Nomad Maddie: The thrill seeker’s gap year guide

suggests eight dare-devilish ways to spend a year abroad

1) The teahouse at the top of Mount Hua Sha, China1

Fancy a trek with a difference? Take a trip to China and make your way to Mount Hua Shan situated in Shaanxi province. At 2,160 meters the south peak of Mount Hua is one of the most popular with hikers, and probably the most exhilaratingly dangerous. However, this trek requires more than hiking. Making your way up the mountain is only the first step as you will find yourself traversing narrow paths and climbing across nothing more than thin wooden planks stuck to the face of a vertical cliff. Take the cable car across, accomplish a few more death-defying climbs and you will find the most incongruous (but also probably the most needed) site – a teahouse.

2) Kiwi experience, New Zealand2

The Kiwi experience is unlike any other; a bus tour that takes you around all of New Zealand while stopping off for essential thrill seeking activities. New Zealand is synonymous for many with the ideal gap year destination, full of the most beautiful natural scenery and sights. This is where the Kiwi experience excels, as you merely have to step onto a bus and let their drivers do the rest, all on the budget you desire. The hop-on, hop-off system means you can see the sights at your own pace and rest assured you’ll experience New Zealand with no pressure attached.
Activities you’ll be stopping off to try include sailing, dolphin swimming, bungee jumping, skydiving, water rafting….the list goes on. Kiwi experience is probably the best, and only truly gap year way, to do New Zealand. Hop onto their website for more information.

3) Volcano boarding, Nicaragua3

It’s probably one of the craziest activities to try, but surfing down an active volcano will definitely get your adrenaline going wild. In Nicaragua, a small country at the tip of South America, people are flocking to try out this new craze. Make your way to Nicaragua’s Cerro Negro Mountain and you’ll get the chance to board down a 2,380ft live volcano at speeds of 50mph wearing nothing but luminescent orange safety gear. Whether you want to surf the volcano Aussie style or take a more relaxed sitting approach, volcano boarding is thrill seeking at the max. Please do take precaution of this live volcano.

4) Everest skydive, Tibet4

Tales of hiking up the tallest mountain in the world have since become a feat of the past. The new way to experience Everest is by taking to the sky at even greater heights only to then throw yourself out of a helicopter. Climbing to dizzying heights of 29,500 feet this jump will make traversing the Burj Khalifa look like a staircase. Skydiving over Mount Everest is probably one of the most beautiful skydives around, but also indisputably the maddest. Perhaps the only thing that could get your heart palpitating faster is, unfortunately, the price of this activity, which is expectedly high starting at $25,000 for solo skydivers. Perhaps this is best left to a dream.

5) Dinner in the sky, Worldwide5

If you have ever thought fine dining could not be classified as extreme then think again. This Belgian based company takes ‘pulling up a seat’ to new and literal heights by hosting dinner parties for up to 22 guests suspended from a crane 100 meters in the air.
Available in 40 different countries, this experience means you could find yourself being served up your meal, carousing over the Eiffel Tower, or even while watching over the lights of the Las Vegas strip. Each meal takes around an hour, and desperate toilet trips mean the whole tale needs to descend, but that aside this is one meal that will serve up more than just fine cuisine.

6) The highest bungee jump in the world, Macau6

The infamous bungee jump is perhaps the quintessential backpacking activity. So why not take it to the absolute extreme by taking to the Macau Tower to jump from 233 metres where you’ll reach speeds of up to 200 kmph? The Macau Tower is not only the highest bungee jump but also probably the most technical, as when you plummet face-first you’ll find yourself within touching distance to the tower. If you’re not afraid of heights and fancy your chance at one of the most death defying activities out there, the Macau Tower is waiting for you.

7) Running of the Bulls, Spain7

Evidence that man has long been preoccupied with tempting death emerges from Spain’s traditional ‘Running of the Bull’s’, which is said to stem all the way back to the 14th century. This event occurs during a seven-day festival in Pamplona where the streets are made way for untamed bulls to be let loose and run wild. While participants are placed behind barricades when the event takes place your adrenaline will take over from the four minutes the bulls ravage their way down from the gate to the corral. This has long been an infamous event, and dangerous would be an understatement.

8) Cheese rolling, England8

In Gloucester there is an annual event that puts England on the map as a country that offers some hardcore adrenaline-pumping activities. Since the 15th century Gloucestershire has seen individuals running down a steep hill after cheese. And while chasing after a 9lb round of Double Gloucester cheese may sound a doddle, with the cheese reaching speeds of up to 70mph, catching this tasty treat is a pretty tricky task. The event will be taking place on the 26th May this year so make sure you make your way down if you fancy not only some thrill, but a flavoursome snack at the end of it all.


  1. Why are you writing an article on gap years for people already at uni? Heres a list of burn wards in the UK, , cause you just got burnt. Ohhh kill’em

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  2. Ever heard of a university gap year?

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