7 Crazy Ways to De-Stress on Your Travels

For a lot of people, a trip is the best time to relax, hit the beach, and let the stress of everyday life melt away. But for some people, that’s just not going to cut it; we can’t just zone out without our minds going back home to the worries of work, family, and finances. Before we can relax, we need to let out all that pent-up frustration and anxiety with more active pursuits.

Whether you’re just taking a weekend trip or heading out on a more long-term career break, you won’t be able to fully enjoy your travels and immerse yourself in the present moment until you let go off all the built up tension of your daily grind. Start your trip off right by de-stressing with some aggro-tourism, stress-relieving activities that will allow you to let out your aggression so you can relax and enjoy your trip to the fullest. Here are seven different ways to blow off some steam around the world.

Get in a pillow fight

What’s great about pillow fights is that generally speaking, they are harmless. You can have them in the comfort of your own home, or take part in a public one.

Toronto, for example, hosts an annual pillow fight in Yonge-Dundas Square. Costumes and funky pillows are encouraged here. The fight will usually take place in the evening, with nearby advertising billboards providing some extra light on the fun.

Another option is to head to San Diego, where a pillow fight will be hosted on Valentine’s Day of 2012. To find out about pillow fights in other destinations, a simple Google search will help.

Shoot a gun

If a pillow fight is too peaceful for you but you still don’t want to harm anyone, you could consider heading to a firing range. In Korea, you can have fun at the Lotte World Shooting Range, for example. Arkansas, in turn, is home to the On Target Indoor Firing Range. This firing range prides itself on its state of the art facilities, including the “Super Trap” bullet containment system, which ensures safety. The shooting range is constantly supervised, and is open to novice as well as experienced shooters, who can rent guns here or bring their own. To be exact, the seven firing positions are up to 25 yards in length and 7, 10, and 15 yard distances are marked but shooters can choose any distance from 10 ft. to 25 yard.

Shooting ranges can be found around the world, with most offering basic lessons for those who’ve never handled a gun before.

Set yourself on fire

Is firing at other objects still not adventurous enough for you? If you really want to get your adrenaline rushing, you can even set yourself on fire. The Stunt School in Vancouver, for example, offers specific courses related to fire. As this type of stunt is extremely dangerous, it must be performed with the utmost safety. That is, it needs to be choreographed, rehearsed and timed perfectly. This is exactly what the school will teach you. Further courses at the school in Vancouver include: high falling, gymnastics, stunt driving, fighting and rigging.

Other recognized schools include the London Stunt School, the Australian Stunt Academy in Nerang, the New Zealand Stunt School, and the Hollywood Stunt School in Hollywood itself. Who knows, you might get hired as a stunt actor right away.

>> Discover other extreme activities to do around the world

Crash a car

Usually part of county fairs and festivals, a demolition derby is a motorsport that involves several drivers competing as they try to smash their cars/trucks into one another. The driver whose vehicle is still working at the end is considered the winner. Thus if you like taking good care of your car, this might not be the sport for you. If, however, you don’t mind demolishing someone else’s vehicle, it could be worth a shot.

Ontario, for example, is home to several demolition derbies each year. USA Derby, in turn, lists competitions hosted throughout Michigan in the United States. The schedule is worth checking out; some of the winning prizes are as high as $5000! You can also find demolition derbies held at many county and state fairs throughout the US.

>> Learn about other wild and weird sports festivals around the world

Have a food fight

Eco-friendly travelers will not be amused at this one. Every year, the La Tomatina festival in Valencia, Spain, brings tourists as well as locals together to throw tomatoes at one another. The tradition dates back to about 1944 or 1945, though no one is exactly sure of how it originated. According to latomatina.org, “possible theories on how the Tomatina began include a local food fight among friends, a juvenile class war, a volley of tomatoes from bystanders at a carnival parade, a practical joke on a bad musician, and the anarchic aftermath of an accidental lorry spillage. One of the most popular theories is that disgruntled townspeople attacked city councilmen with tomatoes during a town celebration.” The festival was prohibited during the reign of dictator Franco because it had no religious significance. However, after Franco’s death in 1975, it has returned and keeps coming back strong ever since.

>> Check out more of the world’s messiest festivals

Kick some butt

Kickboxing is another relatively harmless way to let off some steam. Plus, it is a great workout and will get you in shape while you are at it.

The kickboxing tradition originates in Thailand, so this might be the best place to get the authentic deal. The Horizon Muay Thai Boxing Training Camp, for example, offers classes open to all. For those coming in from far away, the centre offers accommodation, too. In this case, they recommend that you book ahead, which requires a 50% deposit. In addition to single Muay Thai Boxing classes, the camp also offers longer “tours” where you learn all about the history of the ancient art. In addition, you can also book Thai massage courses, Thai cooking seminars, or a jungle survival class.

>> Check out other ways to stay fit on the road

Stomp some grapes

Grape stomping can be done in pretty much any wine region. One that is of particular interest is the Haro wine region in La Rioja, Spain. Here, there is an annual Wine Festival, held every year on June 29, the day of the patron saint San Pedro. It involves wine drinking contests, and a Batalla de Vino, meaning Battle of Wine.

The day starts at 7 a.m., when a procession of people dressed in white shirts and red scarves takes place. The participants include both old and young, and everyone is carrying jugs, bottles and other containers filled to the brim with red wine. The mayor, who is riding a horse, leads the people through the town all the way to the Cliffs of Bilibio. Here, a mass is held at the Hermitage of San Felices de Bilibio. After mass, the battle begins, and everyone tosses wine at one another until the streets are flooded and the people stained a deep purple. At twelve noon, people return to town to continue celebrating at the Plaza de la Paz, the Square of Peace.

>> Read more about wine tasting in Rioja

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Photos: davidshankbone, Anuj Biyani, Joe Skinner Photography, boeke, Luis Miguel Braga, Claudio Gennari, wallyg