A 2001 article from Maxim magazine
AM I AN ADVENTURER YET?
Vacation tips for moneyed masochists.
Rain-stick up the Ass Extra
Jungle Survival Training Program
Location: Suriname, South America
Cause of misery: A jungle with a thousand teeth.
Cost of misery: $920
For 12 perspiration-drenched, toilet-free days, you’ll rub elbows with jaguar, anaconda, and piranha, slogging through jungle terrain and bouncing down churning rapids in crude dugout canoes. Why? You’re hear to learn to use forest findings to build your own shelter, make traps and weapons, kill reasonably defenseless animals, and claw edible roots out of the soil. Just don’t touch those lovely blue frogs. They’re system contains 200 micrograms of lethal poison, and it only takes 2 to kill a man. Organizers urge that you confirm insurance coverage for animal bites, water accidents, and falling trees.
Contact: Sur-Vive-It Travel, http://www.sur-vive-it.com.
All-You-Can-Eat Tree Bark
Cause of misery: Conflicting cravings for nourishment and abuse
Cost of misery: $1,425
Away with your luxury tents, decadent sleeping bags, flashlights, and sunglasses! This 2-week desert retreat will help you pare down to what really matters — hunting bows, animal traps, clay pots, and sagebrush toilet paper. Unlike other “survival” courses, this program not only teaches a stone-age means of subsistence but also forces you to apply these lessons in a brutal 10-day wilderness walkabout. While temperatures broil up over 100°, you’ll be looking for signs of water to replace the gallon or two you sweat off every afternoon in your hapless search for nuts, berries, game, or grubs. Many undernourished hunter-gatherers lose as much as a pound a day, happily making them too lean a meal for cougar lurking nearby.
Contact: Boulder Outdoor Survival School, http://www.boss-inc.com.
Jurassic Without the Park
Crocodiles of the Okavango
Cause of misery: Having limbs chomped to stubs, seeing reptiles in degrading positions.
Cost of misery: $2,195
Earthwatch is quick to point out that this is a “real scientific expedition.” In fact the only difference between you and the academics you’ll assist is the fact that they’re paid professionals, and you’re a paying tag-along. For roughly two weeks, you’ll pitch your tent within view of the swampy home of the crocodiles you’re there to help. Your day begins at 4am with various tasks including drugging, and sexing the beasts, probing them for parasites, and scooping out half-digested stomach contents with special lubed-up ladles. Nighttime duties include excursions to the brackish lair of these nearly 20-foot monsters to capture specimens — sometimes with your own taste-temptin’ hands.
Contact: Earthwatch Institute, http://www.earthwatch.org.
Ice Capades That Kill
All The Way – North Geographic Pole:
Location: Arctic Ocean
Cause of misery: Frostbite with gangrene, hypothermia, no colors.
Cost of misery: $50,000
The Polar Travel Company gleefully calls this one “the toughest expedition challenge made available by any organization.” To even qualify for this abuse, you must fly to boot camp in Dartmoor, England — scrabbling over boulders wearing 45lb packs, rappelling into quarries and enduring sleep deprivation and ice-water swims. Then it’s off to the Canadian edge of the Arctic Ocean. (Neither flight included in the cost.) From this departure point it’d be a mere 478-miles to the Pole, except that ice underfoot often drifts southward, easily undoing a day of hauling your 160lb sledge loaded with rations and gear through temperatures as low as -49°F. Then there’s the lethally frigid water, the whiteouts, and the fact that elves at Santa’s workshop are totally stuck up.
Contact: The Polar Travel Company, http://www.polartravel.co.uk.
Become Your Own Flea Circus
City Survival Experience
Cause of misery: Hunger, humiliation, inclimate weather, French people.
Cost of misery: $430
Once there were certain things money couldn’t buy — like poverty. But Holland’s Kamstra Travel has changed all that, now offering for sale the bohemian freedom of a penniless Parisian vagabond. Kamstra provides little more than bedroll, some tips on busking, and one giddy promise, “Nothing is going to go like you would like it to go, and on every street corner a surprise awaits.” Under the giftwrap could be any number of existential treats — a case of crabs, blisters oozing in your socks, food from dumpsters, or senseless beatings by more authentic derelicts. $430 was the projected price for three nights in London, but after city officials balked, Kamstra began pushing Paris as its preferred homeless haven. Exact rates and arrangements for other cities available by request.
Contact: Kamstra Travel. Tel: 011-31-596-516000.
http://www.xs4all.nl/~kamstra/survivalparijs.htm (Dutch only).