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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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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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