6 Reasons Why You Should Embark on an Outdoor Adventure
Put away your travel guides and pack your hiking boots and watersports gear – it’s all about signing up for adrenaline-pumping sports activities and embracing beauty of Mother Nature
For most of us, being on vacation involves lounging by the pool in a sumptuous island resort, or spoiling ourselves with exotic cuisine and shopping indulgences, but for these avid outdoors lovers, jet-setting abroad are times for them to engage in thrilling sports activities and to explore the natural wonders like nobody has before.
Mention ‘outdoor adventures’ and you’ll probably visualise scenes of people camping out in the pounding wind and deluging rain, or rock-climbing at the edge of some rocky and steep mountains. The unpredictable climate and challenges aside, these trips are often one in a lifetime experiences that allow globe-trekkers to breathe in the beauty of the secret hideaways in foreign lands, stimulate your senses and create stronger bonds with their loved ones.
Thanks to Beverly Cheng, Senior Deputy Editor of our sister publication Home Journal and Mira Yeh, noted socialite and devoted outdoors adventurer, we will have a better idea in what to expect for these outdoors trips abroad.
Immerse amidst the unique beauty of a destination
“When I was growing up, I never hesitated to hop on a plane destined for a cosmopolitan capital to explore the local shopping, dining and nightlife scenes. But since moving to Hong Kong, my priorities have shifted and I’ve learnt to appreciate nature, favouring places where I have space to stretch out and be absorbed by the stillness of silence,” says Cheng.
Her participation in the Tokyo Marathon earlier this year has made her realized that running a marathon is one of the best ways of seeing a city. “The streets are completely cleared of traffic, the race course winds through the best touristy spots, plus there are millions of locals cheering you on!” remarks Cheng.
Get in touch with nature
For those of us who live in a concrete jungle like Hong Kong, getting close to nature often involves a quick visit to the Tamar park or a weekend trip in Lamma Island. So next time when you’re planning a trip abroad, consider connecting with the Mother Nature by hiking against spectacular natural backdrop with good company.
“There’s something about being in the great outdoors that restores a deeper sense of calmness and inner tranquility in me,” remarks Cheng. “The sudden appreciation for nature and sports was born out of searching for a more meaningful way of travelling – and I’m still genuinely surprised every time I strap on my running shoes or hiking boots and head outdoors,” says Cheng.
Growing up, Cheng wasn’t an outdoorsy or sporty person, but her move to Hong Kong and the encouragement of her athletic husband has transformed Cheng into a dedicated hiker and marathon runner.
A digital detox
Imagine what’s like to not snap away during your travels and upload your carefully filtered photos on Instagram every few hours? You will be surprised by the healing power of unplugging and appreciating the outdoors – think relaxed muscles, better sleeping quality and energised body and mind.
“When I’m outdoors, I forget about everyday stress. I take note of small details, such as the sound of rustling leaves or the colours of the sky at dusk… It sounds so cliché, but that’s probably because nature is instinctively beautiful to us all,” underlines Cheng.
For Yeh, a watersports devotee, believe that these experiences help to rejuvenate her mind, body and soul, as well as keeping her energised and motivated. “I love the freedom when embarking on these outdoor journeys, and more extreme sports such as wake-surfing and snowboarding offers me a good adrenalin rush,” adds Yeh.
Push your limits
Outdoor escapades are also great ways for us to challenge ourselves and face the unknown – be it swimming among the sharks or mountain biking. “I always have a fear of heights and snowboarding teaches me how to be counter intuitive, face my fear and get rid of it,” highlights Yeh.
Despite having experienced numerous accidents while participating in sports previously, including having dislocated both shoulders from snowboarding and having broken six ribs from car racing, Yeh continues to be courageous when it comes to extreme sports.
For those who yearn to participate in long-distance running and trek along majestic landscapes, unpredictable weather often serves as the biggest challenge. Cheng recommends runners to wear a cap to keep their head warm and dry during long-distance running. For hikers, foolproof tips include keeping their gear light, dressing in breathable materials and packing some ziplock bags to keep the valuables and food items dry.
If you are looking for more than a city escape in London or a beach escape in Bali, chances are you are in desire for truly remarkable experiences that these conventional trips don’t deliver.
“One memorable moment was seeing the sunrise along the French Riviera as my husband and I were walking towards the start line of our first relay half marathon in Nice. Seeing the sunrise over thousands of runners gathered by the seaside at dawn uplifted our spirits and settled our nerves; it’s a scene I’ll never forget!” remarks Cheng.
Yeh, on the other hand, had experienced a rather traumatic experience during her skiing trip at Tyax, Canada. “The helicopter that flew out before ours was caught in a sudden draft upon landing, it hit a boulder and was shattered into three parts. I witnessed this whole accident right in front of our eyes,” recalls Yeh.
Create special bonds with your loved ones
While going on a solo adventure has always been on our wish list, nothing beats sharing an experience in the outdoors with that special someone. Aside from benefiting from the healing powers that the great outdoors gives us, you will also create long lasting memories that bring you closer with those you care about.
“My husband is my partner of choice when it comes to super-sporty activities – he’s always been an amazing supporter and coach. He’s the one who first motivated me to complete a 5km run and pushes me to challenge myself regularly,” highlights Cheng. “Yet, he’s also the first familiar face I see at the finish line with a bottle of champagne in hand to celebrate!”