4 Transformative Travel Experiences

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Watch the surface of the Earth transform before your eyes

The Hawaiian Islands were born from fire, the aftereffect of volcanoes that erupted as the Pacific Plate shifted across a hotspot in the earth’s crust. Kileaua, on the Big Island, is a sacred site to many Native Hawaiians, and still very much an active volcano. This tour (which departs from either Kona or Hilo) takes you as close as possible to the action, where you can hear the hiss and crackle of lava as it oozes toward the ocean. You’ll start out in the afternoon, hiking across previous lava flows to find recent surface outbreaks, and arrive at the volcano toward sunset, when the glowing rock is even more spectacular. Geological changes to the earth typically happen on an enormous timescale; here you can see them happening right before your eyes.

Push yourself past your limits

Inspired by the Olympic Games to kick your workouts up a notch? The Waldorf Astoria Park City will set you up with the ultimate coach: an Olympic athlete. Ski or bobsled on the nearby facilities that were used in Utah’s 2002 Winter Games with a former Olympian, who can give you tips and tricks, and tell you what it’s really like to compete on the world stage. If you’re lucky, one-time Olympic skier Nate Roberts might even perform his signature “Natedog” (a backflip with a full 360-degree twist) for you – or you could whiz down the track in a bobsled with an expert as your copilot. Finish the day cozying up to the fireplace in your hotel room, the adrenaline still coursing through your veins and a new fitness regimen taking shape in your mind. You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish with an Olympian by your side.

Give to those in need, get so much in return

At the highly regarded Nihi Sumba Island Resort in Indonesia, you can go surfing on Occy’s Left (a controlled wave available only to those staying there), trek to a waterfall that cascades into an iridescent lagoon or enjoy a spa treatment in a private bungalow. But the most memorable part of your stay is likely to be the morning you spend volunteering with the Sumba Foundation’s school lunch program, learning about the culture and traditions of the Sumbanese people. The resort is a sponsor of The Sumba Foundation, which alleviates poverty on this small Indonesian island. To date, the foundation has built and staffed four health clinics, dug more than 60 water wells and supplied food, clean water, and supplies at 16 primary schools.

Reflect on those who came before us

Be one of the first through the gates at Machu Picchu, an astonishing display of engineering in the middle of the Peruvian jungle. If you’re on the first bus from Aguas Caliente, the town at the base of the mountain in which the ruins sit, you can have the place largely to yourself before the crowds descend later in the day (yes, this means meeting your guide for this private tour at 5:30am.) Your guide can show you hidden nooks and crannies around the terraces, too. The ruins will be buzzing with visitors by afternoon, but the setting should be perfectly serene in the early morning hours; take the time to contemplate the formidable history of the Inca people, as told through the skillful building of a structure where the stones are so perfectly arranged that they need no mortar.

Credit : Tripadvisor.com/blog

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