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4 Ultimate Family Vacation Destinations

4 Ultimate Family Vacation Destinations

Family bonds and connections are vital for everyone. They put a smile on your face when life brings you down and they take part in your happiness and your successes. However, as the years pass by and life takes over, moving away from home and chasing our dreams, we stray away from our family.

We meet them every holiday if we have the opportunity or we resort to a simple email or phone call. Our parents end up missing us and we sit at our desks reminiscing about the beautiful past. However, technology and the ease of traveling has made it easier for one to fly over for a visit or use their flyer miles to travel the world.

Travelling, however, is different when you’re traveling with your family members. You would have to consider the location, activities, and culture that you all could enjoy together. No matter how we put it, sometimes families can be quite judgmental, so having a secure plan to travel the globe is never a bad idea. Some of the places that would fit perfectly for traveling with family are:

1. Argentina: Where Good Steaks Aren’t an Understatement

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    Argentina is one of the friendliest countries with a loud culture that includes everyone without prejudice. Argentina is famous for its exquisite nature, waterfalls, wildlife and definitely, it’s food. From its glorious rib eyed steak to its delicious sauce you can definitely expect the unexpected in Argentina.

    If you’re traveling with your family, be sure to take on horse riding. Even if you’ve never ridden a horse before, your trainers will be able to guide you. Traveling across the taverns of Argentina on a horse, you’ll be able to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and this interesting activity will definitely bring your family together.

    You can rent a car and drive to Salta, the Salt Lake which borders both Bolivia and Argentina. This place is what the locals call  “heaven meets earth“. Its holy name is based on the reflections of the sky on the transparent floors, on a clear blue day, joining both the sky and land together.

    Dress like the locals in ‘ponchos’, the traditional clothing of Argentina. You might think you look like a leprechaun, but you might look glorious wearing the best quality products. If you’re headed to Argentina with your family, after all the fun, don’t forget to enjoy a nice, fine cup of ‘mate’. Any Argentinian would vouch that it’s the best tea you would’ve tasted. Mate is served with ‘Bombilla’ a special metallic drinking straw.

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    2. Italy: Cheese, Pasta and Truffles

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      Italy, the land of wine and great European cuisine! It’s been said that Italy is the father of European cuisine, especially with their unlimited amount of resources. Gordon Ramsay turns speechless every time he tastes a delicious and balanced Italian pasta sauce.

      It’s a land filled with bountiful seafood and unique herbs. Personally, my family and their world revolve around good food. Food which dances around your palates and leaves you wanting more even when you’re full. Our time in Italy revolved around restaurant hopping with great mussels and beautiful truffles. Truffle oil is an exquisite, but expensive luxury oil and trotting around Italy we managed to get 2 bottles for our home.

      If your family is a great fan of a homely yet fancy cuisine, then Italy is the place to start. Don’t be afraid to try out the varieties of cheese and explore their traditional food. Italian cuisine varies in every state, so make sure to take a long road trip and embrace the variety.

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      Explore beautiful wineries and take your time to understand each note and smell of different wines. You’ll find complete bliss and calmness as you understand each note, each ingredient and each emotion. It’s definitely a paradise for all wine lovers. Overall, Italy is a land for families who don’t only enjoy food, but also loves experimenting with flavors.

      3. Malaysia: Where Nature Is the Way of Life

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        Over the years, Malaysia has become one of the preferred holiday destinations for many families. People consider Malaysia as a perfect family destination because of its warm culture and their diversity. You will find people from all races, sharing and caring for each other.

        If you’re there during festive seasons, you will be able to witness how everyone puts away their differences and starts enjoying food, drinks, and companionship together. However, Malaysia is even more than all that’s mentioned. Malaysia is nature’s wonderland, being home to one of the largest rain forests in Asia, they’re surrounded by mountains and animals.

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        If you’re an adventurous family, who loves racing up mountains and hiking up the green forests, then Malaysia is the best place for you. For mountain lovers, head to Sabah, and hike up Mt. Kinabalu, being one of the tallest mountains, it will definitely challenge your muscles as well as your endurance. It will definitely be a test of trust, love, openness and confidence among your family.

        You can also travel around either East or West Malaysia to some of the best beaches and untouched sea wonderlands to enjoy the wonderful climate. If you love a challenge take a scuba diving trip, you will enjoy the arrays of sea creatures and wonderful corals and if you’re lucky you might even stumble upon some friendly sharks. If experience is what you’re seeking, then this will definitely create a great memory. If you’re looking for a country where your family would be able to play Sherlock Holmes or live in the land of Jumanji, then Malaysia is the place for you.

        4. Switzerland: Where Green Pastures Know No Bounds

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          Switzerland is one of the prettiest and cozy countries, among Europe’s German-speaking countries. Switzerland is known for its impeccable scenery and great economy. A land for the rich and a luxury vacation for those who enjoy luxury and class, Switzerland is one of the high-end countries that fits a family who enjoys comfort, coziness, and luxury.

          Switzerland gives the best of both worlds for some people. In Geneva, you’ll be able to find the sophistication of the French people. A French province, it’s one of the cities that host the second biggest UN office in the world. Switzerland has some of the best mountains which are perfect for skiing. Skiing is a national sport for both Switzerland and Austria, hence it will be an excellent place to enjoy holidays with family. Shop, ski and enjoy the beauty Switzerland has to offer and your family will definitely return home with glee.

          Featured photo credit: www.newsweek.com via s.newsweek.com

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          Last Updated on January 15, 2021

          7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

          7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

          The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

          Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

          Posture

          First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

          • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
          • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
          • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
          • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

          All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

          Facial Expressions

          Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

          • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
          • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
          • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

          If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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          1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

          A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

          The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

          This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

          2. Relax Your Face

          New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

          The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

          To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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          3. Improve Your Eye Contact

          Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

          The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

          To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

          3. Smile More

          There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

          Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

          4. Hand Gestures

          Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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          It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

          5. Enhance Your Handshake

          In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

          “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

          It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

          6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

          As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

          Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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          Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

          Final Takeaways

          Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

          If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

          More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

          Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

          Reference

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