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Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of Solo Travel

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of Solo Travel

We’ve all been there — that knotted ball in your stomach, those panic injections, the extra malaria pills you buy at the last minute, just in case. Everyone tells you how brave you are, travelling all by yourself. And this makes you terrified. Well not anymore, folks, and here’s why:

1. You’ll never really be alone

Everyone else is solo travelling too, and you’ll find a whole dorm room of people jumping at the chance to book a tour together, to go for a drink, to play Uno. The real challenge will be finding a moment to yourself.

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2. You’ll discover more

When you go for those walks around a brand new town and stumble upon that cheap local restaurant with the best pho in town, or that hidden staircase up a mountain side just before sunset, you’ll be glad that a hungover friend or a distracting conversation didn’t stop you from finding it.

3. You’ll have more freedom

You want to extend your stay in an area you love and shorten your stay in the next destination? There’s absolutely nothing holding you back — you do whatever the hell you want.

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4. There are no arguments

Unless you’re particularly indecisive, you’ll never argue while you’re travelling alone. There will be no one to get on your nerves or push you off a cliff jump so that you land belly-flop first (ouch!). No one will demand an expensive private room with an en suite when you just want to get messy with 12 other people in one room. All the decisions are yours to make, with no resistance whatsoever.

5. The lack of safety is a rumour

There is a false belief that travelling alone is terribly dangerous, that solo backpackers should arrange their wills, settle their accounts, and bid their farewells before they board the plane. But, the truth is that when you’re alone, you’re more aware. You pack things like a medical kit and torches, you avoid walking alone at night, and you don’t take stupid risks. Solo travellers are a sensible survivalist bunch.

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6. You’ll become a more powerful person

Without anyone to hold your hand and walk you through it, you’ll be Miss or Mister Independent — figuring it all out yourself, booking everything, organizing yourself, researching the new language, the change in currency, the top attractions. You’ll realise that you are capable of almost anything. What a feeling.

7. You’ll push yourself

You’ll be more adventurous than you’ve ever been before because you’ve backed yourself into a corner — you have no choice but to meet people and make new friends if you don’t want to be alone the whole trip. You’ll also be more active than ever, signing up for tours, renting a bike, joining a group at your hostel for a trek into the mountains. With a friend, you might have just drunk beers by the pool and slept the week away, but on your own, you’re ultra proactive.

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8. You’ll make connections around the world

Sometimes, travelling with friends stops you from making that many new ones. But travelling alone throws you onto the paths of all kinds of people from all kinds of places. So make friends, swap contact details, and maybe you’ll even get a free holiday out of it at some point.

9. You’ll mull things over

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and throw up over the words “you’ll find yourself.” You probably won’t. Your personality doesn’t hide behind mountains in other countries. But maybe you’ll work some stuff out with all that time to think, or maybe you’ll discover a new passion and find your true calling in life, with so many new things to open your eyes.

10. You’ll gain new appreciation

When you’re home, in a clean bathroom with tap water you can drink, in a house made of bricks rather than wicker, surrounded by friends and family you love and eating a beautiful roast dinner at a polished wooden table, you might finally realise how good you have it. You might even feel spoiled. You might even want to give some of it away because you now know exactly how much more a small token can be worth to other people and, after relying on the kindness of strangers for your whole trip, you’ll value that kindness as the miracle it is.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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