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Travel 2,200 Miles on an Extreme, 18-Day Mystery Tour from Tehran to Istanbul

When most travelers shell out several thousand dollars (or more) for a trip, they like to know essential details like when they’ll be going and, more importantly, where. Intrepid Travel just announced the return of an exclusive, one-off mystery trip that promises a start and an end point, but almost no details on everything in-between.

The 2020 Uncharted Expedition is an exciting, 18-day journey that takes travelers more than 2,200 miles across four of the world’s most fascinating countries. The expedition starts in Tehran, Iran, and ends in Istanbul, Turkey. But the kicker is that travelers have no idea where they’re going or what they’ll be doing along the way. Judging by the map, the trip will also cross into two of these three countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia.

As to the itinerary, Intrepid isn’t offering much, though its website hints at deep dives into every culture along the way. Travelers can expect action-packed days doing things like exploring millennia-old volcanic villages, overnighting in a cave, eating boiled cow hoof soup (allegedly a great hangover cure), and learning ancient languages that don’t involve speech. Some travel days could be long and involve trekking regions with no discernible infrastructure.

Intrepid Travel

The mystery aspect of such trips appeals to a very specific — and very adventurous — sort of traveler. Although demand for “mystery travel” appears to be growing, it’s certainly not for everyone. This is a grassroots, no-holds-barred method of travel typically reserved for CNN war correspondents and extreme adventure seekers. In a statement, the company’s co-founder, Darrell Wade, said this trip is a nod to Intrepid Travel’s early days. “This is our way of returning to the roots of travel, and how our company began 30 years ago, by being on the frontier of destinations and experiences. Some of the best travel experiences are unplanned. In this case, all the planning has been done by our expert team.” Indeed. Back then, travelers would shop for guided adventure tours in newspaper classifieds that revealed little about the trips being offered.

The company’s first mystery trip sold out last year in less than 36 hours. It’s set to launch June 30, 2019, and will take travelers from Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia over 22 days. New for this year, however, Intrepid Travel will be traveling an entirely new route they’ve never covered before.

Intrepid Travel

This next installment of Intrepid Travel’s Uncharted Expedition will take place April 18, 2020, through May 6, 2020. Per-person rates are $3,740, and that includes just about everything: ground transportation, accommodations, and most meals. Tour-goers will need to book their own international airfare, however.

Only a dozen spots are available for the 2020 trip, and participants will be randomly selected around the middle of July. Interested applicants will need to visit Intrepid Travel’s website by July 9, 2019, and supply some basic contact information and personal details. Then, make sure your travel vaccinations are up to date and get ready for one hell of a ride.

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
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