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10 Great Ways to Green Your Next Vacation

10 Great Ways to Green Your Next Vacation

When you take a vacation, it’s a reprieve from work and everything that stresses you out. But it’s not a break for the Earth. Unfortunately, the tourism industry has the side-effect of stressing our climate.

It’s important for tourists to understand they’re not the only ones traveling, and tourism is a huge source of pollution. In 2005, tourism was responsible for 5 percent of global emissions, 40 percent of which stemmed from air travel, 32 percent from cars, and 21 percent from accommodations.

Thankfully, tourists are becoming more environmentally-conscious. There are movements such as ecotourism. Ecotourism puts a premium on destinations seeking to sustain the environment, and efforts at sustainability in tourism.

Are you going to travel this year? Do you want to decrease your carbon footprint and promote ecotourism? Try greening your trip with the following activities.

1. Mountain Bike Going-to-the-Sun Road

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goingsunroad

    2016 is the centennial birthday of the National Park Service. Our National Parks seek to conserve natural habitats. At Glacier National Park, Going-to-the-Sun Road presents a perfect opportunity to celebrate the centennial while taking a green approach. Going-to-the-Sun road spans the width of the park. It includes plenty of places to camp, as well as Lake McDonald Lodge, where you can stay if you’re looking for comfort. For however long you want to bike, there are attractions along the road, and you’ll be conserving fuel. Climate change scientists estimate the glaciers will be gone by 2030. You’ll be doing your part at conservation by biking instead of driving.

    2. Stay at a Costa Rican Ecolodge

    costarica

      Costa Rica has tons of national parks and wildlife refuges. While you’re visiting sites that promote conservation, stay at one of the many ecolodges and hotels committed to sustainability. While staying at Nacientes Palmichal Lodge in the Central Valley, learn how to make tortillas, or visit an organic farm and find out how they use biodigestors to create gas for cooking.

      3. Go Bird Watching in New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park

      tui

        New Zealand is full of rare and endangered bird species. At Tongariro National Park, you can watch beautiful species such as the endangered Kiwi, the mischievous Kea, and the singing Tui. Here, you’ll find guided bird-watching tours with naturalists, and sanctuaries dedicated to keeping these beauties alive. Many of the birds are exotic and unique to New Zealand.

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        4. Geocache Petrified Forest National Park

        Petrified

          Geocaching is the combination of hiking, mountaineering, treasure hunting, and GPS (Global Positioning System) technology. The sport was invented by Oregonian Dave Ulmer at the turn of the century. The National Park Service sponsors Geocaching at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. The activity is free—all you need is a GPS. You’ll learn about major geological resources. You’ll also get to learn about the Historic Route 66 Geocaching Project. Since the Park runs this activity, it’s an eco-friendly form of geocaching.

          5. Do Denali Backcountry Yoga  

          Denali2

            The Denali Backcountry Lodge is located deep in the heart of Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve. This National Park the home of North America’s tallest peak, Mt. Denali, which stands at 20,310 feet. This area is not open to private vehicles. You have to take a bus from the Denali Cabins to get there. One of the activities you can do is yoga. There are morning and afternoon classes in the wilderness. You won’t need to take a car to get to the class, nor will you be able to. And, taking a bus to the back country is like carpooling to the vacation spot.

            6. Dive with the East Africa Whale Shark Trust

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            whaleshark

              Kenya is one of the top ecotourism destinations. The East Africa Whale Shark Trust is a scientific organization in Kenya seeking to preserve the population of Whale Sharks, or “papa shillingi”. Each year, they organize snorkeling and diving between February and April. This gives tourists the chance to see the tagging and documentation process, through which the Trust collects data in order to protect the Whale Shark. The diving and snorkeling trips help raise awareness and benefit the organization’s mission. You can also volunteer to help and get a view from the inside.

              7. Shop Farmer’s Markets on Hawaii’s Big Island

              hawaii

                This is a great way to contribute directly to the sustainability efforts of Hawaii’s local farms. There are a plethora of farmer’s markets dotting the Big Island, where you can buy exotic local produce and eat a plate lunch simmering with teriyaki steak, chicken katsu, rice, and salad. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried papaya fresh from the farm. You can also find artwork and hand-crafted goods you’d expect at the best farmer’s markets.

                8. Volunteer in Kerala, India

                kerala

                  Kerala is a fabulous Indian state on the tropical coast of Malabar. Lush forests, clean beaches, and attractions such as Rajamala National Park make this “God’s Own Country”, a tourist destination with extremely high recall. A great way to be not just another tourist is by volunteering through the Rainbow VolunTours program. You can help coach sports at the Kerala or Kolkata orphanages, or if you’re more the teaching type, there’s a teaching option, too. Rainbow VolunTours can also take you to Mozambique, where you’ll help with marine conservation efforts.

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                  9. Hike the Fjords

                  fjord

                    Norway’s Fjords are U-shaped valley waterways that were formed by glaciers millions of years ago. Norway has made sure to maintain strict environmental regulations to protect the purity of these crystalline waterways. Hiking or biking the mountains surrounding the fjords is the most eco-friendly way to support Norway’s admirable sustainability efforts.

                    10. Ride a Horse through Yellowstone

                    Horseback_riding_Shoshone_National_Forest

                      Talk about a way to connect with the West. Horseback riding Yellowstone is the traditional way to see the back country of America’s first National Park. You won’t hear any motors as you hoof it by Lost Canyon and over Lost Creek to the Old West Dinner Cookout. Horseback riding is a sure-fire way to support sustainability in the area. Just make sure to pack your trash out in your saddle bag.

                      Featured photo credit: Peter Gronemann/Taman Negara (Malaysian National Park) via flickr.com

                      More by this author

                      Daniel Matthews, CPRP

                      A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

                      How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence Why You Can (And You Should) Quit Your Job Because of Stress How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind How to Get Through Tough Times When You Are in Despair How to Change a Negative Attitude That Is Slowly Destroying Your Life

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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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