Saturday, March 29, 2014
Your resume and CV would have one sub-point reserved for 'Hobbies'. Have you wondered why? Hobbies would often tell the employer what type of a person you are - happy, creative, intense, extrovert, introvert and so on; it would also indicate whether you allow creativity a free hand - a thing that is extremely important in personal and professional growth no matter what field you choose for yourself.
The founder of modern psychiatry, Sigmund Freud had pointed that mental disorders are more often than not the result of unrealized and un-integrated (with life) creativity. People who are normally forced into "successful" and demanding professions often choose to give up their hobbies or leisure time in order to further their career. The demands on their time being such, they rather take rest than indulge in their hobbies whenever a window of free time emerges. When there is no more time for fun, in walks anxiety uninvited and unwanted; and that is always bad news.
Leading psychiatrists are of the opinion that hobbies and leisure time occupations such as watching TV, gossiping with neighbors, walking in a park, learning a new language and so on, actually help your mind and body to de-stress. The process is simple - when you do something you love, your mind would shut off the problems that worry you and revel in the pleasure generated by the activity you enjoy. When your mind is off problems, your body relaxes and your mind is able to think with more clarity. This means you short-circuit an impending anxiety attack and are very likely to find a solution to your problems. Isn't that called a win-win situation?
Some people know what gives them pleasure to do - and cultivate this activity as a hobby or leisure time occupation. What about people who are undecided about what they would really like to do? If you are surprised at this, don't. There are many people out there who have never thought about it hard enough to identify what they would like to do for pleasure. Well, finding out is easy. Ask yourself this question, 'If I had all the money in the world and did not have to work for a living, what work would give me the most pleasure?' Do not look for one answer - because there would be many swimming in your mind and if you are looking for one answer you would be disappointed enough to stop searching.
Make a list of all the possibilities that pop up in your mind. Stop when you reach at reach at 20. Keep the list where you can see it every day. Give yourself a month to identify what you love to do. In the meantime, take out the list everyday and add or delete suggestions from it, aiming to narrow it down to 10 favorite activities - if you can reduce to less it would be even better. Once you have a list of 10 items prioritize these in order of your preference, the best one first. Now, the list would be do-able. Establish a time at least once a week where you would take up one or more of the activities on your list. Keep doing this until you identify what gives you the most pleasure among them all. Please keep in mind that you could choose more than one hobby.
Here are some examples of creative and fun-filled hobbies:
2. Creative writing - poems, snippets, how-to books, short stories, chicken-soup stuff, memoirs
3. Painting/ learning to paint
4. Drawing cartoons/ animation/ sketching
5. Model building - ships, airplanes, cars, buildings, and the like
6. Traveling to see the world
7. Traveling to learn about different customs and people
8. Historical traveling
9. Traveling to discover the taste of the world - for food lovers
10. Cooking/ baking
11. Stitching/ embroidering/ tailoring
12. Swimming/ skiing/ ice-skating/ any outdoor sport you love
13. Indoor sports - chess, carom, bowling, table tennis, billiards
14. Chatting on the Net
15. Surfing the Net
16. Singing/ playing an instrument/ learning to sing or play an instrument
17. Woodworking/ carpentry
18. Mechanic work/ working on cars, motorcycles
19. Horse riding
20. Training animals
These are only a handful of things you could do. The list is endless. You need to allow yourself enough time to identify the one or two activities that give you the most pleasure. Once you found it out, pour in all efforts to make it a full-time hobby. Ensure that every weekend you have a couple of hours reserved for your 'battery re-charging time' when you indulge in your pleasure.
You will find that as you channel your creativity into the chosen hobby(ies) you would feel more relaxed, tolerant of your mistakes and those of others, slower to anger and worry, and more productive. This is because when you are happy, your brain actually works more effectively. As you cannot cry and laugh at the same time, so you would not be able to feel anxious and relaxed at the same time. As your hobby would take root and you discover yourself through it, you would find that your anxiety or panic attacks become lesser and lesser both in intensity and number.
Friday, March 28, 2014
There is pampered, and then there is pampered, and when it comes to luxury bed and breakfast accommodations where price is no object the pampering can take on a whole new dimension most people can only dream of.
Each of these unique properties is a travel destination in and of itself. Take for example Little Palm Island located in the lower Florida Keys. A 5 acre island skirted with white sandy beaches featuring 30 suites, this exclusive enclave has been highlighted in Fodors, Frommers and Travel and Leisure magazine. But, don't expect to be fed for the $690-$1,490 per day rate. For that you'll need to pony up an additional $135 for the Full Meal Plan (breakfast, three-course lunch and four-course dinner) and $115 for the Modified Meal Plan (four-course dinner plus a choice of breakfast or three-course lunch), not including tax and service fees. However, considering that meals are served in the private Oceanside dining room and have been applauded by Mobil, Zagat and Golden Spoon, this may be a bargain after all.
