August 05, 2019

Top Adventure Holidays For Your Bucket List


Note: This post has been contributed.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

It's possible that you're already thinking about and planning next year's holidays and if you're not sure where to go or what to do then how about something a little different? There are so many choices when it comes to travel, and while relaxing holidays are often needed, sometimes you also need a bit of adventure and to do something different, out of your comfort zone and a new experience. Take a look at this list for a bit of inspiration and start planning the trip of a lifetime:

Run The Great Wall Marathon
If you like a challenge, you love to run and are either already a marathon runner or would like to run one, then why not go to China and do it there along the Great Wall. One of the world's most challenging marathons, it includes 5,164 steps and passes through the lower valley and into the neighboring villages. 

Swim With Endangered Species In Australia
In Western Australia, you will find the Ningaloo Reef which attracts 500 species of fish and some endangered species such as hawksbill and loggerhead turtles. Take a trip and try snorkeling along the reef and you might see some humpback whales too. 

Fish In The Zambezi River
The Zambezi River is the 4th largest river in Africa behind the Nile, Congo, and Niger Rivers. Flowing through six countries, the water is pure with some of the best wildlife the world has to offer, including crocodiles, hippopotamuses, elephants, lions, buffaloes, and an array of birdlife. People from all over the world go Fishing the Zambezi River due to the quality of the fish species on offer but nothing compares to the Tigerfish of the Zambezi.

Descend Into Thrihnukagigur Volcano, Iceland
Go below the earth's surface in Iceland and see the colorful cavern that has been drained of its magma in the Thrihnukagigur Volcano

Get Your Adrenaline Pumping in the Azores
Book yourself in for an action-packed holiday with activities such as  canyoning, whale watching, rock climbing, swimming with dolphins and cliff-diving all on offer and to top it off, the Azores experience warm to mild temperatures all-year-round, 

Motorcycle In The Isle Of Man
Home to the annual Isle of Man TT races and Festival of Motorcycling, the Isle of Man is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world for motorcycling. There's a number of different tours available for you to choose from and they're all pretty fantastic. 

Rio Futaleufu Rafting Holiday In Chile
The Rio Futaleufu runs from Argentina's Los Alerces National Park west through Chile to the atmospheric coastal fishing town of Chaiten so not only is this a beautiful place to visit but the rafting is awesome too. Your adrenaline will no doubt be pumping!

Take a ranch holiday in the USA
Experience life like a cowboy and stay on a cattle ranch for a holiday like no other. Check out the Dixie Dude Ranch in the Texas Hill Country, where you can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and swimming and spend the evenings joining in campfire sing-a-longs and dancing.

May 31, 2019

Where To Buy Your Next Used Car

Note: This post has been contributed.

Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels


If you’re thinking about purchasing your next car, then you may be wondering where is best to do this. Regardless of where you decide to purchase your new car, you still need to make sure you are wary and complete some research before committing to buy. It will help you to protect yourself from being caught out and give protection from a bad car or a bad deal. Have a look below at 4 places that you could look to purchase your next car. 

Through A Car Dealership
Buying through a dealer doesn’t always have to mean you are buying new. A lot of dealer offers used cars and some even specialise in them. So if you’re thinking about buying a used go you can go to a franchise dealership, independent dealership or a car supermarket that offers used vehicles. Here are a few pros and cons of buying through a dealer.

Pros:
  • Your rights as a consumer are much better as you rarely have any when buying privately.
  •  You will probably benefit from a warranty.
  •  Major faults will most likely be sorted before the dealer sells the car.
  • You are always able to negotiate.
  • They may have deals for you to take advantage of.
  • You could possibly get a better deal if you offer part exchange.
  • The finance options on offer to you will be much better and may include hire purchase and personal contract payment.
  • If you’re buying a relatively new car you may find that you get some manufactures warranty still included.
Cons:
  • There could be restrictions to the warranty such as no cover on an engine or over a certain amount of miles.
  • You need to be confident that you can barter and that you’re not paying over the odds at price.
  • Sometimes the prices can be higher.


