adventure en-US 8 Things to Never Do When Traveling Alone <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-to-never-do-when-traveling-alone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Woman learning things to never do when traveling alone" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For every parent, coworker, and well-meaning friend who warns you to never travel alone, there are plenty of seasoned travelers who proclaim solo travel to be the only way to truly experience the world.</p> <p>Alone, you get to pick your own itinerary. You get to drink in your surroundings without the distraction of chitchat or trying to get along with someone else. Solo travelers report feeling empowered by the ability to navigate strange places on their own.</p> <p>But the reality is that solo travel has its potential pitfalls, the top one being safety, especially for women. Here are some things to avoid if you want to keep solo <a href="">travel safer</a> and more satisfying.</p> <h2>1. Never Overlook Fellow Solo-ers</h2> <p>It might be tempting to think that someone traveling alone must be a weirdo to be avoided. But wait! <em>You're</em> traveling alone, and you're not a weirdo. So go ahead and form ad-hoc adventure teams.</p> <p>&quot;Backpackers and hostels are like the meccas of solo travelers, and you're guaranteed to meet a ton of people from all over the world if you just hang out in the lobby or coffee shop of one. You don't even have to stay there; just go hang,&quot; advises travel blogger <a href="">Alyssa Ramos</a>.</p> <h2>2. Never Be Shy</h2> <p>One of the biggest advantages of traveling solo is that, with no one else to talk to, you're much more likely to engage with locals. Even if this is hard for you (it is for me), push yourself.</p> <p>&quot;Travelling solo definitely enables you to speak directly to some locals and stop being shy with people,&quot; writes Agness Walewinder on <a href=""></a>. &quot;In this way, you can make new friends and gain valuable insider knowledge about wherever you are.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Never Grin at Strangers</h2> <p>I know I just told you to be friendly, but there are right ways and wrong ways to do that.</p> <p>When I was 19, I left Wisconsin for a year abroad in Paris. The August day when I landed was hot, so I put on shorts and a bikini top and took a walk, smiling politely at anyone I passed, male or female.</p> <p>Before I knew it, a young man with black wavy hair was following me. Once I lost him, another man started walking alongside me. I learned that day that in Paris &mdash; as in so many cities worldwide &mdash; a big smile means more than the &quot;Hi there!&quot; it means in Madison, WI.</p> <h2>4. Never Explore Out-of-Sight Places</h2> <p>In the French village of Cordes-sur-Ciel, my travel companions and I stumbled upon a multi-story house with its door wide open. We walked in, and noticed it was full of art pieces but empty of people. As we climbed each flight of steps, we felt more intrigued but also more nervous, wondering what kind of place this was and whether we might meet anyone else there.</p> <p>In the end the curious art house was deserted, and it was a magical experience. But it's one that I would have skipped if I had been alone.</p> <p>&quot;Keep to open and public places, especially at night,&quot; The Independent Traveler firmly warns. If I had run into someone who meant me ill on the third floor of that empty house, I would have had a difficult time escaping.</p> <h2>5. Never Skimp on Research</h2> <p>&quot;Doing your homework about a new destination is especially useful when you're traveling solo,&quot; advises Amanda on <a href="">A Dangerous Business</a>. &quot;Before every trip, I do a little Googling and read up on things like cultural norms, common scams, and how I should dress as a tourist.&quot;</p> <p>Alison Vingiano narrowly escaped rape while hiking alone in Dharamsala, India, an experience that made her realize that despite her refusal to be grounded by fear, she could not ignore local safety issues either.</p> <p>&quot;Women should travel alone. It is not fair for us to live in constant fear, nor should we. However, we must also accept and adapt to the reality of wherever we travel, rather than challenging preexisting and culturally specific gender binaries we cannot control,&quot; Vingiano wrote for <a href="">Hello Giggles</a>.