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I want to share with you some of the reasons why I love these sports and the places like to go to enjoy them.
Alot of people would question whether it is sensible to use an inflatable canoe for whitewater canoeing. I have used a range on canoes over the years, and whilst I think fixed hull (fibreglass, polypropylene) canoes offer greater control and slightly better bouyancy, I muh prefer the inflatables overall for a touring vessel.
Some of the benefits of a inflatable canoe are that they are much more comfortable to ride, they are easy to store, you can take them on buses or trains, keep them in your car for convenience or security. They ride over shallow gravel races with ease, and contrary to perception their plastic compartments puncture with difficulty. Best of all - they are about a fifth the price of a standard canoe.
I really love canoeing because there is no better sensation than the feeling of floating down a river. Its fun tackling rapids, with an element of danger and adventure, since its always interesting knowing what is around the corner. If you have been rafting before, canoeing or kayaking offers a far better experience. There is no challenge riding a raft. I really get quite excited prior to trips.
Mountain biking is great exercise but I must say its difficult to find good biking tracks. I was truly fortunate to find a great trail in Saitama, Japan. My reasons for liking mountain biking are similar to whitewater canoeing. Its an adventure, its great fun negotiating forest trails, and exploring a place you have not been. The trail I found in Saitama expanded over several runs, and after about 50 runs I was truly an expert on it. But you dont get bored because you can just pick up the tempo.
Hiking or walking if you like is a relaxing activity for me because I am stressed out writing a book or from spending too much time on my computer, I want to get outside and hiking allows me to loose myself, to let my mind wander. I always try to live in a nice environment, wherever I live. The places I have enjoyed are: Botany Bay, Neutral Bay (Sydney), Artarmon (Sydney), Port Macquarie (Mid North Coast NSW), Terrigal (Central Coast NSW), Saitama (Japan), Lipa (Philippines) and next stop will be Nelson Bay (Port Stephens NSW).
Places I can see myself living in the future are Bernie (Tasmania), Nelson (NZ), New England (USA) and Vancouver (Canada).
I have long wanted to go campervanning though was hell bent on buying a vehicle. Though having discovered the joys of doing 'camper returns' I am taking my time so I can find the best possible vehicle. It looks like I will end up customising my own vehicle because I have yet to come across a design that meets my requirements. The VW Caddy Life comes close, but I would like something bigger than I can step into, to work at a table and stand up, as well as having room for a 60litre frig-freezer and 3-4 deep cycle batteries.
The appeal of campervanning is touring to unfamiliar places, being able to stop anywhere (within reason) and not having to worry about finding accommodation. You can often sleep on the beach - as if you had million-dollar views. In a sense its better because you can even get closer to the surf.
The maximum time I have spent in a campervan is 8 days. That might seem confining, but I think if you make use of public libraries, public swimming pools, clubs and pubs, you can have a sense of homely comforts.
I have done enough campervan travelling in Australia. My next trip will be New Zealand. I have already done 2 fly-drive holidays in NZ, apart from climbing volcanoes for a volcanic geology field trip when I was 20yo.
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There are several sports that I particularly enjoy.
1. Inflatable Canoeing
Inflatables are without the most flexible way to go canoeing because you can easily store them, carry them, they are pretty manouvreable and safe.
This photo shows me canoeing the Naguri River west of Tokyo, Japan
2. Mountain Biking
Mountain biking is another great way of touring. I particularly like off-road biking when I get the opportunity.
This photo shows me biking through sugar cane near Lipa City, in the Philippines.
3. Hiking - beach & bush
Hiking is another favourite activity, as well as beach walking. Cant think of a better way to relax...except canoeing.
Port Macquarie, North Coast of NSW, Australia
Touring around countries like Australia, NZ and Japan is a pleasure in a campervan, and a very economical means of travelling.
ThisVolkswagen Caddy Life was a great touring vehicle between Sydney to Brisbane. It comfortably sleeps 2 people.