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6 Great Tips To Help You Travel With Instruments

By Natalie Wilson of Musical Advisors

Music is a universal art form, which makes the nomadic lifestyle a great fit for musicians of all types. Traveling and sharing music can be one of the most enjoyable ways to see the world. However, many musicians struggle to find ways to keep their instruments in good shape as they move from place to place. Often, moving instruments around, checking them as baggage on planes, and bringing them to environments with extreme temperatures can result in bangs, scratches, and cracked wood. However, traveling with an instrument can be a positive experience if you plan ahead to reduce the likelihood of any damage.

How To Go Travelling With Instruments

Here are some helpful tips for taking instruments while you travel:

Choose Travel-Friendly Instruments

mandolin and banjo

Some instruments are just made to be traveling with. These travel-friendly instruments will be lightweight and compact. For example, a ukulele is an excellent instrument to travel with because it’s so light that it won’t add much weight to your total luggage, but it will add countless sing-alongs. A tuba, on the other hand, might be a little more difficult to travel with.

You might find that large, heavy instruments are too burdensome to carry around and they might put a damper on your trip. Here are some other travel-friendly instruments that will add some extra enjoyment to your next trip:

  • Guitar
  • Mandolin
  • Banjo
  • Harmonica
  • Violin
  • Fiddle
  • Flute
  • Clarinet

Extra Padding

This is one of the most important tips because it will reduce the likelihood of your instrument getting banged up or scratched as it moves from place to place. When you place your instrument in its case, try laying down some towels or cloths to wrap your instrument in a protective layer. This extra padding will reduce the amount of room your instrument has to move around in its case, which will help to prevent the instrument from getting damaged.

Buy Your Instrument a Seat

If you’re planning on flying and you have a high-quality instrument, you might want to consider purchasing your instrument a seat on the plane. Many airlines now offer this as an option because of too many complaints about instruments getting damaged when they’re checked as regular baggage. If you’re instrument is expensive, it’s highly recommended you consider this option to prevent the instrument from breaking in the baggage compartment.

Additionally, if your instrument is made of wood, it might crack when exposed to very cold environments. By buying an extra seat, you’ll be able to ensure that your instrument is kept in an area with a mild temperature. Although buying an extra seat is expensive, replacing a high-end instrument will likely be much more.

Purchase a Lower Quality Instrument

old violin

If you have a high-end instrument that you’re worried about damaging on a trip, you might want to consider leaving it in a safe place, such as at home or at a friend’s house and purchasing a low-end travel instrument. When you purchase a cheap instrument specifically for the purpose of traveling, you’ll be much less upset if it becomes scratched or dented along the way.

When we’re traveling, we usually don’t have as much control over the environments our instruments will be exposed to. Not only is your instrument more likely to get damaged on a trip, in rare cases, some musicians have reported their instruments as having been stolen. Purchasing an instrument that won’t break the bank will prevent all of these worries from interfering with you enjoying your trip.

Buy a Humidifier

This tip also applies to instruments that are made of wood. If you plan on traveling in a cold and dry environment, you might want to invest in a small humidifier for your case. If you have a guitar, for example, you can buy a small humidifier that will sit between the strings of your instrument and maintain a humidified environment. This will prevent the wood from cracking.

Create a Strategic Pedalboard

If you play electric guitar and plan on traveling with technology, such as effect pedals, you’ll want to be strategic about the devices you bring with you. While at home you might be able to incorporate three boost pedals on a pedalboard, it might be more useful to only bring one when you’re trying to travel lightly. Consider what the absolute essential pedals are, and try to leave some of the not-so-necessary pedals at home. In fact, it can be easy if you know how to set up a pedalboard.

Ready To Take Your Instrument On The Road?

musician guitar

Hopefully, you found these tips on how to travel with an instrument useful. Traveling and playing music can be highly rewarding. Music is universal, and you’ll, therefore, be likely to make many new friends and acquaintances along the way by playing songs everyone can enjoy on your instrument.

When you’re trying to determine which instrument you should bring on your travels, search for one that will be lightweight and won’t take up a lot of room. In terms of technological musical devices, ask yourself what is absolutely necessary to bring, and leave the rest at home to make your luggage lighter. Additionally, remember to reduce the likelihood of your instrument getting damaged by providing extra padding, buying it a seat on an airplane, or buying a humidifier.


natalie musical advisors profile pictureABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi there! My name’s Natalie Wilson and I’ve been playing guitar since the young age of five. As a performer, I’ve traveled extensively with my instruments and love to share tips about what I’ve learned throughout my career on my music blog.
On my blog, you’ll find reviews, tutorials, tips for musicians, and more.
Contact me: natalie.musicaladvisors@gmail.com.


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Amazing Countryside Road Trips In The USA

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

When one day blurs into the next and your coffee sits cold on your desk, you long for country roads to reconnect to your inner self. At home, after a long day, you wind down by doing yoga, binge watching a T.V. show or enjoying a glass of wine.

You seek whatever simple pleasures you can find. There’s something about the way mountains, meadows and farms stretch out over vast landscapes that soothes the soul, how the world is wide with wonder.

Enjoy the Countryside by Traveling to These Places

Wind down by taking a road trip on those winding country roads to these rural places:

Lover’s Leap in Virginia

“Virginia is for Lovers,” says the road sign as you cross the border into the state. The roads write and coil slowly upward like something alive, as the foothills flirt with daring cliffs. With stunning views from high precipices, Lover’s Leap winds through Patrick Country, Virginia and is located in Meadows of Dan, close to the North Carolina border. A sad tale surrounds the site as two lovers — a settler and Chief’s daughter — chose to be together in death, much as did Romeo and Juliet.

