy and walk. You can use a golf cart at home, but this is holy ground. You should probably walk barefoot and put on your shoes just for making a shot.
10. Kiss the Blarney Stone
After kissing the Blarney Stone, you have an excuse for your annoying conversational habits for the rest of your life. It bestows the "gift of gab" on those who pucker up and give it a smooch. Come to think of it, I should probably avoid this one.
While You Are Kissing the Blarney Stone You Should…
Remember to rinse with antibacterial mouthwash.
11. Bring a Kid to Disneyland
You have to feel the vibes on this one. Disneyland is a tourist trap, but it is one that will make a kid feel loved, happy, exhausted — right in their element. What do you get out of this? You get to carry the stuff, shell out the money, and spill mustard on your shirt. But it's worth it.
While You are at Disneyland With Your Favorite Kid You Should…
Wear a Mickey Mouse hat and wink at Minnie Mouse; watch fireworks; attend a World of Color show; have a fake duel with a finger-pistol drawing against "Toy Story's" Woody, then clutch your heart and fall down. When someone leans over you gasp, "He got me," and then exhale and close your eyes.
12. Ride a Zip Line Over the Rainforest
Doesn't it look cool wearing shorts and gloves and having your butt strapped in while you hold on for dear life, zipping above the forest canopy like some futuristic sloth? Yee-ha! You're gonna scare a lot of monkeys and sweat off 20 pounds out of sheer fright, but you'll never forget it.
While Riding a Zip Line Over the Rainforest, You Should…
Hold on for dear life.
13. Swim With Dolphins
They smile, chirp, and protect you from sharks. What other friends can you say that about?
While Swimming With Dolphins You Should…
Remember to keep your head above water for the photo and do not get eaten by something that's not a dolphin.
14. Walk the Great Wall of China
Commonly said to be the only man-made structure you can see from space, the Great Wall is actually a series of different walls that measure to a total of about 5,500 miles. It was begun about 220 BC, although most of it was completed during the Ming Dynasty, which was a 276-year stretch from 1368 to 1644.
While Visiting the Great Wall of China, You Should…
Look off into the distance, squint, point, and yell, "Mongols! They're coming!"
15. See the Taj Mahal
This beautiful mausoleum is one of the greatest artistic accomplishments in history. It was built from 1632 to 1653 to honor the third wife of a Mughal (think Persian) emperor who died giving birth to their 14th child.
While at the Taj Mahal, You Must...
Take off your shoes.
What's on your list of adventures to do before you die? Please share in comments!