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14 Surreal Places In America Even The Locals May Not Have Explored

14 Surreal Places In America Even The Locals May Not Have Explored

Most people think you need to leave the country in order to see all the beautiful places in life. However, that couldn’t be more untrue. You don’t need a passport to see all the things that mother nature has to offer us. These places will make travel in America like nothing you’ve never seen before. Get ready to feast your eyes on these beautiful destinations that are right here in the United States.

1. Joshua Tree National Park

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    Joshua Tree park is a protected area in southern California. It is a renowned desert park that draws campers & hikers with its geologic wonders & signature Joshua trees. These trees are a beautiful sight that you surely wouldn’t want to miss.

    2. Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

    grand-prismatic-spring-yellowstone-cr-getty

      There are many attractions you must see in Yellowstone National Park, but possibly the most beautiful one is the Grand Prismatic Spring. This happens to be the largest hot spring in the United States. Its’ official dimensions are listed at 250 by 300 feet, with a depth of over 160 feet.

      3. Kenai Fjords, Alaska
      bear-lake-kenai-fjords-alaska-cr-alamy

        This is a beautiful and majestic part of the world. They have boat tours which offer stunning views of calving glaciers and marine wildlife.

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        4. Big Sur, California

        big-sur-coast-alamy-ENREJ2

          Big Sur is a rugged stretch of California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon. It’s known for winding turns, seaside cliffs and views of the often-misty coastline. The sparsely populated region has numerous state parks for hiking, camping, and sitting beach side.

          5. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

          grand-teton-mountains-GettyImages-541164181

            It encompasses the Teton mountain range, the 4000-meter Grand Teton peak, and the valley known as Jackson Hole. It’s a popular destination for mountaineering, hiking, backcountry camping and fishing, linked to nearby Yellowstone National Park.

            6. Mount Rainier, Washington

            mount-rainier-puget-sound-GettyImages-583823299

              The highest point in the park reachable by car, visitors can admire Rainier and other nearby volcanoes, including Mount Adams. Paradise overlook also offers sweeping mountain views, summertime wildflower meadows, and many hiking trailheads. People from all over the world come to visit for hiking, climbing or just soaking in the beauty of nature.

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              7. Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

              mendenhall-ice-caves-juneau-alaska-cr-gallery-stock

                Mendenhall Glacier is a glacier about 13.6 miles long located in Mendenhall Valley, about 12 miles from downtown Juneau in the southeast area of the U.S. state of Alaska. Easy hike for families, or those with no difficulty walking unassisted.

                8. Oneonta Gorge, Oregon

                oneonta-gorge-oregon-cr-getty

                  Located in the Columbia River Gorge in the American state of Oregon. The U.S. Forest Service has designated it as a botanical area because of the unique aquatic and woodland plants that grow there. Next door to busy Multnomah Falls but usually overlooked by tourists, this delightful trail explores a cavern behind Ponytail Falls and then loops around Oneonta Gorge, a mossy chasm so narrow that Oneonta Creek fills it wall to wall.

                  9. Hamilton Pool Preserve, Texas

                  texas-hamilton-pool-cr-getty

                    Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural pool that was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion thousands of years ago. The pool is located about 23 miles west of Austin, Texas off Highway 71.

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                    10. The Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

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                      The Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina weaves through vibrant and engaging communities. Many visitors to the Parkway include visits to these unique destinations in their journey.

                      11. Adirondack Mountains, New York

                      adirondack-new-york-GettyImages-585282555

                        The Adirondack Mountains form a massif in the northeast of Upstate New York in the United States. Its boundaries correspond to the boundaries of Adirondack Park.

                        12. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin

                        apostle-islands-national-lakeshore-GettyImages-537704675

                          The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a U.S. national lakeshore consisting of 21 islands and shoreline encompassing 69,372 acres on the northern tip of Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Superior.

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                          13. Mauna Kea, Hawaii

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                            Mauna Kea, is a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaiʻi. Standing 4,207 m above sea level, its peak is the highest point in the state of Hawaii.

                            14. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, California

                            sequoia-national-park-GettyImages-131984901

                              Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, in the United States. It was established on September 25, 1890. The park spans 404,064 acres.

                              Photo credit: CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER

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                              Erica Wagner

                              Freelance Writer

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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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