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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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                      Published on November 14, 2018

                      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                      With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                      For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                      In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                      Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                      Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                      It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                      For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                      Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                      Symptoms of Fatigue

                      Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                      • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                      • mental blocks
                      • lack of motivation
                      • headache
                      • dizziness
                      • muscle weakness
                      • slowed reflexes and responses
                      • impaired decision-making and judgement
                      • moodiness, such as irritability
                      • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                      • reduced immune system function
                      • blurry vision
                      • short-term memory problems
                      • poor concentration
                      • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                      Causes of Fatigue

                      The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                      • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                      • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                      • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                      • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                      Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                      Medical Causes of Fatigue

                      If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                      Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                      Anemia

                      Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                      Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                      There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                      This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                      Diabetes

                      Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                      Sleep Apnea

                      Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                      Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                      Thyroid disease

                      An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                      Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                      • Lack of sleep
                      • Too much sleep 
                      • Alcohol and drugs 
                      • Sleep disturbances 
                      • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                      • Poor diet 

                      Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                      • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                      • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                      • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                      • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                      Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                      Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                      • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                      • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                      • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                      How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                      Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                      1. Tell The Truth

                      Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                      To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                      Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                      The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                      One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                      • How you feel
                      • What time of day it is
                      • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                      • How your mind and body reacts

                      This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                      2. Reduce Your Commitments

                      When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                      If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                      When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                      Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                      3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                      If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                      Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                      If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                      Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                      Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                      4. Express More Gratitude

                      Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                      It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                      Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                      5. Focus On Yourself

                      Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                      There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                      But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                      We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                      6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                      Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                      Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                      The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                      Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                      7. Take a Power Nap

                      When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                      Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                      This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                      8. Take More Exercise

                      The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                      Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                      The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                      You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                      9. Get More Quality Sleep

                      To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                      Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                      My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                      10. Improve Your Diet

                      Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                      Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                      On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                      To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                      Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                      Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                      11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                      Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                      When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                      Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                      My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                      12. Get Hydrated

                      Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                      Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                      If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                      The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                      The Bottom Line

                      These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                      If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                      [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                      [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                      [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                      [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                      [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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