Do You Want to #Wandermore? Here are Some Ideas to Get You Started

After more than a year of wearing masks, social distancing, and staying at home, it’s no wonder most everyone you know wants to #wandermore. The time is ripe for excitement and exploration, where the sky’s the limit and dreams are realized. Perhaps you don’t quite know the perfect adventure. Thankfully we have some excellent ideas to help whet your imagination.

Hiking Trails

Pack a lunch and hit the trail. There’s nothing quite like hiking on a quiet trail through the woods or the mountains. Getting out of the city and into nature is like a balm for the soul. It gives you a chance to reconnect with life and calm the turmoil within that stems from work and expectations. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, it doesn’t matter. The spirit of a hike is the journey.

Secluded Beaches

Maybe half the population of your state is rushing to the beach right now, but have you ever taken the time to drive up the coast and look for secluded spots to walk in the surf? Take the time and search for seashells, sit in the sand, and find yourself while you watch the spectacular sunset. You’ll be giving yourself the gift of yourself.

Quiet Rivers

How about finding a river, stream, or babbling brook? Dipping your feet into the chilly waters might just be what the doctor ordered. The babbling sounds of water over rocks calms the heart and mind and centers you to the depth of your soul. Bring a book, spend the day, and recharge yourself on the banks of a river that isn’t a popular fishing spot or the local watering hole. Wander to find it, and when you do, treasure it like the secret gem that it is.

Horseback Riding

Perhaps you’re more adventurous. What’s a better way to traverse the countryside than horseback riding? There are plenty of places to make reservations and have a lot of fun. Have you ever ridden a horse? Now’s the time. They’re beautiful and gentle creatures and you’ll have the time of your life discovering new and fantastic places. If you take a tour with a guide, that’s only a bonus, as you’re also learning something new. Take a chance and go for a ride.

Mountain Bike Riding

Alternately if you don’t like horses, you can rent or buy a mountain bike and ride your way down the trail on two wheels. Not everyone can master the dirt trails of mountains, so perhaps you’d like to keep to the paved bike trails of the city. There’s nothing wrong with that! The idea is to get out of your comfort zone so if it’s been a while since you’ve ridden a bike, get out there and give yourself a thrill. No matter whether you go hiking, find a secluded beach or a quiet river, or go riding on a horse or a bike, you’ll make memories to last you a lifetime.

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Great Suggestions For a #TravelDestination

Whether you’re looking for your next great #traveldestination or just want to live vicariously through this blog post, come and have a seat and read all about some of the world’s greatest and most desired destinations for world travelers.

The Tropics

The Tropics is a huge portion of the planet, so take your pick from Bermuda to Fiji, and from Hawaii to the Cayman Islands. It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as there’s warm surf, white sand, and cocktails on the beach. Go to a luau, explore the island, relax by the pool, enjoy good food. The Tropics are some of the most romantic locales on earth. If you really want to impress your lover, book a trip and have the time of your life.

Europe

This blog is too short to single out one particular country, so why not visit them all? Explore history in Great Britain, enjoy fabulous culinary delights in France and Italy, and have your fill of beer in Germany. Don’t miss the ocean scenery of Spain or the colorful countrysides of Greece. Delight in the Northern Lights of Norway or the fjords of Sweden. So much varying culture exists in Europe, that one will never be bored when visiting the sights. If you’re a history buff, there is plenty of history on this continent to keep you satisfied for years to come.

The East Coast

If you want to go on a family road trip or take the kids to learn a little something about their country, make it a point to go up and down the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. You’ll not only be able to check out sites of the historic Civil War, but the Revolutionary War as well. Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York City, just to name a few. Within a week’s time, you’ll have seen many amazing monuments and artifacts that will make you proud to be an American. Every family should make it a point to go Back East at least once while the kids are young.

The Orient

If you really want to go east, how about the Far East? The Orient encompasses several different Asian countries, each unique in cultures all their own. China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Mongolia are some of the countries that make up what we know as The Orient. We are familiar with Chinese food and sushi from Japan, but what a wonder it would be to go and partake of these dishes in their country of origin! Their cultures are so vastly different from our own, that a trip to these locations would educate as well as entrance. Don’t miss an opportunity to see this part of the world. 

Anywhere you travel can become your perfect #traveldestination if you put your mind to it. It doesn’t have to be over the hills and far away, travel somewhere local and have a fabulous time. Open the map, pick a location, and take off for adventures unknown. 

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Have You Been Bitten By the #TravelBug?

