Tagged extreme sports

Zambia jeep safari with Wild Planet Adventures

Experience Extraordinary Zambia Safari Tours with Wild Planet Adventures

by Andrea Verdin

It’s time to plan your summer getaway, so the Wander team has begun to look at ways to get the most out of your vacation. We’ve been looking both at international and domestic travel, small weekend getaways and elaborate international excursions.

If you’re the type who loves diverse travel, looking for a chance to see exotic wildlife and stay in the middle of nature, then see Zambia – Africa’s Hidden Safari Gem – with Wild Planet Adventures.

zebras

The safari season in Zambia is year-round, but the best wildlife viewing is from July through October, so you want to make sure that you plan with this in mind. Because African safari travel is such a popular getaway, it may be hard to choose a travel company to plan a safari with. However, Zambia safari tours are a head and shoulders above all others for several reasons.

Wild Planet Adventures founder Josh Cohen explained that Zambia is one of Africa’s least visited countries, and since his company specializes in intimate encounters with exotic wildlife, this was a perfect option for his guests.

“Guests have the ability to see unusual animals and their behaviors that might not always be seen,” explained Cohen.

The reason Zambia safari tours are markedly different from other African safaris is the lack of tourism and jeep congestion.  With less than 860,000 annual visitors compared to South Africa’s 9.5 million, Zambia ranks among the least visited African countries.

canoe safari

“Unlike East African countries where it’s common to find up to 50 vehicles chasing a lion, Zambia boasts remote sectors where guests are unlikely to see other vehicles,” said Cohen, who explained that his Zambian tours do not require his guests to be in caged busses. “Safari-goers still enjoy 360 degree views from open jeeps instead of being crowded into nine-passenger mini-vans.”

Without numerous vehicles surrounding the same animals, there is no risk that animals will lose their ‘wild’ instincts.

“Wild Planet Adventures goes to great lengths to preserve the authentic safari experience by combining truly isolated and remote locations with master guides who exemplify tracking as an art form, so travelers see authentic ‘wild’ animal behavior while minimizing adaptation,” Cohen said.

lion at shumba camp

In addition, guests can choose to combine tours, so they can experience walking, jeep, and canoe safaris. This allows for a broader experience of animal exposure.

“It’s an adrenaline rush,” said Cohen. “Once we saw a herd of elephants surround their matriarch while she gave birth. On our canoes, we enter watering holes where herds of elephants and hippos just walk across, right in front of us. When these factors come together, you get a superior experience.”

shumba camp

Of course, just because you are in the middle of the safari doesn’t mean that you have to stay in an uncomfortable tent on a lumpy cot.

“Zambia has the same high end camps that other African tour camps have,” said Cohen. “Overall, Africa has high standards for its guests.”
There are a lot of safari travel options for guests to choose from when planning Zambia Safari Tours, with options for every budget.
For detailed tour itineraries on all of Wild Planet Adventures wildlife eco-tours and safaris, call toll-free 1.800.990.4376, visit http://www.wildplanetadventures.com/ or contact trips@wildplanetadventures.com.

 

WPA Zambia from Wild Planet Adventures on Vimeo.

Wander Editor Prepares to Torture Her Pals with Destination America’s “Ghost Asylum”

Written by Andrea Verdin

The majority of the Wander team is a bit… chicken. They don’t like being scared, nor do they like the idea of hauntings, ghosts and ghouls. Naturally, I drag them to haunted events every fall. We’ve been to the Queen Mary’s haunted events, and i’ve made them walk halls of supposedly spirit-filled buildings. They never find it as funny as I do. Then I heard about Destination America’s all-new series Ghost Asylum.

TWC Team outside the haunted asylum in Hayswood
TWC Team outside the haunted asylum in Hayswood

This is a show that’s dedicated to investigating abandoned insane asylums and going through dangerous and downright terrifying scenarios. When I took a sneak peak at this show, I knew what I’d make my team watch during the next meeting. Who wouldn’t want to watch a fearless crew is on a quest to hunt down chain-rattling ghosts and scary apparitions by any means possible, even if that requires luring themselves as the decoy?

Ghost Asylum follows the most passionate paranormal team in America, the Tennessee Wraith Chasers (TWC), as they examine some of America’s most frightening asylums, sanitariums and mental hospitals. Their goal isn’t just to conjure spirits and collect evidence but they are on a mission to physically capture restless souls. It makes for a good scare, don’t you think?

TWC hunts the most lethal stories; clinics where murdered nurses still roam the halls, hospitals that drive anyone who enters to utter insanity and rehabilitation centers with earth shattering cries coming from the windows. Staffed with experts in every aspect of paranormal investigation these wraith chasers are not your average Ghostbusters but an elite team of ghost whisperers who mesh methodology and skill with old-fashioned common sense and a taste for adventure in order to debunk, disprove or validate each case.

