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8 trips you must do once

Looking for something besides yet another trip to the beach for your next vacation? From cooking lessons in the hills of Tuscany to snorkeling the waters off Belize, these eight trips should be on everyone's list.

The phrase "adventure travel" has a bit of an image problem. For many, it conjures only images of summiting mountains, diving into underwater caverns, and, well, aching muscles. But when we asked ourselves what kinds of adventures belong on everyone's travel list, we cast a much wider net. Yes, we can get you underwater—snorkeling among corals off Belize, anyone? But we also think it's mighty adventurous to sign up for cooking lessons in the land that practically invented eating—Tuscany. Or mastering the dance in a Buenos Aires tango hall. Of course, if you insist on some good old-fashioned adrenaline pumping, we'll direct you to some expert hang gliding instructors in Los Angeles. All eight of our can't-miss adventures have one thing in common—you'll arrive back home with a heckuva story to tell.

Snorkeling in Belize

 

With knockout beaches on Ambergris Caye, Caye Kaulker, and Placenia, plus inland jungles, 600 species of birds (think toucans and motmots), and Mayan ruins, Belize is paradise for landlubbers. But nothing beats exploring the blue sea and getting up-close-and-personal with the underwater residents on a snorkeling adventure. A visit to the five-square-mile Hol Chan Marine Reserve with a good outfitter will include all snorkeling gear and the chance to hobnob with colorful coral, angelfish, grunts, snappers, rays, nurse sharks (it's okay, they're harmless!), and maybe even a manatee from June to September.

Get started: Raggamuffin Tours offers day trips to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and other packages, including overnights on a sailboat.

River Cruise in Europe

 

River cruises are routinely touted as the "next big thing." And there's a reason for that. While Europe's long, winding, history-drenched rivers aren't exactly a secret, it's true that cruise lines are adding more river cruises each year. And cruising in a small, intimate ship on an iconic European river like the Danube, the Seine, or the Rhine means you're making frequent stops at charming little towns and even big cities like Paris, whose Port de Grenelle dock is walking distance from the Eiffel Tower. Add gourmet meals, local wines, and guided tours and you've got a dream trip in the making. The season runs from March to September, with a high season (read: more expensive) in May, June, and July.

Get started: Viking River Cruises offers sails on the Rhine, the Seine, the Danube, and the Rhône, as well as the Volga.

Safari in Kenya

 

Think a close encounter with lions, elephants, zebra, rhinos, and hippos is out of your reach? Think again. Sure, they don't come cheap, but it's possible to have a full safari experience (including airfare, lodging, meals, and game-viewing drives) for under $2,500. A quality tour will give you time to spot animals in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Lake Naivasha, and Kigio Wildlife Camp, and guarantee window seats on drives through preserves with an experienced English-speaking guide.

Get started: Gate 1 Travel offers a number of package tours to Kenya from major U.S. airports.

Hang Gliding in Los Angeles

 

We know, at first glance it's likely that you're not too keen on jumping off a cliff and letting a sail on an aluminum frame help you waft safely back to earth. But we're here to tell you it's a lot easier—and infinitely more fun—than you might think. In fact, of all the photo-worthy stunts attempt on vacation, hang gliding with the help of a qualified tandem partner is completely safe. While you may have heard that gliding over Rio is the ultimate glide (and it is), there are opportunities to fly right here in the U.S. Los Angeles, with its mid-size mountain ranges and stretches of beach, makes a terrific backdrop for a float. Learn to hang glide on the sand, and when you're ready to take the plunge, sign up for a tandem ride, in which you share the glider with a licensed pilot.

Get started:  Windsports  offers beginners' training on the beach, tandem glides from mountains, and, if you're really bitten by the hang gliding bug, pilot training.

