Want to escape your world of little boxes? From leaping into a fiery volcano to climbing the icy slopes of Norway, here are four ways to bring out the adventurer in you.
Once upon a time, man was a creature that hunted beasts several times his size and conquered whole mountains with only his wits and steely resolve. Today, his corporate descendant spends his time tethered to an office desk, stepping out only to drive home or fly overseas on a business tour. But every now and then, he feels a gentle tug of yearning at his heart - reminding him that a part of him is still an adventurer, a conqueror in the rawest sense of the term.
Adventure sports were probably born out of a need for providing a race steeped in decadence with an outlet to express its most basic of instincts - the need to pit itself against nature. Because thrilling as clambering up the corporate ladder may be, it can't help but pale before the rush you get from scaling a mountain face or plunging down a deep valley. Presenting the extremest of adventure sports, and the best places for indulging in them.
You stand on the ledge, the wind blowing against your face. Every instinct in your head tells you to close your eyes, begging in little screams to do anything but look at what lies in store for you below. You can chicken out, sure, but that won't look very good before your friends once you're back. Your bungee instructor grunts impatiently, and a few seconds later, you are dropping to the ground at 300 miles an hour - the wind howling against your ears. A word of advice: Don't look before you leap.
VILLARRICA VOLCANO, CHILE: While it's a known fact that bungee jumping isn't for the fainthearted, taking on Chile's Villarrica Volcano would make even the courageous stop for a rethink. A chopper lifts you 10,000 feet in the air before perching itself over the active volcano, located near Pucon. Suppose you jump (there's a good chance you may decide against it), the cord lets you drop till you are a measly 700 feet above the smouldering pool of molten lava. But wait, the experience does not end with the bungee jump. Even as you start breathing again, the chopper transports you to an airport 35 miles away - still dangling from the cord! Cost: $9,995, inclusive of lodging at Hotel del Lago Resort & Casino.
EIDFJORD, NORWAY: This ice-climbing Mecca was a secret to the world until recently, and even today, only a few routes up its icy slopes have actually been traversed. With ice routes up to 500 metres long and a stunning landscape of sea and mountains, Eidfjord titillates your finer sensibilities just as much as it brings out the adventurer in you. Its icefalls, on the other hand, are nothing short of a climber's dream - providing the perfect setting for the ultimate test of your courage and skills. While the pickaxe and rope are mandatory for taking on Eidfjord, don't forget to keep your wits around you too. Cost: 3,000 NOK per day, excluding climbing equipment, rental gear, lodging and travel insurance.
WHITE WATER RAFTING
GAANSBAI, SOUTH AFRICA: If you are a shark cage diving enthusiast, the best place to head to would be Gansbaai at South Africa's Shark Alley - a channel of water between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock. A place where you will face the darkest of aquatic fears, organisers ensure that you come within nudging distance of ravenous great whites. But if your nerves aren't willing, you could still get your fill of them through underwater telescopes. Or, you could simply sit back on the deck of a boat and keep an eye out for whales, penguins or the 60,000 fur seals inhabiting the area. Cost: Widely varies from agency to agency