Sunday, 29 April 2012

Adventurous but Accessible Travel

a guest post

Adventurous but accessible travel when you're ill

A friend of mine has lived with a chronic endocrine condition for five years now; it causes her frequent pain and leaves her constantly exhausted. But it hasn't stifled her travel bug, which is encouraging, but also frustrating for her. Travel can be tiring enough when you're well; my friend's illness has limited the amount of money she can earn and save, and it makes travel rather more expensive - pre-existing medical travel insurance can be pricier than average, and she needs to pay for comfortable beds and seats. Her diet is also restricted.

I agreed to come up with some accessible adventure travel ideas that might suit her, and we thought that other folk might also find them useful. They might not be as adrenalin-fuelled as I know she'd prefer them to be, but they're certainly better than sitting at home watching documentaries and grinding your teeth because you're not "there".

Northern Lights by boat

This is quite trendy at the moment, and there are a few medium-sized cruise boats running from Britain and northern Europe, up round the Norwegian coast to see the Lights. There are also smaller vessels, both motor and sail powered, that head out through the Scottish Islands; my friend prefers the idea of these because she's scared of deck tennis and enforced social gaiety. And, frankly, they're more exciting, being small enough to explore locations inaccessible to bigger ships, and providing many good opportunities to spot whales, dolphins, basking sharks, porpoise, seals, sunfish, and plenty of birdlife, including the inimitable puffin.

Europe by train

I'm very excited about trains at the moment - don't laugh, it's a rising trend; international train trips can still be a little pricier than flying, on one-hop trips at least, but Interrail and Eurail passes make more extensive wanderings very economical indeed, and it's far more eco-friendly. There are more selfish benefits too. My friend suffers a great deal in plane cabins, getting dehydrated and often experiencing horrendous sinus pain during take-off, and headaches throughout the flight. Trains do nothing of the sort, with the bonus of providing a constantly shifting view throughout her journey, not to mention much less waiting around at either end. And with Interrail and Eurail passes factored in, she can hop on and off the network as she pleases, taking in impressive cities, remote castles, and Europe's many areas of natural beauty.

Sailing in the Lake District

My friend grew up on Britain's south coast, and learnt to sail as a youngster, partly prompted by a childhood love for Swallows & Amazons - so where better to rekindle this forgotten skill than the Lake District, original inspiration for Arthur Ransome's stories? She's been to Windermere but never sailed there, and it's only a few hours away by train. At over ten miles long and one mile wide, with 18 islands, various harbours around its shores, and several sailing schools and boat hire facilities, Windermere offers plenty of scope, with Coniston Water not too far away if she actually manages to get bored.

This post was written by Tristan, who is the face of the World First travel blog. He writes about global goings-on and help keep travel-lovers up to date with breaking news and travel tips.

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