Also located in Meadows of Dan are farms, craft shops and botanical gardens. Wonder down to Henriedda Crafters to enjoy nostalgic crafts and take a stroll through nature at Dehart Botanical Gardens.

You’ll find wineries nearby in Floyd, Virginia. Give the Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant and Villa Appalaccia Winery a try, which both feature live music and beautiful views.

Amish Country in Indiana

indiana countryside

For a return to simplicity, escape to Amish country in Indiana, where five locations make up the top ten settlements by Amish church districts: Allen County, Daviess County, Adams County, Elkhart and Lagrange Counties. The latter two make up the largest Amish settlement for the state. The settlements have Swiss roots, but there are differences in the communities, as some are more conservative and have various types of carriages due to slightly different practices.

In Elkhart county, visit Nappanee to try the delicious, traditional food at Threshers Dinner, where the threshers would gather every season to separate wheat grain from chaff. Stay at The Inn at Amish Acres, which is central to many of the area’s Amish attractions.

Kayaking and Whale Watching in Washington

You can’t get more picturesque than the small town of Port Townsend, Washington, especially if you physically need to be close to water at all times. At around 10,000 residents, this adorable town has a rich maritime history set on the northeast point of the Olympic Peninsula. Victorian homes and architecture dot the area, and residents and tourists alike enjoy kayaking and whale watching.

On rainy days, enjoy the rural pastime of antiquing, and listen to musicians play as you taste the wide selection of food: Try the seafood at Doc’s Marina Grill or the breakfast at Hudson Point Cafe.

From the daring cliffs of Lover’s Leap, to the simplicity of Amish Country and whale watching in an adorable marine town, let the countryside take you home in a way you haven’t been in a long time. Winding rural roads soothe the mind, body and soul, while teaching travelers the lessons of endurance, patience and simple joys.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


 

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Why Beijing Poses More Questions Than Answers

By Jane & Nigel of The Time of Our Lives

Ever been to a new place, desperate to learn about a fascinating culture, a unique cuisine or an unfamiliar way of life? I guess that’s why most of us travel. If we only wanted to experience a similar vibe to home but with a nice beach and better weather, we’d be holiday-makers. Nothing wrong with that, but in our minds, travel is something different.

In September 2016, we embarked on the biggest travel adventure of our lives … a 57-day, self-planned whizz around the world. Nine countries, packed full of bucket-list experiences, and over 35,000 miles of air, train and ship travel. And one of those countries was China.

As you can imagine, 57 days to do nine countries is nowhere near enough time. But it’s all we had and one of the tips that our flight booking agency gave us was that China waives its rather expensive visa fee if you spend fewer than 72 hours there and you are in transit. So we decided to shoe-horn in a 66-hour visit to Beijing, in between Japan and Vietnam. And we were really excited to see what the capital of the world’s most populous country and one of oldest surviving cultures had in store for us.

First Impressions of China

Beijing Scooter

Our first experience of China was immigration. Despite having special lanes for the 72-hour visa waiver, it appears that Beijing’s border team doesn’t see applicants very often. There were certainly no others in the immigration hall that evening and our case was escalated up to managerial level pretty promptly. Whilst not being rude, the questioning was not exactly what you might describe as welcoming. Ultimately, with all of our fellow passengers long gone, as well as all of the immigration officers except ours, we obtained a couple of passport stamps once we’d conclusively proved that we were planning to leave in 3 days’ time.

After a good night’s sleep in the luxurious, but not overly expensive Prime Hotel Beijing Wangfujing, we were up bright and early to take a look around – with the Forbidden City (a UNESCO world heritage site) being top of the list.

By this stage, we had already noticed that we couldn’t access our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and that Google search results seemed drastically reduced. We all know that China is an authoritarian communist regime, but also that capitalism and entrepreneurship is a mainstay of the country’s huge growth. We were fascinated to see how these two apparent opposites sit alongside each other. And it wasn’t long, walking down Wangfujing Street that we further grappled with this conundrum. Having walked past what can only be described as a shanty town, built out of scrap corrugated iron and cardboard, we came to a major crossroads, where the world’s most premium designer brands – Rolex, Tiffany, Gucci – vied for the newly rich’s attention … and cash.

We walked on a little further, trying to get our heads around this place. And then a young man, spotting Nigel taking candid photos with a long lens, struck up a conversation with him about photography. We were slightly wary by this point and Nigel’s answers were uncharacteristically guarded. After a few minutes, the young man explained that this was where the famous Wangfujing night market had been until June that year. He showed us photos on his phone of the market’s last night. The government had apparently given the shopkeepers 2 months’ notice to vacate the place as it was designated for redevelopment. He said it was a sad day for the area.

Feeling slightly guilty for mistrusting the young man, we parted with hearty handshakes and mutual wishes of ‘all the best’.

Exploring the Major Sights in Beijing

Summer Palace Lake Beijing, CHina

The Forbidden City, built in the 15th century, is a remarkable sight, as much as anything for its vast scale. Our audio guides helped us make sense of it all and distinguish our Mings from our Tangs. It was crowded even in the chilly mid-October drizzle. One of the interesting visitor demographics was smart middle-aged professionals showing their elderly parents, presumably from a rural region, around the place. This juxtaposition, perhaps more than anything, showed the two sides of China … impatient, well-heeled ‘cut-and-thrusters’ and swarthy Maoists, slack-jawed at the majesty of their surroundings.

On a gloomy second day, we explored the Summer Palace, a taxi-ride away to the north-west of the Forbidden City. We ended up doing a boat ride to the palace with a raucous party of Chinese tourists. We appeared to be slightly more fascinating to this group than the gorgeous royal surroundings, which made us slightly self-conscious and bemused. On disembarking, Jane, in particular, was grabbed by the arm to be included in photos. The smiles were warm and friendly, but, once again, we were puzzled by the experience. If anything, we preferred the Summer Palace to the Forbidden City. We took a long walk along the lake in the mist and the palace itself is more self-contained and less crowded.

On our departure day, we had planned in a trip to the Great Wall. Having negotiated with a taxi driver to take us there and then onto the airport afterwards, we set off early. Communicating in China for us non-Mandarin speakers, is generally conducted via a translation app. This ended up in a few hilarious exchanges, but ultimately, we got by.

We went to the length of the Great Wall at Mutianyu. This is not the closest stretch to the centre of Beijing, but, maybe for that reason, it’s known for being less crowded, especially if you get there nice and early (say 8.30am). More by luck than judgement, we took the gondola (not the chair lift) to the top of the wall and got a toboggan back down. Having seen all of the options whilst we were there, we would definitely recommend that combination, unless you are determined to walk. That left us with a 1.5 mile walk along the top which was just about perfect. It’s really something else to say you’ve been there.

So What Did We Make Of Beijing?

Time Of Our Lives Great Wall of China

Well, maybe it was because we had just come from uber-courteous Japan, but we found most of the Chinese people we encountered loud and brash. But then we came across the young man in Wangfujing and the Summer Palace day-trippers – who were warm and full of smiles. Puzzle number one.

Puzzle number two was the capitalist/communist thing. We definitely noticed the touch of an authoritarian hand. And then we saw motorways fully loaded with BMWs, Audis and Mercedes. How these worlds are coexisting happily is not at all obvious.

And puzzle number three is the culture. We tasted food with flavours that were so unfamiliar as to be otherworldly. The folk religion, involving ancestor worship, is as old as civilisation itself. Customs, traditions, language … it’s all so alien to westerners, that it would truly take a lifetime to comprehend.

So we spent 66 hours trying to understand a little bit of this world. But we left with more questions than answers. Which, in a way, is the best excuse for a return trip for the curious traveller.


Time of Our Lives Profile PicJane and Nigel are a travel-blogging couple from the UK, both with two daughters and a passion for people and places. Former BBC journalist, Jane is always looking for a great story and is never happier than when she has a notebook and a travel ticket. Since he was a teenager, Nigel’s ambition has been to travel to 50 countries by the time he was 50. And he’s recently achieved that goal. Follow them at www.thetimeofourlives.net, on Twitter, on Facebook and on Instragram.


 

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5 Perfect Weekend Destinations in The USA

One of the toughest things about being an adult is living by a work schedule. But just because you have limited vacation days doesn’t mean you can’t use the occasional weekend to get out of town, unwind, have a great time and come back to your work life refreshed.

To get you inspired for your next weekend trip, here are five cities across the United States that you might visit, along with activities you could do to get the most out of your two-day adventure.

Enjoy Short Weekend Travels at These 5 Locations

You probably won’t be able to do everything listed for each city over the course of two days, but the ideas provided should help you get started on planning a kickass weekend trip.

San Francisco

san francisco

San Francisco isn’t a small town. Whether you’re drawn to historical sites, beautiful natural scenery or just some really good wine, this is the place to spend your weekend trip. Here are a few ideas to get you started on the planning:

  • Set up a picnic by San Francisco Bay — and enjoy a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Tour Alcatraz Island
  • Explore Muir Woods and marvel at the breathtaking giant redwoods
  • Go wine tasting — California is home to a lot of amazing wineries
  • See giant sequoias, the Yosemite Falls and other natural wonders at Yosemite National Park
  • Watch the amazing street performers of the city

Since San Francisco is such a large city, you’ll want to plan your vacation geographically. That is, if you’re interested in activities that take place on either side of the Golden Gate Bridge, you don’t want to keep driving back and forth across it. Not only is the bridge about 1.7 miles long, but it also has a toll that you won’t want to pay repeatedly if possible.

St. Louis

St. Louis is a large but modest, hard-working city. Manufacturing is vital to the city’s economy, and so it offers a lot of unique sites — and some really good beer. Here’s how to take advantage of your weekend trip:

  • See the St. Louis Arch — inside and out
  • Enjoy a tour of St. Louis’s fine breweries — the Anheuser-Busch Brewery being the most well-known
  • Watch a Cardinals baseball game or a Blues hockey match
  • Spend a long afternoon touring the St. Louis Zoo
  • Explore the city’s unique structures, like the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, the City Museum or the Missouri Botanical Garden

If a sports event is on your bucket list in St. Louis, make sure to plan ahead. Pick a weekend with a home game you’d like to see, then structure the rest of your trip around the scheduled event.

Panama City

panama city florida

To many, Panama City isn’t as glamorous as some of the other locations on this list. But it has a quaint, small city charm to it. Not to mention the greatest attraction of all — the beach!

On that front, here are a few ways you can get the most out of a sunny two-day trip to Panama City:

  • Take a boat trip out to Shell Island
  • Play sand volleyball, beach soccer or simply beach bumming
  • Go snorkeling or, if you’re certified, SCUBA diving
  • Try every water sport the calm water has to offer — paddle boarding, windsurfing, parasailing, water skiing and/or whatever else appeals to your adventurous side

Of course, even Panama City has its rainy days, and if your trip happens to fall on a less-than-ideal weekend weather-wise, you can still have a great time exploring the city’s other attractions. For instance, you can:

  • Visit the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum
  • Walk around the Pier Park shopping district
  • Assert your wit at a local escape room
  • Sit in at a dueling piano bar

No matter what time of year you visit, Panama City always has fun activities to offer. But to really get the most out of your trip, try to pick a nice, warm, sunny weekend!