Privately
It’s no secret that when you are considering purchasing a used motor privately it can be risky. If there are any problems afterwards then you will most likely be left to deal with it yourself and in most cases, they will be buying as seen, however, buying privately can be good when you’re looking for a quick, cheap car. Just beware not everyone is honest.

Pros:
  • You will probably pay a lot less.
  • You can often negotiate a seller down on their price, especially if you are eager to sell.
  • It’s always handy to meet the previous owner. It allows you to ask questions.

Cons:
  • You won’t receive any warranty unless you pay for an independent check. So insurance is an absolute must.
  • Car finance is not an option. It would have to be a loan.
  • You have next to no consumer rights, the car just needs to be ‘as described’ and road worthy
  • You should do a lot of research.
  • No part-exchange is available although sometimes you can fall on people wanting to swap.

Auctions
Although they can be seen as one of the riskier options looking for an auction company close by could be the way you look to purchasing your next car. They are a brilliant way of grabbing yourself a bargain but it’s definitely worth researching how to handle yourself at an auction.

Pros:
  • You can grab yourself a really good bargain, unbeatable prices compared to a dealership or privately.

Cons:
  • Once the hammer has gone down you are in a commitment and cannot back out of the sale.
  • You probably won’t have any consumer rights, it’s worth researching it on each auction site as with some you do.
  • It’s easy to get into a bidding war and overshoot your budget, especially if you’re a little competitive.

Do you have any other ways that you can purchase your next used car? Please share them in the comments section below.  

April 26, 2019

Baby Brain? Don't Go Insane! Being A Better Father When Anxiety Cripples You


Note: This post has been contributed.


Becoming a parent, in many ways, is the shortcut to making you a better person. There's nothing more humbling and downright scary than being responsible for someone else in every aspect of their life. Naturally, this can pave the way for a lot of anxiety. While there's a lot of talk about postpartum depression in mothers, it happens in fathers as well. And when stress and anxiety rear its head, which is on a very regular basis, are there any simple things that we can do to keep a lid on this so we can be better parents?

It's All About The Practice
We have to practice being calm. This can be quite difficult to achieve if we are forever wound up. This means that you need to focus on the quality of mental downtime. When we are stressed and fit to explode this heightened state can deplete us of energy that is better used in other aspects of our lives. But when you don't know where to begin, this can prove to be a difficult road to embark on. The best approach for anybody that's looking to be calmer is to switch off your fight-or-flight. You can do this easily, but it does take a lot of practice. There's a lot of talk about mindfulness and meditation these days. But the best place to begin is to practice our breathing. A lot of us, when we are stressed, tend to shallow breathe. By focusing on our breath and breathing deeper, ensuring that our diaphragm fills up as well as our lungs, and doing this whenever we have a spare 20 seconds throughout the day, we can slowly take control over our state.

Don't Over-Rely On Stimulants
You wake up in the morning and you need that first coffee. You feel that you can't do anything without it. But what we tend to do, if we feel that we've had a particularly bad night, is over-rely on these stimulants. We may have a second or third cup, and depending on our own individual tolerance to caffeine, this might tip you over the edge. It's about finding that veritable sweet spot when it comes to caffeine. It's always best, after your first coffee, to wait at least 20 minutes for it to enter your system. Remember, caffeine stays in our bodies for at least 12 hours, so if you have a cup of coffee at 2 pm, it's still going to be in your system in the middle of the night!

Remember, You're Not Alone
Maybe you don't sleep, or life is just getting on top of you, and you feel like you never have a moment to yourself. You're not alone. And if you are spending a lot of time to yourself, there are some excellent resources out there, even in podcast form, that can help. Abiding Fathers have a podcast for fathers that are looking to fine-tune themselves. And when we feel these peaks and troughs of emotion, the most humbling thing that we can do for ourselves is realize that we're not in it alone. There is no need for us to feel like we've got to push through because this is what will help us. Support, especially for fathers and men who aren't particularly keen on discussing their emotions, is out there in abundance! When you feel stressed, remember, this is a normal sensation.

April 20, 2019

How to Enhance Your Spirituality for a Calmer Life


Note: This post has been contributed.

