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Climbing Kilimanjaro Through New Eyes

kilimanjaro peak

Images and text by Mark Whitman

Climbing Kilimanjaro is definitely an adventure, but I’ve never personally looked at it that way.

Thousands flock to Tanzania every year with the sole purpose of attempting to reach what many colloquially call the Roof of Africa. Standing at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters), Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain on the African continent and the tallest non-massif (free-standing) mountain in the world.

The mountain’s popularity among hikers can be attributed to its Seven Summit status and the fact that it’s a non-technical climb. This means that anyone at (nearly) any age can climb Kilimanjaro. Fitness and physical ability are also more flexible than on many other climbs. Canadian couple Esther and Martin Kafer reached the summit at the ripe old ages of 84 and 85, while armless and legless Kyle Maynard crawled to the top of Kilimanjaro unassisted in 2012.

Compared to these extraordinary feats, I’ve never felt that my young, able-bodied experiences on Kilimanjaro were very adventurous.

It then dawned on me, recently, that I had indeed been part of a Kilimanjaro experience similar to those described above.

My first experience on Kilimanjaro was with a childhood mate who had suffered from partial sightedness for most of his life. Continue Reading →

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21 Amazing Photos of a Puerto Vallarta Adventure

In June, 2014 I went on an Puerto Vallarta adventure tour run by Vallarta Adventures. I’m always wary of ‘adventure tours’ because they’re usually too tame for my taste. This tour, called the Sea Safari, wasn’t exactly adrenaline-inducing, but is was probably the most fun I had on the entire trip.

A tour guide always plays a big role in making a good experience, and ours was fantastic. I was also very impressed by how socially and environmentally responsible the trip was.

Puerto Vallarta Adventure Tour

Continue Reading →

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Scuba Diving the Similan Islands in Thailand

I’m surrounded by a deep blue haze.  Small locals this region of the world of varying shades of yellow, black, and blue pass by, seeming not to notice me.  I take a deep breath in, and blow bubbles back out.  Looking up, I can see the surface of the water from down below. I’m a traveler in a new land: scuba diving the Similan Islands in Thailand. Looking back over my 6 days, having completed 18 dives from a live-aboard boat sailing through some of the most beautiful islands this world has to offer, I was privy to quite a few amazing sights.

As a traveler, these are the types of experiences we grow to crave.

The Night Dive

I turned around in the water and saw my other two dive buddies, clearly thinking the same thing I was – I want to see the white glitter! Continue Reading →

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The Top Five Family Adventures for 2012

Most people enjoy a good adventure. Not everyone, however, thinks that they are capable of embarking on one.  When most people think of adventure travel an image of a single unshaven man in the jungle with a machete (or a fedora and a whip) comes to mind. Conversely, the term “family travel” conjures images of  all inclusive vacations to theme parks like Universal Studios and Disney World where adventure is simulated by tricking the senses with complex machines that actually employ intricate safety measures. Continue Reading →

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