Escape Artists offers up a global discourse ranging from great finds close to home to adventures far afield. You'll find weekly travel deals here, too. Share your road wisdom, rave about great finds and rant about roadblocks that get in the way of a great trip.

Contributor: Travel editor Kerri Westenberg.

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Posts about Adventure travel

A dozen weeks on the road

Posted by: Updated: July 25, 2012 - 4:17 PM
Maybe four years in Peoria, Ill., simply ignites wanderlust.
 
Stephen Bruning grew up in Minnesota, first around Cedar and then Long Lake. After graduating from Bradley University in 2008 in Peoria, he and his former roommate took to the road earlier this year -- embarking on a 12-week, 11,000 mile journey across the western United States between Feb. 29 andf May 20.
 
 Now working as a photographer -- shooting concerts, graduations and marathons -- Bruning pointed his lens at America.
 
"From big city to rural America, we witnessed a country in motion toward the pursuit of adventure," he writes in an e-mail. "The goal of this trip was simply to learn more.  More about ourselves, more about our country, more about life."

Among the highlights: "sunrise surfing in Malibu, falling into a 20-foot snowdrift at Crater Lake, getting robbed in Seattle, lost within the Redwoods at dusk and sword fighting with whale rib bones on the Oregon Coast."

Along with former college roommate Derek Karnatz, he says, "we aquired a lifetime’s worth of lessons in three months.  These experiences have changed the way I view the world and my ideas for what is truly possible with a goal and a little imagination."

He's boiled it down in a 77-second video that's well worth your time. So click on this link and live a little, vicariously: Stir Enthusiasm
 

 

A trip to build on

Posted by: Kerri Westenberg Updated: July 17, 2012 - 3:24 PM

 

 

Nice things happen whem groups collaborate. Case in point:  Groupon Getaways, the nifty groupon site that offers discounted vacations; Groupon Grassroots, Groupon's philanthropic arm; and buildOn, a non-profit that provides after-school service programs for American students and builds schools in impoverished communities overseas, have come together to offer a pretty cool groupon deal. For $2,583, you can travel to Nicaragua or Nepal on a 7-day all-inclusive trip to help build a school for a community in need.  With that fee, you also sponsor an American inner-city student who is a part of buildOn's afterschool program to make the trip, too. For altruistic travelers, it's a win-win-win. The price of the trip includes meals, lodging with a host family and local travel. Fifteen slots available: there are 9 days and 7 hours left.

This travel contest seems too good to be true

Posted by: Updated: February 29, 2012 - 11:49 AM

There are contests and then there are contests. This one sounds too good to be true. The San Francisco-based tour company Viator is looking for travelers with wanderlust and video acumen. Winners will get an all-expenses-paid junket to visit 20 cities in 60 days, shooting video in two-person teams. Official details are slated to be announced March 1, but Escape Artists got the scoop a little early and is happy to share the following press release. (We're also guessing Chicago will be among the cities on the list, so we've included a photo from the North Pond restaurant in Lincoln Park)

 

 

Viator.com Launches “Win Your Dream Travel Job” Contest – 60 Days, 20 Cities, 1 Video Camera – All on Viator
 
 Final Contestants will tour the U.S. or Europe to film their adventures and document their experiences; Facebook votes will determine winners of the $10,000 Grand Prize
 
San Francisco, Calif. – March 1, 2012 – Viator.com, the leading resource for more than 9,000 tours and activities in over 150 countries, has launched a global casting call to find four passionate travelers with a knack for capturing their passion on film. Winners will have the opportunity to film and star in travel videos featuring some of the world’s most amazing and iconic travel hot spots – truly the globetrotting adventure of a lifetime.
 
Viator’s “Win Your Dream Travel Job” Contest will give four finalists, paired in teams of two, the chance to travel and shoot video for Viator as part of the company’s ongoing effort to create the world’s largest video library of tours and things to do in popular destinations worldwide. One team will film destinations in North America, the other in Europe, with both visiting approximately 20 cities in 60 days to document top local attractions, tours and things todo.  Viator will provide each finalist with professional video equipment and cover the cost of round-trip airfare to and from their destination; along with up to $15,000 per person to cover additional travel expenses including accommodations, local transportation and meals.
 
Once each teamreturns, both will submit “Wrap-up” videos to Viator’s Facebook page. The video receiving the most votes from Facebook users will earn the winning team a grand prize of $10,000.
 
