For an avid adventure traveler, I spend way too much time in front of my computer. Admittedly as a GORP editor, I get my share of armchair adventures. But it's not the same as shouldering a backpack along the Continental Divide or watching antelope in the Terai of Nepal.
When the wanderlust bug hits hard but the demands of work thwart a real journey, I head for the adventure travel shows for some vicarious traveling. I can check in with GORP friends like ROW's Peter Grubb to find out what's happening on the western paddling scene. Or visit with Luis at Southwind to see if he is holding a spot for me in the Central American jungle. But most of all I enjoy roaming the floor dreaming of Laotian villages or Patagonia peaks.
My favorite show is the granddaddy of them all, Chicago's International Adventure Travel and Outdoor Show. Now hitting its ninth year, I know I can find lots of friends there, and as importantly, the inspiration to put on my traveling shoes. A couple of years ago, the big attraction was a pair of lovable tiger cubs. Mom and Dad lounged in an enclosure next door while the cubs frolicked with a few lucky guests, nipping and clawing as playfully as any weeks-old kittens.
This year's show is featuring a truly out-of-this-world traveler. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin speaks on his adventures from the North Pole to the Titanic to the camel races of Egypt. Now what about that journey to the moon?
Thrill seekers will find heart-pounding action at the gFest film festival spotlighting athletes from the worlds of skiing, climbing, biking and more. If that is not enough action, daredevils can take a virtual parachute jump, scale a rock wall or challenge the ropes course.
So if you find yourself in the Midwest February 19-21, don't miss the action at the International Adventure Travel and Outdoor Show. Then take a hike, climb a rock or surf a wave.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication