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30 Most Shocking And Beautiful Places That You Need To Visit

30 Most Shocking And Beautiful Places That You Need To Visit

The world is full of wonder and beauty, but it important to remember that beauty is a very subjective trait. After all, what one person finds to be absolutely stunning may be disturbing to the person standing next to them. With this is mind, we have compiled a list of some of the most shocking and beautiful places to visit throughout the world so that you can expand your travel bucket list accordingly.

1. Tunnel of Love, Ukraine

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    Photo by Kashif Pathan

    This 1.8 mile private railroad passage is set deep in the woods within the Ukraine. Due to its beautiful and serene setting, it has become a favorite spot for adventurous travelers and couples in love. This is the perfect location for a proposal or a romantic photo-shoot. Just make sure that you steer clear of the tracks when the lone train that utilizes them is in action.

    2. McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

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      Photo used with permission of Matt Schwachofer

      Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk on Mars? Although you will probably never have the opportunity to visit another planet, you can see some of the most extreme deserts on earth by visiting Antarctica. The McMurdo Dry Valleys have a physical appearance that bears some similarities to the topography and general conditions of Mars, and they are almost just as remote.

      3. Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

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        Photo by neverunprepared

        Taking a boat ride through the Glowworm Caves in New Zealand’s North Island allows you to harness some of the mystery and magic that early humans felt when they first looked up at the night sky. The glowworms that are present within these caves exist only in New Zealand, and you can take an organized boat tour to soak in their natural beauty. Make sure that you bring your camera with you because this is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

        4. Salt Tiles, Salar de Uyuni, Southern Bolivia

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          Photo by Phil Whitehouse

          There is nothing else on earth quite like the salt tiles in Bolivia, and this gives people the sensation of visiting an alien planet. You will be able to see for miles, but the white salt tiles can also provide the illusion of a giant mirror during the right weather circumstances. As an added bonus, the nearby mountains have numerous caves to explore, and you can get photos that make the salt tiles look like a large, white sea.

          5. Ice Caves, Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, USA

          Since people seemed to like the first ones, here are more pictures of the ice caves under the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska.

            Photo by Andrew E. Russell

            Many people are attracted by the idea of seeing a glacier in person, but what if you could go inside one? The ice caves in Juneau, Alaska make this a possibility. The caves are 12 miles long, and adventurers who kayak and then ice climb can capture stunning photographs that look like they were digitally created. Be quick if you want to visit this spot, though, as climate change is causing the glacier to melt at a rapid pace.

            6. Tulip Fields, the Netherlands

            2014-04-20 [07] Warmond

              Photo by Reinoud Kaasschleter

              Whether you love flowers and bright colors or simply have an appreciation for amazingly well-designed fields, the tulip fields in The Netherlands will deliver a visual treat. There are several places throughout the world that place an emphasis on growing tulips, including Holland, and Michigan, in the USA, but nothing is quite as stunning as what awaits you in The Netherlands.

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              7. Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA

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                Photo by herdiephoto.com

                Antelope Canyon is part of the Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation, and it was once home to a large population of pronghorn antelope. In order to visit the Upper or Lower Antelope Canyons, you will need to schedule a guided tour. Other areas such as the Rainbow Bridge Trail and the lowest section of the East Waterholes allow you to roam freely with a hiking permit.

                8. Black Forest, Germany

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                  Photo by ptwo

                  The name Black Forest conjures up dark imagery and twisted fairy tales, and its canopy of evergreens does have a slightly sinister look and feel. This area is the setting for Hansel and Gretel’s meeting with the wicked witch, but it also has some of the most stunningly gorgeous wooded views on earth.

                  9. Sea Ice, Spitsbergen, Svalbard

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                    Photo used with permission of Matt Schwachofer

                    The sea ice outside of Spitsbergen is wondrous to behold on its own, but what makes it really beautiful is the regular appearances by polar bears. Some trip logs from Spitsbergen have even documented rare behavior from the polar bears in this particular region, including sparring. In other words, this area is a good choice for travelers who want to have photographic opportunities of the ice that just might include a polar bear or two, as well.

                    10. Catacombs of Paris, France

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                      Photo by Adam Baker

                      For some people, macabre locations can be not only stunning but also provide a beautiful place to visit. For example, the Catacombs of Paris contain a truly compelling collection of bones and skulls. Many of these grisly but somehow beautiful reminders of history are arranged artistically, and you can also learn a lot about the lives of each of the Catacombs’ residents by studying their remains. This is a must-see location for history enthusiasts and individuals whose interests run toward the dark side.