How many times have you heard that “life is a journey, not a destination”? Probably several times. This same philosophy can be used for travel as well. We often think about our vacation as the destination we have in mind, but what if we caught the #travelbug and made traveling itself our vacation? Then our vacation would have several destinations, not just one.

Take a Road Trip in Another Country

If you want to spice up the old road trip, take one in another country. Drive the countrysides of Scotland or Ireland. Peruse the winding roads of Spain or drive down the peninsula of Italy. Don’t go to one town in particular, but several. If you’re not confident enough to drive through another country, you can take a train or even hitchhike if you’re adventurous. France and England are connected via the Channel Tunnel and traveling between the two countries is easier than ever. This is definitely a vacation for a #travelbug.

Pick a Random Spot on the Map

If you can afford it, pick a random spot on the map and figure out a way to get there. Don’t let that spot be the destination or the goal, but let your vacation unfold throughout the several stops you’ll take along the way. Make it a point to visit areas you’ve never been before, stay in hotels you’ve never seen before, eat at restaurants you’ve never heard of before. This is definitely a trip that will force you out of your comfort zone!

Learn All About New Cultures

If you travel to a foreign country, try to immerse yourself in the culture and seek out destinations and locales this area might be known for. Take hikes in a new area, go on foreign tours, seek out the things tourists do when they travel abroad. Don’t be afraid to take part in the odd tradition or eat the strange, new food. If you want to experience a life vastly different than your own, start here.

Have a Fun Goal

If you want to make your travel itself the vacation, you’ll want to have a fun goal. How many national parks can you visit and enjoy? How many national monuments can you see on your road trip? What famous mountains can you climb, how many blooming gardens can you tour, how many lakes, rivers, or other natural vistas can you seek to explore? How many states can you visit on your trip? How many Cracker Barrels can you eat at? Having a goal of seeing several things on your trip is a great way to make the trip itself your destination.

Whatever your choice of travel, the idea is to make sure your travel is where the fun is to be had. What’s next on the horizon? What’s new in this town? Or the next? Or even the next? Look for adventure wherever you go, and adventure will be sure to find you. Have a fantastic time!

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Rethinking #Tourism

What do you think of when you hear the word #tourism? Old grandpas with combovers, socks with sandals, and an old timey camera around their necks, probably. Children screaming while Mom is trying to keep them calm for the family photo in front of Mt. Rushmore. Maybe even a family road trip where everyone’s cranky and something stinks in the back of the station wagon. We all have stories, and maybe even some baggage, surrounding the word tourism, but let’s take the time to rethink it, take it back, and make it ours. 

Take a Tour

Stating the obvious here, but tourism is about touring. Why not take a literal tour? Whether you tour the underground catacombs of your city, take a fun ghost tour through the streets of Old Town, tour the mansions of various celebs in Hollywood, tour the winding dusty trails of the Grand Canyon, or taking a guided tour of an old museum, the idea is to have a good time and learn a little something. Tours are informative but also a way to connect with fun facts, history of the sites, and share an experience. Go online and see what tours are available near you.

Tour the Countryside

Make it a point to get out of the city and have a look at the rural countryside where you live. Are there mountains? Rivers? Lakes? Trails? Go and have an adventure outside of the norm and get to know all the back roads, the trails less traveled, the secluded mountain streams. Not only will you likely find adventure along the way in u-pick berry farms or old antique shops, you’ll also clear your head from all the hustle and bustle of city life. If you’re already in the country, then go find your adventure in the streets of the big city.

Tour Your State

What are some fun things your state is known for? Have you visited them all? Have you visited any of them? Why not make it a point to go with friends or family and do something out-of-towners do? Go see the monument, have fun on the water, watch a local band play, check out that fantastic national park. Not only will you probably have a lot of fun, you’ll be better able to know what to do should the extended family come visit.

Tour the Country

For the more adventurous who really want a change of pace, take an epic road trip and tour the country. Make some goals of where you’d like to go in what state and bring it to fruition. What have you always wanted to see? Where have you always wanted to go? Where did you go on vacation as a child that you’d like to see again as an adult? If you have the time and the money, why not? Exploring the world is an excellent way to make amazing and lasting memories, and when you go with a loved one, you’re living your best life.

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The Best Places in the World to Watch the #Sunset

Come and take a journey of imagination and whimsy. Here, we’ll ponder the magnificent locales of this world and the glory of them all as the #sunset paints the sky. Perhaps you might be able to afford to travel to several of these locations. Perhaps you will never visit them. But a sunset is a universal beauty that is admired everywhere and there are plenty of pictures to look at and admire.