If you can afford the price of admission, you may find yourself situated in one of 28 thatched roof Oceanside bungalows outfitted with a sitting room, private patio with garden, indoor/outdoor showers, whirlpool bath and king size canopy bed. If that is simply too pedestrian for your tastes, consider booking one of two Island Grand Suites which feature British Colonial furnishings, a bathroom for him and one for her and of course, the obligatory outdoor hot tub.
For a completely different experience in escaping the mundane, consider The Point Resort, situated on a 10-acre peninsula along Upper Saranac Lake about 150 miles from Albany. This is truly old world rustic ambiance at its finest. Built in the 1930's for William Avery Rockefeller, the nephew of John D. Rockefeller, the resort features 11 guest rooms located in four buildings on the property. The resort has received outstanding reviews from Hideaway Report, Forbes, USA Today and Conde Nast Traveler and has a Mobil Five-Star rating. Guests pay per night from $1,350 for the Iroquois room in the Main Lodge to $2,600 for the Boathouse. For complete privacy you can rent the entire property for $20,150 (yes - PER NIGHT).
However, for this kind of money you will undoubtedly find some features you don't have back home, unless your bedroom back home is furnished in original Adirondack antiques, has a lake view, stone fireplace and one of a kind hand -crafted bed. You'll also likely find fully stocked bookshelves, a lake-view private deck or patio, dressing room with walk-in closet, breakfast/sitting room and perhaps a waterfall or oversized shower and double soaking tub in the en-suite bathroom.
If you get tired of all of that private luxury, venture into the public areas where you'll find the Great Hall dining room and Pub. Although you may think this is a laid back rustic mountain retreat, be sure to bring along a jacket and tie as it is the custom at this Inn to be so attired for evening meals.
For a completely different take on a luxury bed and breakfast retreat, you might want to check out Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana. Sure you can play cowboy on a real life cattle drive but at the end of the day, a tired cowpoke can rough it in one of 19 log cabins surrounded by incredible wildlife, wilderness and mountain scenes. You can put up the heels of your boots and enjoy the rustic atmosphere of your wood-burning fireplace, telephone with data port, wet bar and refrigerator or chill out on your private deck (some with private hot tub).
Located in the middle of the Bitterroot National Forest a couple hundred miles west of Helena, Montana, the rates for this cowboy adventure run from $650 for a one-bedroom Cedar Cabin to $2,495 for the two-story, 3,600-square-feet, and three-bedroom Ponderosa cabin.
If you tire of the seclusion of your luxury cabin you can make your way to the fitness center, putting green, outdoor hot tub and pool or tennis court. Boredom won't be a problem if you stay busy with one of the many activities available including fishing, hiking, horseback riding, fly casting lessons, Hummer tours and in the winter cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. After all of that you might do what any modern pampered cowboy would do and opt for an in-room massage.
There are many ways to spend your leisure time and your money. But for a totally unique once in a lifetime experience consider a luxury bed and breakfast get away.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
With a new year comes new opportunities to visit destinations you left off your travel itinerary in 2009. Whether you look to start the year in the heart of Times Square after witnessing the world-famous New Year's Eve Ball Drop, amid the glitz and glamour of the vibrant metropolis that is Las Vegas, or enveloped in the sights and sounds of San Francisco - from the scenic Golden Gate Bridge to ever bustling Chinatown - the possibilities are endless. Of course, you'll also want to book a hotel that fits your preferences, be it one that offers accommodations for under $100/night, free shuttle service to nearby theme parks, a complimentary Continental breakfast to start your morning off right, or a fully-equipped conference room from which you can host a business meeting.
We've culled the properties below for their strategic location, business and leisure facilities, and fine hospitality. If time and budget permit, add visiting these fine hotels to your New Year's resolution list.
1. Nu Hotel: This boutique hotel in Brooklyn, New York opened as recently as 2008, yet word has spread quickly of the hotel's fresh design and penchant for excellent service. The hotel sits at the center of the BoCoCa district, which encompasses three Brooklyn neighborhoods: Boerum Hill, whose streets are lined with French bistros and stylish brownstones; Cobble Hill, which showcases a unique mix of old world shops and gardens; and Carroll Gardens, an old-fashioned Italian neighborhood featuring posh restaurants and antique shops. Only eight miles away from Times Square, the hotel provides easy access to spots frequented by business and leisure travelers alike, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower. Rooms boast plush mattresses with Egyptian cotton linens and 32-inch flat screen televisions. The hotel has a 24-hour fitness center and offers complimentary Continental breakfast at the onsite Nu Bar, as well as free WiFi Internet access all throughout and complimentary copies of The New York Times to help business travelers keep up with the news.
2. Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers: Steeped in history and charm, this landmark hotel - a member of Historic Hotels of America - is located in the heart of historic Back Bay and has drawn a host of U.S. presidents and celebrities since opening in 1927. The hotel is located only 200 yards from the nation's first public parks, Public Garden and Boston Common. It was also the first hotel to include many of the standard conveniences we find in hotel rooms today, such as guestroom radios. The hotel is convenient to Newbury Street shopping, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, and Boston's theater and financial districts. In addition, the hotel boasts nine on-site restaurants and lounges, a business center and fitness center (both open 24 hours a day), and airport shuttle service that runs daily.
3. Hotel Diva: The avant-garde Hotel Diva, set in the heart of Union Square in San Francisco, merges modern elegance with high style. It is only a short stroll from Chinatown, the American Conservatory Theatre, Curran Theatre, Moscone Convention Center, Financial District, and countless shops from Neiman Marcus to Saks Fifth Avenue. Travelers can enjoy complimentary use of a meeting room designed by renowned Architect T. Olle Lundberg, fitness room and internet lounges. They can then dine at Colibri Restaurant, famous for its Mexican tapas, or grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks, located just off the lobby.
4. Tropicana Las Vegas: Nestled in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip is Tropicana Las Vegas, which offers guests a plethora of activities and amenities. It features the 850-seat Tiffany Theater, fine restaurants, a 61,000 square foot casino, hair salon and barber shop, and three high-energy lounges. The hotel's newly designed swimming pool is slated to open in April 2010. Business travelers can stay on task inside the business center, which offers computer rentals, photocopying and other services. But who says you can't mix business with pleasure? The Tropicana is the only major Las Vegas casino resort to offer poolside Wi-Fi access, as guests can bring their laptops and stay connected while unwinding on the pool deck or in a private cabana. Voted "Best Las Vegas Wedding Chapel" eight years in a row, it's no wonder so many couples say "I do" at this legendary Strip hotel. Registered guests must be at least 21 years of age.
5. Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center: Located just one mile from Walt Disney World and 20 minutes from Orlando International airport, this stunning property couples the charm of an old-world Florida mansion with the modern conveniences of a luxury resort. It boasts four-and-a-half acres of lush indoor gardens and a 20,000-square-foot Spa and fitness center, not to mention a wealth of restaurants, shops and lounges. Kids will enjoy Clearwater Cove - a water-activities playground that has a 120,000-gallon zero-entry family pool as well as several play areas around the pool deck. Travelers with business on the agenda can take advantage of 400,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including the 178,500-square-foot Florida Exhibition Hall.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The Travel and Leisure Magazine, published by American Express Publishing Corporation with a circulation of one million, has voted Bali as the best Island of 2007. Bali has been awarded the same title for 6 times in a row.
Following is a list of 10 of the awards which were presented at a ceremony in New York on July 23 2007:
- Best city - Florence
- Best hotel - Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India
- Best island - Bali, Indonesia
- Best large-ship cruise line - Crystal Cruises
- Best small-ship cruise line - SeaDream Yacht Club
- Best tour operator/safari outfitter - Micato Safaris
- Best domestic airline - Midwest Airlines
- Best international airline - Singapore Airlines
Another significant title Bali received comes from is SmartTravelAsia.com It chose Bali as the Best Holiday Destination of 2007, holding this title from 2006. In their review SmartTravelAsia.com said: "Bali held top spot - and by a wide margin - demonstrating that integrity and authenticity can attract visitor votes, and dollars. This is a reassuring message in an age of instantly bottled and serially manufactured destinations where neon and crocodile shows push everything else off the stage."
Other tourism related establishments in Bali have been ranked in the top region of the list. Holding its 2006 rank, the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay ranked as the second best Asian Resort. Four Seasons offers elegant villas, some of them with private pools, spa treatments and panoramic views. The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay is also voted as the fourth best Spa Hotel.
The third position is the atmospheric yet understated and faithfully traditional Amandari, Bali. Towering above Ubud's Ayung River gorge, the resort's private villa compounds wander down manicured green acres past a cliff-edge emerald pool towards the sacred waters of the river below. It is a serene hideaway that has been emulated the world over. Amandari was ranked first in 2006.
The fourth rank is hold by The Legian Bali in the Seminyak area. This hotel-style getaway has been popular with honeymooners and romantics. The Legian was ranked 11th in 2006 and is one of the fastest upward movers in our poll.
All these luxuries, which are ranked in the top lists of the world, mean that Bali is really the destination of choice for all of us who want to experience something different and want to be pampered during our vacation. But Bali also has a range of simple and cheap, yet good accommodations; if you want more luxury, it's just around the corner!
