Adventurous Travel

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As an average digitally connected, white-color working stiff tooling around Manhattan, I don’t confront many unknowable risks. I recently spilled a latte on my keyboard, and there’s always the (relatively remote) chance of random violence, getting hit by a bike messenger, or having scaffolding fall on you.

Like Clark Kent, jumping into a phone booth though, there are moments in my otherwise staid career as a travel writer when chances of encountering bad luck surge. I’m not an adventure travel writer, but I am an adventurous traveler, always willing to jump into new situations. I will pretty much try anything once, with the knowledge that the experience may enhance the story and provide unique trip-planning information to my readers.

This has lead to a number of incredibly risky adventures, the vast majority of which have not harmed me but have instead actually helped me push through personal-growth boundaries. It all started on my first foreign trip at age 18. On my own at a bar in Rouen, I met a group of French locals who invited me to a ‘nearby’ party. Two hours of dark, winding roads later, there I was at an ancient, remote house partying in the wee hours, with no idea where I was or whether this group was even trustworthy. I’m a little startled thinking about it, but at the time, it was exhilarating.

Since then, I’ve experienced more than a handful of pulse-quickening experiences in the name of research.

• Inching 100 feet along a tiny ledge above a sheer 500-foot drop, then rappelling down a 250-feet cliff face in British Columbia;
• Mountain biking (quickly) down a mountain in Austria;
• A gut-busting stunt biplane ride outside of Portland, Oregon;
• Jumping off a mountain and tandem paragliding off Mt. Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska;
• Encountering a family of brown bears just outside my cabin in a remote part of the Alaskan wilderness;
• Crossing a rickety wood-slat suspension bridge 300 feet about a raging river near Vancouver;
• Taking a locals’ bus for 24 hours during torrential downpours in Guatemala’s guerilla country (back in the day), which was boarded by young, armed insurgents who took my passport (eventually giving it back); and finally
• Sliding down an alpine rollercoaster in Park City, Utah.

I include this innocuous-sounding ride last because, surprisingly, this was the adventure that finally sidelined me at least for a while. My leg slipped out and hit a fence along the side at 40 MPH shredding at least two ligaments in my right knee.

But given all the risks I’ve taken for my research — despite the blown-out knee — I’m still ahead. I think the best travel writing is borne of an open spirit of adventure and risk taking. With each risk I’ve taken, my writing feels more alive, as do I.

About The Author

In dot 429's words: "dot429's Travel writer, Ed Salvato, is highly regarded as a journalist and LGBT travel guru. Salvato's work has been published by some of the most important LGBT media outlets, including Out Traveler, The Advocate, Out Magazine, OUT & ABOUT, SDGLN.com, TripOutGayTravel.com, and PlanetOut.com. Ed's also the on-air call-in travel expert for the Derek & Romaine Show on Sirius/XM OutQ and Proud FM Toronto. Recently Salvato joined OutThink Partners, a communications and marketing firm, where he is excited to focus on travel, tourism, and the LGBT market." "Salvato is dedicated to connecting LGBT travelers with unique, interesting, and exciting experiences offered by hotels, resorts, and attractions that invite and welcome their business. Salvato is an active member of the dot429 professional network and editorial community." I've also been developing an expertise in social media. I have managed two large social media campaigns this year. One was for a $10M 3-week-long arts festival in Philadelphia (PIFA; PIFA.org) ; the other for Philly's 11-day Independence Day festivities (Welcome America; WelcomeAmerica.com).

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