10 Reasons to Get Out There (And Out of Your Comfort Zone)

Deborah Huso
Sep 13 · 4 min read

When was the last time you drove a Jeep 30 miles down a dirt road to find a spectacular hiking trail to a spectacular view only a handful of intrepid travelers ever see? And when was the last time you visited a remote country where you didn’t speak the language and no one spoke yours?

Don’t think you’re brave enough? Here are 10 reasons you should be…and what you need to do to get out there:

  1. Theth, Albania
View of the Albanian Alps in Theth

Getting there: Fly into Tirana, Albanai, hire or rent a car to Shkoder, and then take a rocking 4WD road to Theth, OR take a ferry to the town of Valbona, and hike eight hours over the Albanian Alps via the Valbona Pass.

2. Bunting Trail, Kanab, Utah, United States

Sunset from the top of the Vermilion Cliffs

Getting there: Drive to the small town of Kanab (once upon a time the most isolated town in the United States), travel through an unlikely local neighborhood to the trailhead, and take an often poorly marked two-mile trek and semi-rock scramble 1,000 feet up the Vermilion Cliffs.

3. Jackson Lake, Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming, United States

Kayaking beneath Mt. Moran in the Grand Tetons

Getting there: Take the turbulent, heart-in-your-throat flight over the Grand Tetons into Jackson Hole, arrange a kayaking trip with a local outfitter, and spend several days paddling around the lake and camping with the elk and grizzly bears.

4. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Exploring the Great Barrier Reef

Getting there: Fly into Cairns, Australia, and arrange a boat trip out to one of many diving and snorkeling areas on the Great Barrier Reef, which is anywhere from 16 to 160 km off the coast of Queensland.

5. Routeburn Track, South Island, New Zealand

Views of the Southern Alps along the Routeburn Track

Getting there: Fly into Queenstown, and find your entrance to this one of many Great Walks at Glenorchy. It’s a 32-km hike, and you’ll need to arrange for a permit many months in advance to camp overnight.

6. Espanola Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Blue-footed booby on Espanola Island

Getting there: Fly into Guayquil, Ecuador, and then arrange for a flight of 800 miles from the mainland to Isla San Cristobal. The best way to see the islands is to arrange a charter boat or take a small yacht cruise. Espanola Island is the southernmost and most isolated of the Galapagos Islands and home to a dizzying array of endemic fauna.

7. Rattlesnake Canyon, McInnis Canyons National Recreation Area, Colorado, United States

Views from the Rattlensake Arches Trail

Getting there: Fly into Grand Junction, Colorado, rent a high-clearance 4WD vehicle, and then hit the poorly maintained back roads into McInnis Canyons. Be sure to stop by the Bureau of Land Management office in Grand Junction first for maps, however. It’s easy to get lost!

8. Blue Grass, Virginia, United States

Virginia’s remote Blue Grass Valley

Getting there: Drive 60 miles west of Staunton, Virginia, on historic Route 250 (the old Staunton to Parkersburg Turnpike), and experience the county with the highest mean elevation east of the Mississippi River and the smallest population in Virginia.

9. Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

An alternate view of the Sydney Opera House

Getting there: If coming from the United States or Europe, expect a 17–18 hour flight to Sydney. It’s well worth it. All the planes coming into the city fly right over Sydney Harbor with views of both the iconic Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

10. Mt. Burns Tarns Track, Fjordland, New Zealand

The Southern Alps from Mt. Burns

Getting there: The best spot to get away from the crowds of Fjordland National Park, Mt. Burns is accessible via the little-traveled Southern Scenic Route and an hour or so drive on a dirt road through the Southern Alps outside the village of Monowai.

Deborah Huso is founding partner of WWM, a niche strategic communications and content marketing firm based in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is also an award-winning, internationally published journalist and hopeless globetrotter.

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