Why Travel to Mars When You Can Visit Mars on Earth?

Why Travel to Mars When You Can Visit Mars on Earth?
Presented by Spartan Training®

It's no secret that our planet is in trouble. Big trouble. 

The threat of climate change and global warming is nothing new, but we're reaching a breaking point. Soon, it will be too late. There will be nothing we can do to save the Earth.

We need to act immediately, and the numbers are downright staggering. According to the State of Finance for Nature, we need an $8.1 trillion investment in nature by 2050 to combat the daunting climate, biodiversity, and land degradation crises that are staring down at us. And what about carbon emissions, which are increasing at a dangerously rapid rate? According to Morgan Stanley Research, we'll need a $50 trillion investment by 2050 to reach "net-zero" emissions. 

Meanwhile, as our planet's health continues to be disregarded, influential billionaires are reportedly spending anywhere from $28 million to $60 million on commercial flights into space, with each rocket launch reportedly releasing up to 300 tons of carbon dioxide into the upper atmosphere. Not only could these astronomical sums of money be used to help save our planet, but these commercial journeys also send the wrong message. We need to focus our attention and energy on our planet. We need to remind people not only that it's in dire need of help, but also that our planet is magnificently beautiful. Instead of exploring space and other planets, why not explore the natural beauty on Earth? 

Elon Musk's goal is to get humans on Mars this decade. But what if you could visit Mars on Earth?

HIGHLANDER Mars on Earth: April 21-23, 2023 

HIGHLANDER is about more than just hiking. It's meant to be a transformative journey, encouraging participants to connect with and respect nature, preserve the planet, and practice sustainability. Unsurprisingly, HIGHLANDER CEO Jurica Barac and his team are passionate about the fight against climate change and global warming, and the deteriorating effect it's having on the planet. Their mission is also to highlight and showcase some of the most magical, breathtaking locations on Earth. These ideals, combined with the ever-growing popularity and interest in space tourism, inspired Barac to take action and bring the space experience to Earth.

Related: What Makes HIGHLANDER the Adventure of a Lifetime?

So for three days leading up to Earth Day 2023, HIGHLANDER will host its first-ever Mars on Earth event on the Croatian island of Pag, in the Adriatic Sea. 

From April 21-23, hikers will trek across the Life on Mars Trail, which is in the village of Metajna on the Bay of Pag. Though it's a trek, it's also very much a mindfulness initiative. Over the course of the weekend, in addition to hiking, participants will meditate, take sustainability and controlled breathing workshops, witness a Croatian art gallery against the backdrop of the moonlight, practice yoga, and listen to incredible live music.

Perhaps the most important and meaningful activity of the weekend will be the eco activation. With the assistance of the Zagreb Underwater Sports Association, a dedicated group of volunteers that has been working to preserve the environment since 1954, HIGHLANDER hikers will help clean the Adriatic Sea and the coast of the island of Pag.

highlander mars on earth

"Looking at the hype around commercial space travel and the enormous amount of resources spent on it, I wonder if these people are aware of the consequences of these short and overpriced pleasures," Barac says. "Today we are at a turning point, and deciding how long we will enjoy life as we know it on Earth. Will our children be able to go hiking on the mountain? Will we be able to swim in the sea, or breathe the fresh air? Will we live at all?

"We will, but only if we adapt this limitless 'Mars Mindset' and find ways to save our planet, a planet where travel is the most beautiful and life is so unique. Join us for HIGHLANDER Mars on Earth and start a change!"

Why the Island of Pag?

Why did HIGHLANDER choose the island of Pag for this first-of-its-kind event? There are a few reasons why it's an ideal fit. Pag is located in a unique position on the Croatian coast. It's right next to Velebit, the largest mountain range in Croatia and the birthplace of HIGHLANDER. An incredibly strong wind, known as the bora wind, comes off of Velebit. As a result of those winds, which are sometimes as strong as 200 kilometers per hour, Pag is a naked island. There are no trees, and it's dusty and rocky. It's a truly surreal experience. If you didn't know any better, you'd think you were actually on Mars.

Below is the tentative route that the hikers will take on the island. It is subject to change prior to the event.

highlander mars on earth

Your Registration Will Help Save the Planet

HIGHLANDER needs help to bring this event to life, and to make the kind of lasting impact that will affect real change. You can donate to the cause here. Fifty percent of all registration fees will go to the Zagreb Underwater Sports Association, the non-profit organization that is working tirelessly to clean the shore and the sea on the island of Pag. The other 50 percent will be used by HIGHLANDER for future Mars on Earth retreats and future eco activations, with the ultimate goal of cleaning and preserving the planet.

Related: HIGHLANDER's First U.S. Event to Be Held in Scenic Big Bear Lake

The inaugural HIGHLANDER Mars on Earth event promises to be thrilling, eye-opening, cleansing, and educational. But beyond that, it's also critically important. We need to save our planet, and we can't afford to sit on our hands any longer.

"People need to realize that the situation is serious," Barac says. "We need to start immediately, to act, to help each other, to help countries and country leaders. Otherwise, we are in big trouble, especially younger generations. On the one hand, there's a crazy journey to space for 10 minutes. On the other hand, my happy kids are in the blue water and fresh air for the next 10, 15, 20 years.

"Which one do we want? That’s a choice we need to make now."