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How to find a deeper connection with our planet

Megan Wilkins

Contributor

Earth, air, water, fire, and metal. These elements work together harmoniously to bring about our natural world. Leave city-life behind on an element-inspired adventure around the world to experience some of life’s true marvels. This not-so-ordinary trip is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat and begging for more. Each element has been showcased to its full advantage, helping you to find a deeper connection with our planet, and learn more about yourself along the way. Experience the inner peace that comes from finding balance through the elements.

Earth: Namibia

Namibia is home to some of the most isolated and spectacular deserts in the world. Often referred to as the “Soul of Africa,” this spectacular country is the perfect way to begin your elemental tour. Much of the nation’s beauty stems from its innate contrast, as rolling red dunes greet wild azure oceans, and exciting cities are surrounded by expansive and untouched territory.

Due to the fact that Namibia is so vast and underpopulated, you can spend days out in the desert with no human contact - a perfect way to ground your soul and get in touch with the peace and tranquillity of nature. Explore the lost mining town of Kolmanskop, once a bustling centre of life, now swallowed up by the shifting dunes. Or go on a walking tour of the hidden caves and discover ancient artwork drawn by the tribes of old. 

Air: Hot-air ballooning in Dubai

Dubai is well-known for its luxurious lifestyle. From high-performance vehicles wherever you look, to some of the world’s most expensive and opulent hotels, there is no lack of “the high life” for anyone who seeks it. However, that is not the high life we’re concerned about here. Instead of glitzing it up at the Burj, why not soar to new heights in one of Dubai’s most exclusive offerings.

Drift above the clouds as you take in the element of air on your own private hot-air balloon. Nestled in a traditional, picturesque, wicker basket, your balloon master will provide all the necessary creature comforts for your trip, including a gourmet picnic. The true stars of the show, however, are the falcons. Experienced falconers head out into the desert with their feathered furies, and just as you float overhead, they begin their flight. Getting to see these majestic birds in action is something very few people experience up-close, and is sure to make a birder out of anyone. Life up in the air is so sweet, you may never want to touch down.    

Water: Deep-sea diving in Mexico

While Cancun is known for its natural beauty, one of the more interesting travel experiences will take you through the element of water in a different way than expected. Cancun is home to the Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA). This museum is unlike any other and, as the title suggests, can only be accessed by SCUBA diving or by glass-bottomed boat. The entire art collection is underwater, and there is a heavy focus on conservation and sustainability.  

MUSA offers several packages for their tours, including excursions for certified and uncertified SCUBA divers. You will be able to view the sea in a way you never have before, while it serves as the perfect setting for the beautiful sculptures on display. Learn about the history and tradition of the area, while you float gently in the crystal clear waters. 

Fire: Lava-boarding down a Nicaraguan volcano

One of the more dangerous elements on this list, fire, can be experienced in many different ways. However, there is no source more true to the raw and volatile nature of fire than the volcano. The traditional way to experience a volcano is either by helicopter, or on a hike, but these options are too tame for someone seeking a true elemental connection with fire.

Cerro Negro (Black Hill) is an active volcano just outside of Leon in Nicaragua. Due to the fact that it is only just over a century and a half old, the volcanic stones are still small and smooth, making it the perfect surface for lava-boarding. This adrenaline-inducing sport is performed on top of a small wooden plank, which you use to sledge or surf down the volcano. While not for the faint of heart, the fire coursing through your veins will have you coming back for more, again and again.  

Metal: Visit the iron-sand beaches in New Zealand

Arguably one of the least regarded elements, metal is more difficult to find in nature. While humans have used the element to great effect in their daily lives, finding it in a raw form outside of a mine can prove more challenging. However, the answer can be found on the breathtaking beaches of New Zealand. It may seem strange to consider metal and beaches in the same thought, but New Zealand is home to a unique phenomenon known as Ironsand. This sand is rich in titanomagnetite, which gives it a natural black colour.

Explore the Ironsand beaches along the western part of North Island, as you get in touch with the raw metal that the earth provides. The sheer contrasting beauty of these beaches is something out of a fantasy novel, and strolling through the black sand towards the sea is indescribable. The dark, mysterious nature of these beaches will be implanted in your mind for years to come.  

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