Adventure in a shrinking World – Modern Day Exploring

Is it possible to still make discoveries in the modern World, to feel some exhilaration from exploring and finding something new? The opportunities to explore unchartered regions are diminishing but there are still some available for those sufficiently driven to do so.

The backstreets of Marrakech and its medina on Mallory on Travel adventure, photography

What’s around the corner?

Most of the ocean floor remains unexplored but even on dry land there are still exciting destinations to discover. Only recently undiscovered tribes have been found in the Amazon, parts of the Congo, Papua New Guinea and some tepuis in Venezuela are still relatively unexplored.

The opportunities  for inclusion on an expedition which will explore such areas however are beyond the scope of most. Is it possible for the average traveller to experience the emotions that the great adventurers of the ‘golden age’ of discovery such as Cook or Magellan?

Cavers are modern-day explorers, the élite of the sport venture into unexplored cave systems, discovering new territory and glimpsing what few of us will ever experience.

Today it maybe difficult to imagine how Cook must have felt when he first dropped anchor in Tuuranga-nui (Poverty Bay) or when Columbus first set foot on the ‘New World’ even if he didn’t have a clue where he was.

“opportunities for discovery and endless adventure”

However discovery is a matter of perspective, finding something unexpected when exploring a jungle might be easy but cities or even beaches can offer just as much excitement with a suitable attitude. I have often discussed the value of travelling with the viewpoint of a child on this site. Children find adventure and excitement in circumstances that many consider mundane. If just a little of that childlike wonder is rekindled, every trip will offer opportunities for discovery and endless adventure.

Taking a trek along a gorge or wadi, suddenly coming around a bend as the chasm spectacularly opens up or a hidden, emerald coloured pool, almost irresistible to any swimmer  should excite anybody.

“usually requires some celebration”

That feeling of being lost in a North African medina before turning the corner to find a great little souk or maybe street vendor is worth getting lost for. I often get excited when stumbling across a new bar or coffee shop, so much so it usually requires some celebration!

The ancient city of Fes, Morocco, North Africa on Mallory on Travel adventure, photography

Fez, exciting streets

are The adventurous locations with plenty of challenges and even opportunities to see something few westerners ever will. It is even possible a new species of plant or creature may be found, although it is unlikely many would realise.

Fossil hunting on a beach or quarry is a modern form of exploration. Split open a rock, and it is possible that something human eyes have never seen is revealed. That is true discovery and if it that isn’t exciting enough then I suggest checking your pulse!

The World is fall of small discoveries, a few are large ones, some will be personal others genuinely new which nobody else has experienced but without exception they are discoveries.

“Help me finish this post”

This post is not really finished; it is only part way through and there is much still to discuss. I want to hear your ideas and experiences about modern-day exploration and discovery.

Please add your comments, what are your perceptions and who has or does inspire you, modern and past adventurers? Help me finish this post, your comments are important, you all have personal insights and experiences which will benefit other readers.

I am looking forward to reading your comments and using them to finish this post.

Wadi Shab near Sur in Oman on Mallory on Travel adventure, photography

Exploring a Wadi


Comments 15

  1. Andrew

    Great post. You can still find adventure wherever you are and plenty of times over the years I’ve enjoyed discovering new cultures, friendships, places…. And now with kids travelling new places brins plenty of exploration seeing the world through their eyes.

  2. Julia

    One thing I find difficult about the travel blogging world is that we share EVERYTHING. We never keep great destinations to ourselves, in our memories… but if we all just traveled for the sheer fun of it, rather than to bump up our egos (“well, I discovered this FANTASTIC little place in the Nile delta…”), there would be less of a problem. But the communication technology, as well as the travel technology, will and should continue to grow.

  3. Justin

    Great Article! It’s funny, just yesterday I took my kids to school in a different direction. For years we have been following the same path. We discovered a whole new world.

    I think the problem with travelers, and people for that matter, is we always try to follow everyone else. There is a lot left to explore. But we have to get off the path first!

  4. John

    Iain, perhaps this sounds like a cliché, but I firmly believe the biggest discovery we can make is ourselves. How do we react to all of the various challenges life throws at us both good and bad. Adventure travel is just one of millions of way to make discoveries deep within us. One of my quotes is: “When you lose everything else, you usually find yourself”.

  5. Audrey

    There are days when I feel like everywhere has already been “discovered,” but then it’s the simplest interaction with a local person at the market or steering off the main road or getting lost and that’s when I feel like I really am exploring and discovering. Even if others have been there before me, it’s still a personal exploration.

    Also, I do believe that there are still places in the world that have barely been explored in comparison with popular tourist destinations – Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia (Republic of), Paraguay, China’s west (Xinjiang), Iran, Pakistan, and so many other places. I personally love these places, but like Julia also don’t want to publicize them too much because I hope they stay a little “undiscovered.”

    1. Post

      Some great and interesting comments looking like I will be able to finish this with some very different perspectives soon! Thank you all

  6. Leah Travels

    Adventure, like love, can be found because you’ve spent your whole life searching for it. But they can also smack you in the face when you least expect it. Your mind, heart, and eyes have to be open in order to receive both love and adventure.

    1. Post

      I like the way you think Leah we have a similar outlook about adventure and a similar attitude I believe.

  7. cheryl

    I moved to Germany from Canada as I wanted to “explore” all of Europe. Everything is new to me and I feel like a brave explorer each time I get out there and travel! 🙂

  8. Turtle

    When you consider that most things have been discovered ‘geographically’, it’s time to discover things ‘culturally’. The world is always changing which means there are always new things to find. If you travel with your ears, your nose, your mouth and your heart then you’ll be exploring in a way you can’t do with just your eyes. And you’ll have much better stories to tell – stories that a million people haven’t already told.

  9. Sam

    I definitely agree with everyone who has said the greatest adventure is in the people you meet. “Western” society has thousands of years of geographical accounts of the world. But, sadly, it is only recently we have begun viewing other cultures with an open mind. In places that are not so connected, many small communities, tribes and villages maintain enormous individuality from the rest of their countrymen. Tanzania has 152 separate tribes with separate languages! Endless adventure.

    I also think we can find adventure on a smaller scale just by – literally – getting off the beaten path and heading out in a new direction. No chance we’ll stumble upon the next Grand Canyon, but it is incredibly rewarding to bushwhack for a couple of hours in a new direction and just come upon a stream or pond to take a dip in – or countless other small natural wonders.

    1. Post

      Wow Sam that’s fascinating 152 seperate tribes, I wasn’t aware there were anything like that many. Finding even the smallest discovery is exciting makes the effort worthwhile.

      I am always surprised when I take a little walk or ride around my local area or own country, we all need to do this more.

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