Go west, young man!
April 10, 2009 10:43 PM   Subscribe

What are adventures I can do at 25 which I won't be able to do when I'm older?

I am 3 months from the quarter century mark, and am looking for the most exciting journeys and exotic travels that I should plan on doing sooner rather than later. Adventures requiring young legs, a keen spirit, and youthful recklessness, that sort of thing; not interested in museums or art exhibits, which I can do at any age.

Fairly regular guy, ambitious plans: I want to to take a whole bunch of trips (2 or 3 a year) for the next few years, figuring that my travel frequency will taper off once I have children. I'm lucky enough to have a fair bit of disposable income, but can only get away from work for 1-2 (3, max) weeks at a time. I have a girlfriend who would certainly want to be included, but trips I can do with 4-5 friends are cool as well. (And bonus points if I can capture the activity on video somehow)

Fun examples I've done recently include:
- skydiving in the cornfields of Illinois
- hiking the Inca Trail in Peru
- cliff diving in Jamaica

I'm currently based in New York City.
posted by gushn to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Have a look at the age limits for working holiday visas. If you've ever wanted to go and work in another country for a year or two, now is the time to do it. In five years most countries will consider you too old and you'll have to find an employer to sponsor you.
posted by embrangled at 11:10 PM on April 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

You can do anything at any age, but later you may not want to do everything you want to do now. For example, I could take ecstasy today if I wanted to, but I don't want to. But at 25 I did. Well, maybe it was 21. Also, group sex.
posted by serazin at 12:00 AM on April 11, 2009 [3 favorites]

...which I won't be able to do when I'm older?

The ice-covered Arctic.
posted by Mrs. Buck Turgidson at 12:05 AM on April 11, 2009 [7 favorites]

international youth exchanges and internships.
posted by Deep Dish at 12:36 AM on April 11, 2009

Best answer: A lot of adventure racers are quite a bit older than you- late 30s to early 40s. Experience can beat youth at that game. Most athletics require youth though so if you're heavy into a sport do it now. Whatever adventures you plan to do, take care of your body and try not to break anything major for lasting enjoyment.

I vote for things that require you to live frugally for extended periods of time or work-travel gigs that require months to years of living out of a backpack: as you get older that gets less and less appealing (or possible). Extended back-packing trips, semi-pro athletics, working on organic farms (glorified migrant labor), youth work visas, being a ski bum for a couple of winters, remote fieldwork, going to sea- I did all that stuff in my 20s and it was a hell of a lot of fun. I didn't pay rent for years and only got a cellphone in 2005. Eventually something, someone, or someplace snags you hard enough that you stop moving along but it's great while it lasts.
posted by fshgrl at 2:07 AM on April 11, 2009

Second looking at working holiday visas. You get the adventure, plus the means to support yourself at the same time. I'm kicking myself for not doing it before I turned 30, which severely limits my options abroad now. In New Zealand, plenty of working holidayers do jobs like ski field instructor, whale watching guide, bungee operator... Or what about training to become a scuba instructor? All the instructors I met in Thailand were from other countries.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 2:14 AM on April 11, 2009

I like the idea of working holiday visas, but it may not be so great for you, considering your time constraints. I'm your age, and I think the upshot, at least when looking at a lot of the more physically demanding stuff, is that there isn't a hard-and-fast age limit. Plenty of older guys hike the Appalachian Trail or whitewater kayak. However, some cultural things start to get out of reach. I don't know from experience, but the Budapest club scene might be a little tougher to enjoy when you're 40. Same goes for NYC punk shows. Assuming you plan on staying fit as you get older, I'd focus more on experiences where the resource, be it cultural or physical, will be vanishing in the somewhat near future. Go to Madagascar, the Arctic, or the Amazon. Take the great american road trip before gas is too expensive, and visit far-flung countries while we're still in the era of relatively cheap air travel.
posted by craven_morhead at 6:53 AM on April 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

If your question is really about age, I would expand on serazin's group sex comment.

While it is possible to travel the world at 45 and meet people to have sex with in a variety of cultures, it is a lot easier at 25. There is something amazing seeing a foreign city with a local who you are also having sex/romance with. Cross-cultural experience is much nicer with a guide who you feel close to.
posted by hworth at 7:06 AM on April 11, 2009

Best answer: 25 years of age is the cut off for Eurail Passes that are cheap! It's what I did and was able to explore really cool and fun parts of Europe.
posted by kuppajava at 8:37 AM on April 11, 2009

Go to thailand and train and fight muay thai (thai kickboxing)
posted by compound eye at 4:54 AM on April 12, 2009

If gushn is an American citizen, he can't get a working holiday visa.

Like others have mentioned, one thing I regret is that I didn't actually live overseas for any amount of time. That gets harder later. I'm still going to see if I can manage it, though.

And regardless of whether you consider it an adventure, a lot of people would tell you you shouldn't start a PhD much later than 25-30. :p (Of course, lots of people do, and if I do, it'll be after 31, so ... heh.)
posted by wintersweet at 3:48 PM on April 12, 2009

Comb your hair.
posted by lpsguy at 6:55 AM on April 13, 2009

Best answer: I'm in the adventure travel business and actually, the majority of our clients are in their 40s and up. Age is usually not a factor in deciding what adventures to go on. Finances and physical ability are. Having said that, I do notice that what people want as they get older is what is typically defined as "soft adventure" - that is, they want to go out and do all the crazy stuff that defines adventure, but at the end of the day, they want to come back to a hotel that offers nice amenities. They are less willing to put up with hostel type accomodations if they can afford a better class of lodge or hotel.

So my recommendation to you is to look into an adventure that requires more of a flexibility when it comes to your sleeping arrangements such as:

Going to Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake, and do a homestay on one of the islands with a local family

Do an extended hike and do extreme back-country camping

Head to the Amazon and stay with the shamans in a permanent tented camp

Live with the northern hill tribe minorities in Thailand and Vietnam for a few days
posted by HeyAllie at 11:14 AM on April 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I'd hit a large art or music festival or something. Teknival, Burningman, Shambala come to mind, although they each have their merits.

Or, just start picking up a skill while you still have the time to really work at it.
posted by talldean at 6:02 PM on April 13, 2009

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