10 Epic Trips That Will Make You Feel Alive
In this year’s series of Epic Trips, we travel to Brazilian wetlands, the High Arctic’s kingdom of polar bears, even to the edge of space to see some of the world’s most stunning environments from different angles.
What a thrill, to travel vicariously through the words and images of my colleagues over the past six months, as they journeyed to some of the farthest reaches of the globe—and their imaginations—to tell these stories. This series of Epic Trips began with a pitch from AFAR photo editor Michelle Heimerman, who proposed a trip to one of the world’s greatest archeological sites in the historic region of Mesopotamia, along the northern edge of the Fertile Crescent (aka Türkiye). At a glance, we were sending her to the middle of nowhere, but as she so astutely points out in her photo essay on ancient Göbekli Tepe, “You’re actually squarely in the middle of somewhere, circa 9500 B.C.” With the help of archaeologists and professors at the top of their field, she experienced “the places of our ancient ancestors, to allow space for the unanswered. To use travel as a way to think about who we once were.”
That got my mind racing. What if we could cross deserts, journey up mountains, raft river rapids and sail remote seas, even touch the edge of space to better understand our past? To examine the impact humanity has had on the planet—from different angles—and a future where we can see the world’s most stunning environments responsibly?
Led by expert local guides, AFAR editors and contributors . . .
- Cycled among the kangaroos and koalas of Kangaroo Island, the Galápagos of Australia. Here is a story of regeneration following terrible 2020 bushfires that scorched more than half of Australia’s natural wonder.
- Cruised to Svalbard in the High Arctic, where polar bears roam—for now. But seeing this fragile relationship up close is the ultimate lesson in conservation.
- Helped with the preservation of jaguars in the world’s largest wetland in Brazil and learned how to tread softly in the tracks of local guides on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
- Looked to the future of space tourism—via hot air balloon
That’s just for starters. We also traveled with companies like Lindblad, Modern Adventure, a certified B Corp, and Exceptional Kangaroo Island, an essential local business, to be sure these trips had a positive impact on the destinations we visited. It’s about more than just a vacation. How’s that for a modern definition of epic?
Read on for this year’s collection of Epic Trips to the Arctic, Australia, Brazil, British Columbia, western Montana, the Nile in Uganda, Peru, Türkiye, across Europe, and up to the rim of the atmosphere.
- 25 Days, 9 Countries, 1,959 Miles: Seeing Europe by Train
- On a Cruise to the Remote Arctic, Where Polar Bears Roam (for Now)
- Chasing Adventure on Kangaroo Island, the Galapagos of Australia
- “Hold On!” White Water Rafting on the Nile
- Visiting One of the World’s Greatest Archeological Sites in Türkiye
- 13 Years Later, Seeing Machu Picchu in a Completely New Way
- Bears, Trees, and Zero Coffee: What a Week-Long Wilderness Retreat Is Really Like
- Safari in Your Time Zone
- In Montana, an Adults-Only Treehouse Adventure Awaits
- The Promise and Peril of Space Tourism