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5 Tips to Make Your Camping Adventure Unforgettable

5 Tips to Make Your Camping Adventure Unforgettable

Camping is an easy escape and one of the best ways to take a much-needed break from your daily life.

Camping may seem easy and fun, but it is not only Boy Scouts who know that trekking into the wilderness (or an hour from the nearest Target) requires some planning and preparation if you want the trip to be truly unforgettable.

1. Bring Extra Light

There is nothing like looking at the sky when you are far away from the artificial glow of street lamps. But, it gets very, very dark at campsites, and while this is great for stargazing, it can also be problematic if you drop your keys or need to make an unanticipated visit to the bathroom.

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Bring another lighting option (besides your cell phone flashlight) with you to the campsite. You can bring a lantern or a string of lights to hang up around your site or even in your tent. No need for electricity, you can choose from both battery-operated lighting as well as solar lighting that charges during the sunny day and keeps the essentials visible at night.

Final Tip: Test out those lights before leaving to make sure the bulbs work, and make sure they have turned off again before packing them away.

2. Walk Further

Camping is not as rustic or as isolating as it sounds. In fact, if you go to the right campsite, it can be a high-tech social event attended by families with RVs nicer than any hotel you could find.

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While those camping trips are a good time, go further by heading deeper into nature. Instead of stopping at a campsite teeming with people, try walking a few extra miles down the trail to quieter site. You might miss the laughter on sunny afternoons, but you probably will not miss the guy that slams his car door at 2:30 AM.

3. Indulge in a Good Night’s Sleep

Out of all your gear, your sleeping equipment is some of the most essential. A good sleeping bag keeps you warm even when temperatures plummet, and a solid mat means you can sleep pretty much anywhere. But, do not forget about your pillow.

At home, the state of your pillows are the difference between red eyes in the morning and greeting the day with a smile. The same is true at a campsite, and a pillow is often the last thing people think about when packing for a trip.

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Hunt out a great pillow that is suitable for a good family tent which you’ll be sleeping in while camping. There are a number of options on the market from budget pillows to high-end inflatable numbers. Choose the one that is right for you so you can greet that sunrise the way nature intended – well rested.

4. Don’t Forget Essentials

It may sound impolite, but you need toilet roll. The kind you buy depends on the rules of the site and the kind of toilet available, and it is a good idea to check before you leave.

Make your natural experience easier by making a toilet paper holder out of a coffee can. A normal plastic coffee container will do the trick. Cut a long hole in on the side to pull paper from, and maybe consider adding a handle to the top to make it easier to carry. These are both easy to make and easy to use, and they will protect this precious commodity from all kinds of disasters.

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5. Spice It Up

There’s nothing better than cooking over a campfire until you realize you are going to eat plain grilled meat for the next five days. Add flavor to your campfire meals by bringing spices with you on the road.

You do not need to lug around the commercial size tubs of cinnamon. Instead, take what you need and put them in smaller, re-sealable containers, like Tic Tac boxes, so they do not take up much space.

Whatever you use, make sure you label the boxes before you leave to prevent any culinary disasters.

Camping can be a relaxing and life-affirming experience, but remember, sleeping under stars is more fun with a good night’s sleep, delicious food, and enough light to go to the bathroom without running face first into a tree.

Featured photo credit: Roderick Eime via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

The wake-up call often comes when you least expect it. Maybe you’re enjoying a relaxing get-together with your old college buddies when someone turns to you and says, “Wow, I never thought you’d become an investment banker. I always thought you’d write a novel!” If this leaves you wondering how to change careers, you’re not alone.

Before you know it, you find yourself remembering your old dreams—and comparing them to the career field where you are now. Life rarely goes according to plan. Marriage, kids, and grandkids often come earlier than imagined—or later.

Maybe you pursued one career path because you were considered the breadwinner, but now someone else in the family is the breadwinner. Conversely, maybe you landed a job, thinking you’d stay for six months, and now you’ve been there for sixteen years.

A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics pointed out that “baby boomers held an average of 12.3 jobs from ages 18 to 52″[1]. For millennials, who are more technologically apt, that number is likely to be much higher.

As this proves, it’s perfectly normal to change careers and begin a job search even when it seems too late! Steering your way through a career change is part calculation, part chance, and part leap-of-faith.

If you feel stuck and are ready for a career change, take these steps to guide you.

Step 1: Be Mentally Prepared

These points can help you master the psychological aspects of a career change at any age.

Now or Never Is a Fallacy

For most professionals, there is no cut-off age for striking out in a new direction. People do it at all stages of their careers.

If you’ve ever dreamed of leaving a large company to start your own business, you are not alone. Similarly, thousands of entrepreneurs and people working for one-man shops decide each year that they’d like to work for larger organizations.

You’ll find hordes of baby boomers looking for a redo alongside mobs of GenXers and Millennials—especially as the boomers now remain in the workforce longer than their predecessors.

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Your Career Is not a Straight Line From A to B

You don’t have to have your career trajectory completely decided from the start. In fact, that’s an unrealistic expectation, no matter how methodical you are.

