Plus-Size Adventure Travel: Everything You Need to Know
Guest Post by Cath Wallis
More and more people are combining their love of the active outdoors with travel, but is adventure travel possible for us curvy and larger people?
And there’s no need to join a special plus-size tour to do it (unless you want to, of course).
If you are a runner, a jogger, or a hiker, there are plenty of amazing destination events that will welcome people of all ages and sizes. From Mongolia to Chile, Madagascar to Iceland, almost every country now hosts at least one of these events in their wilderness areas. It is only a matter of searching the internet to find some of the options available. They range in distance and length, but my favourite are 3-7 day events covering 130-250kms (80-155 miles) in total, traversing spectacular natural locations around the world.
But why would you want to do this as a vacation?
For me, there are three reasons.
First, it is a chance to visit beautiful natural places that not many others see, and in a completely close-up and personal way. Running or walking is so different to being in a car or a tour bus. And when else would you cross a frozen lake, walk/run through an African game park, or summit massive sand dunes?
In theory you could tackle these adventures yourself, but these areas are remote. Being part of an organised event makes it very safe – most of what you pay for at these events is the navigation, medical, and logistics support to get you to the end.
Second, I chose this style of travel because it is the opportunity to do something big – something that you don’t know if you can do. I have a desk job, and I want my vacations to be epic adventures that provide me with a lifetime of memories.
For me it is a goal worthy of working for – the training in the lead up, saving up the money for the airfare, and the entry.
And finally, I choose this because of the people. The people who you meet at these events come from all over the world. Different backgrounds, languages, and levels of ability. What they share is a complete focus on competing with yourself. Non-judgmental, outcome-focused, friendly people with whom you can run, walk, laugh, and sometimes cry. . . and go away at the end of just a week feeling like you have been friends for years.
But is active travel really achievable?
While the event photos usually show super athletic elites, the reality of these events is that most people run/walk, and a full third of the entrants are walkers. The rules are clear – anyone who can maintain a 4km/hr (2.5miles/hr) pace across the event is welcome. I find that training at 5.5km/hr (3.5miles/hr) gives me a good buffer to allow me to finish within time and enjoy the event.
Adventure Travel Events Worth Checking Out
Does adventure travel sound like something you’d like to try? Why not try out one of these great options for first time multi-day adventurers:
Kimbia Kenya: Traverse 50km or 100km in total, which is a great beginner option. Enjoy 5 days of walking or running in the national parks of Kenya with giraffe, antelope, and flamingos. Run/walk in the morning and go sightseeing or participate in community projects in the afternoon. Minimum age 10yrs for the 50kms. Held in February.
The Mongol 100: Trek 100 miles across a frozen lake in outer Mongolia. Enjoy 4 days of walking/running/ice skating or fat biking (you choose). Think ice, gers (yurts), and pristine boreal forest plus the friendliest people you will meet! The area is totally flat (it’s a lake) with a 4km/hr pace minimum and a horse-drawn sled if you need a little boost along the course. Held in March.
Half Fire and Ice: If stunning volcanic landscape is more your thing, this three-day event in Iceland may be for you. Promising steaming rivers, bubbling mud pools, geysers, volcanic landscape, lava fields, and fields of volcanic ash, it is 125kms in total. Held in May.
Ultra Bolivia: 220kms over 7 days, including a traverse of the stunning Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt pan in the world. This event requires you to carry your sleeping gear, but if you are unable to complete a day you can still start the next stage. Held every second year in September.
A Final Word
There is most definitely an event for everyone, but I warn you – once you complete one of these events you may well be addicted. I certainly am!