Washington, D.C.

As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. is of course going to have its own unique set of attractions. If you’re a history buff, this is definitely a worthwhile weekend destination. Here are a few things you could do there:

  • Visit the most iconic U.S. government buildings — the Capitol, the White House, the Supreme Court and the Lincoln Memorial
  • See a performance at the Kennedy Center
  • Tour amazing museums, like the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History
  • Explore the Smithsonian Institute Building
  • Walk through D.C.’s areas of interest, like the Tidal Basin, the National Mall and Georgetown

Since D.C. is so large, and since it’s rated as the U.S.’s number one most stressful city to drive in, the best way to get the most out of your trip is to put aside the anxiety of fighting the traffic and let a bus tour guide handle the details for you.

After all, the local professionals know their history, which sites to visit and how best to get around the city. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the incredible sites the capital has to offer.

Yellowstone National Park

yellowstone national park

Most of Yellowstone National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming, but it does bleed into Montana and Idaho as well. That gives you a lot of site-seeing options to choose from. At the park itself, you can do this and much more:

  • Watch Old Faithful and other park geysers erupt
  • Look in awe at colorful hot springs and Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon
  • Wander through the park’s versatile landscape of mountain, forest and lakes to witness wildlife activity
  • Camp on park grounds overnight

Outside the park — depending on which states’ attractions appeal to you most — you can:

If you’re an avid outdoors-person, you could easily spend the whole weekend at Yellowstone National Park. If, on the other hand, you want to see more of the surrounding area as well, it may be wise to spend one day at the park and another day exploring elsewhere.

Make Your Weekends Count

Adulting has its stresses, but it’s important not to take life too seriously. Your work and your responsibilities are important, but they shouldn’t consume your entire life.

So take a breather. Plan the occasional weekend out of town, and leave your adult life behind when you go.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


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Best Honeymoon Destinations for Surfers in Australia

By Marie Nieves

Planning a honeymoon can be stressful as it is, let alone when you’re looking for a place that’ll satisfy your thirst for adventure. So, what actually happens when two surf-lovers fall in love and get married? Well, they start planning a perfect honeymoon getaway in a place that might help them consolidate both their romantic and adventurous desires. Look no further from Australia, as this is the place where all your dreams come true. Being renowned as the destination with the most amazing natural splendour, romantic waterfront resorts and the best surf beaches in the world, Australia is the number one holiday retreat for anyone looking for an active honeymoon.

Where To Go For A Surf-Lover’s Honeymoon in Australia

So, without further ado, here are some of the best honeymoon destinations for surfers in Australia.

Alley to Noosa Main Beach AustraliaPhoto via Flickr by yarra64 

Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Home to magnificent beach resorts and some of the best surf spots in Queensland, the Sunshine Coast makes for the perfect surfer’s getaway. One of the most common surfing locations is the Noosa Main Beach, where the annual Noosa Festival of Surfing is held. Other popular surfing locations include Mooloolaba, Dicky Beach and the Buddina Beach. The Sunshine Coast also has more national parks than any other region in Queensland, making it a true nature-infused vacation for anybody up for the task.

Byron Bay, New South Wales

The beachside town of Byron Bay is a popular tourist destination mostly because of its amazing scenery, impeccable wildlife and beautiful beaches. Tallow Beach is one of the most favourable surfing spots, while you surely won’t make a mistake by visiting Suffolk Park or Clarkes Beach. The ocean way leading to the Byron Bay lighthouse is a great setting for a midnight walk, but the Cape Byron Marine Park is the best way to experience the open ocean and the tidal waters of the Brunswick River and its tributaries.

Whitehaven Beach AustraliaImage via Flickr by Chilli Mimi

Whitsunday, North Queensland

A collection of continental islands off the central coast of Queensland is an appealing location to many couples looking to indulge in the breathtaking sights of the Great Barrier Reef, enjoy seaway and short walks on the Ngaro Sea Trail or simply lay back and relax on the white sands of the Whitehaven Beach. Airlie Beach is the best option not only for beach surfing, but for windsurfing, kiteboarding and sailing.

Margaret River, Western Australia

Margaret River is the name of a small town south of Perth, mostly known for its craft breweries, wineries and several hundred caves. The humid Mediterranean climate and a charming rural appeal, it makes for a popular couple’s destination. What’s interesting is that the west coast of this alluring little town is a renowned surfing location and has acquired worldwide fame for its surf breaks.

Granite Island AustraliaImage via Flickr by Jocey K

Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

Located south of Adelaide, Fleurieu Peninsula has some amazing surfing spots, some of the most prominent ones being Waitpinga and Middleton. The peninsula is also known for its Fleurieu wine zone with beautiful vineyards, which is a great way to add a touch of Tuscany to your Australian honeymoon. There’s a variety of charming beachside cottages, secluded beaches and captivating restaurants that’ll definitely make your honeymoon something to remember.

Sydney, New South Wales

When talking about the best surfing destinations, local cuisine, mesmerizing beaches, romantic waterfront spa resorts and beautiful scenery, we shouldn’t fail to mention Sydney. One of the largest and definitely one of the most famous cities in Australia offers a wide array of activities, suitable for anyone’s taste, which is why this is one of the best places for planning an active honeymoon. Sydney is very well known for its rich cultural content, as well as entertainment with the Sydney Opera House, The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as well as the Royal Botanical Garden being located here.

