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5 Destinations Every Literature Fan Should Visit

5 Destinations Every Literature Fan Should Visit

‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’ – Mark Twain

Book lover? If you’ve ever been inspired to visit the setting of one of your favourite books, read my guide to 5 of the best destinations for an unforgettable literary trip.

In the UK, we’re especially blessed, for the country is a green and pleasant land full of literary wonder. More or less wherever you are, there’s bound to be something of literary interest close to you.

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The team at hotel deals experts Travelzoo think so too – so much so that they’ve created a literary map of the UK, featuring 11 must-see destinations. Match each iconic tale to the right city or region and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a literary escape for two. You have 30 seconds to select each location and confirm your answer.

I’ve just entered the competition (I was 80% book-smart), so here’s my pick of the destinations from Travelzoo’s map – plus a few favourites of my own.

1. Edinburgh

For fans of: Muriel Spark
Edinburgh is where The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is set – Muriel Spark’s coming-of-age story of 6 adolescent schoolgirls and their unique teacher. Take a trip to the Scottish capital and walk through Edinburgh’s Canongate, Grassmarket and Lawnmarket thoroughfares – where Miss Brodie takes her charges for a gander about the Old Town.

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Did you know that the National Library of Scotland recently launched a campaign to open Muriel Spark’s personal archive to the public?

2. Penrith, Cumbria

For fans of: W.H. Auden
Poet W. H. Auden was deeply inspired by the Cumbrian landscape. His poem In Praise of Limestone has been read as a paean to Cumbria’s limestone, as well as other places he lived in his life. Auden seemed to draw spiritual, magical and religious inspiration from the landscapes he experienced.

3. London

For fans of: Arthur Conan Doyle
Known around the world as the home of master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, London is a literary lover’s paradise. My favourite Holmesian things to do in London include a trip to the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street and to take a Sherlock Holmes walking tour to see the different locations used in the many film and TV adaptations.

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Fancy a drink after a day padding the streets? Enjoy a refreshing pint at the Sherlock Holmes Pub on Northumberland Street, close to Trafalgar Square.

4. Stratford-upon-Avon

For fans of: Shakespeare
Millions of people visit Stratford-upon-Avon every year to pay homage to William Shakespeare. The world’s most famous playwright was born in the town in 1564. Check out the house where the Bard was born, see something at the Royal Shakespeare Company or just take in the many Tudor buildings to get a feel for Shakespeare’s time.

5. Whitby

For fans of: Bram Stoker
Its dramatic cliffs, spooky graveyards and sweeping seascape make Whitby the perfect place for a spot of gothic delight. Part of Bram Stoker’s classic Gothic novel Dracula was set in Whitby. A trip to Whitby Abbey is a must – climb its 199 steps to enjoy a wonderful view. Every year, there’s the Whitby Goth Weekend too.

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If these destinations have whetted your appetite, go ahead and play Travelzoo’s game to find out more about some of these literary destinations – plus many more. You never know, you could be packing your bags (and your books, of course) for the literary trip of a lifetime.

Travelzoo’s literary map of the UK is super simple to play:

Match the book to the correct city or region (remember it could be either the story’s setting or the writer’s inspiration).
You’ve got 30 seconds to select a location pin and confirm your answer.
Get your book-smart score and share on Facebook.
Enter the prize draw to win a literary-themed UK break!

Ready to prove your knowledge? Play the game to be in with a chance to win. Enjoy! The draw is open until February 14th 2016.

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Last Updated on July 2, 2020

Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

There is very little in life as annoying or distracting as neck pain. Most people find that neck pain is temporary. What can you do if your neck pain seems chronic or if it comes and goes with no obvious source?

Whether you have simply slept on your neck wrong or you are working late, hunched over a keyboard half the night, neck pain is, well, a pain in the neck!

What most people are unaware of is that there are little known hacks that can help you find relief from neck pain fast and naturally. This means no pills or expensive exercise equipment to buy.

How can you get relief from neck pain?

There are several easy steps to follow to find the perfect hack for solving your neck pain fast and easy.

How Did I End Up With This Pain in the Neck?

Neck pain often has an I-was-looking-right-at-it source that we don’t recognize at first glance. Once you identify the source of the pain, you can take the best corrective measure, or several measures if need be!

Ask yourself these questions to find a possible source:

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  • Do you spend much of the day sitting (desk job, typing, etc.)?
  • How old are your mattress and pillow?
  • How much exercise do you work into an average day?
  • How do you manage stress?
  • Have you been injured or in an accident (no matter how small) lately?

Perhaps one last question to ask yourself might be, “Is my pain a regular occurrence, or is my neck pain something that has just cropped up?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start searching for answers.

Remedies for Neck Pain

Once you know the source, try tapping into one (or several) of these solutions to start healing your neck pain now.

1. Everyday Activities

One of the important factors with neck pain will be your everyday activities. Other than an injury or accident, one of the largest factors for neck pain includes working overtime in an office and the stress that work entails[1].

Due to the coronavirus, many people find themselves working from home, in kitchens, basements, using a barstool, and/or other equipment that was not designed for humans to spend hours on end, typing and looking at a computer screen.