“This contest is as good as it gets for those who love to travel and have an eye for shooting video,” said Ms. Barrie Seidenberg, president and CEO of Viator, Inc.  “But this is also a great opportunity for Viator as it will enable us to give our customers even more insider access to a real traveler’s first-hand experiences with a new destination, new activity or new culture. Seeing with your own eyes what your personal experience might be like before you book is an invaluable travel planning tool.”
 
To enter the “Win Your Dream Travel Job” Contest, contestants must create a unique one-to-three minute video that demonstrates their filmmaking talents and love for travel, and cover specific topics such as top travel tips or a memorable travel experience. No experience is required, other than insatiable wanderlust.  Videos must be submitted to Facebook.com/ViatorTours no later than April 25, 2012.  The 10 contestants whose video entry receives the most Facebook votes will be guaranteed an opportunity to interview with the Viator team. Contestants can enter multiple videos but each must be unique. The judging panel, which includes three-time MTV VMA award winner Jeff Clark, executive producer for Viator, will meet with semifinalists on a rolling basis with one finalist being selectedevery two weeks beginning March 15, 2012.
 
To be eligible, contestants must be 18 years of age or older as of Jan. 1, 2012 and possess a valid government-issued Passport. Contestants should refer to the full details of the contest and the official contest rules before entering.  
 
Contest updates and chronicles of the winners’ journeys will be posted regularly to the Viator Travel Blog as well as Viator’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and www.winyourdreamtraveljob.com.  
 
About Viator
Viator® is the world’s leading online resource for travel experiences, providing access to more than 9,000 tours, attractions and activities in 800-plus destinations in more than 150 countries. Viator– the Latin word for traveler – offers a one-stop shop to plan, research and book trip activities via its Web and mobile platforms with resources such as more than 300,000 traveler reviews, ratings and photos, suggested itineraries and the Viator Travel Blog. Viator’s in-house travel experts hand-pick trusted local operators to ensure quality, value and service, all backed by a low-price guarantee. Viator sells its products through Viator.com, the Viator Tours and Activities App for iPhone, the Viator Ultimate Experience Guide for iPad, ten local language sites in Asia, Europe and Latin America and more than 2,000 affiliated sites that include major hotel chains and airlines, online travel agencies, city-specific sites and more. Viator is a privately held company, with lead investment from The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. Founded in 1995, Viator is headquartered in San Francisco with regional offices in Sydney, London and Las Vegas.
 
 
 

In praise of the snowshoe

Posted by: Updated: February 11, 2012 - 9:42 AM

COALBANK PASS, COLO. -- The crunching tromp of my snowshoes features a sort of reggae backbeat. The loose back of the snowshoe scrunches an echo through the utterly quiet pines and snow. I parked my rental Jeep on the top of Coalbank Pass, just over 10,000 feet between Durango and Silverton.

Snowshoes are like tennis raquets. No longer big wooden contraptions. I strap the light aluminum snowshoes around my boots, throw on a packback with some food and water and tromp off. I soon confront a huge dropoff and, despite the snowshoe tracks that seems to scale this cliff, I double back and take a less steep route, tromping and crunching through snow-dusted pines, grabbing views of peaks and valleys balnketed with thick, fresh snow.

 

 

After about an hour, I throw down my jacket and just sit in a snowbank and take the photo on the right. The clouds dance and a few chickadees flit past. I tromp back to the rent-a-Jeep and drive north to Molas Pass, pull over again and head toward little Molas Lake. I run into my first human contact -- an old guy who hiked up Bear Mountain with his golden retreiver and his downhill skis. As I pet the dog, Boddie, I ask how far to the lake. He tells me I went the wrong way. I thank him and trudge on, a steady uphill climb that has me sweating and breathing hard. Heck, it's 11,000 feet. But jaw-dropping gorgeous.

In just over two hours, I see five people, including Karen and David Jensen of Grand Junction. They drove down through the San Juan Mountain Range, through Ouray and beneath lucious robin egg's blue skies, to visit their son at Fort Lewis College.It's his birthday and they'll take him downhill skiing tomorrow. But first, they will cross-country ski through this valley. Enjoy the day, Karen and David.

 

 

Wintergreen photo workshop for less

Posted by: Kerri Westenberg Updated: January 12, 2011 - 3:05 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge, the Ely outfit that has long run lodge-based dogsled trips, is offering discounts on its popular photo workshop with local shooter Layne Kennedy. During the 5-night workshop, participants will dogsled and also gain skills in shooting and learn about photography tools from Kennedy, whose work has appeared in Life, Outside and other national magazines. The all-inclusive package costs $1275, a savings of $200 (take an extra $100 off for children ages 5-16). For more information, click here.

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