Restful vacations are for wimps
Three new guides celebrate trips that’ll test your travel mettle. Guinness World Record marathoner Kimi Puntillo’s Great Races, Incredible Places: 100+ Fantastic Runs Around the World tempts you to don your Nikes and see the world. Puntillo has run marathons on every continent and her book lists 100+ organized events, from the challenging Antarctica Marathon to the goofy “Bare Buns Fun Run” (held in Lake Loon, Washington). With runs for every mood, inclination and ability, the joys, perks and pitfalls of each are described fully, including pre- and post-run activities. An appendix summarizes event characteristics, details and contact information.
Need more adrenalin? Try daredevil Greg Witt’s Ultimate Adventures: A Rough Guide to Adventure Travel. Witt invites you to scale heights, cozy up to wildlife and get soaking wet—outdoor experiences with a huge WOW! factor. This well-organized (typical of Rough Guides) but hefty handbook, good for pre-planning, is packed with crisp, informative prose and beautiful action-packed color photography. Included are entertaining, informative sidebars on outdoor sports, history and geography, and all the logistical information you’ll need. The suggested themed trips are global, from heli-sking in Canada to diving in the Red Sea, and most are not for the faint of heart (or the less than fit).
Altruistic adventurers should pick up the updated 10th edition of the ever-popular Volunteer Vacations: Short-term Adventures that Will Benefit You and Others by Bill McKillon, Doug Cutchins and Anne Geissinger. Activist/actor Ed Asner contributes the exhorting foreword to this useful, down-to-earth compendium listing 150 organizations that need helping hands. Though the satisfactions of a socially conscious, working holiday are touted, the authors offer a checklist to help readers decide if a volunteer vacation is really what they desire. Concise profiles of each sponsoring organization are provided, along with short (heartwarming) anecdotes from volunteers who made a difference. Projects are worldwide, from Africa to America, and involve everything from administration, construction and law to science and human rights. Helpful indices categorize projects by type, timing, season and cost; cite which organizations are geared toward families, seniors and those with disabilities; and list opportunities for long-term volunteerism.