ANGRY Planet and Storm Chasers TV adventurer George Kourounis is to launch a series of epic challenges to blow away the Covid cobwebs during a special online event this month.
Life Adventure will air on January 14 as George compares his explorations, storm chasing and expeditions across the world to the challenges we all face today – and says challenge should be embraced and welcomed.
The 50-year-old adventurer and storm chaser, who specialises in documenting extreme weather and natural disasters, has been signed up by Exodus Travels.
“The idea of discovery and exploration really fuels my passion for travel, adventure and new experiences,” says George, ahead of the event. “Travel in 2021 will have its challenges, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
“One thing I’d really suggest to people is that adventure is relative. You don’t have to do things that nobody has ever done before, you only have to do things that you’ve never done before.
“That thrill of experiencing new places, people and cultures really feeds the adventurous spirit in us all. Start planning now!”
The virtual event is at 5pm GMT on January 14 and is free to join here.
Exodus Travels has created a collection of Epic Adventure Challenges to encourage travellers to make 2021 their year of adventure, and catch up on the time lost to the Covid-19 lockdown.
They include an off the beaten track Himalayan adventure, a Kilimanjaro ascent via lesser-trekked routes, back country hiking along one of America’s most famous trails and an isolated alternative to the Inca Trail.
“The collection has been curated to help budding adventurers push their boundaries, achieve a remarkable feat and alleviate those itchy feet from 2020 with a trek of a lifetime,” says Exodus.
“With steep inclines and demanding ascents, each trip is designed so that adventurers will be rewarded with some of the most awe-inspiring panoramas.”
Among the new adventures on offer is The Moonstone Trek – an isolated alternative to the Inca Trail, which follows isolated routes through the Andes, with most groups unlikely to encounter any other tourists for the entire trek.
Starting in a quiet rural valley between Cuzco and the Sacred Valley, the route passes through seldom‐visited Andean villages, Inca and pre‐Inca ruins and heads onto an altiplano plateau surrounded by glaciated peaks.
The 11-day trek finishes seven miles from the start of the Inca Trail and includes an early morning visit to the majestic Machu Pichu (to further avoid the crowds), and is priced from £2,299 a head including flights.
It’s one of the world’s iconic mountains but the Lemosho Route offers a much-less trekked ascent of Kilimanjaro.
An 10-day tour on Africa’s highest mountain maximises time in the wilderness, taking the western approach, crossing the caldera of Shira Volcano and traversing beneath the southern icefields of the Kibo volcano.
Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro is one of life’s greatest accomplishments and this route offers an excellent chance of doing so – some 96% of people trekking the Lemosho route with Exodus stand on the roof of Africa.
Prices are from £4,249 per person including return flights, all accommodation, all breakfasts, eight lunches and nine dinners, all transport, listed activities, tour leader throughout and Kilimanjaro Park Fee.
The John Muir Trail, meanwhile, follows one of the USA’s most famous hiking routes through California, crossing three national parks, following the rugged spine of the High Sierra and climbing Mount Whitney.
Camping each night in the back country, at altitude, travellers will climb passes over 13,000ft, wander beneath high alpine peaks and through meadows and forested river valleys over 23 days. Prices are from £2,879.
The celestial mountains of Kyrgyzstan are usually visited by only the most intrepid, but the Tian Shan Gorge Trek opens them up to travellers.
Trekkers will hike through six gorges, including the beautiful Jety-Oguz Canyon, bathe in Altyn Arashan hot springs and take in the great panoramic views from Telety Pass.
With a mixture of wild camping and stays in nomadic yurt camps, travellers get a true insight into the local culture and tradition, all while soaking up the immense surrounding beauty. Prices are from £3,799.
Still in a mountainous mood? A new tour takes in Concordia and K2, the world’s second highest mountain in the ‘the throne room of the Gods’.
A 13-day guided trek follows the Braldu gorge and the Baltoro glacier surrounded by unrivalled mountain scenery, from £4,249 a head.
Closer to home is a challenging trek through the Polish High Tatras, offering some of the most rugged and spectacular views in Europe, including a tough ascent of Poland’s highest mountain, Rysy at 2,499m.
There’s also the opportunity to learn about the local culture of Zakopane, an idyllic folk town beneath the Tatras, and explore Krakow with its UNESCO listed old town, ancient churches and historic Jewish District.
Prices for the eight-day trek are from £1,149 a head including flights.
Last, but not least, Peaks of Ladakh Trek is an off the beaten track High Himalayan adventure, allowing trekkers to experience Tibetan culture, history and colourful Buddhist monasteries and temples.
The route summits not one but two Himalayan peaks and seven passes, with those who conquer the climbs rewarded with breathtaking views over the Karkorum and Indian Himalayas. Prices for the 17-day special are from £2,949.
See www.exodus.co.uk for full itineraries, availability, prices and the latest Covid travel advice. To join the Life Adventure online special, head to www.exodus.co.uk/george-kourounis-epic-adventure-challenges