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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

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              Published on November 14, 2018

              Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

              Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

              With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

              For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

              In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

              Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

              Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

              It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

              For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

              Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

              Symptoms of Fatigue

              Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

              • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
              • mental blocks
              • lack of motivation
              • headache
              • dizziness
              • muscle weakness
              • slowed reflexes and responses
              • impaired decision-making and judgement
              • moodiness, such as irritability
              • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
              • reduced immune system function
              • blurry vision
              • short-term memory problems
              • poor concentration
              • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

              Causes of Fatigue

              The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

              • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
              • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
              • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
              • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

              Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

              Medical Causes of Fatigue

              If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

              Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

              Anemia

              Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

              Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

              There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

              Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

              Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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              This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

              Diabetes

              Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

              Sleep Apnea

              Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

              Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

              Thyroid disease

              An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

              Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

              • Lack of sleep
              • Too much sleep 
              • Alcohol and drugs 
              • Sleep disturbances 
              • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
              • Poor diet 

              Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

              • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
              • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
              • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
              • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

              Psychological Causes of Fatigue

              Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

              • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
              • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
              • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

              How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

              Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

              1. Tell The Truth

              Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

              To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

              Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

              The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

              One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

              • How you feel
              • What time of day it is
              • What may have contributed to your fatigue
              • How your mind and body reacts

              This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

              2. Reduce Your Commitments

              When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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              If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

              When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

              Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

              3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

              If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

              Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

              If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

              Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

              Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

              4. Express More Gratitude

              Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

              It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

              Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

              5. Focus On Yourself

              Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

              There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

              But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

              We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

              6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

              Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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              Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

              The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

              Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

              7. Take a Power Nap

              When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

              Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

              This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

              8. Take More Exercise

              The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

              Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

              The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

              You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

              9. Get More Quality Sleep

              To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

              Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

              My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

              10. Improve Your Diet

              Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

              Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

              On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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              To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

              Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

              Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

              11. Manage Your Stress Levels

              Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

              When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

              Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

              My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

              12. Get Hydrated

              Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

              Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

              If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

              The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

              The Bottom Line

              These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

              If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

              Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
              [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
              [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
              [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
              [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
              [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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