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Travel: The Ultimate Personal Development Tool

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man sitting on a mountain while traveling
With the explosion of websites, podcasts, and conferences teaching you how to improve your life (this one being no exception), it’s clear many of us want to become a better version of ourselves. We all want to be the person we imagine we could be if given just the right circumstances.

We want to learn more languages.

We want to be less awkward in social situations.

We want to eat better.

We want to read more.

We want to work out more.

We want to travel more.

We want to be more active.

We want to be more independent.

The list goes on and on!!

So often we go through life without really thinking about where we are heading. One day turns into the next and all those things we desire to do and become seem to pile up while we look for the perfect day to start.

Over the last year, I’ve had my ups and downs and have been working hard to make changes to my life. It takes a lot of work to change. Even one or two changes to change your life requires concentrated effort and persistence. But to make a hundred changes? That is biting off more than you can chew. No one has the mental energy or time to do that.

That’s why most new year’s resolutions fail. We create a long list of things to accomplish in the new year but, in the end, most of us give up, overwhelmed by all we want to do.

So when people tell me all the ways they want to improve their lives, my advice to them is to travel for one simple reason:

Travel solves a plethora of self-improvement goals in one fell swoop.

Picture this: You’ve booked a flight to Kiev. You don’t speak Ukrainian or Russian. And, to top it off, you’re going alone. You land in Kiev. Now, you have to navigate signs in a different language, ask people who probably don’t speak your language well for directions (maybe pantomime and point at maps indicating where you want to go), get to your hostel, make friends in the dorm (no one wants to be alone), and get around and sightsee the city during your stay.

By the time you leave, you’ve learned how to communicate even when you don’t speak the language, figured out how to navigate an unknown place, learned to turn strangers into friends, learned how to be independent, and solved a slew of problems that came up as you made your way around a foreign country.

During one trip, you got better at communication, problem solving, languages, social situations, and improved your confidence in your ability to do new things and handle unexpected situations.

Why? Because you had to. You had no other choice.

And you didn’t even know you were doing it.

People always ask me about the moment I realized I “changed.” While there are moments in your life that ripple through the years, for me, there was no single instance that I can point to that turned me from a shy introvert who never traveled to someone able to plop down in any city, find my way, and turn strangers into friends. It was a process that happened slowly over time.

Before I set out on my first trip around the world, I had never really lived outside my state, hadn’t traveled much, had a small group of friends, and had only been in one relationship.

I was a nerdy introvert. While the old parts of me are still there (I’ll still gravitate towards my friends at a party rather than talk to someone I don’t know), it’s become a lot easier for me to talk to new people when there’s no one familiar around. While I still run through all the “what ifs” when I get on a plane to a new destination, when I land I hit the ground running (and wonder why I was ever worried in the first place).

Traveling forced me out of my routine. It helped me become independent, take more risks, be ok with change, get better with people, learn more, and be more versatile.

Travel is not some panacea. The baggage you have comes with you on the road. There is no place far enough away to escape your problems. But what travel does is give you the space to be someone else and improve your life. It allows you to say “What would the new me do?” and then do it – without worrying that someone you know might notice. It puts you into situations that force you to better yourself. It won’t instantly solve your problems — only you can do that — but at least, on the road, you have a clean slate to try.

As the new year approaches and you create your list of resolutions, cross them all off, and just write one down: to travel alone more.

It is the ultimate way to become a better, more confident you.

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Mexico Travel Deals: Win 20 Years’ Worth of Free Caribbean Luxury Vacations

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One of the most affected industries due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic is tourism. To offset the heavy financial loss, a few places like Mexico and those in the Caribbean recently reopened their borders to tourists.

Mexico, along with other places in the Caribbean, is a favorite pre-COVID-19 vacation destination for a number of tourists all around the world. So, to enliven the tourism industry once again, they created the trending hashtag, #Come2MexicanCaribbean (and its Spanish equivalent, #VenAlCaribeMexicanoX2) to promote post-COVID-19 tourism in these areas.

To further strengthen this campaign, would-be tourists are encouraged to remember their memorable visits of the Mexican Caribbean region and the different things they might like to do there in the future.

The said contest awards a lucky tourist with a 20 years’ worth of yearly vacation to the Mexican Caribbean area combined with a 5-night, all-inclusive stay in any of the 4- or 5-star coastal resorts there.

Contest Sponsors

The competition is sponsored by several tourist hotspots including those of Cancun, Isla Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum. It is also backed by top hospitality developer Atelier Group and the Quintana Roo Tourism Board.

How to Join the Competition

If you are interested in the said contest, here are several guidelines for you to follow:

  •  Contestants must be 18 years old;
  • You should be a resident of any of the following countries:
  1. US,
  2. Canada,
  3. Mexico,
  4. Guatemala,
  5. Colombia,
  6. Peru,
  7. Chile,
  8. Brazil, and
  9. Argentina;
  • You must have either a TikTok or Instagram account (or both);
  • Post a video or a photo that features your favorite Mexican Caribbean beach vacation/s;
  •  Include the specific tags, #Come2MexicanCaribbean and @Come2MexicanCaribbean;
  • Follow the said initiative’s TikTok or Instagram profiles, @Come2MexicanCaribbean;
  • Tag their accounts on either of the platforms mentioned; and
  • The post that garners the most likes, plays, comments, and shares gets to be the winner of the competition.

