Hidden Gems in Life experiences

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“Fear can be responsible for changing your life – for better or for worse. If fear persists, you run the risk of missing out on some of the greatest experiences life has to offer.” – Cara Alwill Leyba

Every time I plan a trip or some sort of adventure, I always try to capitalize on the most experiences that I can have during that time. It’s not always about where I go, but more of who that I am with or what I am doing. Here in the states, some of the biggest gems are in places that most people don’t expect. For instance, Idaho is probably one of my favorite places to travel to but most people wouldn’t look twice at it. There is so much beauty and adventure that you can find there, it’s uncanny!

Boise Whitewater Park Wave

One of the best hidden gems is Boise’s whitewater park. There, in the heart of Idaho, you can practice your surf moves, cruise on the paddle board, kayak, and many more. The one that stands out the most to people is the surfing. There’s this big adjustable wave that draws the attention anywhere from people who have never surfed in their life, to people who would consider themselves an “expert.” Also, depending on the day of the week there, determines how the wave is going to act. Wave/hole days, you can expect to see an increase of kayakers but on green wave days, that’s when you’ll get the traditional stand up surfing. Regardless of the day though, you are not limited to one or the other it just makes it easier to ride if you follow the wave schedule.

A way to branch out and see things out of your typical norm is to get the opinion and ideas from the companions that you travel with. For instance, when my girlfriend and I got together, I knew that she is a big Harry Potter fan. When given the opportunity, we ended up in universal studios Hollywood on the way to Harry Potter world “hogsmeade.” Both of us had a blast and plan to go to Florida to visit the other attractions when we get time. But just like that, prior to meeting her I probably would not have gone. The experiences I shared there was well worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Universal Studios Hollywood “hogsmeade”

No matter if you’re traveling by yourself or with a group, always look to make those experiences. If it is slightly out of your way but you know it will make for a good day, just do it! Life is way to short so let’s get out there and start enjoying it.

Mindfulness Bliss

“Self-observation is the first step of inner unfolding.”
– Amit Ray

Have you ever tried to meditate before? It’s a very simple thing to do. It might seem like you really aren’t doing much, but you are building up muscles in your mind through this simple practice. Meditation can be done virtually anywhere, anytime, as long as you keep an open mind. One practice you can do prior to meditation in preparation is practicing mindfulness. I challenge each and every one of you to put aside ten to twenty minutes of your day, to practice mindfulness. For those of you that don’t know what that is or how to practice it let me enlighten you. It is when you enhance your senses and observation to really notice the little things going on around you. For instance, if you were eating a piece of cake, take in the smell of the aroma the cake is putting off, taste the soft, delicate, fluffy frosting over the spongy moist cake. The easiest time to practice mindfulness is while eating but you can really do it anywhere. It is just an example but hopefully got the point across.
Once you are ready to start meditating, you’ll need to pick and focus your awareness on an anchor. Anything can be an anchor, you just need a place your mind can come back to and rest. Sensations, images, sounds, movements, or even counting are easy anchors you can use if you have trouble thinking of one. Once you have your anchor, you mind will inevitably begin to wander. This is completely normal, just bring your mind back to your anchor. Don’t think of a wandering mind as a failure, a wandering mind indicates that you have reached the moment of mindfulness. Each time you focus on or come back to your anchor you are building up your concentration. While building up your concentration, you also detach from your regular thought stream. That is the moment in which you let go and let your world around you dissipate into nothing. Now when you focus on your wandering mind, it gives you a little insight into your habits and patterns before returning back to your anchor.
Over time you will really start to understand yourself and your own mind. If you consistently practice mindfulness and meditate regularly, stress will be reduced, you’ll become more aware, and your overall mood will be greatly enhanced.

Sacrifice can achieve happiness

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
– M. Scott Peck

Career vs job, can I do what I love but still get paid? For some people the answer is an easy yes. For others, that question circles around a lot of sacrifice and patience. How can you follow your goals, hopes, and dreams while still making money doing what you love? For a lot of people, their passions are not going to be immediately profitably. They are going to be upheld by everyday responsibilities. Whether it be something as simple as paying for rent, to paying off your debts, to something like getting married and starting your own family. So you ask yourself, what should you do? Should you suck it up and sell out for a job that may make you money, but you may not love what you’re doing? Or should you stick it out and scrounge on food living as minimalistic as you possibly can trying to make it in a field that you love? They are the questions you need to ask yourself. First things first, you need food to survive. If you have to suck it up for a bit to make enough money to feed yourself, do that. You just need to keep your eye on the goal and take the proper steps to get there. If you want to be a chef but need that “quick buck” you may get a job in the fast food business even if it’s just skimming the the surface of the industry. Take the small stepping stones in order to follow your passions. Passion drives success. It all really comes down to how badly you want it and if you will make the necessary sacrifices in order to achieve your passions.
People need to realize that life isn’t just about money. It shouldn’t be about flashy cars, bejeweled jackets, or just a bunch of useless stuff. Always remember that money shouldn’t be our main focus. It should be about following your dreams and achieving your true passions in life.

