10 Extreme Things (That Aren’t Space Jumps) to Do on Vacation3 min read
Daredevil skydiver Felix Baumgartner recently captivated the world with his 24-mile leap from the edge of space to a nice soft landing in the New Mexico desert. During his leap into history, Baumgartner reached speeds of 834 miles an hour.
In honor of Fearless Felix, here are 10 extreme things you can do as you travel the globe – we promise that none of these are quite as adrenalin-inducing as Baumgartner’s space jump.
- Climb Mt. Everest. Why? Because it’s there. Of course, it’s positively wimpy compared to Baumgartner’s space jump. Felix was 128,000 feet in the air; Everest is a mere 29,029 feet above sea level. On the other hand, he was done in four-and-a-half minutes, while climbing Mt. Everest takes days and can subject you to hurricane-force winds and below zero temperatures. If you do go, you better train for the physicality of it, and you better pack the right stuff.
- Go volcano-climbing in Guatemala. From freezing cold to boiling hot. Imagine waking amidst pools of 300-degree lava! Guatemala’s Pacaya Volcano is an active volcano that just might erupt at any minute. And it isn’t too tough a hike; you can be at the peak within two hours of setting out from the base.
- Shark Diving in South Africa. You can go nose-to-nose with a Great White shark at a place they call Shark Alley in South Africa. Obviously, you’ll be swimming in a shark-proof cage … but you’ll probably feel rather exposed when these curious killing machines come over to check you out.
- Drag Racing in Australia. It doesn’t last long, but it’s exhilarating. Check out the Willowbank Raceway in Queensland, where the drag racing school will put you in a high-powered rocketship with wheels … but only after giving you some safety instructions.
- Run with the bulls in Spain. Every July, the famous mad dash through the streets of Pamplona takes place. See if you can stay in front of those two-ton animals with razor-sharp horns.
- Spelunking in New Zealand. The caves of New Zealand are amazing, filled with cliffs and twisting passageways and even underground rapids. You’ll get to climb, rappel and do some underground tubing.
- Dogsledding along the Arctic Circle. Mush! Drive a team of dogs across Sweden and Lapland, and then relax in a warm cabin after a hard day’s work.
- Take a helicopter safari. What’s better than a safari in the African Savannah, getting a close-up view of lions and tigers and zebras? Hovering over them with an experienced chopper pilot.
- A camel safari across the Sahara. Northern Africa can be unforgiving, and we’re not talking about politics. Imagine a two-week trek across the desert on camelback, where the daytime temperature routinely gets above 110 degrees and there’s no shade in sight.
- Space training in Russia’s Hydrolab. If you’re really infatuated with Baumgartner’s jump, this might be the next best thing – at least you can pretend you’re in outer space. This is the same underwater training center used by cosmonauts to prepare for spacewalks. They’ll put you in an authentic Orlan Space Suit, and you can hum David Bowie’s Space Oddity to yourself.