Author: Kseniya Goncharova
02 Jul. 2019

Travel like Indiana Jones: when movie adventures come true

Emotions and memories are the treasure that cannot be lost. Because they are priceless and unique. Neither crises, nor age, nor well-being will affect the pilgrim’s soul in you. And the brighter and more exciting your life is, the richer you are.

That’s true. But there are people who have seen so much, have visited such far away countries, and have walked through the streets of so many cities and towns so that their emotions seem “tired” a little. They are no longer surprised, inspired, and happy as they used to be. This is where our story begins. Is it possible to see the country you have already visited in a new way? Whom to ask for a customized extreme adventure in the jungle or desert? And what did lucky Indiana Jones feel when falling into the abyss, running away from aborigines, and hunting for treasures? We found the answers to these questions thanks to the professional traveler, Dmitry Prikhodko. Dmitry has been organizing expert travels for more than 15 years so far, have visited 100 countries, spent 7 years in India, and has been leading groups for 10 years to the sacred spot on Earth – Mount Kailash in Tibet (he has done 35+ expeditions to this region). In his opinion, an extreme adventure is the best way to test yourself and answer the main question: who am I?

Indiana Jones’ code of successful adventure

1. Having done and organized many extreme trips, Dmitry Prikhodko says that if you do not know where to start – start with impromptu. Do not plan for six months ahead making notes like "here we will have a fascinating adventure". Remember that Indiana Jones was a rolling stone who casted prudence to the winds even without a suitcase.

2. The next important thing is to have a mega goal. Traveling from point A to point B is not about adventure. Your trip should have a sense (albeit imaginary) and a very specific goal. You need to build a logical chain in advance and decide how to move towards your goal, what are the rules and/or restrictions. Your trip should ultimately lead you to the cherished goal. And your goals may vary: climbing a steep mountain, crossing a border on a donkey (it is your goal after all – do what you want to do), or searching for a cave/waterfall/amazing view, whatever. But the main thing is that your journey should test you and your companions. The process itself must reveal new qualities in the traveler. This is the way of self-knowing and self-development.

3. Always look for new travel formats. This is time to leave your comfort zone to get a positive shake and adrenaline rush. Used to travel by air? Take a ship, ride a bike, fly a balloon or even hitchhike. Can’t beat it? Skip the shortcuts – superheroes do not look for easy ways!

4. It is definitely better to start with uncharted lands. Especially good would be a less developed country with rich vegetation, crowds of wild animals, and diverse landscapes.

5. Find your personal traveler’s amulets. Remember Indie Jones who always wore a crumpled wide brim hat, a whip, a leather jacket and a revolver. Even if the need in the latter raises doubts, your adventure style will certainly add some zest to your voyage.


 Best locations for movie travels

If you are not willing to jump off the deep end on your own and are not a fan of open-end adventures, there are professional travelers, both in Ukraine and abroad, who specialize in organizing expert travels. A decade ago or so, tourists began to get fed up with standard package tours and started looking for authentic immersive experience. And the travel industry got a new segment saved for outstanding individuals who ideally know a few regions and can offer lots of unconventional routes, out-of-the-box travel experience and life hacks.

All countries in Southeast Asia are perfect for traveling like Indiana Jones – be it Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, or Burma... These are countries where remnants of ancient civilizations can still be found, where you can see the interesting culture and local lifestyle, rich nature and wildlife. This is also true for the countries of South America, such as Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia. Finally, mysterious and incomprehensible Tibet can also become an ultimate destination for your super-adventure.

Professionals can turn any route into an adventure. For example, they will offer you to raft from Nepal to Tibet on a mountain river. That’s tough! Or paraglide over a gorge. Or to get to the world’s highest airport on a ten-seater plane. And then take a yak or horse to go down the mountain. Dmitry Prikhodko says that the main thing is to fill your trip with impressions as much as you can. People enjoy learning new skills and interacting with their route, rather than just go the easy route. And when it comes to goals, experts will also do much better than inexperienced travelers. To see Everest and live in an expedition camp at its foot or to climb the most sacred mountain in the world, Kailash in Tibet, can be real goals. Indeed, with experienced travelers, you can even get off to Antarctica!

