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Learn a New Sport While Traveling
Traveling to a foreign country offers many opportunities: learning the culture, meeting new people and exploring sporting activities that may be new, different or less attractive to you at home. Learning a new sport in a new country is a unique ‘souvenir’ to treasure over a lifetime. Let’s take a look at some of great sports that you can learn while you are away:
Sailing is the art of harnessing the wind to steer a boat and the wind trapped in the sail will push the boat forward. Learning to sail means to understand how to ‘collect’ the wind, and direct the boat to the desired location. Sailboats come in all shapes and sizes and offer a wide variety of sailing experiences, from lazy lake-sailing afternoons, to the complexities of sailing the open ocean.
Learning to sail includes managing the sails and the boat, navigating the waters, rules and regulations for sailors, even open ocean passage sailing for the truly adventurous. Sailing courses are available around the world, including both coasts of America, around the coast of Australia, many islands in the Caribbean and throughout Asia.
If going under the water sounds like more fun there are lots of ways to do that too, through diving. Diving options are varied. Some, like snorkeling, are really simple, involving floating at or near the surface while breathing through a tube.
Other options are much more challenging, such as free-diving. Free-diving is the act of diving straight down as deeply as possible, unaided by breathing apparatus, giving you a chance to explore unencumbered.
Another popular option is scuba diving. Unlike free-diving, scuba diving involves wearing an air tank that provides oxygen while underwater; giving you an excellent opportunity to explore the lake or ocean floor for extended periods of time. Scuba diving courses will teach new divers the physics of air in the body, the effects that water pressure has on us, how to manage equipment and how to scuba safely in any type of location. Excellent scuba sites around the world include the Coral Reefs in Australia, Micronesia, the Red Sea of Egypt and Koh Tao (Turtle Island) in Thailand. There are also plenty of dive sites in and around sunken ships throughout the Caribbean Sea and the Mediterranean as well as the habitats of open ocean species such as sea turtles, rays, sharks, etc. off Hawaii, Belize and the Maldives.
A fun combination of kite flying and surfing, kite surfing is relatively new and growing in popularity. Kite surfers ride a surf board while flying an expansive kite and the kite pulls the boarder over the water. Powerful wind gusts and water currents make it extremely fun AND extremely dangerous.
Courses will demonstrate how to set up and manage the board, as well as how to ‘fly’ the kite (starting on land, of course!), how to steer while on the water, and how to stay safe on any body of water. You can learn to kitesurf in many countries, including along the Gold Coast, Australia, in Cape Town, South-Africa, the Dominican Republic and even on the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, USA.
For the snow enthusiast, snowshoeing offers a change from skiing or snowboarding. Snowshoes (like small racquets) are strapped to the foot, and allow easy tracking — almost floating — over deep snow. When dressed well for weather, and prepped with food and water, snowshoers can trek into areas not accessible by other forms of winter sport. Training courses will explain what type of shoe is suited for the proposed terrain, how to prepare for weather and how to get up and down steep hills. Excellent snowshoeing trails have been developed in Colorado USA, Queenstown, NZ, the Sierra Nevadas in Spain and Yatsugatake, Japan.