A moment of peace and quiet it very hard to come by nowadays. Everybody seems to be wrapped up in the excitement of their mobile phones or staying at work late to finish that important deadline. Have you ever considered what it would be like to have a more serene outlook on life? If you want to become a better person and show kindness to others there are a few life changes you can make right now. Connecting with your inner spirituality will help you to start a lifelong journey to happiness and calm. Consider some of the following ways to reconnect with yourself and find happiness from other elements in life.

Join a Church

Even if you aren’t a religious person, you might feel overwhelmed by the love and support that will great you from the moment you walk in. Look into the services offered by Universal Church and their door will always be open to you. The Universal Church is driven by the love its pastors, volunteers and faithful congregants have for the God of the Bible Who rescued them and for the people around them. Those who are part of this amazing work make all efforts necessary to take the good news of deliverance, family restoration and salvation to the minds and hearts of those near and far. By joining this family you will start to feel a new appreciation for life and the little things around you.
Beach, Girl, Leisure, Outdoors, Person

Meditate Often

You should never underestimate the power of meditation. If you have a particularly stressful job or you have a lot of personal issues going on in your life, this process will help you to connect with your breathing and relax. Even if you can only spend ten minutes meditating before you go to work, you will find it helps you to clear your head when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

Practice Gratitude

It is true that many of us take our lives for granted; we can combat this by practicing gratitude every single day. Write down three things that you are grateful for every morning and you will start to see life in a whole different way. Whether you’re grateful for the birds singing outside your window or a hot cup of coffee in the morning, these are all things in life we should never take for granted. Many people strive to be more compassionate, but practicing gratitude will help you towards a kinder way of thinking. You never know what somebody is going through in their life so treat everybody with forgiveness whenever possible.

It can be very easy to pass judgement on others in this day and age, especially when you have no idea what their background is. However, spirituality will help you to become more forgiving and kind to those around you. Whether you are considering joining a local church or you want to make a conscious effort to show compassion to others, all of these improvements will help you to live a calmer and happier life.

April 02, 2019

The Key Habits That Will Make You A Better Person


Note: this post has been contributed.


Viewed in one respect, our lives are the product of an accumulation of habits. Of course, these can be either positive or negative, but over time, the things we do begin to shape who we are. Our habits are literally the foundation of our characters and our destinies. 

So it's little wonder that we spend a lot of time and mental energy engaged in a struggle to make our habits better ones. From the age old tradition of New Year's Resolutions onto setting SMART goals at work, and even reflected in the popularity of charity challenges such as Stoptober or Dry January, our desire to makeover our habits, and so, makeover the person we are, is deeply ingrained in us. 

We all have our individual motivating factors - from wanting to live a healthier lifestyle to scaling the corporate ladder, or even just making our children proud of us. We want and need to do better for our own sake. So what habits should be top of the list to change in our lives? 

Find Your Tribe

Making connections is essential to us as social animals. We find fulfillment in the approval of others, in being accepted - and there's nothing wrong with that. Spending time around people who inspire and uplift us, and who have similar values really can make a huge difference to our quality of life. And when we don't feel that sense of connection and support? We fall prey to the epidemic of loneliness that is all around us in a digital age. So make it your mission to find your tribe in life - people with the same passions as you. This tends to get harder as we get older, when we aren't exposed to new people and ideas as frequently. The key is to keep challenging yourself and learning new things. This will bring a new energy and usually new people into your life, and this can only be a positive. Surrounding yourself with the right networks can lead to new opportunities and great things - you just have to put yourself out there and find the connection. Natural introvert? Take a look at how to make small talk for introverts to arm yourself with the tools you need to succeed. 