The contest begins on 9 November and ends on 27 November 2020. Entrants should be able to post their entries within the given period.

You can also read the full terms and conditions of the said competition here. You may also visit en.come2mexicancaribbean.com for more information regarding the contest.

Summary

Mexico’s tourism industry comprises 8.5% of the nation’s overall GDP. Last year, an approximate of 24 million tourists visited the North American nation. Despite reopening its borders to visitors in July, the country’s roster of resorts and hotels still find it difficult to alleviate the effects of the lengthy lockdown imposed by the government earlier this year. The rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission is yet to slow down and the government aims to find more effective ways to flatten the curve.

The #Come2MexicanCaribbean aims to remind travellers of the country’s long-held tourist industry and the enticing spots that used to be go-to vacation areas in the region. It is their hope that by doing this initiative, the height of tourism will come alive again once everything goes back to normal.

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How Travel is Ruining our Planet

Travel is a good thing. I’ve encouraged people to do it in countless blog posts. But, in the rush to get people to travel, we often over look the negative impact of it. We talk about how travel can be a force for good- breaking…

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Let me preface this by saying that I’m not against travel, I write a travel blog for Pete’s sake. I have been telling people to drop everything and travel, and in my haste I’ve neglected to mention the possible environmental implications. Travel makes people better for doing it and that is a great thing, but we don’t talk about the repercussions to said travel. So, the question asked is; do we travel too much and is this travel adversely affecting our planet?

If you are a reader of mine, then you know that I constantly push for people to travel, so this will sound out of character but these are my reasons to not travel.

 

Destruction of local customs

The increased technology and constant metaphorical shrinking of our planet, we have created less cultural identities. We used to travel to explore new things and see corners of the planet yet seen by our eyes. But with technology, we have seen the planet from our computer and TV screens, so what are we exploring? Now with traveling to distant cultures we are inevitably bringing our culture with us and in so devaluing others. McDonalds are popping up all over the world so we all can be destroyed together.

 

Travel Trivializes Culture

Tourist traps are ruining our planet one trinket at a time. It’s sad when cultures are simplified down to some terrible stereotype that we have created to sell T-shirts. Originally people traveled to see parts of the world and experience different cultures, and now these experiences are being manufactured for our pleasure.   Children are being forced to accept that their reality is now selling trinkets and playing a part in some traveler’s fantasy of a culture, it’s sad.   It’s more of a problem of our planet’s globalization rather than anything else.

 

Local economy

Travel essentially destroys local economy by taking the tourist dollars and funneling it all to corporations. Locals don’t own the big hotels, huge conglomerates do and they profit form cultural destruction, essentially.

 

Environmental disaster

Travel is terrible for the environment and we don’t seem to care. More people are flying, driving, eating, shopping etc than ever before and our waste is just piling up. We constantly consume and consume but never really stop to think about what our excess usage really does to the environment.

 

Economic Issues

Tourism is centered on striking while the iron is hot, meaning that its not worried about the future, it’s all about the now. You see it in history and its repeating it self now. Towns go boom or bust with tourism and when that bubble burst, the town is left holding the bill. Look at the Salton Sea; it’s a tale that is all too familiar. A small town is suddenly thrust into a feeding frenzy of tourism money, then when the tourists stop coming, the town suddenly dies. The Salton Sea was a California hot spot in the 60s and 70s and now it’s a desolate ghost town.

 

Don’t make this stop you from traveling but allow this to open your mind while traveling and think about the possible repercussions of your actions. Maybe if we travel more consciously, we can fix our planet.

 

Check out the original article at Nomadicmatt

 

 

Photo courtesy of BoredPanda and FoxNews

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Travel

Visiting U. S. National Parks For Free

The family road trip is a summer rite of passage for all Americans. The memories made when you pack up the car and stuff the whole family into it to take off on the open road are unforgettable. And there is no better destination than…

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The family road trip is a summer rite of passage for all Americans. The memories made when you pack up the car and stuff the whole family into it to take off on the open road are unforgettable. And there is no better destination than one of the many United States National Parks.

With over 50 National Parks in 27 states it isn’t hard to find one close to home. This year is a great year to visit one you haven’t been to yet because The National Parks Service has announced that in 2017 they will waive fees in all parks on 10 dates. 

On 10 days you will be able to visit, for free admission, any of the National Parks that regularly charge a fee. The dates for free admission are:

January 16 – MLK Jr Day

February 20 – Presidents Day

April 15 & 16 – National Park Week

April 22 & 23 – National Park Week

August 25 – National Parks Service Birthday

September 30 – National Public Lands Day

November 11 & 12 – Veterans Day Weekend

In addition to these free days, the National Parks Service offers other discounts year round. Admission is free year round for active duty military and citizens with a permanent disability. The “Every Kid In A Park” is a program for 4th grade students to get a free pass and U. S. Citizens 62 and older can apply for a $10 lifetime pass. Take advantage of these special offers, and take the family to a National Park you have never seen before. 

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