Riding the Hulahula

If you are looking for some inspiration for a great adventure trip, then check out Riding the Hulahula to the Arctic Ocean: A Guide to Fifty Extraordinary Adventures for the Seasoned Traveler, by Don Mankin and Shannon Stowell (National Geographic). It covers some great destinations, making you want to quit your job and start travelling (although one needs the paycheque to pay for it all).

Vancouver named among top adventure cities in the world

The new Adventure Trip e-zine just ranked Vancouver as #3 among top adventure cities in the world, behind Kathmandu and Arusha. Their description of Vancouver:

Vancouver sits at the confluence of the Strait of Georgia, the Fraser River, and the Coastal Mountains in British Columbia Canada. It’s close proximity to those natural resources make it a paradise for outdoor nuts. Few other cities in the world can boast such close proximity to an ocean, rivers, lakes, and mountains, affording residents and visitors great hiking, backpacking, kayaking, climbing, and just about any other outdoor activity you can think of. Great skiing is a short drive away to the North Shore, and the same region offers unrivaled mountain biking in the warmer months. Speaking of which, the relatively mild temperatures make for warmer winters and cooler summers meaning that the outdoor paradise accessible year round.

Via Besthike.

Trekking guide for Bhutan

My friend Bart Jordans has just published the second edition of his excellent guide to trekking in Bhutan: Bhutan, a Trekker’s Guide. This comprehensive book is the only guide dedicated to trekking in Bhutan. It covers all the major treks, including the famous snowman trek, often said to be one of the world’s most difficult treks.

For additional information on trekking in Bhutan, check out Bart’s Bhutan Treks website, or my site on hiking and trekking in Bhutan.

Luxury expedition ship coming to Labrador

The first ultra luxury expedition ship, the Prince Albert II, has just taken on its first passengers in London. Think marble-floored bathrooms, private balconies, a library, and to top it off, The Humidor, where connoisseurs can enjoy the finest cigars and cognacs.

It will take a cruise of Labrador this summer, including a visit to Torngat Mountains National Park, adding to the number of small cruise ships already exploring the Labrador coast. It will be a luxury cruise, for sure, but nowhere as authentic as a trip on the local Northern Ranger! Hmm, cigars or hanging out with the locals? I’ll hang out with the locals!

Northern Ranger schedule for 2008

The Northern Ranger is back on its northern Labrador route for the summer. The schedule is available from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador website.

Myra canyon trestles reopening

Four years after the disastrous Okanagan wildfires destroyed the historic trestles in the Myra Canyon on the 455 km long Kettle Valley Rail trail, they are about to reopen. All trestles have been restored to historic specifications. The reopening celebrations are June 22.

Travel trends

Travel trends are continually changing, but here are some trends that are currently “hot”:

Staycations – don’t travel, but be a tourist in your own town, either based out of your own home, or staying in a local hotel.

Slow travel – take your time when travelling. Take a train, explore an area in depth, or take a relaxing trans-Atlantic cruise instead of that cramped trans-atlantic cattle-class flight.

Bespoke trips – really a fancy word for customized or individual trips. These are out-of-the ordinary trips for people who have done it all. See Butterfield and Robinson’s bespoke travel section.

Galcations and Mancations – Actually, the father and son fishing trips are no longer in, but apparently, holidaying with the guys is. And women-only travel (Galcations – remember, you saw the term here first!) is all the rage. See a good sample of gal-only getaways in PureCanada.

Responsible/sustainable tourism – tourism that takes into account the social and environmental preservation of an area, and is economically viable. The Trails, tales, and tunes festival in Norris Point NL is a good example of a sustainable tourism experience – taking both cultural and environmental conservation into account, and providing economic benefits to a small community outside of the regular tourist season.

Field to table tourism/locavores – local, fresh, organic foods, preferably harvested by the customer, and either cooked for you or, better yet, you learn to cook yourself from a master chef. Learn about the origins of your food, and appreciate the art of cooking with fresh ingredients. The Vancouver-based 100 mile diet sparked an entire revolution. Read about a great Canadian example – Good Earth cooking school.

Voluntourism – people no longer want to just fly and flop (fly to a resort and flop on the beach), they want to create meaningful holiday experiences. What better way than to volunteer somewhere while learning about a new culture? Earthwatch and i-to-i travel are among the best known. In Canada, go study whales in the Mingan archipelago.

Deep authenticity -  people have been demanding real, authenthic experiences for a while now, so the newest trend is deep authenticity. Go live like a local in a small village, and learn from the neighbours. CapeRace adventures in Newfoundland is a perfect example.

Trails, Tales and Tunes festival

Kitchen party at trails tales and tunes festivalCanada is blessed with a lot of excellent mainstream events, but it is not often that one comes across a new, small, local event as authentic as the Trails, Tales, and Tunes festival in Norris Point, Newfoundland and Labrador. This ten-day festival, in its second year this year, showcases local talent in nightly concerts, outdoor performances, and of course, kitchen parties. To round it out, there are interpretive walks, and even a traditional jiggs dinner.

The talent at this year’s concerts was amazing, but the best part were the kitchen parties. Here various artists got together in impromptu jam-sessions. Even the organizers agreed that the 1AM session in a local pub (pictured) featuring Daniel Payne and Bernard Felix was probably the best jam session they’d ever heard. BTW, Bernard is one of the world’s top accordion players.

If you are anywhere close to Gros Morne in May, then don’t miss next year’s installment, May 15-24.