Contemporary travel has become so ubiquitous and accessible that what once seemed like a lifetime dream sailing the remote islands of the Pacific, for example is not only do-able, its overdone. In addition, many of todays travelers are looking for a more active experience than sunbathing or shopping while making the most of their coveted days off.
Which brings us to a growing trend in the industry: a term loosely described as "experience" or "gift" travel, which is based on an activity or skill, such as driving a professional race car or learning to fence. The possibilities are endless if you can dream it, theres an outfitter ready to help you do it. Here are four experiences sure make you say, Hey, Ive always wanted to try that...
Dust Off Your Nunchucks: You wont be mistaken for Chuck Norris after one lesson but perhaps youll know how better to handle those nunchucks without whacking yourself in the face. These private ninja classes, available through Cloud 9 Living, are held at one of New York's oldest Ninja training schools.
Mush It Up on a Dogsled: Admit it, youve always wanted to say Mush! to a team of hardy sled dogs, and luxury outfitter Abercrombie & Kent teaches you to take the reins. By day, you and your canine team, along with Army-trained guide Per Thore Hansen, will cruise for a week through the most remote parts of Scandinavia. By night, youll enjoy chef-cooked meals and perhaps even a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Channel Your Inner 007: Forget the tired camera-in-the-pen trick this intensive course will have you learning the tried-and-true techniques of espionage. Youll get personalized training from ex-surveillance operatives, including unarmed combat and evasive driving techniques. Available through UK-based Red Letter Days.
Go Into Orbit: Well, not really but youll experience what the astronauts do with a zero-gravity flight. After a comprehensive training session, youll zip up in a real flight suit and experience 15 arcs of zero gravity, each lasting about 30 seconds. At around $5,000 this adventure is one to save up for, but its cheaper than a flight to the moon. Available throug Excitations.