We are all incredibly different, which is what makes us special. But that is often why it’s hard to find extreme experiences that are right for us. When you research these activities, you always find inspirational stories about how amazing they are and that’s great. The person who has written about it loved the experience, but who’s to say that you will?
How do you know if they are going to be right for you? How can you tell? They can all look a bit scary and that’s often part of the attraction. But where do you draw the line and when does excitement turn into pure fear?
What to do – the pros and cons
If we were all the same the world would be a pretty boring place. Downside is, that when it comes to extreme adventure, what one person thinks of as a positive life changing experience, can be viewed by another as the exact opposite. The whole event goes from ‘life changing’ to ‘watching your whole life pass before you’, which doesn’t provide the same treasured memories!
I love going in search for all things adventure and have had the privilege of experiencing many diverse activities, all over the world. It gets under your skin and I still smile when I think of what I have done and how it made me feel.
I think everyone can find their special something, the experience that ends up being pivotal in the way they think, which can then transfer into other aspects of their lives.
Being a bit smart about what you choose to do can make all the difference, so I have listed some popular extreme experiences and given an insider opinion about the pros and cons.
Think winter fun for petrol heads! Although, you need no previous training, a driving licence is necessary and you receive all of the knowledge required during an informative safety briefing, where you will be given all the equipment you need as well.
You can either ride solo or two-up. To get the most from the adventure, I recommend you opt for the solo experience – it’s much better.
This is an experience where you progress. You begin slowly, travelling carefully through snow covered forest paths, as you get the feel of the snowmobile and its handling. Then as you improve, you can add more speed and open up the throttle as you ride across frozen lakes in a safer more open space. Whooping and hollering is allowed at this point!
After a little more time and tuition, you can try steeper terrain and deeper snow. It’s like an off piste run rather than following a track. You take control of the machine yourself under the watchful eye of your guide. You really get to travel long distances and see a lot more of the unspoilt beauty surrounding your winter destination.
If you don’t like petrol driven machines, then this probably isn’t for you. The engines can be quite noisy if you are in a group with several snowmobiles. You need to concentrate at all times even when travelling at lower speeds through forests. When people collide with a tree, it’s usually the tree that comes off better.
I am referring to static line parachuting in this section. This is where you jump out of the aircraft yourself, parachute deployment is automatic and then you land by yourself. Parachuting was one of my first extreme experiences and although it happened a long time ago, I still have vivid memories.
Training is extensive and over a number of hours as there is a lot to take in. Although I only travelled 2000ft from aircraft to ground, my personal journey was a much longer and greater adventure.
For me, this experience pushed me to what I would imagine my limit to be. When you jump out of the aircraft and see your parachute open above, you feel the ultimate freedom as you float down. There was time to look around at the beautiful scenery and enjoy the birds eye view of everything below.
There was a silence, a peaceful tranquility except for my heart, which was racing! When I landed and it was all over, I couldn’t stop smiling for hours and felt a true sense of achievement.
The training is essential and time consuming – your life will depend on it. Your trainers are excellent but in the end, it’s all down to you. You have to be comfortable with heights, even though you may be slightly uncomfortable with what you are going to do.
It can be weather dependant – so choose your time and location carefully to avoid disappointment in cancelled lifts due to unsuitable conditions.
I absolutely loved this experience and nearly wasn’t going to do it, as my trip was almost over and I was running out of time… I was so pleased that I made time to do it. I went to Calgary Olympic Park, where the famous Jamaican bobsled team made their debut.
I entered a room where they took all my details, I was weighed and then given a short safety brief before getting into the sled. On venturing outside, I was quite surprised to see how high up we were, how big the sled was and that we would descend without a guide. However, nowadays the sled is manned with an expert guide wish is re-assuring.
On a training sled, gravity and momentum are the two key factors in getting down. After a gentle push off from the top, the sled started quite slowly but soon picked up pace as it swooshed around the twists and turns of the run.
For me, the noise of the sled on the ice and the feeling as the sled hugged the embanked curves added to the intensity of the whole experience.
You arrive, knowing nothing and leave having experienced an authentic descent on a famous run. You don’t need any skill, yet the exhilaration is fantastic. You will certainly get a thrill from the experience whilst feeling safe, as the training bobsled is deeper and very padded, therefore offering as much protection as possible, without compromising on excitement.
Sometimes the descent can be very cold so wrap up well. The view from the back two seats of the four seater sled is not as good as the front two, however for some that can be a plus!
Click here to see some movie footage
I love the water – being in it or on it and hydrospeeding does both. It’s like a roller coaster on the water. Armed with a board, you take to the river, and surf down the rapids whilst holding on to the handles on the board. Being on the water, in the water and under the water combine for an adrenalin-filled experience.
No previous experience is required, as tuition is given before and during the activity. It’s something you do yourself, yet you are with others as you ride the rapids. Feeling the power of the water is very humbling.
You do need to be comfortable in the water and under it. You can get a bit bruised on your legs as you knock against stones and rocks in the river but you never feel it, as you are too busy having a great time. It’s quite tiring as once you are in the water the current takes you with it, so you can’t always have a break when you want one. Never leave go of your board!
I think canyoning is like being in a completely natural water park. You travel down waterslides, jump into pools and if you are really lucky, you will slide down a waterfall. A great way to explore out of the way places that you couldn’t get to any other way.
In my experience, canyoning allows you to progress from easy to more difficult jumps and slides during the activity. Your guides, who have great knowledge of the area, will be there to help you as your confidence builds. The camaraderie that develops within the group is very strong – everyone helps everyone else and enjoys the fun.
You need to be comfortable with jumping into the water. Depending on location, it isn’t always possible to change your mind about the activity once you have set off, as the surrounding terrain can be rocky and steep.
6. Aerobatic Flight
I actually got to fly the dual control aircraft myself, so my experience was very hands on. I still think that this is one of the most amazing and incredible experiences that I have tried. I am still grinning as I write this now!
My aerobatic flight was like creating and being on my own roller coaster, whose path was unfolding in the sky before my very eyes. The loops were incredible as we pulled over 3G and then finished with a barrel roles. We soared upwards through the clouds then swooped down towards the ground.
A truly unforgettable experience. You are in the safest of hands as the pilots are super experienced and calm – you feel at ease immediately. The experience can be tailor-made to your needs.
If you want to do aerobatics, you do need to be happy in an aircraft and trusting of your equipment and pilot, to really get the most from the whole experience.
Click here to read about my experience.
7. Snow Tubing
If you get the chance to do this, you really should. I would describe it as more of an entry level extreme experience, but the adrenalin flows immediately because you are just sitting on a rubber tube as you travel down the slopes, your speed dictated by their steepness.
For the best experience, you should go to a snow park where there are runs specifically designed for snow tubing, without obstacles such as trees etc. You are given an inflatable ring which you sit on as you descend the slopes, which are graded from easy peasy to white knuckle.
You don’t need any previous experience and you can progress through the park, beginning with the easier runs culminating in the almost vertical descents. It is something that everyone can do and great for families.
There aren’t many of these snow tubing parks so if you find you are near one, then go.
The Benefits of Extreme Experiences.
These type of experiences are not for everyone, but if you can try something that is extreme, it can push you to another level and:-
- Make you think differently
- Be the catalyst that will make change much easier
- Inspire you to do more in life
- Motivate you to achieve goals you never thought possible
- Give you the confidence to live the life you want.
Can one experience do all that? I think it can and I have seen that very metamorphosis in others. So next time you get the chance to do something extreme, give it some serious thought.
if you are unsure about anything, why not email me – I would love to help.