19 Feb 2021

Camping

One of my favorite beneficial treasured activities is camping. Camping, like most things in life, has its pros and cons. The pros, in my opinion, far outweigh the cons. Cons will be examined first, then the pros.

When thinking of camping the first thought of concern is the weather. I planned a future camping trip with friends. I checked the future weather forecast and it seemed ideal. But, sometimes the weather person gets it wrong. This was one of those times. After setting up our campsite we were greeted with a downpour so intense it brought back memories of the rainy monsoon season in Viet Nam. Bugs and insects can present another drawback. If you’re not prepared or anticipate the nuisance, you might be heading back home much sooner than you think. Depending on where you’re camping animals can be a major problem. I remember camping and being awakened by a skunk prowling through our campgrounds. I didn’t know if it was rabbit or just curious. Either way I didn’t want to investigate to find out.

Hygiene can present another problem. Especially if you’re camping where there isn’t a community shower or bathroom.Cleansing oneself and eliminating bodily waste can be a great challenge.

Those are some of the drawbacks to camping. Now, let’s examine the plethora of benefits derived from camping.

We all know that camping can be a relaxing escape from our daily grind. You can bathe in the forest, trade the sound of traffic for the songs of wind, water, bugs and birds, while creating memories with your friends and family. By the way, forest bathing is a simple concept. Take a short relaxed walk through the woods or a densely natured area, and wait for nature to do its thing. After some time alone, chances are you’ll feel recharged and ready to jump back into your normal activities. Camping is scientifically proven to reduce oxidative stress, as it encourages an active lifestyle and reduces your level of exposure to environmental pollutants, which are a key factor in the development of free radicals that cause oxidative cell damage. Being outside on a consistent basis and avoiding the city for a weekend helps your body to recover from stress symptoms while also reducing the level of inflammation throughout your system.

Camping has the power to shine extra perspective on your life and priorities by giving you space and time away from distractions. In the normal world, it’s easy to distract yourself from focusing on what’s most important to you, whether through work, electronics, or social events. Taking time away from your office, technology, your household responsibilities, and even social pressures can do wonders for helping you prioritize your life

Not only does camping help to lower your stress levels, it’ll also stimulate the production of serotonin, a chemical within your body that naturally makes you feel happier. Better yet, those feelings tend to continue for a while, even after you’ve gone home. Another benefit, serotonin is a precursor for producing melatonin. Melatonin is a chemical that helps us fall asleep. That’s why a lot of campers testify they have had the best night sleep when camping.

When you spend time near a lot of trees, you take in more oxygen. That feeling of happiness that you get when you take your first breath of air at the campground isn’t all in your head, but in the release of serotonin from the extra oxygen. Your body can function with less strain when there’s plenty of oxygen. That’s not the only benefit of fresh air. Research shows that some time outdoors can improve your blood pressure, improve digestion and give your immune system an extra boost. When you spend a few days outside, you get some serious health benefits from the extra oxygen and low levels of pollutants.

If you regularly campout, you’ll enjoy dozens of significant health benefits from: fresh air, socializing, improve moods, less stress, exercise, sunshine, and a good night’s sleep. Thus, the benefits do indeed outweigh the cons. If you’ve never camped, you should give it a try. Do not fall into the category of denying before trying. Be adventurous. Go for it!!

17 Nov 2020

The Great Outdoors

Many people spend workdays indoors under fluorescent lights and in front of computers, then go home to bask in the glow of television screens. Because of the Pandemic, others that work at home, aren’t any better off. They’re exposed to the same electronic devices just in a home environment. This routine goes on day-in and day-out with no end in sight.  If this keeps up, a war will ensue between income and health.  A balance must be struck between the two. Without balance each can destroy the other resulting in total destruction. They both go together hand and hand.  A synergistic balance must be formed, it is the only solution to ensure their survival. Is there any solution or insight to insure this balance. A light at the end of the tunnel to insure hope. After all hope spring eternal. The resounding answer is definitely YES in capital letters.

The answer is nature, Mother Nature. To explain, lets take a journey with our mind as the pilot and navigator. We can all afford the cost of the journey, and there is no obligation now or in the future. First ,find a chair or couch where you can get totally comfortable. Relax by taking slow deep breaths in and out. Calm your inner being by repeating the word relax several times or until you feel you’re totally relaxed. Now, close your eyes and visualize gazing at the most awesome, enchanting and magnificent sunrise you have ever witnessed. Its like Mother Nature exploding and displaying unbelievable colors, presenting all their glory and beauty before your very eyes. Sense the feeling that overwhelms you, wishing you could capture the moment to share with the world Mother Nature’s splendor. Words can not explain the joyous mood you feel. You feel as though you’re engulfed in a mist of serenity. You’re at peace.