TWC handmade light up Ouija Board
TWC handmade light up Ouija Board

But don’t think that this means the boys will traipse about without honoring ancient grounds. “Respect, detect, collect” – that’s TWC’s motto and the core process they follow in each episode.

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To start things off, TWC founder Chris Smith, leads his team to Old War Memorial Hospital in Scottsville, Kentucky. Throughout its years of operation, this institution transformed from a place of healing to a holding cell for the mentally disturbed. Between the ER and the mental ward, it has been the site of countless deaths and could be bursting with lost souls. Locals believe that a doctor lost his mind while in residence at the hospital and, after his death, his spirit returned for a permanent shift in the exam rooms he loved so much. Now, TWC ventures beyond the waiting room to track down the doctor’s spirit and finally discharge him for good.

Ghost Asylum premieres tomorrow, Sunday, September 7 at 10/9c on Destination America. For a sneak peek of Ghost Asylum, check out Destination America’s website here.

 

Top Tips to Get You Ready for Your American Bicycle Adventure

This summer, everyone wants the ultimate vacation experience. That might mean going to Bali for a month, like one of our editors, and for some, that might mean an all-expenses-paid trip with nothing on the itinerary other than sleeping, eating and drinking.

However, some want something a little more… adventurous. These folk are drawn to sports trips, like those offered by Bicycle Adventures, where they combine athleticism and sightseeing in some of the most jawdroppingly beautiful spots in the world.

Bicycle Adventure photo
Bicycle Adventure photo

More and more first-timers are delving into bike tours, getting a brand new perspective of Mother Nature. As a former bike racer and coach, Bicycle Adventures president Todd Starnes knows exactly what newbies to bicycle trips need to know in order to make their trips a success.

Starnes’ Top Tips for a Great Bicycle Adventure

 

  • Choose a fully supported tour.

When you book your tour, it’s fairly easy to want to immediately rush to the store and buy gear for your trip. However, lugging around your tent, food, and water can really drag you down on your first trip.

“Instead of camping and carrying related gear, a supported tour allows you to focus on enjoying the ride, landscape, lodges and, of course, well-earned food,” says Starnes. “You save yourself a ton of pre-trip legwork and a fair amount of suffering this way.”

  •  Buy better bike gear

This tip is specifically geared to the clothes you should wear on your trip. You don’t have to necessarily fit the “biker gear” stereotype, with the ridiculous padded shorts, flashy helmet and sponsored biking top.

These adventurers are comfortable, and look great as well! -- Bicycle Adventure photo
These adventurers are comfortable, and look great as well! — Bicycle Adventure photo

“Nothing says commitment as much as putting your money on the line. But it’s not just the money – it’s money with a purpose,” explained Starnes. “There are several better options that look like regular shorts, so you won’t be embarrassed to be seen in them. Ditto with the cycling top; there’s no need to buy a cycling jersey that has your favorite beer, sponsor or the logo for something you don’t understand. Just spend a few bucks to get a quality product that is comfortable both on the bike — and off.”

Strike a pose - Bicycle Adventure photo
Strike a pose – Bicycle Adventure photo

  • Actually ride a bike.

The best way to prepare for a bike tour isn’t to spend grueling hours on a bike, logging hours and amping conditions so that you’re prepared for any given condition. Instead, ride with purpose – get into better shape, but have fun.

“Think back to those days as a kid with wind in your hair (but please wear a helmet). Think about the freedom, the separation and distance. There was always a reward at the end of my rides,” said Starnes. “As a kid it was riding with friends to the A&W for a root beer, or riding to a friend’s house to play, or riding to practice.  But I was never riding to train.  Ride for the enjoyment; minimize pressure on yourself. The distance and pace aren’t really important. Your guides will help you through the trip and get you just the right number of miles and difficulty for your level,” he says.

 

A group that rides together has adventures together - Bicycle Adventure photo
A group that rides together has adventures together – Bicycle Adventure photo

 

  • Ask for help.

This is the most important and maybe the most difficult tip, Starnes says. Find a friend, mentor or spouse to go along for the ride with you, preferably someone who embraces the joys of riding a bike. This makes it easier to be better prepared for your trip.

They’re not going to try to impress you with their abilities on that first little incline or race you to the destination. They’ll actually ride by your side, chatting and stopping to smell the roses,” said Starnes. “If you can’t find someone to ride with, call us and we will guide you every step of the way so that when you arrive for your first bike tour you’ll be confident, excited and ready to get the most out of the experience.”

If you want train alone, Starnes notes that most large cities have bike clubs with novice classes and groups. But again, his advice is to ask lots of questions and just ride for the pleasure of it.

“Make sure they understand you just want to go for a bike ride and enjoy the experience,” he advises.

Bicycle Adventure photo
Bicycle Adventure photo

If you are interested in an American bicycle tour, Bicycle Adventures has plenty of tours available for the rest of the 2014 season. For more information, availability and reservations contact Bicycle Adventures by phone: 800.443.6060, email: office@bicycleadventures.com or visit online at: http://bicycleadventures.com.
 

