Ten people. 2,200 miles through Central Asia. No itinerary. What will happen?
The world has shrunk drastically over the past century. While it used to be difficult to stay connected to home while traveling, now the opposite is true. It's far harder to lose oneself in the world, to wander freely wherever the mood and circumstances take you, to track an uncharted course. Some travellers feel a sense of nostalgia for those days when the open road beckoned and you never knew where you'd end up.
This is why the latest offering from Intrepid Travel has met with such tremendous success. The travel company recently launched its first-ever Uncharted Expedition for 2019 -- a mystery journey that starts in Kazakhstan and ends in Mongolia, but participants are given no further information about what happens in between. The description is pure, tantalizing speculation:
"There’ll be long travel days, intermittent electricity and WiFi, a few cold showers, and some fermented mares milk as a treat along the way. And the best part? No itinerary... Everything between point A to point B will remain a mystery. One day you could be hiking through the world’s most remote and breathtaking landscapes; the next, soothing your aching muscles in a sauna in the middle of nowhere."
Oh, and don't turn up your nose at the fermented mare's milk that will likely replace your morning espresso. You have to be "prepared to eat things you've never tried; this trip is not for picky eaters." Possible forms of transportation include train, boat, camel, horse, and on foot. Likely accommodations include local family homestays, riverside guesthouses, tents, and Mongolian gers (like yurts).
The first group leaving on June 30, 2019 sold out immediately, but Intrepid will be launching additional departures for 2019, due to popularity. Travellers can still apply to the waitlist and will be contacted when additional departures are finalized. And yes, you read that right -- this is a trip for which you must apply, proving that you are sufficiently courageous and intrepid to handle the great unknown. How's that for adventure?
Not your typical travel company, Intrepid is committed to responsible business practices: "Not just to treading lightly, but to making a real difference – by investing in local communities, human rights initiatives, wildlife conservation projects and the environment." The company has been carbon neutral since 2010, has invested over AUS$5 million in grassroots organizations and relief work around the world, and its experienced tour guides are hired locally. It runs the human-powered adventure tours that we wrote about a couple months ago, and has also recently launched a line of vegan tours.