No matter how fearless a traveler you think you are, and no matter how many Internet rabbit holes you go down, there are some dream adventures that always seem just out of reach for mere mortals—or at least for non–social scientists. Why? Because you haven’t yet met the new breed of travel specialists who got there first. These visionaries, who are forging fresh routes through Mongolia, pioneering new ways of seeing the Atacama Desert, and have nailed that difficult balance between access and adrenaline, between opening a path to new territories and letting you feel like the first person to discover them. These people aren’t planning vacations: They’re taking us back in time to when going somewhere new was hard and a little scary and infinitely more rewarding than you could ever imagine. The trips these specialists are engineering aren’t for everyone, but that’s exactly the point.

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