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Life is a Fairytale… Here’s the Proof

Life is a Fairytale… Here’s the Proof

Once upon a time, a reader stumbled upon beautiful pictures of faraway lands. There were ornate castles on hilltops with towers and spires that touched the sky. There were fortresses surrounded by moats and drawbridges to keep the residents safe. There was a castle built over a river and another perched like a bird, high above the sea. They saw a photograph of one of the seven wonders of the world and read how it was a romantic tribute to lost love. The reader longed to visit these magnificent sites, but for now, they would have to use their imagination to travel to these enticing destinations.

If you long to see magical castles that look like they were pulled from the pages of a fairy tale, we have hand-picked 15 for you. Because, once in awhile, in the middle of an ordinary day, fairy tales do come true. Happily ever after is out there — where will you find yours?

1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

    Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It’s called the “Fairy Tale” castle because it is said to have inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom.

    2. Chateau de Chenonceau, France

    Chenonceau France

      Chenonceau boasts five arches spanning over the Cher river in France. Called the “Ladies Castle” because it was built and later improved upon by queens of France.

      3. Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

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      Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

        One of thirteen small monasteries or “tiger’s lairs” where the Guru Rinpoche, also known as the “Second Buddha” of Bhutan, is said to have meditated.

        4. Notre Dame Cathedral, France

        Notre Dame France

          The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is the setting for the story The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world.

          5. Blarney Castle, Ireland

          Blarney Castle Ireland

            This historic castle is most famous for its stone, which has the traditional power of conferring eloquence on all who kiss it.

            6. Chateau de Chambord, France

            Chateau de Chambord, France

              Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley and was never completed.

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              7. Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

              Dunrobin Castle Scotland

                The Castle of the Earldom of Sutherland — one of the seven ancient earldoms of Scotland.

                8. The Swallow’s Nest Castle, Ukraine

                Swallow's Nest Castle, Ukraine

                  The neo-Gothic Swallow’s Nest castle was built by a German noble in 1912 and perches 130 feet above the Black Sea near Yalta in southern Ukraine.

                  9. Bodiam Castle, England

                  Bodiam Castle, England

                    Bodiam Castle was built from 1385 and is surrounded on all sides by a moat.

                    10. Eltz Castle, Germany

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                    Eltz Castle, Germany

                      The Eltz Castle is surrounded on three sides by a river and is still owned by the same family that lived there in the 12th century, 33 generations ago.

                      11. Alcazar of Segovia, Spain

                      Alcazar of Segovia, Spain

                        The Alcazar of Segovia is built upon a large rock promontory, which is shaped like the bow of a ship. This castle is also said to have inspired Disney’s Cinderella castle.

                        12. Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

                        Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

                          One of the most recognized castles in Scotland and most popular visitor attractions in the Highlands.

                          13. Corvin Castle, Romania

                          Corvin Castle, Romania

                            The castle has a well 30 meters deep. Legend says that the fountain was dug by 12 Turkish prisoners, promised liberty if they reached water. However, when they did just that 15 years later, their captors did not keep their promise.

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                            14. Prague Castle, Czech Republic

                            Prague Castle, Czech Republic

                              According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world.

                              15. Taj Mahal, India

                              Taj Mahal, India

                                One of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife of three, Mumtaz Mahal.

                                These are just a few of the fairytale destinations the world has to offer. If you could leave today, where would you go first?

                                Featured photo credit: Phil Dolby via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                                How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                                You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                                Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                                1. Work on the small tasks.

                                When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                                Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                                2. Take a break from your work desk.

                                Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                                Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                                3. Upgrade yourself

                                Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                                The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                                4. Talk to a friend.

                                Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                                Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                                5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                                If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                                Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                                Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                                6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                                If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                                Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                                Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                                7. Read a book (or blog).

                                The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                                Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                                Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                                8. Have a quick nap.

                                If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                                9. Remember why you are doing this.

                                Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                                What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                                10. Find some competition.

                                Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                                Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                                11. Go exercise.

                                Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                                Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                                As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                                Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                                12. Take a good break.

                                Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                                Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                                Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                                Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                                More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                                Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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