The top of Mount Kilimanjaro // © 2017 iStock
Feature image (above): Participants expressed interest in visiting the Maldives, which is threatened by the repercussions of climate change. // © 2017 iStock
Personal memories and learning experiences were among the topics discussed during TravelAge West’s recent Explorer takeover of #TWChats. The lively one-hour Twitter chat was led by Mindy Poder, Executive Editor for TravelAge West; Valerie Chen, Senior Editor for TravelAge West; Johanna Jainchill, News Editor for Travel Weekly; and Carrie Finley-Bajak, a contributing writer for Travel Weekly.
Co-hosts of the chat included Abercrombie & Kent (A&K); Access Trips; Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA); Afar Magazine; Backroads; Chez Chesak, executive director for Family Travel Association; Covington Travel; Fathom Travel; G Adventures; Lindblad Expeditions; Valerie Wilson Travel; and Travel Alaska.
The chat kicked off at noon PST with TravelAge West asking folks to describe examples of adventure travel.
Many replied that the idea of adventure travel is different for each person.
James Rodriguez, executive vice president of Oceania Cruises, answered, “Adventure travel doesn’t always imply physical. Adventure is somewhere I’ve never been and is experiential.”
The second question asked how adventure trips can lead to personal growth.
“Adventure travel pushes you to take on new challenges and overcome your fears,” Contiki replied.
Others emphasized the importance of connecting and getting to know other cultures.
“You grow by challenging yourself mentally and physically, and by connecting with new people and a different way of life,” G Adventures tweeted.
The next question asked participants to reveal their favorite adventure travel achievement.
Pamela Lassers, director of media relations for A&K, shared her experience of climbing Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro, while travel writer Tiffany Dowd talked about her swim atop Victoria Falls and described it as “not for the faint of heart.”
G Adventures then asked for examples of skills mastered on an adventure trip.
Casey Hanisko of ATTA described overcoming her fear of heights by jumping off a waterfall in Mexico and canyon swimming in Switzerland.
Others mentioned their ability to reach out to strangers. TravelAge West contributor Meagan Drillinger shared that she “used to be very introverted. Nothing like shared discomfort to bring people together.”
The chat continued with a question asking what animal would they travel to see in its natural habitat.
Many responses consisted of penguins and endangered animals.
Covington Travel replied that “seeing gorillas is high on my bucket list. And polar bears.”
Valerie Wilson Travel also added elephants in the African savanna to its list.
The sixth question asked what threatened destination people would like to visit within the next year, which has become an emerging travel trend, according to Virtuoso talent agents.
Fathom Travel, like many other participants, said it would “love to see the Amazon rainforest by boat, to see one of the most amazing ecosystems in the world.”
Others chose destinations that contain endangered species, including AmaWaterways, which answered that they “love visiting the penguins of Boulders Beach in South Africa, who are sadly an endangered species.”
Many users also expressed an interest in Cuba, saying that although the destination isn’t considered threatened by global warming such as Greenland or the Maldives, they would like to visit it before it gets overrun by tourists.
The chat switched gears with the next question, which asked participants to describe their favorite way to experience the mountains.
Valerie Chen, Senior Editor for TravelAge West, attached a photo of herself in Peru and said her favorite way to experience the mountains “is to hike/walk/skip/dance through it — whatever it takes to relish in its beauty.”
Others participants picked specific destinations with great mountain experiences. Travel writer Laura Powell picked the Swiss Alps, while Backroads Travel chose hut-to-hut hiking in the Dolomites mountain range in Italy.
Participants were then asked to use their imagination to think up their dream expedition cruise.
Travel Weekly News Editor Johanna Jainchill expressed her desire to cruise through the Northwest Passage, a sea route that travels through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
But perhaps the most popular destination amongst chatters was a cruise through Antarctica, with a chance to see the white-capped landscape and wildlife.
The next question had people jog their memory by tweeting the most adventurous food they’ve eaten while traveling.
Contiki and ATTA discussed experiences with bugs and scorpions, while writer Sarah Feldberg talked about the time she tasted snake-infused rice wine in Vietnam.
Alaska Travel took a different spin to the question by tweeting a picture of a couple holding a salmon with the caption, “Is there anything more adventurous than catching your own dinner?”
Similarly, Guana Island tweeted, “Spiny lobster — the adventure is in catching them for yourself.”
The chat concluded with the question: “How can a trip be both luxurious and adventurous at the same time?”
Travel blogger Lauren Marinigh replied with, “You can stay at nice places, eat fancy food but still opt into different adventures/experiences.”
Many agreed with Marinigh, saying that travelers have opportunities to relax at resorts after a full day of exploring, combining luxury and travel into one.
A&K believes that the quality of those experiences can also be luxurious.
“Also rethink the definition of luxury. Not just thread count, but insider access to authentic local experiences,” A&K tweeted.