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By Jason Jourdan

Travel can be as mild as an all-inclusive in the sun or as wild as a

camping trip in of a foreign country where locals do not speak your

mother tongue. I bet for many people when they think of “Extreme

Travel”, there’s one word that pops up; “danger!” Over the past decade

I’ve encountered challenging situations across blazing deserts,

through tangled jungles and up icy mountains in Africa to start but

rarely, if ever, did I cross the line into danger. I’ve walked

alongside, drank with and was welcomed into the homes of countless

strangers of all walks of life and was always greeted with a cup of

tea, big friendly smiles, and introductions to family members.

When I mention countries such as “Nigeria”, “Congo” or “Sierra Leone”

people’s minds turned to violence, wars, guns, blood diamonds and

scams, but these are stereotypes that are, like many others, a

misleading judgement. These are ideal examples of extreme travel

destinations but for me they are not associated with danger and

“sh**hole countries” they are not.


Language barriers, lack of running water, patchy electricity, long

stretches without internet connections, overloaded transportation that

takes you off the grid, all of this is part of extreme travel and what

makes it so authentic. It takes you back to nature, restores your

trust and hope in people as you put your life in the hands of

strangers and helps you see the beauty in the simple things.

I personally have backpacked and overlanded through 37 African

countries in very extreme conditions. To sleep, we pulled over in our

self-built MAN truck in the wild African bush and camped with exotic

animals, found local hotels in small villages or stayed in locals’

homes via Couch Surfing. Left and right, doors opened for us and we

fell more and more in love with the people, food and the cultures we

encountered. Hospitality is a key ingredient in the lives of African

people and one of the many things that make Africa so special and

memorable. A little less than the ordinary safari trip to Africa, we

embraced the continent by indulging in local food, spending hours upon

hours bouncing down thousands of miles of deeply potholed paved and

dirt roads, spotting wildlife, and making friendships that would last

a lifetime and leave us feeling forever welcome.

Extreme travel often coincides with “less fortunate” countries which

we associate with poverty, corrupt politics and recent wars, but as

long as we make smart choices, we can avoid dangers and have some of

the most rewarding, eye-opening experiences. Amazingly, one of the

biggest lessons I learned while travelling in Africa was that the less

people have, the MORE they are willing to share. The sacrifices I saw

being made all around me, the deep sense of family and happiness left

me feeling inspired. Travelling there helped me appreciate the

technology and luxuries we take for granted daily at home but it also

made me yearn for that compassion, love, hospitality and friendship I

experienced DAILY in Africa.

*Extreme travel means you’ll need extreme travel medical insurance. Plan your trip and ensure you have the insurance protection you need. Get a quote HERE.