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How To Have The Perfect California Road Trip

How To Have The Perfect California Road Trip

The California road trip. Every year, millions of tourists and native Californians pack up their bags, get in their cars, and head to the Pacific Coast Highway to see some of the most beautiful sights in the world.

Now, no one can see all there is to see in California in just a week or two. In fact, it may be best to stick to just one region of California. You can go to northern California with its wineries, nature, and San Francisco, or head to southern California with its beaches and Los Angeles.

However, if you are feeling ambitious and want to see as much of the state as you can, here are some tips for how to prepare and some critical spots where you must go to for the perfect road trip.

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What to do before you go: Get your car checked

It does not matter where you plan to go on your road trip — if your car is not ready for it, it is going to be a very short and unpleasant vacation. Consumer Reports has a valuable checklist of things you should inspect your car for before setting out, but always be vigilant. Even a small problem like misplaced alignment can become huge after several hours on the road.

Also, learn how to actually change a spare tire by yourself, because there are far too many people without this skill.

Where to start: San Diego

One important thing to decide for your California road trip is which roads you intend to use. If you want to see all of California quickly, then Interstate 5 would probably be your best bet. If you are interested in a more scenic route, then take the Pacific Coast Highway.

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While San Diego is not on the Pacific Coast Highway, it is still a good place to start and see California’s history before heading up one of the most beautiful roads in the world.

San Diego above all is known for its beaches, but if you want to take some time to visit the interior, then there is the Old Town, where you can spend a few hours learning about the early history of California.

What to do along the way: Stop

If you’re driving from one end of California to the other, you may be tempted to have a massive stretch where you just keep driving on and on until you just can’t go anymore. But health experts recommend that you should stop every 20 to 30 minutes. Sitting for too long can dull your senses, and in the worst case, can form blood clots in your legs.

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While you may not actually be able to stop this regularly on some stretches of your road trip, do at least try to stop every 2 hours and take a break. And any road trip will become easier if you can switch drivers.

Where to go: San Jose

Everyone wants to go to San Francisco, and it is a beautiful city. But it is an incredibly expensive city, and you may leave it looking at your empty wallet and wondering if it was really worth it.

If you really want to go to San Francisco, it may be better to stop by San Jose and then take a short jaunt to San Francisco from there. San Jose is the home of personal finance and banking in California, but it is also an interesting spot in its own right. If you’re interested in learning about its technology, then you can stop by the Tech Museum of Innovation. San Jose is also known for having some excellent food and shopping along Santana Row.

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Where to go to really see California: National Parks

No matter where you are in California, there is almost always some national park which can show off what a beautiful state this is. If you are in the southeast, there is the Mojave National Preserve and Death Valley National Park. A bit north from there is the famous Yosemite. And if you head all the way up north, Redwood National Park is near the Oregon border.

Whether you want to see redwood trees, desert, beaches, or rivers is up to you, and you can certainly go to more than one place. If you have a California road trip where you just stick to the cities and never really walk amongst nature, you won’t have much of a road trip.

These are but a few of the many attractions you can experience on your California road trip. You may also want to check out Los Angeles itself, the Napa wine county, and the famous beaches. But no matter where you choose to go, California is a state which offers something for everyone. And while you will almost certainly miss something on your first California road trip, that is all the more reason to have another one in the future.

Featured photo credit: Rian Castillo via flickr.com

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Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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