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7 Unconventional and Inexpensive Ways to See the World

7 Unconventional and Inexpensive Ways to See the World

Does your wanderlust run deeper than your pockets? Travel is a fulfilling adventure for your soul, but it can be downright rough on your bank account. But don’t let that stop you.

There are plenty of ways to travel the world while having some or all of your costs covered. You may even be able to make a living out of the process – as long as you’re willing to reside outside of your comfort zone for a while.

Consider one of these seven unconventional ways to see the world:

1. Volunteer at a yoga retreat

Many people travel for relaxation, and there’s no better way to relax than at a tranquil yoga retreat. If you volunteer at one of these retreats, you will have to work, but your elbow grease will cover room, board and yoga classes.

The Yoga Farm of Costa Rica is just one retreat of many around the world that offer reduced rates for volunteers. In this particular program, you only have to put in 10-15 hours of work each week to qualify.

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Don’t worry if yoga isn’t exactly your way of life. You can volunteer to cook meals, clean or help serve. And if you’re a yogi yourself, you may volunteer to teach a yoga class or run a guided meditation.

How to get started: Do a simple Google search for the city you’d like to visit along with the term “volunteer yoga retreat.” From here, you can review opportunities and decide which is right for you.

2. Participate in adventure races

If your budget is slightly higher and you want to really get your heart thumping, consider an adventure race. With travel and adventure, you can check off two bucket list items with one big permanent marker. And it’s still likely to be cheaper than any traditional travel plans.

You’ll be responsible for your travel, room, board and entrance fees, but most events partner with hotels to provide affordable rates. And you can save further by rooming with other participants or camping out nearby. Go as exotic as you’d like with events like the Rickshaw Run adventure races in Jaisalmer or Expedition Africa in Cape St. Francis.

How to get started: If you don’t already know of an adventure race you’d like to enter, have a look at NatGeo’s list of Great Races in Amazing Places.

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3. Travel nursing 

Have you ever been envious of people who live and work in your favorite vacation spot? The accountant in Hawaii can take lunch breaks to surf. A waitress in Boulder can spend her days off gliding down a mountain of fresh powder. Well, if you’re interested in a nursing career, there’s no need to be envious. This can be your life.

As a travel nurse, your assignments can be wherever you want to go. The best part is that the travel won’t cost you a dime. In fact, you’ll be well compensated for your work.

How to get started: To become a travel nurse, you will need a nursing degree, so this isn’t something to enter into lightly. If you already have your degree and at least a year of RN experience, all you’ll need is a good travel nurse company.

4. Drive a semi-truck 

If the idea of hitting the open road gets your pulse racing, you may enjoy driving a truck for a living. You can choose the duration of your time away, but you should know that you’ll get paid more for longer stints.

Much like travel nursing, driving a semi-truck for a living isn’t something you decide on the fly. To become a CDL driver, you must get your license, and this requires schooling. Many drivers also own their own trucks, so there is an investment.

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How to get started: Find a reputable school to train for your CDL licensing exam. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find an apprenticeship where you can get paid while training. Next, you must decide whether you want to own your truck or work for someone else. People decide to buy trucks as a long-term investment and to maintain some control over their careers.

5. Teach an English class in South Korea 

Have you ever wanted to immerse yourself in a completely different culture? Teaching English to students in South Korea can give you the life experience you’ve always wanted, and you can get paid a modest sum in the process.

If you are a native English speaker with a Bachelor’s degree and no criminal record, you may be able to spend a year in South Korea teaching your native tongue.

How to get started: With every great opportunity, you may also find grandiose scams. This is why it’s so important to find a reputable recruiter. Check reviews and references. And be sure to interview with the school before you hop on a plane.

6. Become a WWOOFer

The WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) movement is growing around the world. And this means there are opportunities everywhere. You will be responsible for travel costs to your host’s farm, but then you will work for room and board. With six to eight hours of farm work daily, this isn’t a walk in the park, but it is a great opportunity to see the world on a budget.

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You get to choose the WWOOF host country and farm, so you can be sure the people and expectations are the right fit.

How to get started: Check out the WWOOF website and select the country you would like to visit. Through each country’s website, you should find opportunities.

7. Join the Peace Corps 

The Peace Corps offers amazing opportunities for people of all ages to make a difference in the world. You can choose to work in a sector that you’re passionate about, including agriculture, education, health and environment, and it may eventually help further your career. If the experience doesn’t sound fulfilling enough, you can bet that a stint with the Peace Corps will look great on your resume.

How to get started: If you are a U.S. citizen and are 18 or older, the application process is easy. Simply visit the Peace Corps website to apply.

These unconventional ways to see the world can give you a whole new perspective on travel. Not only do you stand to save money, but you will also gain life experience that you wouldn’t have otherwise had.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel.com via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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