</p> <h2>6. Never Wander the Wilderness Alone</h2> <p>This is a tough one. The solo journeys of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0385486804&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=G77TDRBHZTDV52I2">Christopher McCandless</a>, <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0671695886&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FSTWMS5APWI6EKVC">Edward Abbey</a>, and <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307476073&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6PH7PGVY2XUC7E3K">Cheryl Strayed</a> look mighty appealing, all alone with their packs in the desert or the back country. But remember that McCandless, the subject of the book and movie <em>Into the Wild</em>, died out there. Abbey very nearly died when a stupid climbing mistake stranded him on an isolated ledge (and probably lots of other times too). Strayed was okay &mdash; but after all, she stuck to the Pacific Crest Trail and even then she had some close shaves.</p> <p>Retired search and rescue expert Matt Fields bluntly urges backpackers to buddy up: &quot;A medical emergency could be terminal if you have no one with you to go for help or render aid until help arrives.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Never Lose Contact With Those at Home</h2> <p>Even though you are on the road alone, you should keep someone at home posted about your whereabouts. <a href="">Professional Travel, Inc.</a>, recommends that you leave a copy of your itinerary with contact information for points along the way, and keep your phone activated even if this costs you extra. Not only should people be able to reach you in case of emergency, but someone should notice if you don't show up at your next destination on time.</p> <h2>8. Never Get Wasted</h2> <p>I learned the importance of the buddy system while drinking back in college, and it goes double for tippling while traveling. Don't let yourself be overserved if you don't have someone you trust to make sure you get back to your room okay. Professional Travel goes so far as to advise you to stick to beer or wine instead of cocktails, because it's too easy to tamper with a mixed drink. That may seem paranoid, but travel blogs and the media contain plenty of accounts of travelers <a href="">drinking spiked drinks</a> and getting <a href="">robbed or worse</a>.</p> <p>In fact, after reading these accounts, I suggest memorizing some <a href="">tips for avoiding spiked drinks</a>, such as taking your drink to the restroom with you instead of leaving it unattended.</p> <p><em>Have you ever traveled solo? What precautions did you take?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//;;description=8%20Things%20to%20Never%20Do%20When%20Traveling%20Alone" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Follow These 5 Credit Card Rules When Traveling Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Theft While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Vacation Safe: 11 Tips for Hotel Safety</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">20 Hiking Hacks to Take to the Trail This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel adventure alone safety solo travelers Tue, 29 Sep 2015 17:00:56 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1570364 at Tesla, Six Flags and 9 Other Adventure Stocks Worth Investing In <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tesla-six-flags-and-9-other-adventure-stocks-worth-investing-in" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Couple finding adventure stocks to invest in" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes it's fun to spice up your investment portfolio with something more exciting than index funds and <a href="">ETFs</a>. Why not get truly adventurous and invest in companies that are in the business of fun?</p> <p>You can invest in everything from ski resorts in Colorado to roller coasters in Orlando by purchasing shares of these stocks, which are both &quot;adventurous&quot; and potentially lucrative to investors. Many of these companies are on a big growth path, and though some have been battered recently, they may offer good value now.</p> <p>Go and invest, and have fun!</p> <h2>1. Disney [<a href="">NYSE: DIS</a>]</h2> <p>When you buy shares of Disney, you're buying more than a stake in Disney World and Disneyland. You're getting part of a massive entertainment business that includes movie studios, television networks, and franchises including a little something called <em>Star Wars. </em>It's hard to argue against a 27% rise in share price over the last 52 weeks, after Disney's net income rose 22% to $7.5 billion in 2014.</p> <h2>2. Six Flags [<a href="">NYSE: SIX</a>]</h2> <p>No theme park operator in North America owns more attractions. With 18 parks, Six Flags is a moneymaking behemoth, generating $1.2 billion in revenue last year. Shares are up 26% in the last 52 weeks, and the company has a nice dividend yield of 4.5%. Not bad considering they exited bankruptcy in 2010.