Trips of a Lifetime

When compiling a list, you have to define the parameters. I didn't want a list of extreme trips that only a national geographic adventurer could accomplish. Furthermore, I wanted the trips to be unique and memorable. For example, bungee jumping may be memorable, but it is far from unique, as you can bungee jump pretty much anywhere in the world. Similarly, seeing the largest ball of yarn in the world may be unique, but for most people, it won't be very memorable. So if you need some ideas for your next trip of a lifetime, why not consider the 10 below?

1. Stay in a Buddhist Temple


Why staying at a Buddhist temple is a trip of a lifetime:
The Temples themselves are works of art and up to a thousand years old. Many are situated in breathtaking natural environments. Staying at one allows you to catch a glimpse of a simpler life, to examine your priorities and to maybe, just maybe, understand yourself and your place in the world, slightly better.
Various Temples in South Korea including some near Seoul.
How Long:
Between one to five days. Longer stays without program are also possible.
Cost of staying at a Buddhist Temple:
Between 70,000 and 100,000 KRW or 65 to 100 USD for two days. Airfare obviously not included.
Further Resources: (source of picture above)

2. Cruise the Antarctic Peninsula 

Why cruising the Antarctic Peninsula is a trip of a lifetime:
Solitude. Beauty. Untouched and pristine wilderness. A trip to the Antarctic will remind you that the earth was here long before humans and was doing just fine by itself, thank you very much. Plus, penguins! And nobody complains about penguins.
Most of the cruises depart from Ushuaia, Argentina commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world.
How Long:
Between 8 and 25 days.
Cost of cruising the Antarctic Peninsula:
Prices start around 5,000 USD from Quark adventures or 4,200 from Exodus. Airfare not included.
Further Resources:  (source of above photo)  

3. Scuba (or snorkel) the Blue Hole of Belize


Why scuba diving the Blue Hole of Belize is a trip of a lifetime:
The hole will you give you a sense of history, both human and natural. The Blue Hole of Belize was first made famous by Jacques Cousteau who named it one of the top diving spots in the world. The hole used to be a limestone cave that collapsed in on itself and flooded during the last ice age.
In Lighthouse reef, an atoll 42 miles off the coast of Belize.
How Long:
One day. Three dives are included.
Cost of scuba diving the Blue Hole of Belize:
330 USD for Scuba diving, 180 for snorkeling.
Further Resources: (source of above photo)

4. Hike to the Base of Everest

Everest Base Camp

Why hiking to the base of Mt. Everest is a trip of a lifetime:
"Because it's there", said George Malloy, one of the first British men who attempted to summit Everest, when asked why he wanted to climb the fabled peak. It seems that the siren of this mountain holds sway over many young men and women. To be near them, to feel their heat for only a second, may allow you to glimpse what makes someone want to climb a mountain simply because it's there.
The hike starts in Lukala, which can be reached by flight from Kathmandu.
How Long:
Around 20 days round trip.
Cost of hiking to the base of Everest:
Can vary significantly. A National Geographic tour costs around 5.000 USD. It is possible to do the trek without a guide, which would set your costs below 1000 USD as lodges can cost as low as 5 USD per night. Supposedly, you can find cheaper alternatives in tour costs once you reach Kathmandu, where an English guide costs around 40 to 60 USD a day.
Further Resources: (source of above picture)

5. Visit all Trappist BreweriesRochefort

Why visiting all Trappist Breweries is a trip of a lifetime:
Because of glorious monk beer straight from the tap. Sorry I don't have a better answer than that.
Belgium and the Netherlands. There are six Trappist breweries in Belgium: Westmalle, Orval, Chimay, Rochefort, Achel and the ever elusive Westvleteren. There is one Trappist brewery in the Netherlands, La Trappe, and one in Austria, Stift Engelszell.
How Long:
7 to 10 days depending on speed and drunkenness.
Cost of visiting all Trappist Breweries:
A 10 day tour with room and board will cost you about 3,000 USD for only Belgium and the Netherlands. If you decide to do the trips to the breweries on your own, the prices will be considerably less.
Further Resources:

6. Get up close and personal with Gorillas


Why seeing gorillas in the wild is a trip of a lifetime:
Jane Goodall said “If we kill off the wild, then we are killing a part of our souls.” Go see what affected her so profoundly. You probably won't become a conservationist, but you will gain a new respect for nature.
Uganda and Rawanda.
How Long:
2 days and up.
Cost of seeing gorillas in the wild:
Can vary significantly. Check around for respectable operators. A guide and accommodations for 3 days start around 500 USD per person. A permit is also needed and costs between 500 and 750 USD.
Further Resources:

7. Visit Interlaken Switzerland

Canyon Swing

Why visiting Interlaken is a trip of a lifetime:
Set in the storied Alps, Interlaken is an adrenaline junkies wet dream. You can go bungee jumping, skydiving, canyoning, ice climbing, paragliding, skiing, mountain climbing, mountain biking, white water rafting and canyon swinging (pictured). Contemplate your mortality in the most picturesque location imaginable.
Interlaken, Switzerland
How Long:
As long as you can take it.
Cost of visiting Interlaken:
Switzerland is expensive. Bungee jumping can cost up to 200 USD. Check around for the best price, but don't expect this trip to fall in the range of "budget" travel. Food and accommodations rank among the highest in Europe.
Further Resources: (source of picture above)

8. Stay in a tree hut in the Amazon

Juma Lodge

Why the Amazon is a trip of a lifetime:
I stayed at the Juma Lodge in Feb, 2012. Besides the activities of tree climbing, jungle hiking, crocodile spotting, piranha fishing, boating, visiting a tribal village and sloth holding, there is no internet and no cell phone coverage. How great a feeling it is to be so utterly cut off from the world.
Fly into Manaus, Brazil. From there, it's only a car ride, a boat ride, another car ride and then a final boat ride to get you to your final destination smack dab in the middle of the rain forest.
How Long:
Five days and four nights covers most of the activities that Juma Lodge has to offer.
Cost of staying in a tree lodge in the Amazon:
About 1500 USD for room and board. Tree climbing is extra.
Further Resources:

9. Bike or hike the St. James Way

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Spain tourism destinations

Why the St. James way is a trip of a lifetime:
Legend has it that St. James preached the gospel far and wide, even to the most western part of Spain. He was eventually tortured and killed (that seemed to happen a lot back in the day) and his body sent by boat back to Spain. Above his remains, the cathedral Santiago de Compostela was erected. Millions of pilgrims have made the trek across northern Spain (approximately 800 km) to visit his remains.
Starting in southern France, the Camino Francés route, reaches Santiago via the Pyrenees, Roncesvalles, Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos and León.
How Long:
1 to 2 weeks by Bike. 5 weeks or more hiking.
Cost of biking the St. James Way:
Accommodations on route are very reasonable (and very modest). You can find many hostels for around 5 to 10 euros. A bike can be rented for a couple of hundred euros for two weeks. A fairly modest adventure price-wise.
Further Resources: (source of picture above)
Source of picture above

10. Attend Carnival in Salvador


Why attending Carnival in Salvador is a trip of a lifetime
Much to do is made about carnival in Rio, but people in the know, know that Salvador is where the real party happens. Rio is great for samba schools and parades, but the real down and dirty partying happens here.
Salvador, Brazil. In 2014 Carnival in Brazil is from February 28th until March 4th.
How Long:
5 glorious days.
Cost of Carnival in Salvador:
Most people opt to buy tickets to a camarote, which is basically a party inside a building that is overlooking the street festival below. It's a lot safer and the cost, anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to over a thousand, keeps the riff raff out.

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