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Adventure Travel - Away She Goes

Adventure Travel

Dune Bashing in Qatar: Getting out of Doha

Dune Bashing in Qatar: Getting out of Doha

As soon as I heard the term, I know I wanted to go do it. I’ve been in Doha, Qatar since the start of the new year running a conference for work. As part of an effort to let attendees relax and get to know the country better, our partners organized a caravan of off-road vehicles to take us romping around the desert near the Saudi border. The ride was actually quite gentle compared to my past experience in the Egyptian Sahara, but it was still thrilling to cruise along the very edge of a dune, and bounce around the desert for a while.

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Surfing Lessons in Ireland

Surfing Lessons in Ireland

Surfing lessons in Ireland? Yes, you read that right! On our way toward Dingle, Ireland we stopped in Castlegregory to take a surfing lesson. It was a dreary, disgusting day, and I was not surprised that only three of us wanted to go–my brother, one half of a nice young couple who got stuck traveling with us, and me. Luckily, our traveling companions were more than happy to cheer us on from shore and take pictures. Even in the cold, Brandon Bay in County Kerry is a lovely place to spend a few hours. It was cold and rainy, and I have a feeling we were warmer than them in our wetsuits and booties. The wind was so strong that day that I could barely get myself and the board to the water without becoming a sail and blowing away. Our instructor, Jamie Knox of Jamie Knox Water Sports, was very understanding with my brother’s and my status as complete beginners during our surfing lessons. He went over safety rules and explained a few different technique we would use, and focused on getting us in the water early and often, to make the most of our lesson. Both my brother and I have terrible vision (I clock in at -8.00) and I can’t imagine that helps us in our aquatic adventures. Kevin was flying blind, and I wore some outdated contacts. There were several times when Jamie would be gesturing and we just looked at each other and shrugged because we had no clue what he was trying to say, but nobody got hurt so I guess it turned out... read more
Sea Kayaking Dingle Bay: A New View of Ireland

Sea Kayaking Dingle Bay: A New View of Ireland

Sea kayaking in Dingle was one of the things the drew us to Vagabond Tours.  We are an outdoorsy crew, owning two canoes and a kayak back home.  We knew we were going to be sea kayaking this trip, come hell or high water.  It was also one of the keys to a successful family trip–you are who you are, no matter where in the world you go. Irish Adventures was right on the waterfront in downtown Dingle.  Our guide, Noel, was funny and informative.  He also took some great images, although he didn’t seem to understand why it would pain me not to be able to take them myself.  Someday, I would love to have a camera or rig that can survive sea kayaking, but this was not that day. A few people were in tandem kayaks, but most were solo.  There was a quick lesson and continued instruction for those brand new to kayaking.  Michelle was a complete newcomer to sea kayaking but she was able to learn the techniques quickly from Noel and had no problem with the paddle.  We paddled along the bay in search of the famed Fungi the Dolphin.  I had read about him ahead of time and my bullshit detector lead me to believe there were a  few dolphins off the coast and on the rare occasion one was spotted, they were called Fungi.  Or that Fungi was a bit like the Dread Pirate Roberts or a child’s goldfish, secretly replaced every time he passed on. It turns out there was no need for the cynicism–Fungi is the rare lone dolphin, and he... read more
Myakka River State Park

Myakka River State Park

Today we went to Myakka River State Park in Sarasota to see the real Florida, away from ballparks and retirement communities. At $6 a car, it is what my grandfather calls “a good take.”  My family loves the great outdoors, a good deal, and the chance to learn something. State and  National Parks are at the intersection of these, so we go to them as often as we can.  This is a great place to get away from the theme parks and strip malls that Florida is usually associated with for vacationers. We took a ride on one of the world’s two largest airboats throughout the park, which features 12 miles of river. The guide took us to various spots where gators are known to hang out, and he did not disappoint. It was the middle of the day so most of the alligators were sunning themselves, but we also got to see a few in the water. It’s always so hard to imagine how animals camouflage themselves until I see it in action in the wild. I know there are a lot of places to go see alligators in Florida, but I prefer to see animals in their natural habitats and to support organizations that protect the animals and their habitats. We were also able to get incredibly close, and once the airboat cut its engine we floated up quite close to the alligators without bothering them. At $12 a pop for adults, we found the hour-long ride throughout Myakka River State Park to be very educational and well worth the money–definitely a highlight of our stay. Two boats operate daily... read more

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