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Great Places to Vacation During the Summer

Great Places to Vacation During the Summer

There are few things in life that we look forward to more than a summer vacation, as it’s finally a chance to unwind and forget all the stresses that usually accompany day-to-day life. Additionally, there is a benefit to choosing an interesting and exotic location: bragging to friends and family. The following places are not only great locations to visit in the summer months, but they offer both cultural and visual flavors that will provide stories and memories to last a lifetime.

Paris, France

paris overview

    It is not a secret that Paris is a great place to visit in the summer, and this common knowledge is reflected in the crowds and prices. It’s best to plan this trip way in advance, then just enjoy the amazing weather and historical landmarks that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. Don’t miss going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, visiting Notre Dame Cathedral, or seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Though it can be a nice trip for families, the high price tag makes a Paris more of a romantic getaway for couples—one that’s sure to keep the fire going, or ignite a new spark.

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    San Francisco, California

    San Francisco overview 2

      Mark Twain once said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” While the cold breeze from the San Francisco Bay can get a bit chilly, the sun will be shining and the mid-60’s temperatures will be much appreciated while you’re doing all the walking that’s necessary to fully take in this historic city. Some of the main attractions include: Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Alcatraz Prison, and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

      Montreal, Quebec

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      Montreal overview

        Looking for European culture without taking a trans-Atlantic flight? Then welcome to Montreal. World-class restaraunts, historic sites, a vibrant music scene, and pulsating night life make Montreal an ideal destination for a trip with friends or for couples.

        San Juan Islands, Washington

        San Juan Islands

          Summer in the San Juan Islands off the Olympic Peninsula is the prime time for hiking and whale watching. The islands can be accessed by either flying in from Seattle or by taking a drive-on ferry and using a car to navigate from island to island. Hike in Lime Kiln Point State Park and watch the orcas that also like to visit the area in the summer. There are also boat tours that take you up close and personal with the gentle giants. With bike trails, cozy inns, and fantastic weather, this is a summer vacation spot for the whole family.

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          Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

          Glacier Bay National Park

            Sticking with the whale-watching theme, the next summer spot on the list is Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. The best way to visit this amazing location is by taking a cruise ship. This park is home to humpback whales, harbor porpoises, moose, black and brown bears, mountain goats, and mountain peaks that top 15,000 feet. The cruise ships will pass by deep fjords, coastal forests, and seven active tidewater glaciers calving glaciers into the bay. Yes, you can watch gigantic chunks of ice breaking off glaciers and crashing into the ocean!

            Maui, Hawaii

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            Maui, Hawaii

              While the preceding locations on the list are not usually the first places that would come to mind when thinking of a relaxing summer vacation, they definitely offer something potentially new and exciting. Sometimes, taking the road less traveled can be stressful and not everyone’s cup of tea. Maui, however, checks every box on the ideal summer vacation list. Beautiful beaches? Check. Warm oceans filled with exotic sea life? Check. Golf, hiking, volcanoes? Check. Maui offers fun in the sun for the whole family. Tons of shopping, snorkeling, surf lessons, waterfalls, helicopter tours of volcanoes, sacred hot springs, deep sea fishing, the list goes on and on. The hardest thing you will have to do on a trip to Maui is start packing to go back home.

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              Last Updated on September 28, 2020

              The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

              The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

              At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

              Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

              One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

              When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

              So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

              Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

              This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

              Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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              When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

              Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

              One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

              Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

              An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

              When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

              Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

              Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

              We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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              By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

              Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

              While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

              I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

              You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

              Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

              When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

              Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

              Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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              Con #2: Less Human Interaction

              One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

              Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

              Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

              This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

              While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

              Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

              Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

              This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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              For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

              Con #4: Unique Distractions

              Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

              For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

              To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

              Final Thoughts

              Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

              We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

              More About Working From Home

              Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

              Reference

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