For many people, the process of booking or looking for airline tickets is an opportunity to dream of heading out to new places and exploring new destinations. Every year, lots of people look beyond the most common flight destinations in an effort to find places that can give them a different view of life, a taste of a different culture, or an adventure in a different sort of environment. Even some easy-to-reach destinations retain the sense of excitement for travelers who want to explore somewhere fresh.
1. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands have a rich history when it comes to exploration. The islands are well known as the inspiration for much of the work of Charles Darwin, as his theory of natural selection was based on a study of the island’s wildlife. Travelers today can still get a feeling of exploring the unknown, amid the unique environment of the islands. Adventures in hiking, biking, and sailing are all possible, and visitors should bring suitable gear for these. For people with a taste for natural history, nature conservation volunteering is also a possibility on the islands.
2. Easter Island, Chile
Although Easter Island has opened up increasingly to visitors, the remote and unique nature of the island and its enigmatic history still offer plenty of possibilities for exploration. Even though the island is small, there are a number of hiking routes on which explore the statues or the volcanoes. Frequently visited spots such as the hillside on which the statues were carved still also retain a sense of wonder. The island’s location in the south Atlantic means that the weather can change rapidly, so all-weather clothing is necessary.
3. Samaipata, Bolivia
As a small, land-locked country of incredibly rugged terrain, Bolivia is almost an archetype of a country calling out to be explored. The ancient history of the Inca and pre-Inca periods adds to the sense of exploration that is possible in the country, and one of the places to head for in this respect is Samaipata, in the south-east of the country. Here, the site of El Fuerte is much revered for its alleged mystical energy. The high altitude means that some warm clothing is essential.
4. Thimphu, Bhutan
As a country, Bhutan has not succumbed to mass tourism as much as many others, and the Buddhist traditions encourage visitors to explore themselves as much as their surroundings. The capital, Thimphu, surrounded by steep hillsides and home to many monks, bedecked in crimson robes, is a good place to start. It is not a cheap destination, and a good amount of currency is needed.
5. Alice Springs, Australia
Much of Australia has become almost permanently inhabited by explorers and backpackers. There is still something special about the heart of the Outback, though, and Alice Springs is an ideal base for visiting the remarkable landscape at Uluru and exploring the local Aboriginal culture. Plenty of sunscreen is needed, along with a bottle of water and a hat for any trip outdoors.