If you find that your neck pain has occurred during the past few months due to a job change, or if you suddenly began working from home, your issue may be due to ergonomics. Invest in an adjustable office chair to help make your workspace more neck-friendly.

2. Age of Mattress and Pillow

The age of your mattress and pillow should also be considered. Pillows, on average, should be changed every 3 years, and a mattress every 7-10 years. No matter how good or comfortable you think these items are, the truth is that they are hurting your neck and back with a lack of support.

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A good mattress is well worth the investment, and pillows are always on sale, as well as wallet-friendly. If you haven’t tried them, a water-filled pillow can be comfortable for many people.

3. Exercise/Movement/Stretching

It’s that old exercise question that no one wants to hear. This time around, it has been difficult for many people to get in good exercise since they have been housebound due to the quarantine. There are plenty of ways to get in some good, old-fashioned exercise.

Stretching exercises are even more important than before since many people do not get enough movement while sitting at home. There are hundreds of at-home exercise, dance, and yoga videos that require little to no equipment, so even if you’re a beginner, give it a go.

4. Stress and Stress Management

Stress is a hidden danger that robs more people of health than even most doctors realize. While everyone has stress, not everyone recognizes it, nor do they have a means of managing it. Exercise is one of the best ways to release stress, with meditation and yoga being the best ways to manage and relieve stress. All of these will remove tightness in the muscles and relieve neck pain.

5. Accident or Injury

If you have been involved in an accident or injured yourself lately (falling down, or having something fall on you, for example) and your neck pain began after this incident, you should speak with your doctor about this as soon as possible.

6. On-Going Problem or Sudden Occurrence

Finally, if your neck pain is something that has occurred recently, it could simply be that you slept on it wrong or turned your neck too hard. That will make this a very temporary condition. You can try some easy stretches for pain relief .

An on-going problem, however, might respond better to some other alternative methods, including:

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  • Slowly moving and stretching your neck. Do not move too quickly or too far. Roll your head from side to side, shoulder to shoulder, to the front and to the back.
  • Ice packs work well for some people, while heat works best for others.
  • Be aware of how you use your cell phone or tablet. If you keep your neck bent downward for too long to look at it, you can develop an annoying pain called text-neck or tech-neck. Take breaks and look up to stretch those neck muscles.
  • Long hours driving can also be hard on the neck. Look from side to side as far as you can, as well as up and down to prevent a stiff neck.

 

Still Have Tight Neck Muscles? 3 Tips for Finding Relief

When tight neck muscles are not responding to the typical heat, ice, or massage treatments, you might want to give the following a try:

1. Gua Sha

This is an ancient Chinese practice that might seem a bit odd, but it works for many people. In this practice, a trained individual uses a spoon or other object and makes short strokes down the neck. It is believed that poor blood circulation causes it to become stagnant, if you will, and blocks the positive energy needed for life, called qi.

Fresh blood will indeed allow oxygen and nutrients to feed the tissues in a given area, and one study found that gua sha worked where traditional methods, such as heat therapy, did not[2].

2. Swimming

You probably know that swimming is a terrific low-impact exercise that works wonders for those with back and knee pain, but did you know that it also works well for neck pain and tight muscles? It helps if the water is tepid and not cold, but even just floating on your back can offer tremendous relief since most of the body weight is suspended by the buoyancy of water.

3. Chiropractic Massage

Not your typical day spa massage, chiropractic massage is performed under the guidance of a chiropractor. A trained massage therapist will still do the massage, but this time, the chiropractor will have discussed your neck pain and any problems you might be having with them. Many people have found real relief from neck pain through chiropractic massage.

The Best Treatment for Neck Pain

When you need to find relief from neck pain and nothing you have tried previously seems to give you more than a few minutes of relief, spending some time with a chiropractor often times can fix this issue, and it doesn’t often return if you follow a healthy lifestyle.

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I’m certain that many of you are thinking about those awful videos with those loud cracking noises you’ve seen on social media, or you are recalling a news story which might have suggested that allowing a chiropractor anywhere near your neck might be a health hazard[3]. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You should try the other suggestions in this article before you head off to the chiropractor, but when all else fails, don’t let neck pain nag you day in and day out. Take steps to make an appointment, and you will be surprised at the results.

What Can a Chiropractor Do for Neck Pain?

Many people mistakenly believe that the only technique a chiropractor will use is a neck adjustment. Chiropractors are trained in a variety of methods that are designed to help you find the pain relief you are seeking.

A few of the methods a chiropractor might use include:

  • Cervical Manual Traction
  • Flexion-Distraction
  • Cervical Mobilization
  • Ultrasound
  • Cervical Drop Technique
  • Trigger Point Therapy

There are many more options, but your chiropractor should explain to you which techniques s/he intends to use and why[4]

The Bottom Line

If neck pain wreaks havoc in your life regularly, the best way to stop it is to identify the source and attack it from that angle.

Getting plenty of exercises, having a proper posture, and buying an office chair that provides plenty of support, as well as a regular stretching program, will keep your neck strong and flexible for many years to come.

More Tips on Healing Neck Pain

Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

Reference

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