If you’ve watched the Amazing Race, you’ll have a pretty good idea what it takes to win a travel challenge. But a Large Minority adventure travel challenge isn’t quite the same. There’s no annoying presenter for one thing. And you don’t need to be some sort of ass-kicking Indiana Jones-type Super Traveler to stand a chance. In fact we find it’s often the quiet achievers who do the best. The ones who smile, wipe the mud off their face, and just get shit done. Good advice for life in general.
Want to know what it takes to win? Here’s our ultimate adventure challenge guide.
To win a travel challenge you’ve gotta be clever, original and inventive. Picture it: you’re driving your own tuk tuk through the highland tea plantations of Kandy, Sri Lanka. You’ve got a map, a compass and enough Sinhala to say ‘More coconut curry, please.’ There’s no tour guide or chauffeur within 50 miles. How are you going to get from A to B? Ask strangers for help? Show off your pro map-reading skills? (No Google here.) The trick is to stop, breathe and think your way out of the problem. There aren’t many times in ‘real life’ when you have to rely on ingenuity. The internet kind of does it for you. But when you’re on a dusty road in the middle of nowhere, ingenuity is all you’ve got. Pack plenty.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an Olympic gymnast or an NFL quarterback (but being either of those probably won’t hurt). But when you’re competing in an ‘indigenous Olympics’ deep in the Colombian Amazon Rainforest, some mad blowpipe skillz will not go astray. On our Amazon charity challenge you’ll compete in a bunch of physical activities. The ones they don’t teach you in Junior Athletics. Think bow and arrows, blowpipe shooting, river kayaking and fishing for flesh-easting piranhas. They’re a bit like the challenges on Survivor, except no-one’s getting an immunity idol or a stern lecture from George Probst at the end of it. Score.
For most of our adventure travel challenges, you’ll be in a team of two or three people. It’s a good size. Small but powerful, like a Sri Lankan chilli. And if you want to win, you’ll have to learn to work together. And that doesn’t mean you have to think, act and work the same. Often the teams that ace our Philippines sailing challenge are the ones with different skill sets, different strengths and weaknesses. It helps if these weaknesses don’t include sea sickness, but still. Is one of you fiery and confident? The other cool-headed and calm? Good. The confident one can skipper your Paraw, climb trees to get coconuts and scream defiance at the elements like Lieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump. The calm one can navigate and plan dinner. Win/win.
All of our adventure travel challenges are designed to give back to the communities we visit. It’s why we do what we do (well, that and fun. Fun’s pretty cool.) So when you’re travelling, remember: a little humility goes a long way. Some wise old guy probably once said, ‘It’s only by accepting our limitations that we can find our strengths.’ So don’t be a know-it-all. Don’t assume you have all the answers. And if a local offers you some advice, listen. They know they’re stuff. Be respectful too. You’re travelling through seaside towns in Cambodia and little villages in Sri Lanka. These places don’t have much, but what they have they share. Go into these challenges with a bit of humility, and you’ll get more out of them. We guarantee it.
Travel is a great teacher, and one lesson we’ve learnt (apart from always carrying some spare Immodium) is that a smile solves most problems. Tuk tuk break down outside Siem Reap? Smile. You’re on holiday. Monsoon rains blow in outside Santa Fe in the Philippines? Smile. You’re sailing in the freaking Philippines! Experienced travellers know that patience is a big virtue on the road. It wouldn’t be a challenge if it didn’t test your patience and your resolve. So when you’re being bitten by Amazonian mosquitoes near the Isla Corea and thinking wistfully of Netflix and your couch back home, just smile. You’ll feel better. Promise.