(U.S Army National Guard photo by 1st Sgt. Douglas W. McNeil/Released)
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Chasing the Rush - Vacations for the MOST Adventurous Veterans

June 12, 2024
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Veterans seeking adventure beyond the ordinary can find thrilling vacation spots around the globe that offer the perfect blend of excitement and challenge. Most who were called to serve either had the adventure bug when they walked into their recruiter’s office, or were bitten by it after graduating basic training. Whether it’s exploring the depths of the ocean or conquering rugged mountains, these destinations cater to those who have served and now wish to indulge their adventurous spirit. Here are three of the wildest places for veterans to vacation, promising experiences that are anything but conventional.

Diving in the Great Blue Hole -  Belize

The Great Blue Hole, located off the coast of Belize, is a giant marine sinkhole that’s legendary among divers. It’s one of the largest of its kind, with crystal-clear waters and a depth of approximately 410 feet. For veterans who are diving enthusiasts, this destination offers a thrilling plunge into the dark blue waters, where one can explore massive limestone stalactites and encounter a diverse range of marine life including sharks and exotic fish. For a basically trained diver, the risk is far less than it feels, making this a solid entry level adventure that isn’t holding your hand. The Great Blue Hole is part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which ensures a spectacular dive experience. This dive is not just a physical challenge but also a chance to discover an underwater world that remains largely untouched by humans.

Trekking the Himalayas, Nepal

For veterans who thrive on physical challenges, trekking the Himalayas in Nepal presents an unparalleled adventure. The region offers some of the world’s most famous treks, including the Everest Base Camp trek and the Annapurna Circuit. The rugged terrain, high altitudes, and stunning landscapes require resilience and stamina, making it an ideal match for veterans accustomed to enduring tough conditions. Trekking in the Himalayas not only tests one’s physical limits but also provides a profound sense of accomplishment and a unique way to connect with nature at its most majestic. Do keep in mind that the summit of Everest itself and the path that leads to it has become something of a tourist trap (a lot to unpack in that statement) so it should probably be avoided until the organizations responsible can reign it in.

Safari in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Kruger National Park in South Africa offers a wild vacation unlike any other, where veterans can experience the thrill of wildlife up close. One of Africa’s largest game reserves, Kruger provides a habitat for an impressive array of wildlife including the Big Five: lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants, and buffaloes. Visitors can take guided safari tours, which may include walking safaris for those looking for more excitement and engagement with the African wilderness. This destination combines the thrill of adventure with the opportunity to learn about wildlife conservation efforts, making it a fulfilling trip for those who appreciate nature’s wonders. In some places hunting is authorized for the purpose of conservation, but be sure all of the paperwork is in order and you have a guide before taking down an endangered species in a foreign country. Locked Up Abroad isn’t a destination on this list.

Why These Destinations?

Each of these locations offers a unique blend of challenges and rewards that are particularly appealing to veterans, who often seek out experiences that can stimulate and test their abilities in new ways. Whether it’s exploring the mysterious depths of an underwater cave, trekking through breathtaking mountain trails, or witnessing wildlife in its natural habitat, these vacations provide an opportunity to push boundaries and explore the extremes of what the world has to offer. Start small or go for broke, but get out there and see the world you served to keep safe.

Moreover, these destinations offer a way for veterans to harness their skills and resilience in peaceful pursuits that also embrace a sense of adventure and discovery. Each trip provides a way to decompress, reflect, and engage with the world in a profoundly personal and exciting way. For veterans ready to explore the wilder side of life, these vacations promise memories that will last a lifetime.

Featured image: (U.S Army National Guard photo by 1st Sgt. Douglas W. McNeil/Released)

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