The North Shore and northern beaches of Sydney are especially appealing, but nothing more than the eastern suburbs where some of the most affluent resorts are found. Manly Beach is one of the most popular holiday destinations, but if you want something more secluded the Maroubra Beach in Randwick is the best pick for you. This suburb has an enchanting aesthetic appeal known for its rich history and fine, heritage buildings. Booking a Randwick boutique hotel is a great choice, as its charismatic surroundings makes a perfect setting for an active honeymoon, with a variety of surf beaches in close proximity.

 

Australia is, without a doubt, an undisputed champion when it comes to romantic holidays, permeated with lots of action and adventure. If you’re feeling adventurous and are looking for a heavenly destination that’ll satisfy all your needs, then you can rest assured, knowing that they’re all listed right here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mmary nieves profile picarie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest or HighStyLife where she is a regular author.


 

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Wellness & Renewal Vacation Ideas For Nature Lovers

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

When you hear the words “wellness” and “renewal,” you might think of relaxing activities like hot tubbing and meditating, you might picture getting away from your usual environment or you might even imagine sweating out your stresses with extreme sports like mountain biking — it all depends on what’s missing from your regular routine.

As you’re planning your next getaway, don’t settle for the closest or the most convenient place to stay. Really consider what you need to do to refresh and rejuvenate.

If, upon reflection, you decide you’re the kind of person who wants beautiful scenery, fresh air, healthy activities, wildlife sightings or even just a little adventure in your vacation, this list is for you.

Ideas For A Wellness Vacation To Get Close To Nature

Relaxation Trips

Mandala Spa And Resort Villas, Boracay Philippines

Relaxing trip ideas are never a bad place to start. But don’t just think of where you could sit on your butt for a few days — you don’t have to travel to do that.

Instead, consider activities that actively encourage relaxation, internal healing, a Zen state of mind and a stronger connection with nature. For instance, resorts like the Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite, California offer a wide range of pro-renewal activities:

  • Spa treatments
  • Yoga classes
  • Nature hikes
  • Wine tasting
  • Beautiful natural scenery

Or, if you want to feed your creative side, you could always seek out a more artistic type of resort, such as the Miraval Arizona Resort and Spa, which not only allows you to paint, draw and photograph, but also encourages a strong connection with your natural surroundings.

Sweat-Inducing Trips

If your office job has you going stir-crazy, maybe your ideal vacation involves getting your heart rate up a little bit. Fortunately, you’ve got plenty of options.

Whether you choose to plan out your own activities or go through a fully accommodating resort, the U.S. has plenty of natural attractions for you to use as your playground. The Red Mountain Resort in St. George, Utah, for instance, will jumpstart your active lifestyle with all kinds of options:

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Rock climbing
  • Horseback riding
  • Golf

Or heck, if you truly want to go all-out on this next getaway, maybe it’s time to try something a little less mainstream. For instance, you could go on a local or international dance retreat — learn new steps, work up a sweat and have a lot of fun along the way.

Family-Friendly Trips

macrae hiking jiufen taiwanIf you want an activity level somewhere between yoga and mountain biking, maybe you and your loved ones should try a family-friendly retreat.

For instance, it may be worth your while to explore active, outdoor locations and stay at a resort with log cabins you can sleep in like the Hickory Hills Family Camping Resort. This resort, located in Bath, New York, offers activities that are both lively and fun for vacationers of all ages:

  • Laser tag and other sports
  • Playgrounds
  • Heated pools and ponds
  • Paths and hiking trails
  • A park for the dogs

As an added bonus at places like Hickory Hills, the adults can often sneak off and have their own romantic outing while the kids play at the dog park or sports center.

Wildlife Tours

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you may occasionally lose sight of your connection with nature. Visiting the zoo with your niece is one thing, but maybe this next getaway is the perfect time to really reconnect with your world and revel in nature’s beauty.

Depending on how far you’re willing to travel, you could see

  • Redwoods in California
  • Dolphins in Australia
  • Orangutans in Borneo
  • The Ngorogoro Crater in Tanzania

And of course you could see so much more. The world has a lot to offer, whether you’re more interested in plants, natural phenomena like the Northern Lights or international wildlife. So, take the time to plan for whatever it is you want to experience most.

Water-Themed Trips

butterfly fish koh tao scuba diving

One of the great things about water activities is that they can be as soothing or as extreme as you want. If you just want to lounge by the beach or pool, have at it. It is a vacation after all. If you want to challenge your body and try out a new sport, why not sign up for something like windsurfing lessons or a paddleboard outing?

If you start Googling water-themed resorts, you’ll find a vast array of options. Here are just a few common treats offered at such locations:

  • Snorkeling and/or SCUBA diving
  • Swimming with aquatic wildlife
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Beach volleyball

Of course, there are many more activities offered at watery destinations, like surfing lessons at the SwellWomen Surf and Yoga Retreat in Hawaii and paddleboard yoga at the Hilton Head Health Retreat in South Carolina.

Whatever you do on your sunny trip, don’t forget to hydrate! Nothing complements that post-workout margarita better than a big old gallon of water.

Make Your Vacation Count

Taking a few days off of work is, in itself, a much-needed treat now and then. But don’t stop there. Take some time to decide what you really want to get out of your next vacation. You deserve more than a little break — you deserve to feel healthy, rejuvenated and connected with the natural world.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


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How To Eat Your Way Through The South

By Taylor Schear of  SOFLOFOODFINDS

If you’re anything like me, then you revolve your trips around food! With so little time and so many great choices, there is so much pressure to choose the absolute best restaurant. Well, I have got you covered.

Best Restaurants In The South

Below you will find a list of the top restaurants throughout America’s southern states.