Cooking Classes in Tuscany

 

Anyone who has tucked into a plate of fresh pasta or seafood—or, for that matter, just about any dish—in Tuscany knows that ohmygosh moment when you wonder, how on earth do they do this? It's time to take the leap: Sign up for a cooking class with an expert in Tuscan cuisine. It may not sound quite as adventurous as hang gliding or snorkeling, but consider this: You're pushing the envelope of your abilities and that plate of hand-made pasta you put in front of your guests at the next dinner party may impress them more than any adventure travel story ever could. There are a number of opportunities to immerse yourself in Italian cuisine both in Florence and in outlying areas, where you find yourself learning to craft bruschetta, gnocchi, and even tiramisu while surrounded by olive trees, vineyards, and rolling farmland.

Get started: Toscana Mia offers hands-on culinary training in a relaxed, friendly environment in either Florence or the Chianti countryside.

Tango Lessons in Buenos Aires

 

Argentina's cultural life may be defined by dance more than that of any other country. Visit a tango salon, or milonga, and you'll see extraordinary demonstrations of this seductive, mysterious dance, whose rapid turns and inherent drama were inspired by Argentine gangsters. But aside from the flamboyant styles of tango on display, there is also the opportunity for you, as a visitor, to learn a more subdued—and manageable—version of the dance. C'mon, we know you've thought about it: Arrive at a milonga early in the evening and you can usually participate in an affordable group lesson. (Experienced dancers won't show up till midnight.) If you're up for it, dress the part: That means dress shoes, suits, and dresses. Ready for even more adventure? Once you've mastered the basic moves, dance with a stranger.

Get started: Academia Nacional de Tango (11/4345-6968) offers evening lessons.

Volunteer Vacation

 

Most experienced travelers are eager to find ways to make their world a better place, and there's no better way to indulge your Peace Corps fantasies—without the long-term commitment—than by signing up for a volunteer vacation. Book a trip with an experienced tour operator and make a difference by working with underprivileged children, teaching, or participating in a construction project. Examples of ongoing volunteer vacation opportunities include teaching arts and crafts to children in orphanages in India and assisting with food and water safety and building or renovating infrastructure on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

Get started: GVI is a tour operator specializing in volunteer opportunities. It offers packages that can include working with children, construction projects, and wildlife conservation.

Genealogy Travel

 

There's never been a better time in human history to find a route to your roots. Heritage travel is big business, with Ireland leading the way with more than 120,000 overseas visitors per year. (One in nine Americans, including President Obama, have some Irish heritage.) Aer Lingus offers a "Discover Your Roots" tour that includes a night in Dublin, an hour-long consultation with an Irish genealogy specialist, and vouchers for car rentals to get you to your hometown. Similarly, African Americans have explored West Africa with the help of Palace Travel's Discover Senegal package; Chinese Americans have booked customized trips through Explore China Tours, and Italian Americans turn to the Pallante Center for Italian Research for genealogical research. Sure, results vary, but for some people a walk back into their family history is the greatest adventure they could take.

Get started: Read "Find Your Roots in Ireland" for a BT writer's narrative of tracing her family's history on the Emerald Isle, plus tips for exploring other ethnic backgrounds.