Tropical Beaches

Have you been to a tropical beach? There’s nothing quite like watching a sunset from the clear warm waters as the sun slowly sinks beneath the waters of the horizon. Shadows of palm trees sway in the breeze, the very same breeze that caresses your skin and puts a smile on your face. There’s a reason the tropics are often referred to as paradise, with their lush greenery, white sands, and waters clear as crystal. If you haven’t viewed a sunset from a tropical beach, put it on your bucket list.

Desert Skies

Perhaps it’s the red in the sand or the painted rocks of the wilderness, but the desert sky at sunset always seems to be a masterpiece of bold and beautiful color. Deep red, vivid orange, and glorious gold light up the sky, and if there are a few scattered clouds, it makes it all the better. The longer the sunset, the more it seems to mature, as reds fade away into pinks and orange into creamsicles. If you’re lucky, you might witness a crown of light piercing the clouds as rays of the sun come crashing through them. These wondrous sights take your breath away. You’ll want to witness a desert sunset at least once in your life.

On the Farm

What’s better than looking out across a field of wheat or corn and watching the sun dip low on the horizon? No trees to hinder your view, no houses in the way. Nothing but big sky and bigger glory. The sun bathes the land with bright light as the day wanes, and the whole farmhouse is filled with a warm and golden glow, bringing images of children playing, dogs chasing them, and Grandma baking her gooey apple pie. 

On the Water

You don’t have to be a boater to enjoy a sunset on the water. If you’re vacationing in a lake house, a beach house, or on the river, you’ll be privy to one of the most majestic sights a sunset has to offer — its own reflection upon the water. Having that beauty reflected back at you thus doubles the wonder. These are the sunsets lovers covet for romantic kisses and photographers flock to for that perfect shot. 

In the Mountains

Whether camping on the mountainside or taking refuge in a cabin, there’s something special about sunsets in the mountains. They ignite the entire countryside ablaze in ethereal light, with the promise of crisp and clear starry skies after the sun takes its final bow. Wherever your fancy, sunsets around the world are incredible.

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A Few Great Tips for #NaturePhotography

We’ve all stood in awe of some fantastic #naturephotography shots on social media. If you’re anything like me, you’d love to try your hand at it. Nowadays, even your phone can take decent digital pictures. If you’re a nature enthusiast and want to understand some of the best tips to get started, you’ve come to the right place!

Know Your Subject

First, you’ll have to ask yourself what is your subject? Are you shooting wildlife? Insects? Flowers? Landscapes? Sunsets? All of the above? Once you settle on your subject, you’ll be more inclined to find new and imaginative ways to take their picture. You’ll want to be mindful of needing to wait, perhaps all day, especially if you’re shooting wildlife or waiting for a specific time of day, for instance. Birds, especially, will need to have a patient photographer to get a shot worth anything. If you’re going for bigger game such as bears or moose, you’ll want to be a good distance away. You might consider buying yourself a wide-angle lens for your camera.

Consider a Telescoping Tripod

Whether a stubby tripod or a full-sized one, consider buying one for your nature excursions. Animals and scenery don’t always cooperate. Your arms, your legs, your back will get tired, no question. You might even get sleepy waiting for the perfect shot to present itself. Set up your tripod to keep your camera steady. Don’t cheat yourself out of the perfect shot simply because your arms were shaking. Most telescoping tripods can get quite small for strapping onto a backpack so they’re easier to pack into the wilderness. You’ll definitely want to pick one up the next time you go out.

Be Aware of Natural Light

Since you’re shooting in the rough, always be aware of your natural light. You won’t be able to set up your shot like you would in the studio, so make sure your shadow isn’t in the picture and that your subject is fully lit. Use water to reflect the light whenever you can. This will not only allow you to properly expose your shot but bring interest and originality to it as well. Is your subject reflected on the water? Is the sun itself reflected? Always be aware of how light can make or break your photograph. It’s best to think of your natural light as another subject for your shots.

Remember the Rule of Thirds

This rule is a hard and fast rule in photography. The idea is not to shoot your subject dead center of your picture, but to think of your photograph as a grid, divided into thirds vertically and horizontally. Interesting photographs frame their subjects creatively, so use the Rule of Thirds to your advantage here. Showcase a hummingbird and a flower within two separate “thirds” of a photograph, for instance, and the picture will become a beautiful memento.

Overall, have fun with your nature photography. Take yourself into the backwoods with plenty of snacks and have an excellent day taking Mother Nature’s portrait.