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
There are many reasons why people choose to travel. They may want to explore new cultures, take in the sights and sounds of the travel destination, taste new exotic food, and try new activities. However, there are more specific reasons why people choose to travel. For instance, many people travel to locate new and interesting places to practice their love of exercise. Fortunately, there many great places where a fitness lover can engage in healthy exercise, whether it hiking, rock climbing, yoga, or beach fun.
India: India is birthplace of the ancient art of yoga. Every year, yoga lovers from all over the world travel to India to practice and study yoga. There are many beautiful hotels and resorts in India. As well, travelers will have chance to embrace the beautiful Indian culture and customs.
The Salt Spring Centre of Yoga: Located on one of the most gorgeous islands off the coast of British Columbia, Salt Spring Island, The Salt Spring Centre of Yoga is a very popular yoga vacation destination. While at the centre, take the time to enjoy the beautiful organic gardens and lush forest located on 70 acres of meadows.
Shining Bay Yoga Retreat: Located in Nova Scotia near Peggy's Cove, the emphasis is on Kripalu yoga. You can visit the Shining Bay Yoga Retreat from June to September. They offer different retreats including a retreat for girls between the age of 9 and 16.
Bolivia: As the Southern Hemisphere's highest nation, there are more than 1,000 summits that ascend over 5000 meters. There are even 6 summits that are over 6, 000 meters. The rugged terrain and beautiful views makes Bolivia one of the most popular rock climbing destinations.
The Peace River/Alaska Highway: Located between the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and the Alberta Plain, you can enjoy hiking and seeing such a beautiful assortment of wildlife such as moose, bald eagles, deer, black and grizzly bears, and caribou.
Gros Morne National Park: Located in Newfoundland, Gros Morne National Park consists of more than 100km of beautiful hiking trails. The Gros Morne National park is UNESCO-listed and consists of a wide range of hikes, from 30-minute hikes to 3 day hikes. There are beautiful views of the Gros Morne Mountain, Bonne Bay, and Tablelands. As well, families will love the 5km Lookout Trail
Costa Rica: Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese practice, requires serenity and peace to engage the flowing movements and shifting of balance. For travelers who love the beautiful practice of Tai Chi, Costa Rica is a popular choice. You can practice Tai Chi surrounded by gorgeous and tranquil waterfalls and beautiful rain forests.
Gold Coast, Australia: The Gold Coast in Australia is a popular place to surf. There is more than 43 miles of gorgeous white sand with waves that are famous for great surfing. Surfers from all over the world come to Gold Coast, Australia to surf.
Taking a fitness vacation is a great way to tone the body, mind, and soul as well as checking out new sights and attractions. The next time you are considering a travel excursion, consider a fun and relaxing fitness vacation.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Just read an article telling the reader that 2009 will be the year of "nay-cations". He listed nine reasons why Americans will say NO to travel, among them: the economy, the hassle, and the added costs/fees/surcharges. I'd like to disagree.
Of course, we feel like most of you. Air travel is a complete hassle, from security and baggage fees, lousy or no food, to delayed or cancelled flights. Given a choice (anything less than coast-to-coast!), we drive. BUT ...
Giving up vacations is like giving up chocolate. No matter how tough life gets, we still need to reward ourselves with things to look forward to ... things to enjoy. According to experts, travel is important for a healthy lifestyle. Travel renews and refreshes you - spirit, mind, and body.
We still plan to vacation. They'll be shorter, but perhaps more often. Mini-vacations - anything from a day's outing to a multi-day get-away means a break from our daily routine. These shorter trips give us something to look forward to, and we plan them with enthusiasm. We suggest you do the same.
There are still plenty of bargains out there. Here are some quick tips:
1. Travel off or shoulder season. Prices are much more reasonable and the crowds are smaller.
2. Find lesser-known destinations. Instead of the beach, head inland. Avoid the bigger resort areas. Staying a few miles away often includes similar amenities without the price tag.
3. Ask for package plans. Often, hotels can include attraction tickets, some meals, and other amenities with a three- or four-night stay. Some even offer free nights or discounted rooms. Travel sites discount air/hotel packages when booked at the same time.
4. Be flexible. Check your travel dates with your transportation carrier and hotel. Flights are generally less expensive mid-week. Hotels offer better rates when they have multiple empty rooms.
5. Take advantage of discounts. If you're a member of AAA or other organization, flaunt it. Use those hotel reward plans ... and your credit card points to save money.
6. Look for last-minute travel deals. Hotels, cruises and resorts offer deep discounts when faced with empty rooms. The same goes for tour operators and all-inclusives.
7. Do something different. Stay at a Bed&Breakfast, spend a day or more at a dude ranch, go camping, rent a cottage on a lake. There are plenty of bargains out there, so explore your options!
One benefit of travel is anticipation. Don't deny yourself. Take the opportunity to step away from the pressures of everyday life. Plan shorter trips ... more often! Mini-vacations are the new vacation style. They're sure to be more popular in 2009 than "nay-cations".