</p> <h2>3. GoPro [<a href="">NYSE: GPRO</a>]</h2> <p>Someone is cashing in off those crazy skiing and skateboarding trick videos. It's been a volatile first year for the action camera manufacturer after going public in the middle of 2014. Shares are down quite a bit from their all-time high back in October, but have risen sharply since hitting a low this past spring. Revenue in the second quarter rose to $419 million, a 72% increase. GoPro has been aggressive in introducing new products, including possible 3D and drone cameras, so investors should have a lot to be excited about.</p> <h2>4. Orbital ATK [<a href="">NYSE: OA</a>]</h2> <p>This is the company formed in February from the merger of Alliant Techsystems and Orbital Sciences. It's involved in all kinds of space-related work, including the development of rockets, satellites, commercial space flight, and defense electronics. The company got some bad publicity last year after the unmanned Antares rocket exploded shortly after liftoff, but share prices are now approaching $80 per share, just shy of their all time high set in March.</p> <h2>5. VF Corporation [<a href="">NYSE: VFC</a>]</h2> <p>This company owns many top clothing brands, including some that are synonymous with the outdoors. The North Face, Smartwool, and Timberland are easily recognizable to most hikers and climbers, and Reef is one of the top surfing brands. VF is a $12 billion company, and shares are now trading near their 52-week high.</p> <h2>6. Tesla [<a href="">NASDAQ: TSLA</a>]</h2> <p>This maker of high-end electric vehicles certainly gets a lot of buzz, along with its charismatic founder, Elon Musk. Shares have dipped this year, as investors have grown a bit impatient with a lack of profits. But this is a company that saw $955 million in revenue in the last quarter, a 25% increase year-over-year. Tesla has great brand recognition and a &quot;cool&quot; factor that can't be dismissed, and is on the cutting edge of battery technology and addressing some of the world's most pressing environmental problems. Expect some volatility with this stock, but patient investors should be rewarded over time.</p> <h2>7. Wolverine Worldwide [<a href="">NYSE: WWW</a>]</h2> <p>You may not be familiar with this parent company, but you know its brands &mdash; Stride Rite, Sperry, Keds, Saucony, and Merrell. Wolverine Worldwide reported record revenue of $630 million in the most recent quarter, which is good news for a company that's needed it. Last year, Wolverine said it would close about 140 stores by the end of 2015. Another 55 will close over the next five years as lease terms end. With its reorganization on track, now may be the time to buy.</p> <h2>8. Harley-Davidson [<a href="">NYSE: HOG</a>]</h2> <p>The popular motorcycle manufacturer hasn't had the easiest time in recent years, as the strong dollar has made overseas competitors more attractive. Sales dropped 1.4% in the last quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago, and net income dropped 15%. Shares are down about 9% this year, but don't be too hard on Harley-Davidson, as the company has a lot going for it. Its profit margins are good, and it consistently pays out increasing dividends, now offering a yield of more than 2.1%. Many analysts rate Harley-Davidson stock a &quot;buy,&quot; and the company's shares may actually be undervalued at the moment.</p> <h2>9. Vail Resorts [<a href="">NYSE: MTN</a>]</h2> <p>We may not always be able to jump into the fresh powder whenever we want, but investing in this company gives us a little taste of winter adventure. Vail owns some of the top mountain resorts in North America, including Vail and Breckenridge in Colorado, and Park City Mountain Resort in Utah. In June, Vail closed on the sale of Perisher, the largest mountain resort in Australia. Shares are trading above $110, near a 52-week high, as the company reported third quarter revenues of $579 million, a 6.7% increase over the same period a year ago.</p> <h2>10. Black Diamond [<a href="">NYSE: BDE</a>]</h2> <p>Based in Salt Lake City, Black Diamond designs and makes many of the essential equipment used by climbers, mountain bikers, and other adventurous people. It just reported record sales of $35.1 million in the second quarter of 2015. It is projecting an 11% increase in sales in 2015. Now Black Diamond is considering a sale of the entire company, or separate sales involving the Black Diamond and POC brands. Such a sale could benefit shareholders, if a corporate buyer is willing to pay a premium.