A new year means a new start. We can leave our regrets (like my short-lived attempt at contouring my face) in 2017 and get a fresh outlook on life. Start 2018 off right by making resolutions you’re actually excited to keep. We want to make this year all about experiencing badass, once-in-a-lifetime adventures… and not just traveling to take a picture and then move on down the road to the next photo op. Here are our resolutions for living 2018 to the fullest.
1. Attend a snake orgy
2018 is all about trying something new. Start off by checking out an orgy. But, something that ain’t yo mama’s orgy. Something more like… a snake orgy. Manitoba is home to the Narcisse Snake Dens, where each spring, tens of thousands of red-sided garter snakes gather for mating season. If you’re afraid of (or even kinda lukewarm on) snakes (don’t feel bad, Indiana Jones hates them too), it’s the stuff of nightmares. But it’s also educational and nature-y and a one-of-a-kind experience! The snakes are most active in the spring, but the activity level of the snakes is posted through the summer and fall before they hibernate. Weirdly, the peak of snake mating season occurs around Mother’s Day weekend. A weekend trip to the snake orgy is the perfect way to celebrate and bond with mom, don’t you think?
2. Become a mermaid
And now for something completely different. You can make 2018 the year where your childhood dreams finally come true! Prove the haters wrong by becoming a living, breathing, real-life mermaid. Or mer-prince. Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida is home to an underwater show put on by professional mermaids, so yes, it is definitely a real-life career option. They hold camps for kids and adults alike to get in touch with their inner siren of the deep, or you can keep your eyes peeled for updates on when they’re hiring and how to get in touch.
3. Chase storms down Tornado Alley
Get in touch with your inner Bill Paxton (RIP) and go full amateur storm-chaser this year. There’s something thrilling about the danger of chasing down a cyclone, watching storm clouds roll over the prairie, and experiencing thunder and lightning up close and in person. Plus, the fleeting nature of tornados makes them a prize to witness. And even though a sighting isn’t guaranteed, you can still learn to enjoy the ride and respect the chase. Since there is a healthy amount of risk that can be involved in storm chasing, we suggest booking a tour for your first time. At the very least, do as much research as possible and make sure you have the right gear. Signing up at Stormtrack.org is a great place to start. Yes, this one requires a bit of planning in advance, as do most awesome things…. but it’ll be well worth it.
4. Go on a real-life treasure hunt
Okay, so maybe there isn’t really a map on the back of the Declaration of Independence, but there are still quite a few legendary treasures hidden across the US that are still totally up for grabs. Mythical gold mines, suitcases full of money left by gangsters, Civil War treasure, and cryptic ciphers… it’s the stuff of legend! Or the stuff of a crazy movie plot, at least. Even if you don’t come back with the booty, hopefully you’ll at least get a good story out of your hunt. And if you don’t… feel free to embellish your tale a little. Here are five long-lost treasures to help get you started.
5. Spend the night someplace haunted
It doesn’t matter if you believe in ghosts or not… staying the night in a paranormal hot spot can test the mettle of even the biggest skeptic. When the lights go out, it’s just you and whatever spirits and specters haunt the hallways, real or imagined. Whether you’re staying in a haunted hotel or going on an overnight ghost hunt, you might find some answers for yourself, or have your mind totally changed. Plus, there’s nothing that makes you appreciate daybreak quite like spending the night with a ghost. Check out these ghost guides for inspiration.
6. Hunt for Bigfoot
Bigfoot, Sasquatch, whatever you call him, he’s out there. Probably. Sightings of ‘squatch have been reported from the Northeast to the Pacific Northwest to everywhere in between, so there are plenty of places to go hunting. Bigfoots are shy creatures, though, so you’ll have to learn patience, stealthiness, and intense awareness of your surroundings. Here’s a map of Bigfoot hot spots to help you out.
7. Explore a shipwreck
You don’t actually have to learn to scuba dive to explore a shipwreck (although learning to scuba dive is a noble resolution for 2018). They’re also not just located on the ocean either; you can find shipwrecks in rivers and lakes, too. For bonus points, read up on the wreck before you explore. If for no other reason than to make sure that history won’t be doomed to repeat itself. Here’s a map of just a few of our very favorite shipwrecks.