                      11. Bamboo Forest, Japan

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                        Photo by Tim Brennan

                        The Bamboo Forest in Kyoto is one of the most beautiful green spaces in the world, but this is not all that the area has going for it. Additionally, the Bamboo Forest has been named to the 100 Soundscapes of Japan, which means that this is location is a visual and auditory delight.

                        12. Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland

                        Fairy Pools, Glen Brittle, Isle of Skye

                          Photo by Indrik Myneur

                          A walk to the fairy pools will take you approximately 40 minutes, but your reward for taking this hike includes beautiful views and a cold but crystal clear pool of blue water from the River Brittle. Most travelers stick with photographing the Fairy Pools. However, if you are a swimming enthusiast, it is worth the cold water temperature to spend some time enjoying some of the clearest water on earth.

                          13. Machu Picchu, Peru

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                            Photo by Peter Burka

                            There is a good reason that Machu Picchu was at the top of Lisa Simpson’s bucket list: it’s gorgeous, difficult to reach and contains an amazing opportunity to study a lost culture. No one is certain exactly what this area was used for in the 15th century, but reaching the peak of Machu Picchu without taking a helicopter ride is a huge feat that travelers from all over the world have set out to accomplish.

                            14. Mamanuca Islands, Fiji

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                              Image by Juliane Schultz

                              There are 20 islands in Fiji that fall under the heading of the Mamanuca Islands, and they offer travelers a wide array of beautiful recreational opportunities. You can enjoy the water, take stunning photos, go dolphin-watching, parasailing and much more during a trip to this portion of Fiji.

                              15. Giant’s Causeway, Ireland and Scotland

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                                Photo by Julian Dunn

                                Giant’s Causeway, which is found in Ireland and Scotland, was once believed to be the remnants of an ancient rock bridge that was formed by giants to enable them to travel between the two countries. Science tells us that the actual origins are less mythical but still really fascinating: the causeway is the result of quickly cooling and contracting volcanic lava.

                                16. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

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                                  Photo by Manuel Nunez Salinas

                                  One of the most visited and photographed castle in the world was once the refuge of an introverted king. Fortunately for the public, Neuschwanstein Castle became accessible by tour in 1886, shortly after the death of King Ludwig II. Disney lovers will want to make a trip to Germany to see the real-life inspiration for the Beast’s castle.

                                  17. Great Blue Hole, Belize

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                                    Photo by Eric Pheterson

                                    Approximately 150,000 years ago, a limestone cave was formed in Belize. Over time, though, the water levels rose, and this caused the cave’s roof to collapse. The result of this process is the Great Blue Hole, which is considered to be one of the most unique and worthwhile diving spots in the world.

                                    18. Castle Dracula, Romania

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                                      Photo by Dennis Jarvis

                                      Bran Castle, which is better known as Dracula’s Castle, is a stunning landmark in Romania. Tourists with a taste for the macabre will enjoy the castle and the surrounding countryside. It is believed that the real Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, spent two nights in the dungeon of this castle. If you are really adventurous, you may also want to go to the ruins of the Poienari Castle in Brasov, Romania, which is where Dracula most likely actually lived.

                                      19. Valley of the Ten Peaks, Alberta, Canada

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                                        Photo by Florin Chelaru

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                                        This valley is found in Alberta’s Banff National Park. From this spot, you can see and photograph the 10 peaks, including Mount Fay, Neptuak Mountain and Mount Tuzo. It is also possible to see several other peaks from within this strategic location.

                                        20. Central Austrian Alps, Austria

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                                          Photo by Sonja und Jens

                                          The Alps wind their way throughout Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Italy and Liechtensein. Some of the most memorable and stunningly gorgeous sections of the Central Austrian Alps are found in Austria, and they include a mixture of topographical features such as the small waterfall pictured above.

                                          21. Candy Cane Mountains, Azerbaijan

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                                            Photo by David Davidson

                                            These mountains are part of Azerbaijan’s Greater Caucasus range. The Candy Cane Mountains are nicknamed for the stunning colors that have been caused by a natural event: altered iron compound oxidation mixed with groundwater. Hiking in these mountains can be dangerous for people who are not experienced, but beautiful views can be seen without climbing up into the range.

