10 Transformative Adventures To Embark On This Year

Adventurous travelers are already planning how to spend their days off of work this year. Finding the best off the beaten path destinations and what to do once you get there requires time and research. Avoiding crowds has been a travel trend for years, and now people are taking tourism a step further.A new study by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) revealed that, more than any other motivating factor, adventure explorers are seeking out transformative experiences while on holiday. Simply put, people are looking for something different.

Track endangered black rhino

Explore the Sand Dunes of Sossusvlei, track the endangered black rhino on foot, and participate in traditional game drives in Etosha National Park, which is malaria-free. Visitors marvel at ethereal landscapes and wildlife roaming free there. The park's main characteristic is a salt pan so large it can be seen from space. This Adventure Life tour of Namibia also spends two nights walking the Tok Tokkie Trail and interacting with the isolated Himba people.

Train with Russian cosmonauts

On this exclusive Russian space tour offered by MIR Corporation, witness the manned launch of the Soyuz spacecraft, which is used to carry people and supplies to and from the International Space Station, and tour Russia's premier cosmonaut training facility where you can participate in optional cosmonaut training. You will feel what it's like to be on a Zero-G flight. The tour also includes experiencing the live Soyuz docking. You will walk alongside the Soyuz rocket during its rollout to the launch pad, next to the cosmonauts.

Hangout with mountain gorillas

Encounter some of the last remaining mountain gorillas in the world by trekking into the lush forests of Rwanda with Gondwana EcoTours. Track chimpanzees and the beautiful golden monkey, and keep an eye out for elephants and buffalo. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is the oldest national park in Africa. It is home to gorillas, monkeys, elephants, and buffaloes. After hanging out with the gorillas, check out the Musanze Caves and go on a hike to the Dian Fossey Toumb.

Visit isolated tribes of Ethiopia

Meet the unique and diverse cultures of Ethiopia's Omo Valley and learn about the rich traditions tribes there have maintained for centuries on a new tour from Adventure Life. On the Isolated Tribes of Ethiopia tour, see the fossilized remains of the early hominid "Lucy" and learn about the region's cultures in museums before traveling along long dirt roads to meet and interact with the Hamer, Mursi, Karo, Arbore and Konso people in their villages.

Bike from London to Rome

If you like to ride a bike and have a week of vacation time, drop all plans you have for relaxing and book a cycling tour in Europe. Ride & Seek has created a cycling tour of historical proportions, tracing the footsteps of Julius Caesar on a 33-day, 2,929 km (1,819 miles) journey from London to Rome. Crossing waterways, vine-clad hills and mountain passes, this is the only tour of its kind being offered today. Participants will never be the same.

Trek glaciers with climate change scientist

Big Chill Adventures offers an opportunity to explore the southern part of Iceland, known for its glaciers, icebergs, and black sand beaches. Highlights include dogsledding, trekking glaciers, snowmobiling, spelunking, and soaking in geothermal hot springs. Did you know that the Silfra Fissure is one of the world's best dive sites because it's actually a crack between the North American and Eurasian continents? It is the only place where you can dive or snorkel right where the continental plates meet and drift apart about less than an inch per year.

Sip tea with Mongolian Nomads

Explore the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, on this incredible journey offered by MIR Corporation. Then fly to the red sands of the Gobi Desert to celebrate the Naadam Festival with parades and sporting competitions such as archery, horse riding, and wrestling, which is a proud national sport. It has well been exercised in the territory of Mongolia for over 7,000 years. These three sports are the core of the festival and are combined with elements of arts, such as singing, dancing, and performing.

Road trip across America

Exploring the iconic Route 66 by car is often described as a rite of passage for every American. Traveling along the legendary 2,400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica is one of the craziest adventures you can do. Many places still keep the original two-lane highway. Along the way you'll also find stunning panoramascharming towns, rocky cliffs, and beautiful deserts and parks. But this is not the only road that will take your breath away. The opportunities for adventure and discovery are nearly endless. Some underrated road trips include through Western Canada, from California to Montana, the Highway 61 Blues Trail, the Historic Oregon Trail, and the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway.

Run the Kilimanjaro Marathon

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world and the highest peak on the African continent at 19,340 feet. A lot of people think that this famous summit is difficult, probably because it's well-known. But the reality is different. It's not that technically difficult; it just takes long because people take it slow due to the elevation. Running the Kilimanjaro Marathon is an adventure in itself –you will be gaining about 26,000 feet in altitude.

See the 7 new wonders of the world

The official New 7 Wonders of the World have been elected by more than 100 million votes to represent global heritage throughout history. They are Great Wall of China, Christ the Redeemer in Rio, Taj Mahal in India, Machu Picchu in Peru, Chichen Itza in Mexico, the Colosseum in Rome, and Petra in Jordan. If you are fit, and you dare, try running the Great Wall Half Marathon, one of the most difficult in the world. Petra is a place you should absolutely add to your bucket list. The prehistoric city was "lost" for centuries.