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True travellers use guidebooks and web forums as starting lines, not roadmaps, anxious to explore sights and activities beyond the popular and obvious.

In Aspen, Colorado, the RBC Avion team met up with Avioner and champion snowboarder Mark McMorris to learn more about what makes him a true traveller.

Mark explained that travelling is more about discovering off-the-beaten path adventures and unearthing experiences that take a bit of digging to reveal, versus just experiencing the tourist hot spots. “In my opinion, a traveller is much more about adventure than a tourist. A tourist will go to the sights and sounds that are most popular and that most people would tell them to see. A traveller is someone who is going to try and find the unknown.”

And as Mark discovered, adventure in Aspen isn’t limited to just the slopes. Hence his decision to try dog sledding for the first time – an activity many wouldn’t typically consider when planning a trip to this legendary ski and snowboard destination.

Trying new and unique things is how Mark feeds his need for travel through adventure. Keep in mind, adventure can take many different forms – you don’t need to go paragliding in Oman to be adventurous, but rather be curious, open-minded and willing to tackle the obscure and unfamiliar.

Here are five tips to help you create your own adventure on your next trip, Mark McMorris style.

1. Try Something New

We’re not (necessarily) talking about base jumping or skydiving, but getting out of your comfort zone – even an inch or two – can leave you feeling invigorated and satisfy your adventurous side. Never strapped on a pair of fins? Try snorkeling to explore what lies beneath the sea on your next beach getaway. Mark described some of the most adventurous things he’s done, which also included Dog Sledding in Aspen for the first time.

“One of the more adventurous things I’ve done would be a back country trip. It’s a trip where you’re way out there, without access to the typical things you’d have at a lodge or hotel – and that trip made for some pretty fun memories! Also, today I tried dog sledding for the first time and that was pretty adventurous and fun!”

RBC Olympian Mark McMorris dogsledding on the mountains of Aspen, Colorado

A tourist will go to the sights and sounds that are most popular and that most people would tell them to see. A traveller is someone who is going to try and find the unknown.

2. Travel Solo

Travelling solo is an invigorating experience, as it forces you to be independent, confident, and in control of your path. While this might be out of your comfort zone, that’s kind of the point! You get built-in adventure as a single traveller, and you can try new things judgment-free at your own pace. (Remember, your Avion card lets you go when and where you want, so you rule your timeline!).

And if travelling solo isn’t your thing, that’s okay too! But on your next trip try and take some time to explore by yourself – you really never know what you may find.

3. Ditch the Vehicle

Tour buses are only going to hit the top tourist attractions. And the backseat of a taxi or hired car offers only a very narrow view. Instead, lace up your shoes, hop on a bike or even rent a canoe to get to the heart of a new place and discover it on your own steam. Exploring independently lets you go deeper into a new place. If you need to get somewhere a bit farther afoot, take public transit – trains and buses offer their own brand of adventure and perspective. For Mark, his preferred method of travel is train and for good reason.

“Travelling by train is my favourite way to travel. It’s definitely not as quick as a plane but it’s more comfortable and a lot more scenic. You’re also bound to meet some pretty cool people from all sorts of places.”

Scenic mountain landscape of Aspen, Colorado

4. Be Prepared to Wander

Go ahead, get lost and wander off the beaten path. Put away your map app and look around (instead at your device). Stroll through markets, take in neighbourhoods, explore countryside and take time to reflect. While it’s not heart-pounding adventure, opening yourself to the unknown without worrying about schedules and landmark sightings is intrepid and brave, and certainly lets you discover a new place beyond what a typical tourist will see – and chances are this will be the adventurous story you tell when you return. As Mark puts it,

“I think having that sense of adventure and wanting to know the unknown is why I am where I am today, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone.”

RBC Olympian Mark McMorris pets husky

5. Talk to Locals

If you really want to find the best off-the-beaten-path adventures, you’ve got to chat up the locals. Talk to the couple next to you at the café, ask your waiter what the true must do activities are. Find out what’s special, unique, extraordinary and bizarre about your destination for an uncharted adventure.

“Through all my travels I’ve definitely made some lifelong friends with locals and I’ve been lucky to revisit a lot of those locations so I get to see them again. All my best adventures started with a connection through friendships created with the locals.”

Avion can help you feed your need for adventure – whenever, wherever you want to go. Discover how Avion makes it easier to explore the unknown and have the time of your life.

We want to hear about your adventures! Show us how you feed your need to travel using #Avioning!

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