The Adventure Travel Exhibition held in London attracted just as many middle-aged people as it did young ones. Good on you! What are you up for: rock climbing, scuba-diving, sea kayaking, desert tours, ballooning, white water rafting, mountain treks, bungee jumping or hang gliding?

A wonderful lift out of reality, the ATEX was well enjoyed and hopefully some bookings were made with the sun-tanned tour operators.

I managed to speak to quite a few, including Rock and Sun who specialise in climbs in Spain, Sardinia, Morocco and Thailand. Water by Nature showed great videos of white-water rafting on the Zambesi which I could say I had done. Wahoo! But was I too old to start climbing? Not at all I was assured. ‘It`s easy when you get to grips with it.’ Well yes, I thought, getting a grip…

Rafting the Zambesi, I am on the front, right. as we come through the gorge

Geoff Hann of Hinterland Travel was rather off-hand I hadn’t visited Iraq since 1981 since he is running tours there. A very comprehensive 17 day programme covers everything from the river-port of Basra to the ancient Arab city of Hatra, north-west of Baghdad.  

I particularly enjoyed a chat with James Wilcox who runs Untamed Borders, visiting Afghanistan and the spectacular Northern Areas of Pakistan, a personal favourite  deserving the attention of adventure travellers seeking something special and unspoilt.

Crossing a river by “box bridge” in Northern Pakistan

What was also interesting was information on international volunteering which apparently requires no special skills. Putting something back into a community, by helping villagers better their living conditions, is one of the fastest growing sections of the adventure holiday industry. The Habitat for Humanity website, is listed below.

The show covered everything. Educational advice was available on malaria and tick-bite. There were equipment stands, bookstalls and a variety of speakers including Aussie travel writer Peter Moore and Mr Travel himself, Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet guides.

Ballooning in Qatar



c.Christine Osborne
Image: Canoeing on the Zambesi river
Image: Glacier walk, South Island of New Zealand
Source: www.copix.co.uk

About Travels with My Hat

Australian photojournalist and author. Used London as a base for nearly forty years while freelancing in the Middle East, Arabian peninsular, Africa and South Asia. Have written and illustrated more than a dozen books and travel guides. Operates a well regarded religious images stock photo library: www.worldreligions.co.uk. Live in Leura in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney.
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