For some travelers, the world is a classroom. For others, it’s a playground. And to adrenaline junkies that travel far and wide to test their mettle on slopes, summits and seas, the concept of virtual travel probably seems oxymoronic at best. But for moments when life prevents us from physically going the distance, we can look to the world of virtual experiences for inspiration, at-home alternatives, and to get psyched for future adventures.
If you consider yourself an adrenaline junkie, the last thing you’ll probably want to do is read a blog post about all of the amazing things you COULD be doing instead. So I’ll cut to the chase with Hidden Lemur’s list of the best virtual travel experiences for homebound thrill-seekers.
(And for more, check out our ultimate guide to virtual travel.)
Want An Exciting VR Experience?
From extreme sports, to expeditions in outer space, to climbing Mount Everest, VEER has an impressive library of virtual experiences for VR headset owners. Even if you don’t own one, the 2D videos on their website still look pretty cool! If you are in a position to invest in a headset, Virtual Reality does facilitate some incredibly thrilling experiences, and can be used for a variety of purposes. The Oculus Rift headset is relatively inexpensive compared to other options on the market.
Even more exciting is the power of Virtual Reality to connect people worldwide. If you want to play a high octane Star Wars game against your friend in Germany, there’s no need to book a flight! Just set up a time and meet each other in VR. Ski solo down an alpine slope? Cowabunga! Anytime you want to escape into a fantastical realm of otherworldly adventure, all you have to do is download a virtual reality game and press play.
Experience The Olympics
The Olympic Channel website is teeming with epic content – live streamed competitions from all over the world, original films documenting the inspiring journeys of olympic athletes, and more. To get an up-close view of the action, the Speedboarders film allows you to see the world’s greatest downhill skateboarding race through the eyes of top competitors.
Learn To Slackline
Adrenaline rushes in to save us when we perceive danger. So how does one recreate that visceral, heart-in-your-throat, blood pumping thrill within the safe confines of home?
Enter at-home slacklining. This is not virtual, but hear me out. Slacklining looks a lot like tightrope walking, and was conceived in the 1960’s by climbers in the Yosemite Valley, CA. Eighty years later, Slacklining has found its way all over the world and become a thrilling pastime for expert athletes and novices alike. It requires an incredible sense of balance and triggers that inimitable feeling of glee that we get when we teeter on the verge. Though daredevils (affectionately known as Slackrobats) take slacklining to the next level and often do it in treacherous places, you can easily try it at home. All you need is a simple set up for indoor or outdoor use.
No matter your skill level or experience, “walking the line” offers a unique challenge and a fun diversion, especially if you imagine all of the incredible places you can one day take your newfound skill. For example, check out this VR compatible video on youtube to get inspired.
Learn Martial Arts Online
The diverse world of martial arts has so much to offer adrenaline seeking travelers. For example, Brazilian Capoeira, South Korean Tae Kwon Do, and Israeli Krav Maga are not only challenging physical practices, they also combine cultural traditions with practical defense skills. Online classes in martial arts are a great option for those who want to immerse themselves in another culture while building physical confidence (and maybe unleashing some aggression). Depending on your specific interest, there are plenty of online programs for martial arts training. Just follow the links above, or to connect one-on-one with martial arts instructors, head over to CoachUp or takelessons.com.
Extreme Sports Inspiration
If you seek adventure and constantly want to push your own limits, then you might want to use your down time to place some exciting new goals on the horizon. Have you ever heard of Nicaraguan Volcano Boarding, Zorbing from New Zealand, or Wife Carrying from Finland? Now you have. You’re welcome.
Of course, if you don't feel ready to run 253.5 meters through an obstacle course with your wife dangling from your back, that’s understandable. So for a more accessible rush to the head, check out this list of the most extreme sports that the writers at Lonely Planet could think of, and where to try them. Or dive into an internet wormhole of the most epic GoPro footage of all time.
International Horror Films
Netflix and thrill anyone? From Eastern Europe’s fantastical tales of Vampires and Werewolves, to the gut-wrenching gore that Japanese and Korean filmmakers are known for, the horror genre encompasses great diversity in filmic storytelling. So why not shriek with terrified delight and pique your interest in future travel at the same time? For a list of 2019’s best foregin horror films, their trailers, and how to stream them, click here. For even more international terror, take a peek at IMDB’s list of the Ten Scariest Foreign Horror Films Ever Made.