Editor’s Letter issue #114

Deep in the heart of every traveller, I’m convinced, lies the soul of an adventurer. A little bit of Indiana Jones, perhaps, or even a dash of James Bond. The more exotic a location, the more exciting and uncertain the road, the more our chests swell and our eyes widen with the sheer beauty and colour of it all – but I’m certain there’s a part of us that loves adventure travel simply because of what it brings out in us. It’s about what it makes us feel, and feel about ourselves.

This year so far in travel has had perhaps a little more uncertainty and excitement than we would like. The Australian bushfires over summer dulled our beloved blue skies for a while, and coronavirus has brought a new kind of uncertainty for the next while, too. However, I also see the post-bushfire swell of support, with hashtags catching on faster than any fire – #emptyesky, #recoverytourism, #buyfromthebush – bringing out the very best in us. The rallying cry to travel once more has brought us a new kind of adventure and exploration, to lead the way back to rural towns and bush retreats and bring our dollars (and eskies) with us.

Likewise, while some countries may be temporarily off the menu right now, it’s an ideal time to remember all those destinations and economies around the world that are so very ready to welcome us. It’s also the perfect time to dream, and plan, and remember that this moment in time – just like the bushfires – won’t last forever. The panache and charm of Europe or the slick, brash fun of North America; the magnificence of Africa and the Middle East or the grandeur and colour of Asia… need I go on? It’s all still there – and anywhere we may not travel, we still plan to travel as soon as we can. It’s what we adventurers do.

That’s why we at Vacations & Travel have been inspired to bring an extra theme of recovery tourism to our much-loved Adventure issue. We have dedicated our Connection section of the magazine, particularly, to eating local produce, giving back to the global community, and finding ways to travel that work better for our planet. Personally, I have popped in my own photo essay (page 32) about the spectacular Great Beach Drive on the coast of Queensland and the magical rainforest of Fraser Island, a fragile and beautiful place that is ready for visitors now.

Further afield, our more intrepid writers and photographers have been outdoing themselves to bring the most vibrant of adventure destinations around the world for your armchair travelling pleasure. From the shifting sands of the Sahara in the fascinating land of Mauritania (page 60) to the wigmen of the Papua New Guinean Highlands (page 50) and the wild Arctic coast of Iceland (page 44), your inner Indiana Jones will be more than satisfied. A gentle cruise of the Solomons (page 38) or a (literally) volcanic trip to Tanna Island in Vanuatu (page 72) have also had us enthralled with the amazing sights within cooee of Australia, as has one woman’s incredible walk along the entire length of New Zealand, solo (page 96).

So whether you are ready to adventure this autumn, or simply travel by armchair, we hope this issue makes your chest swell and your eyes widen, in anticipation of your next adventure ahead.

Jac Taylor, Editor