The state of being at peace may seem farfetched and even unobtainable to some. This bring to mind the statement”can’t see the forest for the trees”.Because the answer seems rather apropos at this point, it’s  right in plain sight. The  answer, Mother Nature with all her glory. When commingling with Mother Nature the physiological and mental changes one undergoes are simply amazing. Spending time in forests, hiking in mountains, and just being outside can lead to significant health benefits. Studies have shown that walking in the woods can improve blood pressure, boost mental health, and decrease cancer risk. People do need to spend time in natural environments if they want to improve their physical and mental health. That could mean taking advantage of hiking trails near your home, playing in the snow, swimming in the ocean, or just spending time every week in a local park.

There is much more evidence of the benefits of the great outdoors. Several studies show that nature walks have memory-promoting effects that other walks don’t. In one study, University of Michigan students were given a brief memory test, then divided into two groups. One group took a walk around an arboretum, and the other took a walk down a city street. When the participants returned and did the test again, those who walked among trees did almost 20% better than they had first time. The people who had taken in city sights instead did not consistently improve.

Something about being outside changes the physical expression of stress in the body. One study found that students sent into the forest for two nights had decreased heart rates and lower levels of cortisol, a hormone often used as a marker for stress, then those who spent that time in the city. Stressful states can be relieved by forest therapy. Among office workers, even a view of nature out a widow is associated with lower stress and higher job satisfaction.

Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues may all be eased by some time in nature, especially when that’s combined with exercise. One study found that walks in the forest were associated with decreased levels of anxiety and bad moods, and another found that outdoor walks could be useful clinically as a supplement to existing treatments for major depressive disorder.

Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because sunlight hitting the skin begins the circuitous process. The liver and kidney get involved that eventually leads to the creation of the biologically active form of the vitamin. Overall, research is showing that many vitamins, while necessary don’t have such great disease-fighting powers, but Vitamin D may prove to be the exception. Epidemiologic studies are suggesting it may have protective effects against everything from osteoporosis to cancer to depression to heart attacks and stroke. Even by conventional standards, many Americans don’t have enough vitamin D circulating in their bodies. The good new is that you’ll make all the vitamin D you need if you get outside a few times a week and expose your arms and legs for 10 to 15 minutes. Sure, you can take a pill for it, but getting vitamin D the natural way, from being out in the sun gives you more benefits than pharmaceutical can.

Outdoor can also boost your immune system. Scientists think that breathing in phytoncides, air borne chemical produced by plants, increases our levels of white blood cells, helping us fight off infections and diseases. Outdoor also provides us with free aromatherapy. According to science, you really should stop and smell the flowers. Research shows that natural scents like roses, freshly cut grass, and pine make us feel calmer and more relax.

Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit. After all, the environment is where we all meet, where we all have a mutual interest. It is our thing that all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become.

There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story. The earth has music for those who listen.

There are so many reasons and benefits why going outside is an integral part of any health plan. Best of all, it doesn’t require any sort of special equipment, clothing or location. All you have to do is step out your front door to reap the benefits. And remember, of all the different paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.

22 Jun 2020

Golfing in the Time of Coronavirus: Is It Safe?

 

Unless local, state, or national governments shut down your golf course, this sport can continue despite the presence of the coronavirus pandemic. The nature of this game is individualized, which means you can have a fun experience while maintaining the proper amount of social distancing. 

As you go through your round, washing your hands with soap and water whenever possible. You will also want to use hand sanitizer liberally if that option isn’t available.

1. Handling Your Golf Clubs

You should wipe down the edges of your bag and the handles of your club before you tee off at the first hole. If you’re using a cart, then it is essential to clean any part of your equipment that touches it. Avoiding this issue by carrying everything yourself can save you from a lot of anxiety while playing.

2. Cleaning Your Golf Balls

Wearing gloves on the course is essential when picking up a golf ball from the cup. If you don’t have that option, then wash your hands or use a sanitizer product immediately. Then repeat after every hole. You’ll want to avoid touching your hands or face after picking up a ball until you have a chance to clean everything. Now is also the time to stop collecting stray balls since you don’t know who touched them last.

3. Managing Your Gloves

If you’re willing to use gloves, then you can protect your skin from potential exposure. The virus can stay on that material, which means you need to disinfect it before touching your face. Putting hand sanitizer on the product isn’t ideal since it will make the surface slick, but it is the safest avenue to take since it keeps things clean.

4. Carrying Your Phone

If you go out for a round of golf, then it makes sense to take your phone along in case you experience an emergency. What you won’t want to do is check it every time you receive a notification. It would be best to wait until you get back to the car if you have sanitation products there to use. If not, then you’ll want to get home before you check on missed calls and such.

