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Smart Travel: The 10 Best Gadgets for Your Vacation

Smart Travel: The 10 Best Gadgets for Your Vacation

When you travel, it’s essential that you carry gadgets to make your trip go smoother. After all, if you didn’t have gadgets to entertain you, you’d probably have to settle for watching awful in-flight movies or listening to wailing infants. Here are a few gadgets that you shouldn’t travel without.

Over-the-Ear Headphones

Never, ever underestimate the value of an amazing pair of headphones. When you’re on the plane, it’s loud. Not just from the engines but also from the occasional annoying passenger that you just want to drown out.

A great pair of over-the-ear headphones will block out all most of the noise coming from the passengers around you  (although the engine may be too loud to drown out). At the very least, you’ll be able to put your headphones on and close your eyes and relax a bit. A pair of Bose’s AE2i Over-the-Ear headphones costs $179.95 and might be well worth the investment if you fly often.

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Portable Chargers for Emergencies

This isn’t 2007 and you shouldn’t have to wait to get to an outlet or USB port to charge your phone. The Innergie PocketCell, which costs $80, can usually hold enough energy to power a tablet halfway. The same amount of energy will also charge a smartphone — twice. Be sure to charge both the portable charger and your phone every night. Most functions will drain the smartphone battery at an alarming rate, but with the Innergie PocketCell, you can use your phone without worrying about it dying on you.

A Laptop

One of the most important things to have with you when you travel is a laptop. Whether or not you think you can achieve everything you want with a smartphone, it’s better to be safe than sorry. A newer model Macbook starts at $1,199, but they’re worth it. If you’re not comfortable with OSX, lucky for you OSX has a program built into it that will essentially allow your Macbook to run Windows.

A Wedge Touch Mouse

When using a laptop, there’s nothing worse than using a trackpad (or worse, a tiny nub), to navigate around. Do yourself a favor and buy yourself a portable wedge touch mouse. The portable wedge connects to your laptop or tablet via Bluetooth and functions as a normal mouse. You’re able to navigate the screen or use it to double-click on web links. The wedge, made by Microsoft, will cost you $70.00, a small price to pay for the ease and functionality it gives you when you travel.

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A Portable Wireless Router

It’s time to cut the cord from hotel internet. Priced at $99, the Airport Express, Apple’s wireless router, is the perfect solution. It serves as both a repeater, which extends the range of a Wi-Fi signal, or a wireless base station. Take the hotel’s ethernet cable and plug it into the box, then plug the box into an AC outlet, and you’re good to go. Don’t worry about incompatibility — while the Airport Express was designed with the Mac in mind, it’s completely compatible with a PC.

A Fully Charged Smartphone

Without a doubt, your smartphone is an indispensable vacation gadget because it can be used in all stages of the vacation process. You’ll download an app to get cheap tickets, listen to your music while you fly, jot down all of your notes in the built-in notepad app, and many more tasks. There’s even apps that are useful for overseas traveling, like translation apps, currency converters, and more.

Keep in mind, though, that these apps and features may use data. If you’re out of the cell network, you may end up paying a significant charge. If you go overseas, disable all cell service and set your phone to only operate when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi zone.

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A Kindle Paperwhite

A smartphone can do the trick, sure, but you’ll be straining your eyes trying to read a book. Instead, grab a Kindle Paperwhite. With the new screens that prevent glare, you’ll be able to read your favorite novels, regardless of whether you’re in ideal lighting conditions. Even better, you won’t have to worry about battery drain, because unlike the Kindle Fire, which is meant to be used primarily as a tablet, the Kindle’s battery is built to last for a long time since it is designed specifically to be an e-book reader.

An In-Car GPS

Sure, you can use the GPS on your phone, but it’ll destroy your battery. If you fly overseas, you’re out of luck, because you’re out of your mobile phone provider’s areas. If you have a TomTom GPS, though, you’ll be able to navigate the area without worrying about extra charges. These GPS units can run as low as $100, but you’ll get tons of use out of them. Just make sure to update it before you leave.

A DSLR Camera

Your phone or a simple point-and-shoot won’t capture the beauty of your trip. To completely capture the beauty of the moment, you’ll need either a high-end DSLR camera, preferably a Nikon or Canon with a large zoom lens. These aren’t cheap — they’ll set you back well over $500, and that’s just for the base camera. You may want to add additional lenses, carrying cases, memory cards, or even a tripod. If you buy one that has Wi-Fi connectivity, you can send photographs to your phone or computer. You can also use your smartphone to capture shots remotely, which could make for some great landscape shots.

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A Portable Gaming System

Regardless of where you go, it’s inevitable that you’ll get bored. For situations like this, turn to games. Simple smartphone games are fine to waste a few minutes, but you’ll burn through battery quickly. In times like these, you need a true portable gaming system. You really have two options here: The Nintendo 3DS XL or the Playstation Vita.

Each system offers advantages over the other, from exclusive games to battery life. The only way to choose which one is right for you is to do a bit of research and see which one offers the most benefit to you. Both systems can connect online, so if you’re bored of playing by yourself, you can quickly hop online and play against opponents worldwide. The systems can range anywhere from $199 to $250. If you choose to go with the new Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo’s system that has all of the features of the 3DS but doesn’t display in 3D, you’re only going to spend $129.

Regardless of where your travels take you, these gadgets will assist you in your journey in one way or another. What’s your go-to gadget for a long travel?

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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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