At Estadio Gasmart for the Tijuana Toros game with Turista Libre

Another great day with Turista Libre – TJ baseball games are rowdy, yet delicious

At Estadio Gasmart for the Tijuana Toros game with Turista Libre
At Estadio Gasmart for the Tijuana Toros game with Turista Libre

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

It never ceases to amaze me that we are less than an hour from Mexico. While the majority of the population is still terrified to enter into these international waters, my recent trips to Ensenada and Tijuana have been nothing short of exhilarating and exciting. We recently visited Tijuana with our good friend, Turista Libre, for an evening of baseball, mechanical bull rides, vuvuzuelas, tacos, TJ hotdogs, and so much more.

Just one of the many food and drink vendors hawking their wares.
Just one of the many food and drink vendors hawking their wares.

As Tijuana Toros first timers, we were prepped completely. Proper baseball stadium food, cheeky cheerleaders, silly monkey and chicken mascots, and an excitable crowd. And let me just say that Mexican baseball games are 100% times better than anything you’ll see in the MLB.

(Check out our previous trips with Turista Libre to El Vergel waterpark and the Lucha Libre battles.)

Here are some photos from our recent trip with Turista Libre. A very special thank you to Derrik, Pilar and the entire Turista Libre familia for always showing us a great time.

Turista Libre Derrik Chinn
Turista Libre stepping up his on-bus libations game with Micheladas
Estadio Gasmart, Tijuana Toros
Somos Toros!

 

Take your pick: Cigarillos, blow pops, cacahuetes Japonesas, chicle...
Take your pick: Cigarillos, blow pops, cacahuetes Japonesas, chicle…

When it doubt, use duct tape.

Always order your beer with a rim of Chamoy
Always order your beer with a rim of Chamoy

While it may look like a bloody mess, Mexican beer is SO much better with a rim of Chamoy. Try it and I guarantee you’ll love it.

Street tacos with all of the fixings
Street tacos with all of the fixings

Estadio Gasmart has every typical baseball food you could every imagine, and more! Take your pick between street tacos, tortas, TJ hot dogs, fried chicken, caramel apples, cream-filled churros, and the like.

Definitely not your typical condiment stand.
Definitely not your typical condiment stand.

Why settle for ketchup, mustard and relish when you can opt for bundles of radishes or grilled green onions and green peppers?

TJ hotdogs, Turista Libre
Stacks and stacks of bacon-wrapped TJ hot dogs.

Just some of the sights and sounds from the Tijuana Toros game.

Tj Baseball game with Turista Libre from nadia ibanez on Vimeo.

Check out www.turistalibre.com for more information — he’s got some really awesome trips lined up for the summer!

 

Walking Dead Escape Zombie, San Diego

The Walking Dead Escape at Petco Park, San Diego

Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres and The Walking Dead Escape
Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres and The Walking Dead Escape

Written by Nadia Ibanez, Photos by Adam Stuckey

I absolutely love that San Diego is still the host city for Comic-Con. While I’m not a sci-fi junkie, nor do I have a favorite comic book, the sole fact that hundreds of thousands of people travel to my hometown for a week filled with panels, movie premieres, and to stand in line to buy the latest toys and art prints blows me away. I always tell people that the most fun to be had during Comic-Con is outside the convention walls and The Walking Dead Escape is a prime example of how our San Diego terrain seamlessly fits with this enormous convention and spirited attendees.

obstacles at The Walking Dead Escape
One of the obstacles at The Walking Dead Escape

Read all about our Walking Dead Escape 2013 preview here.

After going through the zombie obstacle course for the first time during Comic-Con 2012, we knew a bit of what to expect. Sections of Petco Park are partitioned off and filled with obstacles and zombies lurking close by. While participants aren’t timed, survivors going through the course must reach the decontamination zone with minimal infection.

Walking-Dead-Escape-ZombieAfter so much hype was created after the inaugural Escape, it was announced this year that special effects and zombies would be even more lifelike. Walking Dead Executive Producer and special effects makeup designer Greg Nicotero would be at the helm of the zombie transformations. Nicotero and his Knb Efx team really outdid themselves this year.

The Walking Dead Escape zombie obstacle course
The stairs heading up to The Walking Dead Escape zombie obstacle course

We had a chance to check out the course this year and highly suggest you sign up to be a Survivor when The Walking Dead Escape comes to your town. For more information, check out www.TheWalkingDeadEscape.com.

Check out some of out photos from The Walking Dead Escape 2013 at Petco Park.

Walking-Dead-Escape-Zombie

The Walking Dead Escape, San Diego
Watch your toes at The Walking Dead Escape

The Walking Dead Escape, San DiegoWalking-Dead-Escape5

Walking-Dead-Escape-Petco