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Going on a #LastMinuteTrip!

You finally got the time off. That bonus check came through. You need to celebrate right now. You decided to dip into your savings. Whatever the reason, you’re going on a #lastminutetrip! What are some things you might be able to book on a last-minute trip?

Hotel Rooms in Vegas

Let’s face it, Las Vegas is the crown jewel of last-minute trips. This town is known for quick elopements and elaborate celebrations. If ever there were a town that embodied the spirit of going on vacation at the last possible minute, it would be Las Vegas. They are never at a loss for hotel rooms and they’re always ready and willing to take your money, either at the card tables or the buffet tables. Whatever the reason for your trip, Las Vegas is sure to accommodate you.

A Vacation Home

There are plenty of vacation home websites, and many houses open and ready today for your last-minute trip. It might be a little more expensive than if you booked it a few weeks ago, but that’s neither here nor there. Rent a fabulous house on the beach, in the country, by the river, or near the mountains. If you want to get away but you don’t want to stay in a hotel with a bunch of loud people, renting a vacation home is your best bet. You’ll have all the comforts of a home away from home.

Dinner Reservations

Unless the establishment is seriously booked out for weeks on end, you’re more than likely to get your dinner booked wherever you’d like to go. However, if you want to book a dinner cruise around the bay, you’ll probably need some advance time for that. Depending on how “last minute” your last-minute trip truly is, you might be able to book your dinner cruise with a week or two notice. 

Plane Tickets

It’s obvious, the closer you get to your date of departure, the more expensive your plane tickets will be. However, you’ll still be able to book them no problem. Just make sure you also book a rental car if needed and a hotel to stay on the other end of your flight at the same time. A last-minute trip doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least do the bare minimum to prepare.

Theme Park Tickets

Unless you’re going to a place that puts a cap on the number of guests they let in per day, you can buy theme park tickets up until the time you literally walk through the gates to have your fun day of adventure. However, booking them somewhat in advance might get you cheaper prices or it might provide entry into fun shows or events. It’s a good idea to purchase your theme park tickets at the same time you book your airline, your hotel, and your rental car. 

Last minute trips can be exciting and unpredictable, but make sure you have enough money to book your trip, as they can also be quite expensive.

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Planning the Dreaded #FamilyRoadTrip

Uh oh. Looks like Dad has a wild hair again. Did he just say, “Family road trip?” Doesn’t he know we barely like each other as it is? Look, we all shudder when someone suggests a family road trip, but road trips don’t have to be completely vilified. Much of the success of a family road trip comes in preparing to take one. Rather than rushing at the last minute when everyone’s nerves are frayed, slow down, take some time, and plan it out. Your children will thank you. Or not. 

Plan Your Trip

Where are you going? What’s the end goal? Are you taking a day trip or a longer trip to somewhere far away? The best thing you can do for your road trip with the family is set daily goals. How many miles will you drive in one day? Stop in certain towns and make hotel reservations beforehand. Never roll into town thinking you’ll just find something along the way. Have a plan, execute that plan, and everyone will be happy campers.

Plan Your Snacks

Everyone is going to get hungry on that long stretch of road a hundred miles between gas stations. Make sure your snacks are legion and your ice chest is filled to the brim. If you’re bringing pets, you better pack water and dog treats for them too and stop often for potty breaks. There’s nothing worse than a hungry toddler or a thirsty teen. Both will scream and cry. Do yourself a favor and load up on the snacks.

Plan Your Entertainment

You can’t fill a days’ long car ride with lame road games. You might be able to kill maybe fifteen minutes until your fifteen-year-old gets tired of I Spy. Or the Alphabet game. Or Slug Bug. Bring books, puzzle books, and electronics. Fill your playlist with epic music, an audiobook, or a podcast series. Have movies cued up for the kids to watch in the back. Bring drawing supplies, journals, mad libs, whatever will keep your family occupied for miles on end.

Plan to be Comfy

No matter the food and entertainment you bring, you’re bound to have people napping in the car on the way to your destination. Fill your car with pillows and blankets to maximize the cozy. Do not forget Junior’s favorite blankie. Bring the dog bed. Pack the neck pillow. You might just get a few hours of quiet on the way.

Plan Another Driver

Okay, Dad, you are not Clark Griswold. You do not need to drive the whole way yourself. Plan for another driver, your spouse, your older teen, your adult child, a friend. Take turns with the driving responsibilities that you do not get burned out or too tired to take the wheel. Not only is it practical, but it’s safe as well. No one needs you to fall asleep at the wheel or take unnecessary risks. Tired drivers are unsafe drivers. Switch it up at every rest stop.

