Offbeat Travel Experiences

"Do you mind if I take a picture with you?", I asked a Chicago police officer as I approached her wearing nothing but a pair of bike shoes.  She was more than happy to oblige. 

Normally, standing outside in the middle of downtown Chicago completely naked would quickly result in a trip to jail and a pretty massive fine.  But not that night.  That's because I had decided to join thousands of other people to participate in the World Naked Bike Ride, which is an annual event that's exactly what it sounds like: large groups of people riding bicycles through the streets of major cities around the world naked.  

The purpose of the ride is twofold: to send a message about having a positive body image and also to protest society's reliance on oil.  In addition to cyclists, there are also runners, skateboarders, roller-skaters and people using a variety of other forms of transportation to complete the 14 mile course (the only rule is that your "vehicle" can't be electric or gas powered).   

The events vary from city to city as far as number of participants, route distances and local rules are concerned, but they're always held during the second Saturday in June and usually at night and they all have the same overall theme and mission.  In Chicago, the route started in the West Loop, headed through downtown, along Michigan Avenue and then up to the north side of the city through Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville, Wicker Park and a number of other neighborhoods before finishing with giant post ride party on the near West Side.

The Chicago event attracts about 4000 participants and thousands of spectators annually, many of whom travel from out of town.  And this is one more example of how travel can enhance your life.  Doing something that you never thought you would do before helps to release you from the trappings of a daily routine, stimulates your mind and relieves stress.  And you don't necessarily have to go for a naked bike ride for this to work.  Just spend a few days in a few days in a new environment and do something that you've never done before.  Have an adventure.  Here are ten examples of other interesting travel experiences you can have: 

  • Visit Xoxocotlan Cemetery in Oaxaca City Mexico at the end of October for a midnight Dia de los Muertos celebration where the locals dress up in full day of the dead outfits to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed on.

  • Travel to Ecuador to see giant tortoises and aquatic iguanas in the Galapagos Islands.

  • Visit the Door to Hell in Turkmenistan, which is a natural gas field the size of a football field that collapsed and began leaking flammable methane. 

  • Visit the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo where you can enjoy a beer while watching a group of 10-foot-tall robots piloted by girls in spiky gold bikinis battle it out to K-Pop music.

  • Head to Weeki Wachee, Florida, which is an enchanted spring where visitors can watch underwater performances by live mermaids in a mysterious blue underwater world of manatees, turtles and bubbles beside the Weeki Wachee River. 

  • Head to Cape Town South Africa and go Cage Diving with Sharks in the Indian Ocean.

  • Visit Electric Ladyland in Amsterdam, which claims to be the worlds first museum of fluorescent art.

  • Stop by the Market Theater Gum Wall in Seattle, Washington, which has been collecting peoples' discarded gum for more than two decades.

  • Visit the Cockroach Hall of Fame in Plano, Texas, which features cockroach corpses donning costumes, posed inside tiny elaborate sets like the “Liberoachi,” in which one of the critters plays a piano, “David Letteroach,” “The Combates Motel,” and “Marilyn Monroach.”

  • Head to the Medieval Crime Museum in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, Germany to catch a glimpse of what life, laws and punishments were like in medieval times. You’ll see torture instruments, including a cage devised for bakers who baked bread to smell, a shame flute for bad musicians, chastity belts and execution instruments, like a wheel that was used to crush the convicted to death as well as “penalties of honor,” including a mask of shame.

Any one of these trips will leave you with stories to talk about for the rest of your life.  For more information about these and other travel destinations, send an email to


Popular posts from this blog

The Rio de Janiero International Half Marathon

Travel and a Love of Nature