People change. Industries merge, morph, and in some cases, disappear. Careers rarely follow the straight and narrow.

Many careers can be compared to journeys—there are the adventurous patches, boring patches, downright scary patches, and the hills and valleys, too. The trick is to try to have a little fun while you’re charting out your various careers.

Don’t panic if you find you need to change your career. It may take some work as you sort through job posts, write cover letters, and pursue your dream job, but you’re up for it.

Career Changers Are Among Good Company

Consider these well-known trailblazers whose careers took a radical turn:

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, studied computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton, went on to establish himself as a Wall Street prodigy, then quit to launch Amazon.com.

Sara Blakely, a billionaire businesswoman, was a fax machine salesperson before creating her signature slim wear line, Spanx.

Jonah Peretti, co-founder of the media sites Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, initially taught computer science to middle schoolers.

Be Ready to Take on the Naysayers

Expect plenty of advice—usually of the discouraging kind—from friends and family when they learn that you’re exploring a career change. Those you know best are often the most vocal in trying to thwart your plans.

Be prepared to field a flurry of pessimistic conjecture and doomsday scenarios. Know, though, that when your loved ones question your judgment, they’re not necessarily doubting your talent but trying to look out for your wellbeing. Stepping out of your comfort zone will make anyone close to you uncomfortable.

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Keep in mind that pessimists avoid the unknown, while optimists invite new challenges. Above all, believe in yourself and follow your instincts. Don’t let your fear of change paralyze you from seeking out your new career path.

Project an aura of enthusiasm, energy, and passion. You’ll find it’s contagious.

Step 2: Be Proactive

These tips can help you master the practical aspects of changing careers at any age.

Take Baby Steps

Ease into your new direction. Start building the skills you’ll need to make the switch.

Find out what skills you will need, and do whatever it takes to add them to your skills arsenal. Make the time to invest in additional training.

Start by devoting a half-day each week to your new pursuit until you’re ready to confidently make a move.

Clearly define where you want to go and what you’ll need to do to get there. Take an inventory of your strengths. Read trade magazines, and study up on industry trends.

Volunteer

Charitable organizations are often looking for volunteers to help them with their outreach, social media, and engagement. You can show up without the requisite skills and learn as you go in a fun, convivial, low-pressure environment, which will help you expand your experience and skills.

Take Online Courses

Today, LinkedIn and many other providers offer online courses in everything from accounting software to time management to mastering Excel. For extra credit, see if you can find classes that award online badges for completing each course.

Don’t be shy about adding these certificates to your online profile. Keep your profile fresh by adding more and more skills to it.

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Take a Temp Job

Depending on your field, it may be possible to freelance at a company where you learn on the job.

Remember that you can’t just show up at a potential employer’s claiming you have the skills. Taking a temporary job that allows you to polish your skills is proof that you’re serious about your career change.

Network!

Build a family tree of contacts. Explore beyond the main branches of your work acquaintances, industry groups, and social contacts. Join your alumni organization. Tell everyone.

Ask friends and friends-of-friends to meet you for coffee to explain what it is they do and tell you which skills you’ll need to succeed in your chosen field[2].

When you want to learn how to change careers, start by networking!

    If you have friends or associates with ties to the organizations where you want to work, ask your contacts to make an introduction. The majority of today’s jobs are found through one’s own networks. When jobs open up, companies invite informal recommendations from internal and external channels.

    Step 3: Take It Online

    This last step can help you master the online aspects of a career change at any age.

    Develop an Online Presence in the Field of Your Dreams

    Reconfiguring your online presence will be a critical step in your career change. Fine-tune your digital identity to reflect your new direction, tailoring your profile to the role and industry you’re after. Include keywords that are relevant to the industry so that recruiters can find you.

    Craft a clever personal statement that states your interests, your values, and your dreams. Once you’ve zeroed in on your message, also pick and choose which outlets make the most sense for it.

    Will your personal statement resonate on LinkedIn? Or is it highly visual—making it a better fit for Instagram?

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    Polish your sites until they gleam, then get active so others take notice. Add insightful content to your social media pages that goes deeper than the information on your resume, such as commentaries on something taking place in your newly chosen field.

    For more on how to build an online presence, check out this article.

    Final Thoughts

    Americans spend 1,800 hours or more each year working. That’s nearly one-third of your life, and it goes without saying that your job satisfaction and career goals have a great bearing on your life’s happiness barometer.

    Set out to intentionally pursue career satisfaction, looking for opportunities to fine-tune your working life so that you find fulfillment.

    If playing the piano is your personal bliss, could you meld your love of music with your clinical psychology background and find a job using music to promote healing? Perhaps there’s a foundation that would fund you in a multiyear study.

    Or, if you’re a movie buff for whom every encounter has the makings of a screenplay, why not sign up for an evening class and see if your years of writing advertising copy could morph into a career move into the film industry?

    Achieving your career change successfully will occur when you mentally prepare, take a proactive approach, and mine your personal and online networks. The pay-off will be in a life well-lived in a successful career.

    More Tips on How to Change Careers

    Featured photo credit: Jason Strull via unsplash.com

    Reference

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