Choose your own thrills with Adventure Junky, a new app for iPhone and Android that allows players to navigate different experiences around the world with a little friendly competition.
Cofounders Nigel Malone and Fuchsia Claire Sims wanted to respond to the demand for sustainable and transformational travel. The app went through several years of development, during which Malone and Sims looked at the trends of tourism and travel, more specifically adventure travel and impact tourism has on changing the climate.
“We decided we wanted to apply ourselves and try and solve some problems, reinvent travel,” said Malone.
The app relies on user-generated content, where participants can submit their own adventures that are then vetted by the Adventure Junky curation team. The goal is to feature adventures that are unique, spontaneous, and leave little or no mark on the planet. People have the chance to learn about themselves and other cultures while stepping out of their comfort zones.
The adventures vary from a stroll through a quiet forest to a climb up a volcano in Guatemala. The app features more than 100 countries, where there are opportunities to get to know the locals, such as staying in a yurt with a Mongolian family. The curation team attempts to filter out adventures in areas that are hurt by over-tourism, causing things like sustainability problems and affecting animal migration patterns.
There’s a social aspect to the app that allows users to follow others, form tribes, and compete against one another. Every completed adventure gives a traveler a certain number of points. Participants use their phone’s GPS to prove they were at the site of an adventure, or by submitting a photo of themselves at a location. There’s a worldwide leaderboard to show how users stack up against other “adventure junkies.”
What happens if you’ve already been on a ton of adventures? No worries, you won’t need to start over. Whether you went to the Grand Canyon in the ’80s or trekked the rain forest a week before you downloaded the app, you can submit picture proof and get points for it.
Currently, the app, which was launched late last year, has about 10,000 users.
While this app may be of particular interest to millennials, Malone contends that seeking out adventure has more to do with the way you think than age or income bracket.Mayeesha Galiba can be reached at mayeesha.galiba