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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 January 21, 2020

                                The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                                The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                                Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                                your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                                  Why You Need a Vision

                                  Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                                  How to Create Your Life Vision

                                  Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                                  What Do You Want?

                                  The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                                  It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                                  Some tips to guide you:

                                  • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                                  • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                                  • Give yourself permission to dream.
                                  • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                                  • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                                  Some questions to start your exploration:

                                  • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                                  • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                                  • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                                  • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                                  • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                                  • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                                  • What qualities would you like to develop?
                                  • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                                  • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                                  • What would you most like to accomplish?
                                  • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                                  It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                                  What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                                  Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                                  A few prompts to get you started:

                                  • What will you have accomplished already?
                                  • How will you feel about yourself?
                                  • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                                  • What does your ideal day look like?
                                  • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                                  • What would you be doing?
                                  • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                                  • How are you dressed?
                                  • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                                  • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                                  • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                                  It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                                  Plan Backwards

                                  It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                                  • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                                  • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                                  • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                                  • What important actions would you have had to take?
                                  • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                                  • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                                  • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                                  • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                                  • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                                  Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                                  It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                                  Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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