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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

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              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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                                                              Last Updated on December 2, 2018

                                                              How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

                                                              How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

                                                              Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

                                                              The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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                                                              The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

                                                              Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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                                                              Review Your Past Flow

                                                              Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

                                                              Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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                                                              Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

                                                              Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

                                                              Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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                                                              Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

                                                              Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

                                                              We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

                                                              Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

                                                                Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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