Never Pay More Than You Need To

Our consumerist society is tuned in 24/7 to give us messages that we constantly need more and never things. Yet we know in our hearts that objects don't have the power to make us happy. Over the past few years, there has been a massive backlash movement which quite rightly values experiences over possessions, and prefers to spend any disposable income on making memories rather than acquiring the latest designer fashion. Indeed, one of the best and simplest habits is to learn respect for our money. Sooner than racking up needless purchases at high interest on easy credit, it's much healthier mentally and financially to take a step back. You can do that in several ways. The most useful is to create distance between you and a purchase. Never buy something on impulse, or because it's on sale. When you look at an item, challenge yourself to decide how much you think it's worth before looking at the price tag. If it's over that amount, put it back. You could also try adding items to an electronic wishlist rather than clicking ‘Add to basket’ on auto-pilot. If it's still on the list a month later, you have carte blanche to purchase, but you'll be surprised how many bad purchasing decisions this simple tactic can prevent. And make it a point of pride to never pay more than you have to on any purchase. Say you fall in love with a pricey set of new golf clubs. Instead of maxing out your credit card in the first shop you see them in, get smart. Shop around to find the best deal with a shopping comparison site or a specialist outlet such as rockbottomgolf.com. Or browse local listings for a preloved set - not only are you doing an incredibly positive thing for your wallet and impulse control,  but you're also saving the planet! 

Say No To Multitasking

We're often sold the myth that multi-tasking is crucial if we want to get everything done. But when you try to complete more than one task at once, you aren't putting your full effort and mental ability into anything that you do. This can be especially destructive if you run your own business, where you rely more on the quality of your individual output. If you want to improve at anything - from your half marathon pace time to your presentation skills, you must give it one hundred per cent -  and that means focusing on one task, and one task only. Cut the mental clutter. Close all those browser windows. Switch off your incoming email notifications and put your phone on silent. Tackle the most important job on your list first and give it your complete attention. You'll be surprised how much quicker you get it done and how much better quality you can achieve. 

Commit To A Better Night's Sleep

It may sound like a minor thing to those who lead busy lives. But a night of quality sleep is the foundation of mental and physical health. When we don't get enough rest, our minds and bodies suffer. Our focus is gone, we have poorer impulse control, we are more likely to make mistakes at work or to not have enough energy to work out. Practicing great sleep hygiene is a crucial habit that can make all the difference in your life. Start by finally banning electronics from the bedroom. The constant disturbances and the melatonin-disrupting blue light they emit have really negative impacts on our sleep quality. Then make sure the room is dark enough - you ideally need blackout blinds or curtains fitted. You should also check the room temperature, and invest in a great quality mattress and bedding. If you're still finding it hard to drop off, an electronic aromatherapy diffuser or even a white noise machine could be helpful, or try a mindfulness app like Calm or Headspace if you can't ‘switch off’ after a busy day. Aim to get at least seven or eight hours - that means properly calculating when you need to be in bed by counting back from your morning alarm time, and making sure you are wound down and ready to sleep by then. It makes a big difference to what you can achieve in a day.

March 11, 2019

5 Everyday Activities That Can Be Meditative


Note: This post has been contributed.

There are countless benefits to meditation, and it is something which is becoming more and more popular as time goes on, especially in this culture. It is also the kind of thing which has so much varied meaning that you never quite know what someone is referring to when they say it. There are many ways in which you can meditate without having to sit on the cushion, and indeed a lot of them are pretty ordinary everyday activities to boot. In this article, we are going to take a look at a number of everyday activities which can be meditative. If you find yourself taking up any of these - or just paying more attention to them - you will find that you are introducing a lot more of a kind of meditation into your life. Let’s see what those activities are, and how to make them meditative.

Fishing

If you have never really gone fishing, it is absolutely something that you might want to think about taking up. Not only is it incredibly calming and enjoyable as a way to spend time alone, it is also hugely valuable as a potential meditative experience. You don’t need much to go fishing. A rod, perhaps a boat and a look at some trolling motor battery top picks, and you can get on with it. With fishing, you are generally alone out in the natural world, and this - combined with the fact that you are doing something repetitive and calming - means that it is the perfect opportunity for some meditation. You don’t need to do anything in particular to make it a meditation - it’s just a case of doing it, as fully as you can and without allowing your thoughts to wander too much. You should find that, after a day of this kind of meditation, you feel very calm indeed.


