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10 Unbelievably Breathtaking Places That Will Humble Every Traveler

10 Unbelievably Breathtaking Places That Will Humble Every Traveler

Your face has felt the warmth of the sun as you crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and your toes have felt the sand of Oahu. At this point, your passport is pretty comfortable being stamped by solemn-faced customs agents across the globe. There comes a moment in any traveler’s life, however, when it’s time to take wanderlust to the next level.

If you’ve seen the rest, and you’re ready to experience the best, here are 10 breathtaking sites you don’t want to miss:

Uluru in the Northern Territory’s Red Centre Desert, Australia

Uluru

    Image credit: nosha

    Uluru, better known as Ayers Rock, is a stunning formation in the Northern Territory, Australia. The sandstone is remarkable in a geological sense, because its creation began over 500 million years ago. But it’s not just geologists that marvel at Uluru: people trek from around the world to see this majestic monolith. At sunset, the rock glows crimson red—you don’t want to miss it.

    Marble Caves in Patagonia, Chile

    marble cathedral

      Image credit: Javier Vieras

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      Formed by the crashing waves of Lake General Carrera, the marble caves of Patagonia are practically an art installation. The caves showcase a breathtaking array of colors and textures, and have earned the nickname of Marble Cathedral. While the journey to get here is a long and arduous one, you are rewarded with breathtaking formations dripping in character. The caves are a bit like a chameleon: in the spring, the water creates a turquoise tone on the walls, but when summer rolls around, the marble glow a darker blue.

      Sea of Stars in Vaadhoo Island, Maldives

      sea of stars

        Image credit: Will Ho

        You may usually try to avoid creatures in the water, especially the kind you can’t see. But in the Maldives, phytoplankton creates a marine bioluminescence that results in eye-catching neon stars just beneath the water’s surface. When the water is stirred, by a boat or even your hand, it lights up like a Christmas tree. If you ever find yourself in the Maldives, heading out after dark to experience this breathtaking natural phenomenon is a must.

        Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona

        Antelope Canyon

          Image credit: Moyan Brenn

          You might think you’re walking through a painting during your visit to the Antelope Canyon. The swirling rock formations look as if they were plucked from an artist’s canvas and meticulously draped across the desert landscape. Located on Navajo Nation land just outside Page, the canyon was slowly carved by flash floods over millennia. Today, you’re welcome to hike through the canyon chasing tunnels of light and marveling at the bright color palette that surrounds you.

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          Northern Lights in Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland

          Iceland Northern Lights

            Image credit: Moyan Brenn

            You can see the Northern Lights at various points across Iceland, but one of the best places to witness this awe-inspiring natural wonder is the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. What causes the Northern Lights, otherwise known as Aurora borealis? Long story short, when electrically-charged particles released from the sun enter Earth’s atmosphere, ribbons of vibrant color burst across the sky. It’s no surprise this place is often considered one of the most breathtaking sites on the planet.

            Great Blue Hole in Belize City, Belize

            Great Blue Hole in Belize City, Belize

              Image credit: Eric Pheterson

              Jacque Cousteau made this site famous, and now that the secret’s out people flock to the oceanic spectacle in droves. Just off the coast of Belize City, the Great Blue Hole is quite the sight from above. It pulls double-duty as a diver’s dream, sending a siren song to scuba enthusiasts around the world. Formed over time by changing sea levels, the sinkhole is home to a bevy of exotic sea life and the surrounding shoreline has caves worthy of investigation.

              Taj Mahal in Agra, India

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              Taj Mahal

                Image credit: Dennis Jarvis

                Not just breathtaking, this marble mausoleum might leave you momentarily paralyzed as you take in the elaborate architecture and meticulous calligraphy decorating the exterior. The building was constructed in the 1600s by Shah Jahan to honor his late wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It remains a meaningful monument and was named one of the New7Wonders of the World in 2007. Make time to stand in front of the reflection pool after you tour the building.

                Palace of Versailles in Versailles, France

                Palace of Versailles

                  Image credit: tom.Bricker

                  When you tour this ornate palace, it might be hard to picture it as a hunting lodge. But when Louis XIII first constructed the famous chateau, that is exactly what he used it for. The Palace of Versailles was later expanded into the ostentatious estate you’ll find today, dripping in gold and adorned with finishes such as polished marble and lush fabric. The chateau’s gardens are world-famous, and beg you to meander through them.

                  Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

                  Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

                    Image credit: Chrisian Junker

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                    The largest religious monument known to man doesn’t disappoint. This UNESCO World Heritage Centre was once a Hindu temple before evolving into a Buddhist temple and spiritual retreat for the modern traveler. It also happens to be where Lara Croft journeyed on her quest for the Triangle of Light, so you can visit sites where the movie was shot. Don’t miss an opportunity to catch the sun breaking over the temple at dawn. The breathtaking sight of a gold and amber sky showering the structure with a warm glow is a memorable one.

                    Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto, Japan

                    Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto, Japan

                      Image credit: Casey Yee

                      If you need a reprieve from city life in Japan, the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is the perfect place to visit. Towering bamboo create grand spirals of light, providing this enchanting space with a sense of serenity. There is just one main trail through the forest, leading to the Okochi-Sanso Villa. While you’re here, visit the on-site temple and shrine.

                      Despite your temptation to take oodles of photos when you visit these breathtaking spots, why not slow down a bit and soak it in?

                      Challenge yourself to be present during your every moment in these 10 amazing locales, as you never know when you’ll have a chance to return.

                      Featured photo credit: Moyan_Brenn via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on January 15, 2019

                      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                      In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                      Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                      Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                      Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                      Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                      The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                      There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                      How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                      According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                      Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                      Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                      The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                      Listen carefully:

                      We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                      The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                      Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                      8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                      There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                      Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                      1. Pray Daily

                      You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                      When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                      Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                      Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                      2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                      A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                      By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                      Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                      If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                      This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                      How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                      3. Smile Often

                      Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                      Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                      Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                      The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                      4. Organize Your Working Desk

                      A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                      When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                      Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                      Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                      5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                      I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                      Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                      What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                      6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                      God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                      I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                      I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                      7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                      You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                      How do you do that? This is my formula:

                      First, go to my website (find my website here in my profile) and take the smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                      If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                      If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                      If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                      Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                      8. Go Exercise

                      Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                      The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                      You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                      12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                      The Bottom Line

                      It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                      It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                      Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                      More Resources About Mindfulness

                      Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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