8. Eat the world’s biggest burger
I considered calling this “attempt to eat the world’s biggest burger”, but decided that we’re starting 2018 with a positive, can-do attitude. You’ll find the world’s largest, commercially-sold burger at Mallie’s Sports Bar & Grill in Southgate, Michigan. You need to order the 1,793-pound burger three days in advance… and the cost is a bank account-destroying $8,000. It even gets cooked in a special, custom-built oven. Woof. If you can’t afford that much, or you don’t like burger enough to eat almost 2,000 pounds of it, you could give one of these other road food challenges a go.
9. Relax at a beer spa
Maybe you want to make your goal for 2018 to relax a little more. 2017 was stressful, we all deserve to unwind a bit. Hop in the Spa in Sister, Oregon combines two of the most relaxing activities on earth (hot tubs and pounding beer until you forget your worries) into one perfect experience. You can soak in your favorite style of beer, whether its a porter or a pale ale– they have an exclusive partnership with craft brewing icon Deschutes. The reported health benefits of the “proprietary blend of beer, hops, barely, and herbs” are numerous: hops are said to soothe aches and pains, be great for your skin, de-stress, remove toxins, and even help with insomnia. The beer itself also contains nutrients like selenium, magnesium, and B vitamins. They even offer body wraps with hops and massages with hop oil. There’s also a beer garden outside, and treatments come with a complimentary Bavarian soft pretzel.
10. Hike a glacier
Whatever you think about global warming (*coughcough it’s real, people coughcough*), there’s no denying that glaciers are melting away. You need only compare pictures to see the difference. These powerful forces of nature carved the land, affected the weather, and once covered most of North America. If you want to visit one before they’re gone entirely, there are plenty to see in the West. Obviously, Alaska is loaded with them, but you can spot them in Calfornia, Montana, Oregon, and even Nevada, among other places.
11. Pan for gold
For a good chunk of US history, the American Dream to many meant moving West and striking it rich by finding gold. You can still try to strike it rich yourself at gold mines and in rivers all across the country, from Georgia to Alaska. And even if you don’t find gold in them there hills, you can always try your hand at gemstone mining… or hunting for diamonds!
12. Visit Nicolas Cage’s pyramid tomb
When you visit New Orleans you expect to find a little bit of weirdness. But should you find yourself wandering around the famous St. Louis Cemetery #1 you’ll stumble upon a particular grave that stands out in a very peculiar way. No, we’re not talking about the grave of the notorious high voodoo priestess Marie Laveau (although this is where her tomb is located)… we’re talking about the future resting place of Nic Cage. In 2010, Nicolas Cage turned 50 and made the decision that he wanted his final resting place to be in the St. Louis Cemetery. And he wanted his tomb to be built in the shape of a pyramid. It’s 9 feet tall and takes up about four normal-sized grave plots. It also has a Latin motto, “Omnia Ab Uno” engraved on it. Sound familiar? That’s because it was used in the Nicolas Cage action-adventure film National Treasure. It translates to “Everything From One.” Oh, and it’s also covered in lipstick prints from all the ladies who have kissed it. Ew. Is it a hint that he’s a member of the Illuminati? Is he secretly a voodoo witch? Or is he just eccentric? There’s only one way to find out… and that’s to visit for yourself.
13. Have a picnic at the Seven Gates of Hell
The best reason to visit the Seven Gates of Hell? So that the next time someone tells you to go to hell, you can tell them that you’ve been there, done that. There are plenty of urban legends about “gates to hell”, but few are as persistent as the story surrounding a wooded area off Trout Run Road in Hellam Township in Pennsylvania. There are two popular versions of the legend: the first involves an asylum that burned down in the 19th century, letting dangerous inmates loose and opening up a portal to the Netherworld in which many were trapped. The second story is of a psychotic doctor who built the seven gates to tell on his property. Either way, the town itself denies both of these stories (which, of course they would). Here’s a map of purported portals to hell that look like prime picnic spots.
14. Spot a UFO
The truth is out there, and 2018 might be the year where you uncover it for youself. Instead of re-watching The X-Files on the couch (yet again) or looking up conspiracy theories on crappy old GeoCities websites, get out there and look for a UFO for yourself. There are tons of places where you can search for alien life, but some stellar spots to start include Great Sand Dunes National Park, Roswell, New Mexico, and, of course, our favorite, the Extraterrestrial Highway. One word of advice: question everything.
So there you have it. Whatever you make your resolution this year… make it out there. And then, for the love of all that is good and holy, try to keep it.