5. Going to the Clubhouse

You should avoid the clubhouse whenever possible. States that have social distancing guidelines in place might not even let you go inside legally. When you must be indoors, then maintain a six-foot radius without exception. If you can put more space between you, then do so. You’ll need to wash your hands immediately after touching any common-use areas, such as a door handle, locker, or bathroom faucet.

If you need to get outside because cabin fever is tearing you apart, then golfing is a fun way to maintain an active lifestyle. Although you’ll need to make some adjustments to how you play, hitting the links for 9 or 18 holes in the fresh air can help you forget about the current state of the world for a little while. 

30 May 2020

How to Save Money While Enjoying a Relaxing Vacation

 

Taking a vacation can be an expensive experience. The average American spends over $1,100 per person on travel during the summer months.

If you don’t have that kind of cash lying around, then it can feel like a trip isn’t possible for you this year. When you know how to save money without compromising your relaxation opportunities, then you can stick to almost any budget.

The secret to a successful experience is a firm budget and time to save some money. If you get started on those tasks early on, then it’s a lot easier to have everything fall into place. You can also add these tips to help you save even more.

List of the Best Ways to Save Money

1. Drive Instead of Fly

Choosing a short-distance that you can reach by car is a lot cheaper for larger families than airfare. The average cost of plane tickets for a family of four is over $1,200 in the United States, and it gets close to $2,000 for a family of six. That’s before you add in taxes, fees, and food. If you can add a couple of days to your vacation, then driving can save you a bundle.

2. Stay with Someone

Hotel rooms and Airbnb can get quite expensive when you take a vacation. Some families like to splurge here because it provides a sense of luxury. If you have a family that’s larger than five people, you’re usually stuck with a suite or two rooms – and that gets pricey. Staying with friends or other members of your family is a simple way to save on lodging.

3. Use Your Points

If you have a strong credit score, then consider using a credit card that offers travel points or rewards. You can redeem them for free tickets, hotel stays, and more. Although it won’t always save you a lot, some families can reduce their vacation expenses by several hundred dollars each year because of the perks that come with this financial product.

4. Find Coupons

Websites like Living Social and Groupon sometimes offer deals on lodging, transportation, or restaurants where you plan to travel. Last-minute options tend to provide the best deals, especially if you can pick up a bundled package. Most providers have specials that can reduce your final costs. Just make sure that you double-check the final price before paying since some prepackaged deals can actually cost more.

5. Use All-Inclusive Options

If you can find an all-inclusive option at a resort, then it can help you to save more money than you might realize. Most of your expenses involve food, entertainment, and lodging. Compare the cost of this selection to the individual expenses at a preferred destination, and you might discover that you can come out way ahead.

Saving money on vacation can extend the length of your trip. It can also be a way to maximize your fun without going broke. Consider these tips for your next excursion to see how much you could save!

30 May 2020

Golfing Tips That Can Take Your Game to the Next Level

 

In this new era of social distancing, one of the best sports that is still available to the average person is golf. You can stand six feet apart from each other easily if you have a twosome or foursome. It’s also the perfect way to spend a solo afternoon while getting some exercise.

If your golf game is struggling right now, then these tips can help you to take your skills to the next level. Take a look!

Best Tips and Tricks for Better Golf

1. Right Hand Feel, Left Hand Line

This technique works well to hone your putting game. It enables you to understand the hand the directs the ball and which one uses force. Place balls at various distances from the hole, and then take a stroke using only one hand. You’ll notice how the blade of the putter moves so that you can become more comfortable on the green.

2. The Forceful Upswing

A common mistake that you’ll see from amateur players is an upward shift of the body during the upswing. This action causes you to lose leverage. You want to apply more force on the backswing instead as you coil so that you create explosive downward movement. Take a wooden block, place it behind your club, and then use it to move the block backward on your upswing.

3. Double Ball Takeaway

This drill works to gauge your initial swing path. It’s perfect for those who struggle to establish a rhythm to their swing. Place a ball behind your club during the setup phase. When you take a swing, then that ball will get driven backward. Once you complete it, then check to see where that ball rolled. If it went in a straight line, then your position and alignment are correct. If not, then repeat the activity until you get it right.

4. Aiming the Stick

When you play this sport we all love, it is essential to maintain a lock on your target during your drive. Using sticks to improve your aim is an easy way to take your game to the next level. You can even lay two clubs on either side of the ball, with another set about 12 feet in front of where you’re hitting. Then hit a few shots on either side to check your ball flight. This activity helps you to adjust your swing so that you have better accuracy.

5. Get Into the Sand

Although golfers don’t want to visit the beach, you’ll need to take some shots from there at some point. Ignoring this element of the game can lead to disastrous results. Practice shots from the bunker every day if possible so that you can develop predictable outcomes when you find yourself in this situation.