</p> <h2>11. International Speedway Corporation [<a href="">NASDAQ: ISCA</a>]</h2> <p>NASCAR fans can get in on the action with shares of this Daytona, Florida company, which owns many of the most popular racetracks and other entertainment facilities. Shares are up more than 7% in the last year, though recent quarterly figures have sent share prices down. ISCA reported revenue of $160.4 million for the most recent quarter, down from $190 million from the same period last year. Shares are trading at about $33 now, but Wall Street analysts think ISCA is due to rebound, setting price targets of more than $40.</p> <p><em>Do you own any of these adventuresome stocks?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Investments That Usually Soar During the Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Should You Invest in Start-Ups?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Stabilize Your Portfolio With These 11 Dividend Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Reasons July Is a Great Month for Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment adventure portfolio space stocks theme parks Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:00:33 +0000 Tim Lemke 1527005 at 20 Hiking Hacks to Take to the Trail This Summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Woman taking hiking hacks to the trail this summer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lot of people who want to spend more time outdoors are quickly drawn to hiking. After all, <a href="">hiking can be really accessible</a>. You don't need a lot of technical skills or fancy gear, and it's a lot less intimidating than, say, rock climbing or whitewater rafting.</p> <p>But hiking is not just walking, or at least it isn't like a walk around the neighborhood. In fact, ensuring a safe and enjoyable hike takes a bit of preparation and know-how. Here are 20 handy hacks to take to the trail this summer.</p> <h2>1. Know Where You're Going (and How to Get There)</h2> <p>Randomly selecting an unmarked trail is likely to leave you frustrated when the trail suddenly turns a corner and disappears. Worse still, you could get lost. Choose your hike at home so that you can do some research about it and print off some information and maps. If you're in a park of some sort, you may also be able to access maps and information from local guides before you hit the trail.</p> <h2>2. Pack Ahead</h2> <p>Whether you're backpacking or just taking a day trip, anyone and everyone will recommend that you pack light. The problem is, it's hard to know just how heavy all that stuff will be until you get it all into your pack &mdash; if it'll even fit. Take some time before you set out to lay out what you'd like to bring, pack it, and then attempt to lift it. If the load is back-breaking, you'll have time to make adjustments.</p> <h2>3. Break In Your Boots</h2> <p>If you're serious about hiking, a good pair of boots is a good investment. They're durable, they're comfortable, and they'll protect your ankles from twisting and your toes from being crushed by loose or rolling rocks. But, because these babies tend to be stiff, you <em>must </em>buy them at least two weeks before your first hike, and wear them as much as possible to break them in. Do not try to break in your shoes on a hike of any significant distance; walking miles and miles with sore, blistered feet will not be a fun time.</p> <h2>4. Pack in Layers</h2> <p>Particularly when going out for an overnight hiking trip, it's important to pack in layers, ensuring that the top layers of your pack include the things you will need during your hike. Keep snacks, sunscreen, and extra layers on top. Camping equipment and anything else you won't need until you arrive at camp should go at the bottom.</p> <h2>5. Waterproof Everything</h2> <p>Water is your enemy. Not only are wet clothes cold to wear, they're also much heavier to carry. If you don't have one of those nifty rain covers for you backpack (basically a large shower cap that fits over your pack), line your bag with a garbage bag. If your clothes, matches, tent, sleeping bag, etc. are nice and dry, you'll be a much happier camper. If you're really concerned about keeping something (like your phone or box of matches) dry, place it in its own sealed baggie.</p> <h2>6. Wear Shorts That Can Be Pants and Vice Versa</h2> <p>Yes, they're kinda dorky, but there's a reason why there are rows and rows of these at REI. Not only does carrying both shorts and pants add unnecessary weight, but the weather can change pretty quickly (particularly in the mountains). Being able to make a quick change can make your hike a lot more comfortable.