Adrenaline is a hormone built in the adrenal medulla. It is highly involved in the fight or flight mechanism and linked to an increase in blood pressure, pulse, oxygen consumption and a decomposition of the body’s fat and glycogen reservoirs. Long story short: It activates the body. It is not limited to only being built in life-threatening settings, but also in overall situations, in which the body needs that little extra-activation – an adrenaline rush.
The term “Adrenaline Junkie” is often used to describe people, who crave the state of their bodies being in this activated state due to extreme situations. Some might call it a state of euphoria. Adrenaline rushes can range from situations like a “simple” bike trail going downhill, to a skydive from a height of 4000 m.
I’ve assembled ten of the greatest experiences worldwide, that will definitely get your adrenaline rushing. Don’t be intimidated, there is something in here for every “level” of an Adrenaline Junkie. We are going to start small and work our way up (literally). Keep on reading and hopefully get inspired for your next adventure!
Parasailing is one of several kiting activities in which the person is attached to the parasail wing. The wing, however, is tied to a vehicle. This may be a car, truck, or a boat. The conveyance starts once the vehicle moves and the parachute-like wing fills with air. Since you’re always attached to the moving anchor, you only have little to no control over where you’re going. Flowing through the air ought to give you that tickle of excitement.
As with most activities focused on fun, it is possible to spice things up. If you want to take it to the next level, you can start Paragliding. This is the adventure sport of flying your own paraglider, without being limited to a vehicle towing you – you decide about where and how long you want to go.
Big Shot Ride, Nevada
The Big Shot Ride in Las Vegas, Nevada opened in 1996 and is a one of the tallest amusement rides worldwide. You think Free Fall Towers sound boring? This one isn’t. It is already built atop The Strat at a height of 921 ft and adds another 160 ft to that.
You might want to consider what you eat beforehand, since it takes you up with a speed of 45 mph in two seconds. Then down. And then up again. Again and again. You better be taking the extra mile with using your deodorant in the morning.
I’m going to take a guess and say: Everybody has heard about James Bond before. And what would you say, if you had the opportunity to be James Bond, even if it was just for 5 minutes? According to an international study, Bonds jump off the Verzasca dam wall in Golden Eye is the best stunt in film history. If you count yourself one of the people who say so, I have good news for you: You are able to do just the same.
The Verzasca dam wall, with its 220 m height and 380 m length, is located at the beginning of the Verzasca valley in Switzerland. The jumping facility is located directly in the middle and marks the highest stationary bungee facility in the world. You get the adrenaline rush of bungee jumping AND being like James Bond on this free fall of 220 m in 7.5 seconds.
Sounds too easy for you? You can always take it your adrenaline rush one step further and skydive, which extends the time of free-falling to nearly one minute.
Rock climbing, California
Yosemite Valley in California is the world’s Mecca of rock climbing. El Capitan, with its 915 m high granite walls provides all degrees of difficulty, but especially really high ones. Although some of the most demanding ascents are already weathered, people from all over the world still rave about the superb climbing routes.
A lot of pro adventurers already conquered the rocks, but that certainly does not imply them being for everyone. To this day, even the most well-educated climbers take away injuries, get lost or even die. You don’t only have to consider your abilities and endurance to climb, but also the sometimes unexpected and rapid weather change.
Definitely stay on the lower parts if you’re not very experienced, or, you know – don’t come here at all. But if you know what you’re doing, and you’re looking to take on the next challenge, the adrenaline rush you get, once you arrive at the top, might just be a once in a lifetime experience.
Shark Cage Diving, Africa
You’re more of the tough type, and think dolphins are boring? Get to Dyer Island and try diving with sharks. Shark cage diving is an underwater diving or snorkeling experience, where you stay in a protective cage, while being let down into the water. It is a technique professionals use to do scientific research or underwater cinematography. However, in some countries and areas, even the average human can participate.
“Well, if I’m in a cage, nothing can happen. That’s chill.” – No, it’s not. Most organizers attract the wild animals with bait, which possibly leads to aggressive behavior and sharks biting the grids. Smaller ones are even able to stick their heads through the cage – therein lies the adrenaline rush.
If an up to six meters great white shark, opening their hungry mouth, less than one meter from you doesn’t get your adrenaline rushing, I don’t know what will. A well-thought-out decision is key, when considering this activity.
Africa is known for its brought variety of wildlife. Safaris definitely have to be on top of your list, if you ever visit this continent. To feel like you really are a part of the landscape, you can even go on safaris by foot. Since the wild animals are not alarmed by the sound of a loud car, you will be able to get even closer to them as usual.
The guides are well-educated and trained in their knowledge about wildlife and ecosystems; and always carry a gun with them. They will not only teach you about the landscape, culture and history, but also about the large number of animals. Animals inhabiting Zimbabwe include elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, and antelopes, complimented with leopards, hyena and lions. Especially lions, kings of all animals, are very popular.