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  • Police responded to a call of a domestic fight with a gun around 1:30 a.m. near Pine and Yale. When officers arrived, the suspect charged one of the cops and bit him on the hand. The officer was treated with a tetanus shot but is otherwise OK. KRMG news has learned officers were forced to tase Manuel Garcia-Perez before taking him into custody.  The victim allegedly declined to cooperate as a victim of domestic violence and refused to press charges. Garcia-Perez was arrested and jailed on complaints of assault on police and obstruction.
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Ted Yoho (R-FL) of Obamacare. “This bill does not go far enough.” Yoho – a Freedom Caucus member – though said he was open to a last minute deal, but that remained elusive as the sun came up on Thursday. President Trump is set to meet with Freedom Caucus members just before lunch at the White House. Believe ldrshp lost more votes today (Dent, LoBiondo, David Young, Dan Donovan) than they gained (Steve King, Barletta) – at least publicly — Erica Werner (@ericawerner) March 23, 2017 2. For some the negotiations just don’t matter. As we have seen on major legislation in recent years, there are a small group of Republicans who just aren’t going to get to a “Yes” vote under the current direction of negotiations. “We promised to repeal Obamacare and improve health care for Americans. This bill does neither,” said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who is a certain “No” vote. Even as members of the House Freedom Caucus met into the night on Wednesday, it was obvious that some in that group, like Amash, would not get on board with the final product – and on their own, they have more than enough votes to sink this GOP bill if they withhold their support. This was a tweet from the group’s spokeswoman. BREAKING: more than 25 Freedom Caucus 'No's' on AHCA — group says 'start over' — Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) March 22, 2017 3. There is no groundswell of support back home. One peculiar situation about the GOP drive on health care is that they are not only taking flak from Democrats, but also from conservative groups who don’t like the direction of the bill – and that combination is bringing a distinct message from back home, as well as groups that watch GOP lawmakers like a hawk. “Unfortunately, even with recently submitted changes, the American Health Care Act has too many ObamaCare-like flaws,” the conservative group Freedom Works said in a statement. Other groups like the Heritage Foundation have been openly working to stop the bill as well – and lawmakers say the folks back home have made quite clear their dislike for the bill. Rep Walter Jones R-NC on calls/emails from his district about GOP health care bill: 4 were in favor, 800 against — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 23, 2017 4. What late changes are being considered to the GOP bill? There was a lot of talk on Wednesday night of major alterations to the bill, some of which might not even survive tight Senate rules dealing with budget reconciliation. The work mainly centered on re-writing the definition of “Essential Health Benefits” in the Obama health law, to allow insurance companies to offer more limited – and therefore less expensive for consumers. Here is the EHB list in current law – these can be modified administratively by the Trump Administration and the Secretary of Health and Human Services; but a number of Republican lawmakers want them changed in law. That most likely will take 60 votes in the Senate. 5. Wait – the EHB change takes 60 votes in the Senate? The logical question to ask is – if you can’t change the Essential Health Benefits in a budget reconciliation bill, because it will get knocked out in the Senate, why put that in this House bill? Well, it may be the only way to get the bill out of the House with enough votes, and send it over to the Senate. Republicans were already engaged in public lobbying of the Senate Parliamentarian, who has the job of ruling on specific provisions of reconciliation bills, as they tried to argue in public that she might change her mind on the matter. Behind the scenes, it wasn’t really apparent that anything had changed along these lines, but the GOP hope was that if EHB changes were included in the bill, the provision could get through the House and just be knocked out in the Senate, without destroying the underlying measure. BREAKING: Mike Lee says parliamentarian told him it may be possible to repeal Obamacare regs via reconciliation https://t.co/OqxadhUbAu — Philip Klein (@philipaklein) March 22, 2017 6. Will the vote be Thursday or later? Republicans were ready to give themselves several days of wiggle room on the health care matter, as the House was expected to approve a measure that allows the GOP to quickly bring a final health care deal to the floor for a vote, any time over the next four days – through Monday. So, there could be a showdown vote on health care today, tomorrow, over the weekend, or early next week. Basically, if Republicans and the White House think they’ve got the votes, then they will rush to the House floor to push that through. “We have not cut the deal, yet,” Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) acknowledged late on Wednesday night in the House Rules Committee. Republicans have said they will vote Thursday on their plan to overhaul Obamacare, but no vote is scheduled https://t.co/R7KtadKwh3 pic.twitter.com/9H5Ior3DvC — CBS News (@CBSNews) March 23, 2017 7. GOP ready to repeat the Nancy Pelosi 2010 quote. Republicans love to talk up the out-of-context quote from then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2010, when she said the Congress would just have to pass a health care bill in order to see what was in it. If you really research the quote, you see she wasn’t saying that, but that hasn’t stopped the GOP from throwing it in her face for the past seven years. Now, Democrats are delighting in watching the GOP maybe doing the same thing. With major changes being looked at last night, it was not clear as the day began what exactly the Republicans would be voting on – and it was possible that no cost estimate, or insurance coverage estimate details would be ready for when lawmakers did vote in the House. With no CBO score, the full effect of eliminating essential health benefits won't be known to House lawmakers before they vote #votingblind — Noam Levey (@NoamLevey) March 23, 2017 Stay tuned – it could be a very interesting day in the House.
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