Be sure to ask the organizers to make a route of your adventure detailed day by day. Even better – by hour. Distances, heights, resting places, meals, overnight stops, timing, and activities. It really matters. You need to know your logistics perfectly. The task of the organizers is to paint your adventure with the most vivid colors, to lay out routes off the beaten path, and most importantly, to ensure your safety throughout your trip, since the Earth is large and anything may happen.

Adventure quests: the sky is your limit

Besides group tours and trails more or less trampled by travelers’ feet, you can order a customized quest adventure. Yes, it will be expensive, but definitely cooler than in the movies. Because it’s live and it’s yours. A few months before the trip, a professional traveler will develop an absolutely unique route with any options you may want.

You can order a quest trip to Bali with ascents to volcanoes, diving, rafting, walking through the jungle, and fishing. Even if you are fed up with travels, the magnificent nature of the island will not leave you indifferent, and the adventure experience will drive you long time. And do not need to torment yourself with harsh conditions. If a tent in the jungle is not where your expedition would like to shelter for a night, the organizers will find a five-star accommodation or even a luxury suite, if you wish. Any format you like.

Dmitry Prikhodko has once organized a customized adventure tour including climbing to two well-known mountain peaks – Kazbek and Elbrus. Although customers are used to comfort and are not going to spend nights under the stars, the expedition involves river rafting and long journeys. The goal is to conquer the mountain peaks and enjoy the nature and communication with friends.

Perhaps the most unusual case in our speaker’s practice is a one-day super quest he has organized for a girl as a birthday gift to her boyfriend. Miracles happened to the birthday boy once he has awakened. Every hour he made a decision, he had to toss up a medallion and proceed to the next step depending on the side of the medallion. Even the organizers themselves did not know what would be the next step in real time. They have developed and fully prepared two unique scenarios – Agent’s 007 adventure in Amsterdam and Bonny’s & Clyde’s action experience in Paris. Each told a fascinating story with lots of surprises and unusual situations happening to the birthday boy who stood dumbfounded right in the center of the European capital. The lot fell on Paris. There was a fake robbery of a real bank followed by the arrival of Parisian gendarmes (yes, professionals can do everything). There was even shooting from rare arms and acquaintance with European collectors. There was the salvation of the girlfriend with a helicopter over Paris. And finally, there was an amazing dancing party for friends and family in a luxurious five-star hotel in the center of the French capital. Besides, the whole day was filmed with a hidden camera, so that the hero could see his face puzzled with assignments in a personal movie.

Indeed, everything is possible. The thing is the money and the right choice of a professional organizer who needs 5 to 14 days to customize a route. After all, it is necessary not only to come up with a route, but also to fly to a location and make arrangements onsite. To develop such a one-day birthday quest, Dmitry took 5 days to work out the scenario in Paris. This is a very hard job. It takes about twenty hours for the organizers to walk all the points in the scenario, find the best locations, and make arrangements so the adventure will run smoothly. Indeed, there are a million of nuances to consider.

By the same principle, an experienced specialist can organize a treasure hunting adventure for as long as you wish and anywhere in the world. Your fantasy is directly proportional to your resources.

            Preparations: the devil is in the detail

Spontaneity is a good thing, but beginners need to be properly equipped for any non-standard trip. For those who go on an extreme journey for the first time, it is better to turn to professionals at least two or three months before the chosen date. Non-standard routes are good for small groups (10-12 people). In addition, for some trips (especially to the sacred places, such as Tibet), you need a special interview with a team leader. This is done to better group people who can comfortably spend 2-3 weeks side by side in extreme conditions. A professional traveler will immediately determine whether you are ready for this test. In adventure tours that do not involve searching for truth, you can set off at any age and with any family members.

