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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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              How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

              How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

              Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

              Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

              I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

              You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

              Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

              When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

              I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

              Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

              Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

              Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

              1. The Inner Critic

              This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

              • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
              • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
              • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
              • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

              He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

              Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

              2. The Worrier

              This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

              He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

              Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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              3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

              He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

              He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

              He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

              4. The Sleep Depriver

              This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

              His motivation can be:

              • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
              • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
              • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
              • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

              How can you control these squatters?

              How to Master Your Mind

              You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

              Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

              There are two ways to control your thoughts:

              • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
              • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

              This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

              The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

              Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

              For the Inner Critic

              When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

              You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

              For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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              You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

              “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

              If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

              • He riles up the Worrier.
              • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
              • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
              • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
              • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

              Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

              Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

              For the Worrier

              Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

              Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

              You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

              • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
              • Muscles tense

              Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

              If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

              Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

              “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

              Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

              If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

              Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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              Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

              For example:

              If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

              “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

              Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

              “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

              Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

              For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

              Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

              The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

              • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
              • Muscles tension

              I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

              Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

              Breathe in through your nose:

              • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
              • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
              • Focus on your belly rising.

              Breathe out through your nose:

              • Feel your lungs emptying.
              • Focus on your belly falling.
              • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

              Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

              Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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              One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

              Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

              For the Sleep Depriver

              (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

              I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

              Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

              1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
              2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

              When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

              From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

              For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

              If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

              You can also use this technique any time you want to:

              • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
              • Shut down your thinking.
              • Calm your feelings.
              • Simply focus on the present moment. 

              Becoming the Master of Your Mind

              Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

              You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

              Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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