I love climbing precarious rocks, looking down dizzyingly-high perches, and making my parents cringe as they shout “get down from there!” Move over, Matt Murdock – there’s another daredevil in town, albeit with a lot less coordination. I don’t even do it for the ‘gram – I just crave the thrill of venturing to the edge and returning back with a cool story and an adrenaline rush. The picturesque selfies I take while on the edge are just a plus. But is having people fall for your photos online worth the risk of falling?
During the summer, my friends and I headed towards Montserrat in Spain, where I was excited to see the famous monastery (where we inadvertently crashed someone’s wedding) and climb the unique rock formations (they looked like fingers). But my friends could tell that I was dreaming about ascending the Stairway to Understanding, a sculpture dedicated to the 13th-century Catalonian philosopher Ramon Llull. That doesn’t sound too exciting, but I had seen the pictures: I thought I was about to gain inner peace and understand the meaning of the universe by standing on that final step. Not to mention, my Instagram was about to be straight fire. When we got there, I gasped. The sculpture had been encircled by a crusty old iron FENCE. Why, you ask? Because hoes be out here TRIPPIN’ and actually falling off of the sculpture due to a lack of precaution by the Montserrat government. So they fenced it off, leaving my desires unfulfilled and my Instagram lukewarm at best.
That’s why I’m providing my SUAG’ers with the best, most thrilling spots to go before they all get fenced up. But, I warn you all. Safety is key. Always have a strategy and experience with the activity in the shot, whether it be climbing, swinging, jumping, or simply keeping your balance. If you’re scared of heights, maybe steer clear of these places altogether.
If you’ve always wanted to cling to the side of a thundering waterfall, there’s a place for that. Devil’s Pool is a part of Victoria Falls on the Zambia side, where the Zambezi river flows ferociously. If you’re on the Zimbabwe side, you might be able to see people waving at you, right on the lip of the waterfall. These people might look like they’re about to fall 100 meters to their DOOM – except they won’t fall, because experienced guides will accompany them throughout every step, from swimming to the pool to taking rainbow-filled Instas. All for $20. Super Zamb-easy, unless you go to the wrong country. Or the hippos and crocodiles in the Zambezi get to you first.
Aptly named for a bend in the Colorado River around a huge boulder, the magnificence of Horseshoe Bend can be viewed from 4,200 feet above sea level. I recommend the sunrise or sunset experience, because capturing the horizon is an important part of any Insta. It is free to go there, but the Arizona government is putting up more guardrails due to increasing popularity and the need for more safety measures. When I went, there were fewer guardrails, and I still survived. These new generations are coddled too much! Just kidding, I’m only 20, not an old man who yells at kids for buying too much avocado toast.
I came across this park during my ~research~ for this article and my breath was taken away. Nestled along the Bosnia-Herzegovina border of Croatia, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has incredible peaks, stunning waterfalls, and 16 interconnected lakes. I can’t even describe the color of the water, that’s how gorgeous it is. Ticket prices range from $8 USD in the winter to $26 in the summer. Get to climbing.
On the edge of the world, a tree. In the tree, a house. On the house, a swing. On that swing, you, trying to get a cool picture without accidentally jumping off the swing like you did in kindergarten. In Baños, Ecuador, the swing floats over a cliff that faces an active volcano, so double the danger! Don’t worry, there’s a seatbelt. It costs $2 USD to enter La Casa del Arbol, but that includes access to three swings and a zipline. Sold!
We know you’ve been hitting that trendy rock-climbing gym in your city, where everyone is wearing Lululemon, gossiping about Alex Honnold, and drinking Odwalla smoothies. But it’s time for the real deal – a beach in Thailand that has sun, surf, and limestone cliffs to scale. You don’t even need to know how to climb beforehand – they have classes you can take right on the beach! For a cool $37.75 USD, you can get a half-day of climbing for beginners. For reference, a month at a sweaty climbing gym in NYC costs $95. Beach > gym any day, don’t @ me.
For those that have been there, especially during the Hot Air Balloon Festival, you’ll know how magical Cappadocia (Kapadokya) can be. A basket floating in the sky, propelled by nothing but hot air can seem perilous, but in reality, they’re very safe. Also, a balloon can hold 12-20 people, so get ready to make some conversation among the clouds. Make sure to stay for three days at least to avoid anything raining on your parade (literally). Get ready to break out your wallet, because the cheapest ride per person is around $150 USD. And make sure your 3 a.m. wake up for sunrise is worth it by bringing a thicc lens and snapping some shots.
The ultimate thrill-seeking adventure. Plus, if you spring for that extra photo package for $100, you’ll get your most-liked Insta photo, guaranteed. Now, most people will be like “Samar, why do I have to go to Dubai to skydive. Skydiving in [insert lame place] is just as cool.” No, sweetie. The reason I suggest Dubai is because you can skydive right above the man-made Jumeirah Palm Islands, which is an awe-inspiring aerial view. Also, it rarely rains in Dubai, making it much easier to schedule a skydive. Seriously, I’ve been canceled on three times in DC. Don’t put yourself through this pain.
Where have you taken adventurous photos? Let us know in the comments below!