You can even make your experience more “fun” if you additionally book an overnight stay in tents, close to the wild animals. But always keep in mind: Lions are nocturnal. And even though they usually only hunt when they are starving, anything is possible.
Running of the bulls, Spain
In Spain, it is possible to not only watch a bullfight, but to also participate in something called “running of the bulls”. It is a yearly event in which six to ten (sometimes even more than that) bulls run loose on a course of streets in Pamplona and after several fearless humans. The race starts in the morning in the old part of the city and ends once all bulls have entered the bullring, where the lives of the animals come to an end.
Average speed on the 875 m long way is around 24 km/h. Injuries and fatalities don’t appear infrequently. On the contrary, around 50 – 100 people get injured (or even die) every year due to asphyxia, contusions or even goring.
“Who on earth would do that?” – You would be surprised, some even come here year after year. It’s quite easy to identify who, just look out for those with an unsafe walk due to their artificial hip or other injuries.
Road of Death, Bolivia
There are a lot of dangerous in the world, but there are few as terrifying as the Yungas Road, aka. Road of Death, in Bolivia. Ever since the beginning the 80 km long road has taken countless lives. But when the inter-american development bank declared it as the world’s most dangerous street in 1995, it turned into a cold glass of lemonade on a hot summers’ day to danger seekers and adrenaline junkies worldwide.
The winding road leads from La Paz to Caranavi was once a single-lane path and since challenging many lives, has been expanded to a two-lane street. Due to high traffic, there are a lot of signs of street damage and erosion. Bolivian infrastructure is usually right-hand traffic, but this street isn’t. This is not a joke to confuse you or anything, it is to help your safety. Left-seated drivers can assess their distance to the 3500 m descent better this way, since they are closer to it.
However, it’s not only about drivers: Many cyclists take on this street as a downhill mountain biking trail – possibly the most dangerous one ever. Around 200 to 300 people die yearly and the bad weather conditions like rain, fog, and mud don’t help with that. Even the best of the best, driver or cyclist goes to their limits and beyond. Keep in mind: It’s not only about you making a mistake, it could always be somebody else’s that might cost your life.
Rafting the Zambezi, Zimbabwe
Rafting might seem like a fun experience to do in your free time – Not this one. I mean, it can be fun, and you can do it in your free time, but you have to come prepared. Rafting the Zambezi River, close to the Victoria Falls, is considered the highest difficulty that is permitted in this action sport. Some even call it the “Ride to Hell”.
Raging rapids, steep slopes, enormous differences in altitude – you name it, you get it. It is practically impossible to take on this experience without overturning at least a few times. To get your adrenaline rushing while only reading this, let me list some route section names: washing machine, boiling pot, and commercial suicide.
On top of everything you will probably observe wild animals bathing or drinking on the side of the river. And another fun fact: You can even kill two birds with one stone here, and get the ultimative adrenaline rush. It is possible for you to also do a Bungee-Jump from the railroad bridge over the Zambezi canyon before or after the raft.
Climbing Mount Everest, Himalaya
I bet some of you might think “Why is this at the end of the list, after a walking safari with lions and cycling the Road of Death?”. Just you wait, there is a plausible explanation. The experiences I already mentioned are of short duration. Shark cage diving takes around ten minutes underwater and rafting the Zambezi around seven but climbing Mount Everest – That’s a whole different story.
Mt. Everest, with its 8848 m height, is the Earth’s highest mountain above sea level and is located in the Mahalangur Himal. It takes approximately (at least) 40 days to climb it and demands everything from you – physically and mentally. Heights above 8000 m are also called “Death Zones”, since surviving longer than 48 hours is extremely unlikely.
You have to prepare to hike around 15 km per day and for less air oxygen due to the altitude. The climb only takes place on foot, and you’re fully dependent on your physical AND mental health. It is inevitable to train your strength and endurance to the max beforehand. In 2018, around 8400 people have already climbed the summit and, as of 2019, over 300 people have died. Most of their bodies still remain on the mountain. Make sure, you do everything to be one of the lucky ones.
Although you (most likely) won’t fight wild animals or something of that sort, climbing the Mount Everest is the most dangerous, but also most rewarding adventure one could witness. You get the kick of being one of only a few people achieving this remarkable experience, and the adrenaline rush will be extraordinary. On top of that: There will be a time slot in which you will be the “highest” person on earth, once you arrive at the summit.
Why you should seek Adrenaline Rushes
Adrenaline rushes leave you feeling exhausted and tired – afterwards. Before the actual event you already feel excited, maybe even a little scared. During the experience, there is nothing else around you. It is like the world stops spinning for the time being. There are only few occasions when you feel so present – so alive.
You can decide what level of adrenaline rush you want to take on. Whatever your decision, the feeling is always an incredible experience.
Feature image source: Muzammil Soorma / Unsplash