Miami, FloridaThe Salty Donut Miami FloridaThe Salty Donut

The Salty Donut is in the Wynwood area of Miami. Wynwood is known not only for the famous street art, but also the food. Salty Donut opened their permanent storefront this past month. Before this, they were primarily doing pop up locations on the weekend. But after great success the demand became so heavy that they established regular hours Tuesday-Sunday. This is for good reason; the donuts are fantastic. They carry the “usual suspects” along with some interesting combinations. My personal favorite is their apple cider bourbon spiked donut hole. What is even better, is the cold brew cider that pairs perfectly with the donuts!

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink miami floridaMichael’s Genuine Food & Drink

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is one of the most buzz-worthy restaurants in Miami right now! It is centrally located in the Design District. The restaurants popularity is due to the amazing menu developed by head chef and owner, Michael Schwartz. The food is all based on seasonal fresh ingredients. Pictured above is the figs with burrata. It is very simple, but I think that is what makes it great. Every single ingredient is the star of the show without overpowering one another. Make sure to save room for dessert. All the pastries, ice cream, and chocolates are made fresh from scratch, in house every day.

Athens, GeorgiaLast Resort Grill Athens GeorgiaLast Resort Grill

Last Resort Grill serves contemporary Southwestern style food in a very modern environment. The restaurant started as a music club in the 60’s, but now serves as a great gathering to eat with the community. The restaurant believes in supporting local farmers and companies by primarily using ingredients sourced in Athens. The dish above is the Pilancillo & Black Pepper Crusted Hanger. It is a tender local sourced hanger steak served with salsa verde, chili parmesan dusted corn, and charred tomato butter potatoes.

Big City Bread

If you are looking for a more traditional southern meal, then Big City Bread is the place for you. All the food (including the breads and pastries) are made fresh every day. It is the perfect place to grab a scone and coffee during the morning rush or sit down and enjoy some grits on a Sunday morning. The chef and owner is a graduate of the prestigious Johnson & Wales and has worked at restaurants all through the South.

Nashville, TennesseeEdleys BBQ Nashville TennesseeEdley’s BBQ

Edley’s BBQ must be one of my top three favorite restaurants of all time. It is a very casual vibe; everyone orders at the counter and sits down at one of the wooden tables to wait for their food. Don’t let the adequate furnishings fool you! The food is so flavorful and packed with smokiness. Make sure to come hungry, the portions are huge. There are multiple locations throughout Nashville, so you are never too far from an Edley’s!

Biscuit Love

Biscuit Love has my love! Again, this is the type of restaurant where you walk up to order your food and then go sit down. They do this to prevent the wait for food from getting too long since it can get quite packed on the weekends! You can probably tell from the name that they are famous for their biscuits. The restaurant is new (opened in 2015), but originally started as a food truck. The owners are graduates from Johnson & Wales, but have always had a love for brunch. You can immediately tell this when you walk in the restaurant.

Sprinkles Cupcakes Nashville TennesseeSprinkles Cupcakes

So as many of you know, Sprinkles Cupcakes is a national chain. However, it was my first time trying it when I visited Nashville. The coolest part is that they have a cupcake ATM. Yes, you heard me right… A CUPCAKE ATM. In goes your money, out comes any cupcake your heart may desire. The cupcakes are delicious, but so are their cookies. My favorite was the traditional chocolate chip. It was soft with just the right amount of chocolate folded throughout.

 


Taylor Shear ProfileABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hey guys… it’s Taylor Schear! Thanks for reading! I always love being able to share my passion for food and adventure with others! If you have enjoyed joining me on my food quest throughout the South, then make sure to continue to follow me! I am @soflofoodfinds on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. For more food travel guides then check out soflofoodfinds.com!


 

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8 Clever Ways to Make Travel Memories Last Forever

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

Many souvenirs start off as good ideas and end up collecting dust or being given away to someone who may appreciate them more. The point of a keepsake is for it to trigger wonderful memories of your travel adventures for years to come, and perhaps become something to pass down.

Unique Souvenir Ideas For Travel Memories

Make your travel memories last forever with these clever ways of collecting:

1 Collect Found Objects

unique souvenir ideas

Fill a time capsule, antique travel trunk or scrapbook with found objects you collect from every place you visit. The object doesn’t have to be a souvenir in the traditional sense or cost money. The most treasured objects have a mystery surrounding them and several stories to tell. The found objects could be small and random or have something in common, even though they originate from different places:

  • Pick up a stone from the ground from wherever you visit.
  • Collect a leaf or flower from an interesting plant that catches your eye.
  • Save bottle caps from local breweries in different cities, states and countries.
  • Bring home napkins with logos or copies of menus (with permission) from restaurants.
  • Collect quotes in a journal from random people you meet on the street.

When picking up found objects from nature, collect these in a sustainable way. Do not pick up feathers from birds of prey, which are also protected and an illegal action in many places. Don’t overharvest plants. Leave nature intact as you collect your memories.

2 Collect Stamps

Stamp collecting isn’t only a hobby to share with a grandparent, it also makes a wonderful international map and memento record of your wayfaring. Find interesting stamps in museums, philatelic libraries, and in regular postal offices and small shops that sell stamps. Imagine having a story to tell about purchasing the stamp for your collection and then artfully placing it in a keepsake notebook to pass down for generations!

Once retrieved, collectors would glue a stamp into an album, but now archival methods and tools have turned philately pursuits into an artform. Many beginning collectors focus on topicals (topics, such as horses or flowers) or forming a collection of stamps from the lands of their ancestors:

“A lot of travelers, especially stamp collectors, enhance their travel experience and travel memories by creating philatelic passports of their travels,” says John Apfelbaum, President & CEO of Apfelbaum, Inc.

