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10 Places to Travel for the Holidays

10 Places to Travel for the Holidays

The holidays are almost here, and it’s the perfect chance to get away. Whether you want to spend your holiday break lying on a sandy beach, skiing down some of the world’s best snow, or exposing yourself and your family to a new culture, here is a list of 10 must-see travel destinations.

Nara, Japan — Wakakusa Yamayaki

Nara

    Japan is a gorgeous country full of cultural exploration, but around the holiday season there is an event you shouldn’t miss out on–Wakakusa Yamayaki. This spectacular Japanese festival involves monks from two religions–Buddhism and Shintoism–setting fire to a mountain after fireworks displays and religious rituals at their respective shrines. The history behind the festival involves an ancient boundary dispute, but this has been long resolved, and the festival is a way to commemorate that occasion. The fires the monks set are more of a controlled burn than a raging inferno. However, the image of the greater part of a mountain on fire from a distance is not one you’ll soon forget. The Wakakusa Yamayaki takes place in Nara, Japan on January 23, 2016.

    Bahia, Brazil — Mareh Festival

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    Bahi

      For New Year’s Eve, what could be better than being on a serene private beach on an island off the coast of Brazil’s Bahia state for beach bar fetes and day-long parties that run for almost 10 days in their entirety? The Mareh Festival features some of today’s hottest performers and entertainers in an exotic location with crystal-clear water and open beaches. Boats offshore host their own private parties, with international DJs and musical acts in abundance. The festival runs from December 26 to January 3 on the Boipeba island of Bahia and includes festive New Year’s Eve celebrations. What better way is there to ring in the new year?

      Park City, Utah, USA — Sundance Film Festival

      Sundance

        From January 21-31, 2016, Hollywood takes over Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival as movie stars and producers rub shoulders with the downhill ski crowd and screenings compete with local scenery for the attention of the world’s press. You don’t have to be a film junkie to be invited; the slopes of the nearby Mountain and Canyon Resorts will keep you occupied just as much as the movies (if not more so). Be sure to get tickets for major screenings as far in advance as possible, and don’t forget your skis!

        Playa del Carmen, Mexico — BPM Festival

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        DSCF4412

          Packing 375 musicians into 10 days isn’t easy, but if you need to blow off some steam in early January–January 8-17 to be exact–you should head for this coastal resort near Cancun on Mexico’s Riviera Maya coast on the Caribbean. From beachfront blowouts to hot club nights, this festival is large and raucous. Besides attending performances, you can also swim with dolphins, snorkel, scuba dive, kayak, visit Mayan ruins and archeological sites or just lay on the beach and soak up the sun.

          Rajasthan, India — Magnetic Fields

          India

            In the historical and decadent 10-acre palace of Alsisar Mahal in Rajasthan, India, the Magnetic Fields event will host Indian and international musicians from December 18-20. The amazingly-preserved Alsisar palace and grounds, which recall another time, have been fashioned into a luxury hotel, featuring courtyards and outdoor garden areas. Eventgoers have the opportunity to camp out on the grounds in bedouin-style luxury tents, each suited for up to three guests. Alternatively, attendees can pitch their own tents and sip from a selection of the finest Indian teas.

            Sydney, Australia — The Sydney Arts Festival

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            Sydney

              Australia always sounds like a good idea, but if it’s not incentive enough then you must go for the Sydney Arts Festival. This three-week arts festival is the site of symphonic performances, outdoor movie screenings, and live film music orchestra. The Sydney Festival, which runs from January 7-26, features music, theater and dance, opera and classical music, circus and cabaret as well as family events. Many performances take place in waterfront parks or public theaters; some are free. Sydney’s hottest months are December and January, so be sure to pack light.

              Miami, Florida — Holy Ship!

              Ship

                This four-day cruise featuring 40+ electronic music acts on the 4,000-passenger ship MSC Divina is a sun-filled excursion to nowhere–well, almost. Technically, the ship docks in the Bahamas, and some people disembark to go to a private island, but otherwise, the main action is aboard the ship. Performers will improvise sets in rooms, lounges and just about anywhere they can find a space and an audience. Because of the cruise’s popularity, Holy Ship! takes place twice; the first cruise is January 3-6, 2016, and the second one is February 10-13, 2016.

                Miami Florida — Jam Cruise

                As opposed to Holy Ship!, above, Jam Cruise is a happy-go-lucky, laid-back affair where 3,000 revelers sail off into the Caribbean sunset enjoying jam-band music and partaking in easygoing revelry. There are shipboard casinos, restaurants, yoga classes, and–of course–musical shows. Along the way, Jam Cruise makes stops in Mexico and Honduras, and you can disembark to do some local exploring. Jam Cruise sets sail from January 6-11, 2016.

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                Saalbach, Austria — Rave on Snow

                Austria

                  From December 10-13, 2015 the villages of Saalbach and Hinterglemm in Austria are the site of Rave on Snow, which features international DJs and performers from Europe, the U.S. and Asia. The celebration’s Gipfel Party happens on the peak of Schattberg Mountain, over 2,000 meters above sea level. During the day there are over 200 kilometers of ski and snowboard runs to explore, and at night the entire village becomes a vibrant festival area surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

                  Reykjavik, Iceland — Sónar Festival

                  iceland

                    The Sónar Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland takes place from February 18-20 and features over 50 noted international performers. Sónar Reykjavik is a satellite festival of the main music, technology and creativity festival of the same name, which takes place in Barcelona, Spain in June. For Sónar Reykjavik, there will be five stages and a capacity for more than 3,500 guests. At least some of the festival will take place underground as well as in the country’s most avant-garde large music venue, the Harpa Concert House.

                    Featured photo credit: Hinterglemm village seen from Zwölferkogelbahn lift, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria/MattiPaavola via en.wikipedia.org

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                    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                    Boundaries are limits

                    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                    • When do you feel disrespected?
                    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                    • When do you want to be alone?
                    • How much space do you need?

                    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                    Sample language:

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                    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                    Final Thoughts

                    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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