If your family is well fed, well rested, and well entertained, you should have a very good time on your family road trip.

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There’s So Much to #Explore!

How much of your state have you come to #explore? Maybe it’s time to get out more and have yourself an adventure. What is your state known for? What is famous in your city? What do the tourists do when they’re in town? Let’s take a look at what you could do that’s new in your neck of the woods.

City Tours

Explore your city with a fun tour. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in your city if you’ve never taken a tour of it. From the Duck Boat tours of Seattle to the ghost tours of New Orleans, there’s likely a fun tour in your city as well. Have a look and have yourself a great time. Explore your city in a new and exciting way.

Try New Restaurants

Are you tired of eating the same old things you always have? Do a little digging, find an out-of-the-way restaurant or a place you’ve never been and have a yummy evening. Find a hole-in-the-wall, a mom-n-pop shop, or a hidden greasy spoon. Quite often it’s the places we’d never find without some help that are the best places we’ve ever eaten. Explore the food of your city like you never have.

Get Out of the City

Maybe you’re tired of the city you live in. Fair enough. So, get out of it. Go and visit the mountains, the ocean, a lake, a river. Pack a lunch, take the kids, go for a day trip somewhere fun. Check out places you’ve never been. Take the road less traveled. Look for secluded spots, quiet beaches, or scenic vistas. Go camping at a new campground, hiking on a new mountain, biking in a new area. Explore the countryside and discover hidden gems you never knew about before.

Visit Museums and Monuments

Do you live in a city famous for its museums and monuments? Are there artifacts from history you’ve never seen before? Maybe now’s the time to channel your inner history buff and take the time to go. Invite your friends and family, walk around the sights, and take it all in. You’d be surprised how many locals have not visited museums and monuments in their own city. It’s what the tourists do. Well, take a day and pretend you’re a tourist! Explore the history of your region.

Go on a Road Trip

If you want to get away, take a road trip and go even further. It doesn’t have to last for days on end; a trip to the beach will do. Go somewhere you’ve never been and explore the little shops and restaurants along the way. You’ll learn things you never knew and find places you’ll come to love. You might even find exciting and new favorite places to go for future trips! Explore your state by going for a drive.

Spice up your life and explore the world where you live. You don’t have to get on a plane to have an amazing time. Adventure awaits in your own backyard!

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It’s Time to Go #BacktoSchool!

It’s that time of year again, time for the kids to get ready to go #backtoschool! After a long year away due to the 2020 quarantine for the Covid-19 pandemic, schools are reopening this fall and life will get back to normal. Here are some tips to help your kids get back into the groove of their school schedule.

Take Them to Buy Supplies

When you buy school supplies, make sure you take your kids along rather than grabbing a few notebooks and pencils the next time you’re at the store. Picking out their own folders, pencils, and paper can help your kids get excited about the coming school year as well as get them used to the idea of going back into the school room. Make a day of it and buy them a new backpack, maybe even some new clothes. Kids love to have special things for a special day. Make that first day of school a special one for them to remember.

Get to Know Their Teachers

If you’re a little worried or stressed about your kids going back to school with a mask mandate or with Covid-19 still a thing, get to know your kids’ teachers and discuss your concerns with them. What precautions will they be taking in the classroom? What are some ways that you might be able to help your child during the coming school year? What are some things you can be sure to look out for with regards to their schoolwork? Be prepared to help your child with homework and figuring everything out. This will help them to settle into a new routine more easily.

Extracurricular Activities

It might be fun to get your kid involved this year, whether in band, a sport, cheerleading, an after-school club, or anything your child’s school might provide for extra enrichment. This will not only help them to expand their confidence, but they’ll also have a new way to make friends and spend some time out of the house doing something productive. However, you’ll only want to urge these things should your child be interested. Nothing will get a child to dislike school more than being forced into unwanted school activities. Be sure your child is on board with these things before signing them up. 

Be Available to Help with Homework

This deserves its own section, as our children often get confused or need help. Make sure to be available to help with homework as needed. Do they need a math concept explained more fully? Do they need inspiration with a research paper? Do they need help writing a speech or choosing a book for a book report? It means a lot to your child to be involved with their schooling and caring about the grades they achieve. Don’t throw them into the deep end of the pool and expect them to figure it all out on their own. If you allow them to come to you and get all help they need, you’ll be more than ready to tackle school in the fall!

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