“Using a small notebook, they purchase stamps at foreign post offices where they travel and ask the post office workers to cancel the stamps affixed in their little notebook. That way when they come home they have a memory of their trip along with an interesting local stamp and cancellation.”

3 Keep a Travel Journal

keeping a travel journal

There’s no way you could forget your latest trip, right? The mind works in amazing ways and memories have a way of blending together over the years. You will remember beautiful and strange details, while others will be foggy but still touching. Record those details now in a travel journal:

  • Write down the best moments.
  • Record snippets of overheard conversations.
  • Inscribe those found quotes from strangers.
  • Sketch those details.
  • Make a collage in the pages.

Your travel journal will need to be portable and doesn’t have to necessarily be in physical form. A journal you’re able to hold has a special quality that a digital one won’t, yet a travel blog is easy to take with you wherever you go as it doesn’t need to be packed and transported.

4 Make a Global Spice Rack

While on the road, collect the flavors of the world. What spice or spice mix is an area famous for? While in New Orleans, track down the best southeastern Creole flavor combination, for example.

Add each selection to your spice rack at home, or build a test tube spice rack that makes you feel like you’re cooking in a laboratory. Every time you make a dish, you’ll taste a travel memory.

5 Make Magnets from Travel Photos

SNS Instax SHARE SP-2

There are many ways to make travel photo magnets. You could use a service to produce them, such as Social Print Studio (uses your Instagram photos) or Fox Print. You can also instantly print out your photos with Fuji Instax SP-2 Printer and all you need to do is attach them to a magnet strip with a sticky surface. Turn any magnetic surface into a display board for your travel memorabilia magnets.

6 Build a Library of Area Authors

Build a global library of living authors from around the world. Attend book signings in the area you’re visiting, if any, and obtain a signed copy from the author. Peruse book shops and ask about local authors. Whether it’s science fiction, romance, poetry or a haunted destinations book, your library will be diverse and extra special when it reflects the places you have visited.

You will be able to say something personal about nearly every author, and if nothing else, talk about that time the bookstore owner of this quaint shop in Croatia pointed you toward the best wine you’ve ever tasted.

7 Make a Video

Think of it as a highlight reel of your favorite travel moments. Take a few minutes of video on your trip, and when you get home, condense your media files into a single video. Continue to add onto this video as you travel.

To ensure that it doesn’t get overwhelming, set a time limit for the footage you take and add on to your single video. You don’t have to download any complicated software to edit the video, if you don’t want, because Google Photos will edit for you.

8 Curate a Collection of Modern Art

The beauty of this idea is to target regional artist works from the area of your visit to collect. Ask a student artist sketching if he or she will make something quick for you for a generous tip or cup of coffee. Visit local galleries and support them by purchasing prints or original works.

Artists will often paint popular tourist spots but also create art around places that are personally special. Make your curated collection of art all the more unique by visiting the destinations that are depicted, whenever possible.

 

Make your memories transcend time with a little creativity. Focusing on collecting particular items or building upon how you display those souvenirs at home will ensure you don’t break your suitcase zipper by overstuffing with random knickknacks. When you collect, gather touchstones of experience, and the travel stories you share will be even more powerful.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


 

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7 of the Most Beautiful Coastal Towns in Maine

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective
It’s easy to see that Maine has an incredibly beautiful coastline. It’s not as easy to decide which city along that coastline to visit. That’s because there are so many viable options where you’ll find great food, cozy inns and unforgettable scenery. It makes it difficult to choose just one of the beautiful towns in Maine.

Beautiful Towns in Maine To Visit

The following are just seven of the candidates to put on your short list before you decide where to take your next vacation.

Bar Harbor

bar harbor maine

Bar Harbor has more than just a beach. It sits at the base of Acadia National Park, which woos hikers with its granite peaks and bikers who want to ride down the old carriage roads.

The area trails can also take you to coastal overlooks, although you might want to hit up the sandy beaches, too.

Camden

Welcome to your next vacation spot, sailors. Camden, Maine, sits on Penobscot Bay, from which you and your sailing crew can take off and into the picturesque waters. It really is beautiful here: the locals even call it the “Jewel of the Coast.”

Speaking of locals, less than 5,000 people call Camden home. Clearly, that means you can expect a homey, cozy experience on your trip.

Kennebunkport

beautiful coastal towns in maine

Any presidential history buff will know that the Bush family has made Kennebunkport their go-to vacation spot: they have their very own holiday compound, which tourists sometimes go to see on their trips to the area.

Of course, a former President has to have good taste in locations for his vacations — who needs relaxation more than a former commander-in-chief? The slow-paced town will definitely ease you into a similar state of serenity, as will the quirky shops, museums and clams. If you need a bit more excitement, hop onto a lobster-trapping or dolphin-watching tour.

Cutler

Bird watching will get a whole lot cuter if you choose to book your trip to Cutler. That’s because the area is home to an adorable puffin community that takes to the water and perches on the coastline’s grey rocks. All members of your family will be charmed by the little guys, we promise.

Of course, there’s more to a holiday than just a bird-watching expedition. Cutler has its beautiful coastline and quaint lighthouse, of course, but it also comes with a promise of tourist trap-free shopping and dining. Really, there aren’t any souvenir shops in this tiny town.

Portland

portland maine beautiful towns in maine

Most coastal towns appeal to tourists in the summer, but not Portland: most locals will tell you that the best time to visit is fall, when the changing leaves paint the seaside in burnt oranges, fiery reds and golden yellows.

Of course, any season will show you the warm hospitality for which Portland is famous. The locals strive to be as friendly and welcoming to tourists as they are to each other, a vibe you won’t soon forget after you head home from your holiday.

