There are vacations and there are once-in-a-lifetime experiences - the sort that make you beam with pride every time you think about them. The sort of adventures you brag about to anyone who listens. The ones that have changed your life just a bit. These are the incredible adventures your grandchildren will love to hear about over and over. With eyes wide with wonder, they'll have hard time believing that grandpa and grandma were so cool.
Feeling inspired to add a few of these experiences to your own life? Here are six incredible adventures that anyone can achieve with a bit of saving, determination and positive thinking:
1 . Climbing to Everest's base camp
Of all the challenges in the world, it's hard to think of one that beats climbing Everest. Of course, unless you're a professional mountaineer with buckets of training and experience, it's way too dangerous to head for the top. But anyone with a reasonable amount of fitness can try for Everest's base camp.
Sitting at a cool 5,380m above sea level, you're going to need a couple of weeks to get up there. But in return for your hard effort, you can expect unsurpassed beautiful scenery and the chance to encounter the unique Sherpa culture.
Eager to go? Book through a company that's known for its ethical and environmental standards, and which makes you feel comfortable before the trip by providing helpful information and training weekends.
2. Cuddling lion cubs in Africa
All baby animals are cute, but lion cubs have to be among the most adorable. Who wouldn't want to spend a week or two looking after them?
There are plenty of volunteer programs that offer animal lovers the chance to get up close and personal with these "Kings of Cats". As with all wildlife programs, make sure you find one that genuinely cares about its lions and conservation in general.
Expect to spend your days helping with research and data collection, as well as feeding the cubs and ensuring their enclosure is spick and span. This is a trip that requires hard work, but helping protect these gorgeous creatures from extinction makes it all worth it.
3. Walk the Great Wall of China
It might not actually be visible from space but it's still one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. Joining a multi-day walk will give you a chance to enjoy the different aspects and characteristics of the wall, from isolated and crumbling ruins to tourist-thronged ramparts outside the heart of Beijing.
Expect to see plenty of breathtaking scenery and beautiful traditional buildings, and plan on finishing your trip exploring China's endlessly fascinating and bustling capital city.
4. Cruising to Antarctica
You can't call yourself well-travelled until you've stepped foot on every continent in the world, right? Hopping over to icy Antarctica should be high on every explorer's list.
Imagine walking between thousands and thousands of penguins and kayaking between ice floes looking out for leopard seals. Summer trips take place beneath the "midnight sun" so you'll have plenty of light to gaze up at awe-inspiring icebergs and hike up snow-covered mountains. There's even an option to "polar plunge", where you can jump straight into the jumping straight into the -5°C waters. Brrr!
5. Diving with great white sharks
You've probably heard the saying that you should do one thing every day that scares you. If you're like most people, getting up close and personal with the killers from Jawscounts.
South Africa is well-known as the great white shark capital of the world and a number of reputable operators will let you get into the water with these creatures. The good news is that you'll always be viewing them from behind the safety of a metal cage. The bad news is that this doesn't make the sharks look any less terrifying! But the exhilaration you'll feel back on the boat will be unsurpassable.
6. Go dog sledding under the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights are one of the most spectacular phenomena in the world, and tops many people's bucket lists. Most try to see the lights from the outskirts of a Scandinavian city, but for a truly unique experience, why not hunt them out on a husky "mushing" tour?
You'll be given your very own team of lovable huskies and full control of your own sleigh. All required training on how to drive and care for your dogs is provided, and you'll soon be gliding confidently through some incredible winter scenery. Picture a scene from Frozen, only with less singing.
These adventures will do so much to enrich your own life, and the lives of your family. Give your grandkids an incredible role model to look up to by exploring this incredible planet for yourself.