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Adventure Magazine

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Adventure Know-It-All
Ask Adventure
Q: I'VE DREAMED ABOUT BUYING A CHEAP PLOT OF LAND IN SOME REMOTE PARADISE, BUT I'M WORRIED I'LL NEVER HAVE ENOUGH MONEY. SHOULD I SKIP IT AND JUST BUY A FANCY TENT INSTEAD?

The price of three top-of-the-line tents—about $3,000—will buy you an 8,000-square-foot (74-square-meter) lot in the Puna district of Hawaii's Big Island—right on the slopes of an active volcano. About 15 tents will bag you waterfront property in Belize—on a low-lying atoll in hurricane country. If ever there was a situation in which "caveat emptor" applied, this is it. "You really have to do your homework," says Nancy Duff, owner of Planet Properties (www.planetproperties.com), an international real estate listing service. "Research the local laws of land ownership. Inspect the property to see if it can support construction. Research utilities." As for where to buy, look at formerly troubled territories. Nicaragua, Panama, and El Salvador, for example, have wrested themselves from long civil wars and offer wallet-friendly Shangri-las. But be realistic. "For the most part," says Phil Moreton, an American real estate agent making his home in Mexico, mythical homeland of dropouts and pensioners, "this area is not the Wild West that a lot of people think it is. Land that people came down and bought in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s would cost ten times as much today." Our advice: Buy the tent—then make good use of it scoping out your own little Eden.


Q: HOW DO THE MOUNTAINEERS PROFILED IN YOUR MAGAZINE SUPPORT THEIR YEAR-ROUND ADVENTURES? AND HOW COULD I DO THAT FOR A LIVING?

You could start by selling T-shirts, which is what Ed Viesturs, then a cash-strapped carpenter, did in 1992 to fund what became the first successful American attempt on K2's Abruzzi Ridge. Now sponsored by Mountain Hardwear, Princeton Tec, Rolex, and JanSport, among others, Viesturs was then more commonly known as "Ed Who?" What changed? Viesturs came up with a plan: climb all 14 of the world's 8,000-meter peaks without supplementary oxygen. Advertisers took note. "It was a marketable idea," he says, "a multiyear project that became a story people could follow." But not even the "8,000-meter man" can afford to spend all his time climbing: These days Viesturs frequently attends sales meetings and trade shows for his sponsors. Professional outdoor athlete Will Gadd cautions would-be career adventurers: "You'll need a salesman's ability to withstand rejection, an Enron accountant's ability to avoid financial reality, and a near-masochistic enjoyment of physical suffering." To that, however, Viesturs adds words of hope: "Just keep yourself out there, and keep working at it."


What do you want to know? Ask Adventure >>

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Expedition Advisor
Read explorer-tested tips from adventurer Jon Bowermaster.

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November 2003



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