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Top 6 Fall Road Trips: Where the Journey IS the Destination

Top 6 Fall Road Trips: Where the Journey IS the Destination

Summer isn’t the only time of the year when you can indulge in dream vacations and scenic drives. In fact, the chilly season of fall offers some of the best days to go on road trips. So it’s not a coincidence that my most unforgettable travel experiences have happened during this period. I made trips around Germany and the Philippines in the months of September through November. Not only is transportation cheaper, there are fewer people on tourist sites, too.

But perhaps a must for every traveler, is the classic road trip. Imagine wide, clear skies, the feel of the wind in your hair, and stunning fall foliage. Nothing beats the call of the open road and the freedom to choose your stops. Now that fall is here, why not go on the ultimate adventure?

Check out these top six destinations for the road trips of a lifetime.

1. Spontaneous Road Trips on Route 66, United States

Dubbed as “The Mother Road”, the path begins from Chicago, going across the country’s best sights (such as the Cadillac Ranch in Texas and the Grand Canyon caverns in Arizona), before finally ending at the Santa Monica Pier in California.

road trips usa

    (Image credits to Randy Heinitz via Flickr.com)

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    The route itself became famous sometime in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Businesses along the 2,448 miles were sustained by the road’s popularity, before being removed from United States Highway System in 1985. But as more and more folks were hit by nostalgia, Route 66 slowly began its revival. In fact, Disney and Pixar’s animated movie, “Cars”, was inspired by real sights along Route 66.

    2. Take the Drive of a Lifetime at Icefields Parkway, Canada

    While driving can be fun and scenic, one of the best parts of road trips is the pit stops. But instead of grabbing a burger at a local diner, why not go hiking? Icefields Parkway is famous year round because it connects two national parks (Jasper National Park to Banff National Park) for the ultimate awe-inspiring trip.

    road trips canada

      (Image credits to Antony Stanley via Flickr.com)

      Begin your epic adventure at ‘Mile Zero’ in Jasper, Canada. After that, it’s a long stretch of beautiful valleys, gorges, and even glacier. From the highly accessible Valley of the Five Lakes to a rewarding view once you reach Wilcox Pass, this is one road trip you’ll enjoy alone – or with a friend or two.

      3. Drive Through Legendary Causeway Coastal Route, Ireland

      This is the road trip for all “Game of Thrones” fans. If you’ve always wanted to become part of this fantasy series, you should check out Causeway Coastal Route in Ireland. This route has long been famous for people who love folklores and tales of old. But thanks to the wildly popular HBO original, the road is getting more attention worldwide.

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      causeway-coastal-ireland-min

        (Image credits to Joseph Mischyshyn via Geograph.ie)

        The original route begins at Belfast and ends at Londonderry. A few of the must-see highlights include: the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, the legendary Giant’s Causeway, and the ruins of Dunluce castle, which was built sometime around the 14th century. If you’re going to visit “Game of Thrones” sites, don’t forget to check out Tollymore Forest Park (the Haunted Forests), the Dark Hedges, and County Derry-Londonderry’s Portstewart Strand.

        4. Fairytales Come Alive in Romantic Road, Germany

        If you’re looking for something straight out of a storybook, there’s no better place than the Romantic road in Germany. The “Romantische Strasse” boasts of quaint inns and wine cellars, small local souvenir shops, restaurants serving authentic Bavarian cuisine, and vast stretches of dark green woods leading to ancient castles.

        road trips germany

          Image Author’s Own (some rights reserved)

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          Your journey will begin in charming Franconia, in the vineyards of Würzburg, going to little towns of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl, Augsburg, and Schwangau, before arriving at Füssen. It’s one of the last towns in Germany, so you’ll definitely get one of the best views of the Alps. Fulfill your fairytale dreams with castles like the renowned Neuschwanstein and Hohenswangau. Now, the only thing missing is your crown.

          5. Old Meets New in Bandai Azuma Roadway: Japan

          Looking for otherworldly road trips that avoid high traffic and tourist traps? Japan’s Bandai Azuma Roadway could be the answer. Don’t be frightened just because it’s located in Fukushima! Their Tourism Information center has all the details you need for a safe, wonderful road trip of a lifetime.

          road trips japan

            (Image credits to Soumei Baba via Flickr.com)

            The route has a total distance of 28.7 km and passes Mt. Azuma’s crater, which is great for folks who love to hike. Start from Takayu Hot Springs going to Tsuchiyu Pass, where you’ll be treated to stunning views of the landscape, fresh air, and solitude. If you go in spring or summer, you can watch beautiful flowers blooming along the road. If you go in the fall, expect amazing bursts or red, orange, and brown dot the landscape.

            6. Halsema Highway: Philippines

            We’ll top off the list with the little-known wonder of Halsema highway connecting Baguio and Bontoc in the Mountain Province. Sometimes called the Benguet-Mountain Province Road, Baguio-Bontoc Road or simply, Mountain Trail, it’s the highest altitude highway in the Philippines.

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            road trips philippines

              (Image credits to Leocadio Sebastian via Flickr.com)

              In 2013, it was included in Dangerousroads.org’s list of most spectacular yet dangerous roads due to its steep crags, narrow drop offs, and hazards during bad weather. But if you’re lucky and the sun shines, you’ll be treated to breath-taking views of green rice terraces and clear, blue skies. Cap off your road trip with a hike to see the hanging coffins in Sagada or strawberry-picking in Baguio.

              Whichever of these road trips you decide to go for, don’t forget to be safe at all times. Keep a safe distance from huge vehicles such as trucks, and learn to give way to smaller means of transportation, such as bikes. Practice defensive driving by paying attention to small details on and on the side of the road.

              As roads trips can also be stressful, be sure to have a plan B ready (e.g. have a friend or loved one drive when you get sleepy or tired). Apps can also serve as great road trip companions: whether you need directions or the latest weather report.

              So what are you waiting for? Use the chilly fall weather to your advantage and take the adventure of a lifetime.

              Featured photo credit: Dreamypixel.com via dreamypixel.com

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              Cris Antonio

              Content Strategist, Storyteller

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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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