When dreaming up places to go on the next adventure, I usually find myself segmenting the imaginary globe in my head into categories, sorted by terrain.
I make a list of the 'biggest', 'coldest', 'tallest' and 'longest' rivers, mountains, deserts, icecaps, jungles, oceans, caves and forests I can think of, then decide which ones most spark my imagination, and go from there.
This is a great way to sort through a handful of cool ideas and start doing preliminary research on the best three or four.
But, dear reader, I'll let you in on a little secret. If you really want to find a totally kickass destination for your next adventure, here's what you should do.
Take your list of 'big ticket' destinations and put it aside.
Now, think of places that are not necessarily the 'biggest', 'coldest', 'tallest' or 'longest', but simply 'big', 'cold', 'tall' or 'long'.
Yes, the big adventure destinations like Antarctica, Greenland, the Amazon or the Sahara are awesome. And yes, I would love to go to any one of those places in a heartbeat. But, I believe the other, less impressive sounding places should not be forgotten. Often, these lesser known cousins of adventure destinations offer a far greater opportunity for unique, exciting adventures.
Sure, at first glance, these regions may not be as glamorous, but they do have one thing going for them. They get overlooked. And fair enough too. If you're going to spend a bucket load of time, money and effort to go on an adventure, then you may as well aim for something that sounds awesome right? Wrong.
These neglected destinations are perfect for your next adventure, and here's why. The typical person generally doesn't go to these places because they're too remote or dangerous. The same goes for your average adventurer, because there are far more alluring places to go for the same amount of money, effort and time. The result is a rarely visited, unexplored gem, ripe for adventure.
There are literally thousands of places I could mention that fit the bill, but here's a few gems that you may not have thought about before.
Southwest Tasmania, Australia
'Lake-Judd' by Matthias Siegel
This world heritage listed area consists of about 1.5 million acres and covers roughly the bottom left quarter of Tasmania. This is one huge chunk of wilderness and has some of the most pristine mountains, rivers, forest and wetlands in Australia. The weather can be wild and the going tough, but there's a bucket load of gnarly adventures just waiting to be had.
Banks Island, Northwest Territories, Canada
'Aulavik National Park' by Infil Trator
Banks Island lies in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. It's roughly 380km long by 290km wide with a population of 100 people (all in the one settlement). Most of the worlds population of musk ox live here, outnumbering humans 680:1. There are no trees and lots of open tundra to explore. Just watch out of the polar bears and wolves that wonder these parts.
West Sepik Highlands, Papua New Guinea
'West Sepik Highlands' by Clark Carter
This is one of the wettest places on Earth (with an average of 10,000mm of rain per year). It borders Indonesia to the West and the Hindenburg Range to the East. The highest mountain in the area is 3970 metres (although that number seems to change depending on what map you look at). It's incredibly difficult to travel through the area due to the terrain, but this has the added bonus off fending off hoards of tourists.
Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
'Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia' by Eric Pheterson
This is a 1,250km penninsula in the far north east of Russia. It contains plenty of Volcanoes and Brown Bears with large pockets of diverse landscapes to explore. Depending on what you're after, there seems to be something for everyone here.
West Texas, United States
'The Emptiness of West Texas' by Bo Nielsen
Texas has some pretty serious cities in the East, but it's a big state, and there's still plenty of space left untouched in the West. This is where you'll find the wild west of 200 years ago. In fact, if West Texas were a state, it would be one the the least populated states in the USA, second only to Alaska. So grab your hiking boots, topo maps, plenty of water and get exploring.
So that's that. Add a comment below if there's a special hidden gem on the planet that sparks your imagination.