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8 Epic Travel Experiences You Can’t Miss In Your Lifetime

8 Epic Travel Experiences You Can’t Miss In Your Lifetime

Traveling is a life-changing experience and once you get bitten by the bug it is hard to resist. Here are eight different experiences that you need to add to your bucket list now.

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    PS: Wikimedia Commons

    1. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

    Ever dreamed of scaling a mountain? As the largest free-standing mountain in the world, Kilimanjaro is the ultimate travel adventure. With one of the most accessible summits, this majestic mountain in Africa graces many travelers’ lists. Trust me, you do not have to be a world-class athlete to make it to the top, you just need the right gear and a good dose of determination.

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      PS: Wikimedia Commons

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      2. Road trip on California’s Highway One

      One of the USA’s most iconic drives along the Pacific Ocean, this is a road trip that should not be missed. Choose your starting point either in Northern California or Southern California and make sure you leave enough time for plenty of stops at roadside diners and for stunning coastal views. For an optimal California road trip experience, make sure to rent a convertible or an old VW van depending on your personal style.

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        PS: Wikimedia Commons

        3. Snorkel in Belize’s Blue Hole

        There are many beautiful places to snorkel, but Belize’s Blue Hole is one of the most unique places to do so. This natural phenomena is named after the blue circle that is created from the depth of the hole under the water’s surface. Although snorkeling is preferable in the shallower waters that surround the perimeter, it is a breathtaking experience that you will never forget.

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          PS: Wikimedia Commons

          4. Visit a city that spans two continents

          Istanbul is a city that never ceases to impress. Located on both Asia and European soil, this city has it all. Food, culture, history, nightlife, whatever your interests are, you are bound to find it here. Old traditions from the Ottoman Empire blend effortlessly with modern pursuits. Make sure to plan at least a week to take in this extensive destination and all it has to offer.

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            PS: Wikimedia Commons

            5. Go on a solo adventure abroad

            Traveling with friends and family can be great, but learning to travel by yourself is a life-changing experience. Not only will you be more receptive to talk with locals and other travelers, but you will learn the importance of self-reliance. If you have never been on the road alone, start small and close to home and then make plans to go abroad. It will be worth it, I promise.

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              PS: Wikimedia Commons

              6. Observe the Big Five in Tanzania

              This country with 16 game parks in total, including in the Serengeti, is the perfect place to experience Africa’s wildlife. Look out for the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and black/white rhino, among others. It is one thing to see animals on film, but a completely different experience to see them a few feet away.

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                PS: Wikimedia Commons

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                7. Watch the Northern Lights in Iceland

                The Northern Lights are a perfect excuse to visit beautiful Iceland and witness one of nature’s best light shows all at once. The most important factor for optimal viewing is that there is complete darkness. The best time to view them in Iceland is from September to mid-April when there are guaranteed dark nights. A second recommendation for prime viewing is that you should stay at least a week, because the Northern Lights tend to be active for two to three nights and then lay low for four to five.

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                  8. Eat Your Way Through Japan

                  You may be familiar with Japanese food-sushi, ramen, udon and bento boxes, but there is so much more. In Japan, food is elevated to an art form, where cooks specialize in one type of dish and work on perfecting it over decades. From fresh sashimi at Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji’s Fish Market to kaiseki, a traditional Japanese multi-course meal, you will never get enough of Japan’s diverse food scene.

                  Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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                  Last Updated on September 10, 2019

                  7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                  7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                  Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

                  Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

                  This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

                  One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

                  Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

                  Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

                  1. Gratitude

                  Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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                  The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

                  Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

                  So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

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                    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

                    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

                    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

                    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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                    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

                    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

                    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

                    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

                    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

                    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

                    write down goals

                      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

                      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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                      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

                      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

                      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

                      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

                      6. Rise Earlier

                      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

                      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

                      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

                      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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                      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

                      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

                      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

                      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

                      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

                      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

                      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
                      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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