If you’ve spent hours daydreaming out your office window, dreaming of endless open roads and ceaseless adventure, there’s a simple solution: Pack up and go. Few things are more humbling or magical than traveling—we mean that both metaphorically and physically—out of your comfort zone. So immediately adhere to step one: Begin filling your life with experiences that beggar belief. Steps two, three, and beyond will follow. To get started, here are 15 life-changing ideas.
1. Live In A Foreign Country
Traveling is all well and good, but sticking around in a foreign country for a while is even more adventurous and advantageous, as you master the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Everywhere you go, people will hear your funny accent and want to start a conversation with you. It’s a fast track to meeting people and feeling more interesting and exotic than you could’ve imagined if you never left these shores.
2. See the Northern Lights
It’s way more far out than a laser show, even without the Pink Floyd soundtrack. The Aurora Borealis—which you may know as the Northern Lights—can be seen between 65 and 72 degrees latitude, meaning that, on a clear night, you can see the colorful curtains created by solar particles colliding with atmospheric gases in a number of countries: Scandinavia, Finland, Iceland, Scotland, Greenland, Russia, Canada, and Alaska (yes, technically not a country) among them.
3. Drive On The Autobahn
The fastest you can legally drive on a U.S. highway is on a 41-mile stretch of toll road between San Antonio and Austin, Texas. There, you can open her up to 85 mph without worrying about getting pulled over. The thing is, there are plenty of cars in the U.S. capable of hitting almost twice that speed. Next time you’re in Germany, rent yourself a 2017 Audi R8—the fastest series production Audi of all time—and head to the autobahn, where ordinarily there are no speed limits, and take it to the max: A scorching 200.7mph.
4. Trek the Inca Trail
The Incan empire was the largest in pre-Columbian America. Networks of paths were a vital part of keeping the empire together and strong. The most famous Inca trail path is known simply as ‘The Inca Trail Trek’, the royal route to Machu Picchu. Traveling a little over the distance of a marathon over four days is made challenging by both steep inclines and high altitude. You’ll cross three high passes and encounter several ancient sites, ending at the famous Lost City of the Incas.
5. Go To A Nude Beach
It’s not exactly skydiving, but being naked in the warm sunshine can be almost as exhilarating and nowhere near as dangerous. Revel in the initial cognitive dissonance, then soak up the sun like you never have before.
6. Experience Zero Gravity
Get on one of those flights or machines that simulates zero gravity. It’ll cost around five grand. Are there more practical ways to spend $5,000? Yes. Are there more fun ways? Sure. Are there more fun legal ways? Not really.
7. Catch 100 lbs of Pacific Salmon
One of British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii Islands, Langara Island is said to have some of the world’s best salmon fishing. After you arrive via helicopter at the opulent lodge, experienced guides will help you haul up giant fish. There’s so much salmon here that other salmon hunters like orcas, sea lions and salmon sharks won’t mind. Once you’ve reeled in your catch, it gets flash-frozen on site.
8. Sleep Under The Stars
The cheapest, most effective way to gain some perspective on your place in the universe is to get someplace dark on a clear summer night and look skyward. Breathe in the air and listen to a cacophony of hundreds of other lifeforms within a few steps of where you lay.
9. Hike the Appalachian Trail
The American colonies and the early U.S. were bordered by the Atlantic to the east and the Appalachian Mountains to the west. Back then, it hampered the young nation’s expansion; now the Appalachian Trail invites people to trek its 2,200-mile length. It’s an adventure that will take you between five and seven months to complete.
10. Party at North Korea’s Only Nightclub
Until a few years ago, the only music you’d hear at Pyongyang’s only nightclub was a CD of trance music from 1993 played on a continuous loop. Things have improved somewhat since then, but you can bet your bottom imperialist dollar that getting down with the Pyongyang party people are still going to be a pretty adventurous experience.
11. Experience The Hottest And Coldest Climates On Earth
The hottest: 134 degrees Fahrenheit in Iran’s Lut Desert. The coldest: -128 Fahrenheit at Vostok Station in Antarctica. That’s a huge amount of variation on a planet you could circumnavigate in just over two weeks of driving 70 miles per hour. Experiencing the extremes of our world is a great way to gain a perspective on this wondrous, varied blue marble in the limited time you’re walking around on its surface.
12. Have a Threesome
Whether you’re one-half of an existing couple—or a “unicorn,” meaning an unattached playmate—having a threesome can be a lot of fun in the moment and an experience you’ll remember for years to come. But it’s not just about the ol’ in-and-out—if you’re the instigator of a ménage-a-trois, it can be an opportunity to sharpen your ability to bring people together to do something a little out of the ordinary, to manage the thoughts, feelings, concerns, and expectations of other people—and to learn a lot about yourself in the process.
13. Go On An African Safari
Sure, you’ll see elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, giraffes, hyenas, gazelles, etc. But even if you’re from Dubuque, Poughkeepsie or Paducah, you’ll feel an eerie sense of homecoming on the savanna. Sub-Saharan Africa is where modern humans got our start, and to experience the landscape, flora and fauna that would be recognizable to our ancient forebears will instill a sense of awe and wonder in you.
14. Have Sex Al Fresco
Is it illegal? Well, if someone sees you, and depending on the place, you could certainly get into some hot water. So pick a secluded spot when you’re traipsing through the woods. Swim out to a depth of four feet in a lake or a cove. Give yourself the experience of doing a very natural thing in a very natural setting.
15. Ride A Horse
For thousands of years, riding on horseback was about as fast as any human being could travel, save for falling off a cliff. Saddle up, take a ride and experience what until 200 years ago was the last word in rapid transit.