                                            22. Golden Temple, Amritsar

                                            Amritsar, Golden Temple

                                              Photo by Arian Zwegers

                                              Harmandir Sahib, which is commonly referred to as the Golden Temple, is a breathtaking building that attracts religious and secular visitors. This unique blending of Muslim and Hindu architectural styles is often referred to as one of the most artistically designed buildings in the world.

                                              23. Mavora Lakes, New Zealand

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                                                Photo by Tom Hall

                                                Mavora Lakes in New Zealand offer visitors a mixture of forests, lakes, mountains and tussock grassland, which makes it very appealing to people who thrive on time spent in the great outdoors. Even better is the spectacular way that the night sky comes to life. The lack of nearby light pollution provides an experience you will never forget.

                                                24. Emerald Lakes, New Zealand

                                                The Emerald Lakes seen from the Red Crater. This is about half way on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the most impressive walks in New Zealand.

                                                  Photo by Marcus Holland-Moritz

                                                  If you head to New Zealand to see the view from Mavora Lakes, make sure that you also make time for a visit to Emerald Lakes. Named after their unusual color, this is another remote area of New Zealand that offers beauty combined with peace and quiet.

                                                  25. Etretat Cliffs, France

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                                                    Photo by Gabriel Calderon

                                                    These cliffs in Upper Normandy are famous for their white, chalky appearance and the inclusion of three naturally-occurring arches. As an added bonus, the white pebble beach makes these cliffs easily accessible, and you can spend some time relaxing while you enjoy the area’s natural beauty.

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                                                    26. Gullfoss, Iceland

                                                    Gullfoss, "Golden Falls" in Icelandic, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. The Hvítá River flows down into a wide curved three-step "staircase" and then abruptly plunges in two stages (11 m and 21 m) into a 32 meter deep crevice. (Info from Wikipedia). For more photos and infomration, go to the Gullfoss web site, http://www.gullfoss.is

                                                      Photo by Mark Fischer

                                                      Gullfoss, or the Golden Falls, is made up of three naturally carved steps. The water from the Hvita River flows down this so-called staircase, and it eventually makes a large plunge into a crevice that is 22 meters deep. From the view to the mist, standing on the side of the Golden Falls is truly memorable.

                                                      27. Pamukkale, Denizli, Turkey

                                                      Pamukkale, Denizli, Türkiye (Pamukkale, Denizli, Turkey)

                                                        Photo by miquitos

                                                        Pamukkale is a Turkish word that means cotton castle. Aside from the unique aesthetic appeal of this area, travelers are able to partake in hot springs that have served as an invigorating bathing spot for thousands of years. At one point, there were hotels and a thriving tourism industry, but the hotels were torn down to preserve Pamukkale’s natural beauty. You can still visit this World Heritage Site, but there are likely to be far fewer people in the area with you.

                                                        28. Kodiak Island, Alaska, USA

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                                                          Photo by Andrew Peterson

                                                          Kodiak Island is the largest of the islands in the Kodiak Archipelago. Located off of south coast of Alaska, this location features almost 3,600 square miles of beauty to explore, ranging from heavy forests and mountains to relatively flat land. Two-thirds of the island is part of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, and it is possible that you will find yourself face-to-face with the native Kodiak bear.

                                                          29. Athabasca Falls, Alberta, Canada

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                                                            Photo by Bastien Deceuninck

                                                            This gorgeous waterfall is part of the Jasper National Park in Canada. Although the height of Athabasca Falls is not nearly as impressive as many other waterfalls around the world, the forceful rush of such a large amount of water is unusual. Another major draw is that these falls can be photographed safely from several nearby spots.

                                                            30. El Chalten, Argentina

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                                                              Photo by Justin Vidamo

                                                              El Chalten is a mountain village located within Argentina’s Santa Cruz Province. The village itself is charming and worthwhile for anyone who wants to get away from it all for a while, but the true appeal is the two surrounding mountains. This region is beyond gorgeous during the autumn season, and it is known as Argentina’s Trekking Capital.

                                                              With all of these locations to choose from, there is no reason to take a boring vacation ever again. Keep in mind that traveling off the beaten path and seeing shocking and beautiful places will make you more likely to have a successful career. Additionally, it will also provide you with memories that last a lifetime.

                                                               

                                                              Featured photo credit: Peter Burka via flic.kr

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                                                              Holly Chavez

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                                                              Last Updated on January 17, 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, take this 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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