It helps to split your time up 50/50 between the long game and the short game during each practice session. That will let you begin to develop a well-rounded approach to golf. 

29 May 2020

Ways to Embrace Local Cultures When Traveling

 

When you travel, it can be easy to adopt a tourism mindset. You might base your adventures out of a hotel, enjoy room service frequently, and stick to the advertised wonders that get promoted to everyone.

One of the best ways to enjoy a vacation or holiday of any length is to embrace the local culture. It’s easier than you might realize to “become local” during your stay. Here are some ways that you can adapt to this different approach to traveling.

1. Get Social

You could stay close to your travel buddy or stay in the hotel with your family. If you want to maximize the fun of your next adventure, then try breaking with that tradition. Introduce yourself to the local crowd by visiting local stores, restaurants, or places of entertainment. It always helps to have a few friends who can show you the way, especially if they live there, because those folks can help you to find the hidden gems that are waiting for you.

2. Speak the Language

If you go to a foreign country, then there is an excellent chance that your native language isn’t going to be well-received there. Even if people can understand you, there are more opportunities to explore when you can speak a few words of what everyone else uses to converse. Most locals appreciate the effort to understand them better, and that often leads to some incredible experiences.

3. Try New Foods

Eating like a local means that you go beyond the restaurant scene. Visit a marketplace to see what is available. If you have a kitchenette in your suite, then consider bringing home locally-sourced delicacies to make for everyone. You might try a pop-up place, a dive on the side of the road, or a food truck that seems intriguing. It can be scary to try something new like this, but it can also be quite rewarding.

4. Live the Local Life

Don’t be afraid to try blending in during your stay. If you’re the only one wearing flip-flops and t-shirts, then everyone knows that you’re a tourist. When people feel that you belong where you are, then it is much easier to assimilate parts of the culture into your own life. It’s quite exciting to discover destinations or sights that aren’t in travel brochures because you befriended someone who thought you were their neighbor.

5. Public Transportation

Renting a car can make life easier for you in some ways, but it can also get to be an expensive proposition. Consider using the local version of public transportation to get around. It’s a fantastic way to get a feel for the area while providing opportunities to get to know some of the locals. You’ll also have more money for souvenirs or experiences along the way.

Embracing the local culture isn’t always easy. It can sometimes make you feel rather uncomfortable. If you take these approaches, then it can also be a highly rewarding experience that creates memories that last for a lifetime.

25 May 2020

Best Places to See in the World Today That Are Off the Beaten Path

 

There are some incredible places in the world to see that tourists don’t see as a viable destination. If you’re willing to go off of the beaten path, then some immersive travel experiences can change the way that you see our planet.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit one of these destinations, then you shouldn’t hesitate.

1. Cape Verde

This African destination might be the most underrated one you can visit today. It might have a remote location on Africa’s west coast, but there is an outstanding commitment to human rights, clean energy, and cultural preservation. The archipelago includes ten islands with diverse ecosystems to explore, including black-sand beaches, to enjoy some sunshine.

2. Botswana

You’ll get to see the wildlife of Africa in its natural habitat thanks to the efforts of this country. The government has prioritized the protection of giraffes, elephants, and more species for over 50 years. Commercial hunting was banned entirely in 2014, and the laws are strictly enforced to prevent losses. It’s the best place for a safari destination.

3. Hokkaido

This destination might be the second-largest island of Japan, but it is also the one with the least amount of development. You’ll find alpine fields, ancient forests, and brilliant caldera lakes waiting for those with an adventurous spirit. Several cycling and hiking trails are available, and you can even go skiing in the winter.

4. Cuba

Although restrictions are still in place for some travelers to visit this island nation, you will have an amazing time while touring cities like Havana. It feels like a throwback to the 1950s, partially due to the policies of the communist regime. The largest island of the Caribbean offers mountains to explore, jungles to see, and a rich culture to embrace. You’re going to love the colorful art and infectious music that seems to be everywhere.

5. Svalbard

This archipelago falls about halfway between the North Pole and Norway. It’s an Arctic wonderland filled with wildlife and natural adventures. Only 2,700 people call this place their home, and there are more snowmobiles found there than cars. Glaciers still cover about 60% of the land area. You can see reindeer, foxes, and an incredible array of marine life. It’s also one of the best places in the world to experience the Northern Lights.

6. Papua New Guinea

This island nation is one of the most rural countries in the world today. It sits almost 7,000 miles away from the California coast, and only 18% of the population lives in its cities. You will also see that the cultural diversity here is incredibly high despite its size. You’ll find beaches, rainforests, and 15,000-foot tall mountains waiting for you.

It isn’t always easy to visit some of the best places in the world, but the time and effort you make to get there are definitely worthwhile. Add one of these destinations to your itinerary this year to see what is waiting!

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