Monday, 1 February 2010


The Adventure Travel Exhibition held Jan 29-31 in London attracted just as many middle-aged people as it did young ones. Good on you! What are you up for? It was all represented: rock climbing, scuba-diving, sea kayaking, desert tours, ballooning, white water rafting, mountain treks, bungee jumping, hang gliding. And more.

A wonderful lift out of reality, the ATEX was well enjoyed and hopefully some bookings were made with the sun-tanned tour operators.

I managed to speak to quite a few, including Rock and Sun who specialise in climbs in Spain, Sardinia, Morocco and Thailand. Was I too old to start climbing? Not at all I was assured. `It`s easy when you get to grips with it.` Well yes, I thought, getting a grip...

Water by Nature showed great videos of white-water rafting on the Zambesi which I could say I had done. Wahoo!

Geoff Hann of Hinterland Travel was rather off-hand that I hadn`t been to Iraq since 1981 since he`s running tours there. A very comprehensive 17 day programme covers everything from the river-port of Basra to the ancient Arab city of Hatra, north-west of Baghdad. Six departures in 2010.

I particularly enjoyed a chat with James Wilcox who runs Untamed Borders, visiting the spectacular Northern Areas of Pakistan. As some will know, I am author of a book on this vibrant country, a personal favourite and deserving the attention of adventure travellers seeking something special and unspoilt.

What I also found interesting was information on international volunteering which requires no special skills. Putting something back into a community, by helping villagers better their living conditions, is one of the fastest growing sections of the adventure holiday industry. The Habitat for Humanity website, is listed with others below.

The show covered everything. Educational advice was available on malaria and tick-bite. There were equipment stands, bookstalls and a variety of speakers including Aussie travel writer Peter Moore and Mr Travel himself, Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet.

c.Christine Osborne
Image: Canoeing on the Zambesi river
Image: Glacier walk, South Island of New Zealand

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