Besides, every region has its secrets. For example, Tibet lies at an altitude of 4,500 to 6,000 meters above the sea where oxygen levels are half of those in the air we breathe every day. You must have special equipment and be physically fit. People with high blood pressure, heart disease or lung problems should consult a doctor before planning such a trip. Plus, hiking through the Himalayas means being up to 20 km on foot every day (there is a safety principle: the farther you are from towns, the more motion you need). Plus, eating, sleeping and hygiene in the field also have some specifics. May, August, and September are comfortable time to travel to this region.

Southeast Asia (Laos, Vietnam, and Burma) lays down its rules to your preparations. Always mind high humidity, bad roads, and lots of insects. In small villages in the jungle you will hardly find somebody who understands English. So, you have nothing but use your gestures and body language to communicate with locals. The best time for a trip to Asia is late November – early December and February. The main point is to avoid the rainy season.

Even in the most exotic countries professional organizers always have "insiders" who help them to solve lots of everyday issues and successfully come out of unforeseen situations. Having a guide is crucial for a successful adventure – even Indiana Jones always willingly resorted to their help.


                Three important tips from the expert

  • The perfect timing for adventure is 14 days – you enjoy the trip to the full, but do not have time to get tired.
  • Do not overload the trip with destinations and activities. Remember that a wonder lasts but nine days. Impressions should not “hitch” the traveler.
  • Love yourself in a journey. Above all, any adventure is about you and for you. Do not try to aim at others’ goals. Savor your adventure.


                   Treasure hunting: to dig or not to dig

Adventures in the style of Indiana Jones are inextricably linked to treasures and various archaeological excavations. Finding a treasure is dream of everybody, regardless of age. It is a very mysterious, exciting and unique experience. Of course, much has already been found, and much has been lost forever. And, of course, we are not talking about tomb robbery that, alas, flourished in all ages. We are talking about legal digging as a tourist experience that merely gives pleasure and does not damage country's historical and cultural heritage. After all, there are many places where digging is allowed, and nobody knows how far you can dig down.

For example, in some European countries (e.g. Germany, France, Denmark, or Austria) you need a special permit to use a metal detector. Such permit should be sought in advance. It allows you to search for treasures on municipal beaches and private territories if permitted by owners in the UK, Latvia, Kenya, Indonesia, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, the Maldives, India, Uganda, Vietnam, Thailand. However digging is strictly prohibited in Israel, Mongolia, Romania, Croatia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey, Malta, Cuba, and many other countries.

Bearing these locations in mind, you can organize a treasure hunt. Specialists will visit the archives and find a legend for your adventure. There are many forums and interest clubs where people have been searching archives for maps, legends, mentions, memories, or papers. If you are a true treasure hunter, it's time to join such a community. If getting a chest with precious stones is not your ultimate goal, then an interesting trip inspired by an ancient myth or legend can be a pleasant and informative pastime for you. Who knows? What if you really dig up a treasure? After all, we know so little about the place where we live...

          How much does it cost to be a superhero?

Any out-of-the-box experience is always worth money. But it is really worth it. Exact quotes can hardly be made as any adventure tour is customized. We tried to roughly estimate the cost of the trips described above.

Estimated cost of a 14-day quest adventure to an exotic country:

International flights – $700-1,200

Domestic logistics – $3-5 per day ($42-70 per trip)

Accommodation – $20-40 per day ($ 80-560 for two weeks)

Meals – $20-25 per day ($280-350 per two weeks)

Water – $100

Permits, visas, and other papers – $120-150

Escorting (driver, tour guide in cities) + tips (mandatory) – $100-120

Entrances to temples – $30-40 per temple ($150 for the trip)

Souvenirs and shopping – $200-300

Remote development of the quest, including the scenario and logistics, unaccompanied by organizers –$300-500

Escorting by the organizer throughout the route – $50-100 per day + flight and all other expenses

The total will be $1,822+. However, this is the minimum budget without the upper limit. It all depends on your imagination, opportunities, and thirst for adventure.

A customized exotic tour accompanied by a top guide, including an intricate quest and a lot of turnkey activities will cost $5,000-15,000, depending on the complexity and conditions.

Small group travels will range from $3,500 to $5,000 (all inclusive, except for international flights).

Photos provided by Dmitro Prikhodko

Translate: Global Translation Services 1+1

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