Rockport

Here’s another of Maine’s coastal cities that’s rumored to be the most beautiful — even though it’s clearly impossible to decide. And, like many others on this list, it offers surf and turf, at least as far as activities go.

You can traipse through the Rockport Marine Park — or lie on the sandy beach there, of course. The Beech Hill Reserve offers stunning views, too. And then, there’s the bay, which is ripe for kayaking trips, which local tour companies lead.

Castine 

lighthouse in coastal maine

Castine is so beautiful that it’s been a destination for artists for decades. They come to paint a piece of that classic New England scenery — exactly what you seek on your trip, too. Along with like-a-painting views, you’ll find a bit of history at the Fort George and Fort Madison State Parks.

You can also check out a sandy-hued lighthouse, a local art gallery and, of course, an incredibly quaint Main Street.

 

You won’t find any hustle-and-bustle along the coast of Maine. You won’t find clubs or fancy restaurants or beach cabanas where you’re served fancy cocktails.

What you will find, no matter where you go, is a wealth of natural beauty. The beaches, parks, mountains and wildlife will be just as striking. And, with your loved ones along for the trip, you’ll realize you don’t need more than what’s right in front of you in any one of these seven towns.  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. You can follow her on Twitter and Pinterest!


 

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7 Best Places to Visit in the Mediterranean

By Andrew Larson

Turquoise water, so unbelievably blue your friends will think the pictures are Photoshopped. Warm sunny days. Delicious seafood. A nice ocean breeze blowing the dry air across your face. It’s no wonder the Mediterranean has long been a sought-after destination for holidaymakers and sun worshipers. And if beautiful weather and amazing food weren’t enough, the laid-back vibe of these coastal towns just adds to the relaxation you’ll experience on your next European vacation. As you’re researching your upcoming trip, don’t miss out on these seven best places to visit in the Mediterranean.

Top 7 Mediterranean Destinations You Won’t Want To Miss

7. Barcelona, Spain

barcelona spain

Most Mediterranean destinations offer sandy beaches or picturesque islands. Sure, you can spend your days in Barcelona lounging on the beach. But this fantastic city makes up for the elements lacking in many small coastal towns: excellent nightlife, world-class cuisine, and celebrated art and architecture. Home to famed architect Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona is dotted with his interesting works that give this city its unmistakable character. Nothing beats a day visiting the famed Sagrada Familia, an unfinished cathedral in central Barcelona, and then enjoying a glass of Spanish wine and some tapas at a local café.

6. Sardinia, Italy

It might not seem fair to include an entire island as a top destination, but only visiting one part of this massive Italian landmass wouldn’t do it justice. With a rugged interior full of mountains and forests, to beautiful coastlines of white sandy beaches, Sardinia might just be one of the Mediterranean’s least-touched natural escapes. And more than just natural beauty, the island boasts a nice collection of local wines and cheeses. Mountains, beaches, interesting culinary offerings, all in a secluded locale? The list of reasons to visit Sardinia on your next vacation keeps getting longer.

5. Milos, Greece

Milos Greece best places to visit in the mediterranean

With Greece’s abundance of islands, it’s hard to pick just one to visit. But Milos offers the spectacular beaches and delicious food of Greece, at a fraction of the price and without all the pesky tourists of the other islands. Covered in interesting rock formations, a relic of past volcanoes, you’ll leave Milos with more landscape pictures than your Instagram can handle.

4. Formentera, Spain

Located just south of party destination Ibiza, Formentera has gained the reputation as the more laid-back option for Spain vacation-goers. But this unforgotten island has another repute that can’t be ignored: some of the top beaches in the Mediterranean. The crystal blue water and white sandy beaches are unparalleled along Europe’s coastline. But it might take some effort to reach them. The only way to get to Formentera is by boat from Ibiza. But for those willing to make the trek, a nearly desolate island and beach beauty is sure to please.

3. Comino, Malta

Comino Malta Mediterranean

Not as well-known as its Italian neighbor to the north, Malta might be the Mediterranean’s best kept secret. An island located just south of Sicily, Malta’s removed locale makes it a more elusive pick for a Mediterranean vacation. But one look at the stunning Comino Island and you’ll be wondering why you waited so long to visit. A paradise for snorkelers and divers, Malta offers an adventurous seascape fit for exploring. And don’t miss Comino’s Blue Lagoon, a tiny enclave of strikingly blue water, surrounded by rocks and perfect for a relaxing swim.

2. Nice, France

There’s nothing better than spending an afternoon strolling down the sweeping Promenade des Anglais, a magnificent boulevard that follows the pebbly coastline of Nice. If small towns like Cinque Terre are the Mediterranean’s hidden gems, Nice is its brilliant diamond. A luxurious playground for the rich and famous, Nice, France emanates a certain extravagance in which one can’t help but indulge. And there’s no sense restraining yourself; with charming cafes and designer shopping, a trip to Nice is sure to pamper your inner celebrity.

1. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik Croatia

A list of top Mediterranean destinations wouldn’t be complete without highlighting this Dalmatian jewel. Old Town Dubrovnik sits on the edge of the sea, crammed inside a massive wall and surrounded by turquoise water. Strolling through town, up stairways and down tiny alleys, is like being transported back in time. And if cobblestone street charm isn’t your thing, an abundance of islands lay just off the coast. Kayak tours and boat day-trips offer a variety of options for exploring these beautiful islands.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This post was written by Andrew Larson, a semi-retired software engineer turned globetrotter and full-time travel enthusiast who now runs Wanderlust 15. Check it out for more great travel tips & destination suggestions!


 

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