Gardening

A lot of people find gardening to be especially calm, and it’s no wonder that there are such things as Zen gardens! The truth is that simple garden activities are often perfect for a little quiet meditation, and that is worth thinking about next time you are in the garden pottering about. Whether you are just pulling out a few weeds, or whether you are doing something more physically exhaustive - in either case, you will still be able to make it a meditation. Again, it is something that lends itself well to this, so you don’t need to do much besides merely focus on what you are doing with the fullness of your being. You might even find that you enjoy the gardening much more as a result, and you will end up with a beautiful garden too - truly a win-win situation.


Walking

We have already seen that meditation can involve movement, and one of the best ways to see this in practice is to try some walking meditation. If you have never heard of walking meditation, you might well wonder how it can possibly work. But actually, it is quite straightforward. Walking meditation merely requires that you pay close attention to the movements of the feet as you walk, noticing the rising and falling of the feet as you move along. This can be a surprisingly powerful meditative experience, and you can even do it in groups if you prefer. If you don’t want to do it that way, you can instead simply engage in mindful walking. That means no music, no earphones, and keeping your attention on the present moment rather than letting the mind wander. A few hours of this can be invigorating and refreshing.


Cleaning

There is something joyous about making meditation out of an everyday activity that you have to do, something which is technically a chore of some kind or another. Cleaning the home is a great opportunity to meditate, and the next time you are doing so you might actually be grateful to know this, as it does have a way of making your cleaning much more enjoyable and less tedious or boring. Focusing on the body’s movements as you clean a floor or window can be a surprisingly calm experience, and it’s definitely a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. You’ll find that you actually start to look forward to cleaning once you adopt a more meditative approach towards it.


Eating

Finally, it’s something you probably do three or more times a day, and it is a wonderful opportunity to get meditating. The whole process of eating - and, by extension the prior cooking - is a great act of meditation already. Turn the television off, and really pay attention to each bite as it happens. Discover again what it feels like to eat, and just be eating, without your mind being elsewhere. You might find the results to be strangely profound.

January 18, 2019

Turning a New Leaf to Lead a Better Life


Note: This post has been contributed.




We’re in the first month of the year, so it’s not all too surprising that many of us are still thinking about new beginnings and becoming a better person. The opening of a new calendar provides us with a completely blank slate that we can mould into a wonderful twelve months filled with positivity and happiness. So, where should we start when it comes to improving ourselves and consequently improving not only our own lives, but the lives of others around us too? Well, here are a few steps that you can take in order to make everything as peachy perfect as it can be in the near future!

Confront Existing Problems

When we are experiencing difficulties and tough times, it can be relatively difficult to stand up to whatever it may be that’s causing us trouble. This is why many of us attempt to sweep issues under the carpet and hope that they go away. This can be anything. Whether it’s financial issues, problems in our personal relationships, struggles with our physical health or mental health, or anything else. But it’s important to remember that simply ignoring issues doesn’t help to resolve them and there’s a good chance that they won’t simply go away. This is why you need to confront your problems. This can be done in a variety of ways. Sometimes just talking to someone about your problems can help significantly. It helps you to better explain and understand what you are going through and you could receive some good advice on how to move forward. If you want someone to talk to, take a look at Universal Church of the Kingdom of God locations and pop in or call up for a little help. Remember that a problem shared is a problem halved!

Forgive

It’s easy to bear a grudge. Especially if you truly feel that someone has wronged you. But try not to do this. Holding onto negative feelings can often prove more detrimental to you than the person you feel upset or hurt by. It causes you to ruminate on bad experiences and can hinder the process of getting over them and moving on in your own life. This is why forgiveness is so important. Being able to forgive someone doesn’t necessarily have to mean being their best friend and spending all of your time with them. It just means that you accept what has happened and show a willingness to leave it in the past. Letting go can be a huge relief. So, give it a try. It’s not necessarily going to be an easy or an immediate process, but it is possible.

These are just a couple of steps that you could try out in your journey to turn a new leaf in the book of your life. But they could significantly improve your happiness and quality of life. So, consider incorporating them into your routine as soon as possible! You will be able to reap the benefits sooner rather than later.

Top Adventure Holidays For Your Bucket List

Note: This post has been contributed. Image by Pexels from Pixabay It's possible that you're already thinking ab...