Travel Guide Bucket List for 2022

“I travel because it makes me realize how much I haven’t seen, how much I’m not going to see, and how much I still need to see.”
– Carew Papritz

Travel bucket lists are a great way to plan for your next destination. Finally an excuse to research different parts of the world you might want to see. Travel bucket lists at the core are pretty much just regular bucket lists but going to places you want to go before you die.
If you could travel anywhere you want, where would you go? What sites would you be dying to see? The world is a big, scary place with so many places to visit that it might get a little overwhelming. No matter where you go always remember who you are, and where you came from. Your struggles and victories sculpted you into who you’ve become today. Hopefully this list will put some of those worries to rest and get you excited to go out and see the world. Just be careful and follow up to COVID-19 mandates before you book!

Number 1: Visit the Grand Canyon

Best time to visit: March through May
                                  September through November
If you plan on going in the summer, expect to fight through crowds of people and extreme temperatures

When visiting the grand canyon be sure to bring along your camera because the sites are sure to take your breath away. You’ll want to capture every moment from the redness of the rocks to the endless valleys below. Also get ready to do some hiking since the Grand Canyon offers various trails open to the public!

Number 2: Visit the Streets of Prague

Best time to visit: Spring and early months of fall
The relatively cooler months are going to get you away from the crowds of people, plus hotel prices are going to be lower since there isn’t as large of a demand to satisfy all the people.

When visiting Prague, keep your eyes out for the beautiful architecture and castles that this beautiful place has to offer. Some say Prague is one of Europe’s “hidden gems” because of how stunning it actually is and more on the cheaper side as well. They have a lot more budget friendly accommodations and lodging as opposed to some of the other cities.

Number 3: Dive Into The Great Barrier Reef

Best time to visit: June through October
There is a lower chance of rainfall which means clearer water for diving and since it is the summer months, there is going to be higher temperatures overall.

This will be one of the most inspiring trips you could take. Though the coral reef is greatly diminishing, it is still home to a lot of marine life and other treasures you can’t find anywhere else in the world!

Number 4: Journey to Machu Picchu

Best time to visit: April to October
Even though April to October will be your best time to go, June through August is going to be your busiest time. When planning this trip also keep in mind that even though this is the dry months of the year, early mornings and late afternoons still might have a chance of heavy mist that obscure your amazing views.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see one of the seven wonders of the world! If you’re feeling adventurous then most people will take the 4 day trek along the Inca trail before being rewarded with one of the most awe inspiring views you will ever probably come across.

Number 5: Visit Santorini, Greece

Best time to visit: April through June
                                  September through November
During these months, it will be warm and very little rain

The atmosphere and people you meet will be one of the reasons why people recommend Greece in general. To touch on Santorini in specific though, it is the picture perfect scenery of the white sandy beaches, the perfect sunsets, and the food is an absolute must!

Making Something Out of Nothing

Cooking is an art that many people think they have mastered. But ask yourself something first, can you really master something that has an infinite amount of variables and outcomes? The answer is a hard no. You may never be able to fully master the art of cooking, but through hard work and time you can sure get pretty damn good at it. When you’re cooking in the kitchen, you have the luxury of actual equipment and supplies. The sky is the limit when you are cooking so don’t hold back. You can venture online looking for recipes that suit what you are in the mood for or you can simply do what I usually do, wing it. I’ll visualize a dish that I had at either a restaurant or at someones house and head off to the store in search of ingredients. What you can do if you eat at a restaurant is bring a little notepad, write down what ingredients you can actually see or what tastes you might detect, and write down the ingredient that you think it is. I know it sounds kind of silly to do it like that but the mystery of what all the ingredients are and trying to recreate that is a good and fun way to learn the different textures and flavors of certain ingredients. If you eat at someones house, it doesn’t hurt to ask for the recipe. Gathering the ingredients is another good way to learn and experiment with. Following a recipe online step by step will get you your ultimate end product but while you’re at the store, pick up a few extra ingredients to put in your dish to make it your own.

Cooking with someone else is also a good way to learn different styles or good habits that they might pass on to you. I have this friend that is Filipino that I absolutely love to cook with because the style and flavors he uses differs so much from what I was taught. Cooking brings people together regardless of where you are from, you also get to learn and experience the different cultures and styles around the world that are just so fascinating and diverse from where ever you might be.

You also don’t necessarily need the best kitchen or the best equipment to make something amazing. As long as you have passion and you put that passion into what you are doing then it will start to show. Some of my best times cooking were actually out on the road or up in the mountains far from the best gear or supplies. When I go camping I always bring the following with me; my mini stove, and when I say mini I really do mean mini, my trusty spork, a cooking pot, some matches, a knife, and of course the ingredients for the dish I’m going to be preparing. That’s it, you really don’t need much when you’re out like that. Now when I’m out on a road trip a few of those items get a bit of an upgrade size wise like the stove for instance. But the essentials and basics will never change.