</p> <h2>7. Be Religious About Changing Your Socks</h2> <p>If your socks get wet, friction increases and where there's friction, there are blisters. Bring a few extra pairs of socks to change into, and do so whenever your feet are feeling damp. If the weather's dry, you can also hang the used pair from your backpack to switch into again once they've dried out. Be sure to wear socks designed for hiking or running. Regular cotton sports socks tend to bunch up and hold moisture.</p> <h2>8. Pack Duct Tape</h2> <p>Duct tape can be used to cover a blister, patch a tent, remove ticks, and all manner of other nifty things. Rather than carry a full roll, wrap some around your lighter or water bottle to save space. (See also: <a href="">10 Great Ways to Use Duct Tape</a>)</p> <h2>9. Repackage Your Snacks</h2> <p>Snacks are a great way to keep your energy up while you're hiking, but classic hiking picks like trail mix, pretzels, and candy tend to come packed with a lot of air. Before you leave, remove what you think you'll need from its original package and compress it into sealed baggies.</p> <h2>10. Bring a Map, Compass, and/or GPS</h2> <p>Some trails are wide and exceedingly well-marked (and well traveled). Many are not. Particularly if you are headed out into the backcountry, be sure to bring (and know how to read) a map, and use a compass or GPS device. In some areas, getting lost means getting rescued. Not cool.</p> <h2>11. If You Lose Your Way, Don't Assume Things Will Improve</h2> <p>Below is a recent photo of two people who were recently rescued in Kananaskis Country, an area of the Rocky Mountains near where I live. These two were scrambling, a sport that falls somewhere between rock climbing and hiking. One fell a few feet down a cliff and, as you can see, they ended up on a pretty sheer rock face. This looks insane, I know, but it can happen pretty easily. So, when you find yourself getting into dangerous territory, don't continue on in with hope that things will improve. They may not. Sometimes, it's best to go back the way you came. The pair in this picture was rescued by helicopter and arrived back on the ground safe and sound.</p> <p><img src="" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <h2>12. Get to Know the Local Wildlife</h2> <p>Having an understanding of local wildlife &mdash; and how to behave safely around them &mdash; is a key skill when heading into any wilderness area. If you know what you may be dealing with and what to watch out for, you can ensure that your interactions with wildlife are positive, rather than dangerous (or even deadly).</p> <h2>13. Wear Sunscreen &mdash; Always</h2> <p>Sunburn can happen any time you spend extended periods outdoors. Lather up before you leave, regardless of whether it's overcast, or cool. If you're in the mountains, know that you'll burn faster at altitude too.</p> <h2>14. Bring a First Aid Kit</h2> <p>In most cases you won't need it, but you'll be glad to have it if you do. You can get a basic fully-stocked kit at a camping supply store, or<a href=""> put together your own.</a></p> <h2>15. Make Sure Your Friends and Family Know Where You're Going</h2> <p>If you're heading out for a hike &mdash; particularly if it's a long one &mdash; make sure that someone knows where you're going. That way if things go wrong and you are unable to make it back, rescue crews will know where to find you.</p> <h2>16. Be Honest About Your Fitness</h2> <p>Beware of hikes that are labeled &quot;hard&quot; or &quot;very hard.&quot; These hikes tend to be not only steep, but also include technical terrain such as loose rock, large boulders, and very uneven ground. They may even include exposed areas, which typically means you'll be walking along a sheer drop of some sort. Even if you're a very fit person, it's best to work your way up to these. Hiking requires some skill, and it's best to build that over time. Be honest about your fitness before you head out. Choosing an easier hike will ensure that you have a good time and keep coming back.</p> <h2>17. Learn How to Use Any and All Equipment Before You Leave</h2> <p>I can't even tell you how many hikers and campers I see with a full stock of brand new gear &mdash; and absolutely no idea how to use any of it. There's nothing wrong with being a newbie. Just don't be a dumb one; try out and practice using all your gear before you leave home. Or at least take it out of the package.</p> <h2>18. Assume That Any Weather Is a Possibility</h2> <p>I recently hiked 10 miles into the backcountry and then back out the next day. On the way in, I was stripped down to a tank top and shorts, and soaked with sweat. On the way out, I was wearing mittens, a hat, and all my layers to protect myself from the flurries I found at the top of the pass. It was July. The moral of this story is that the weather can be unpredictable, especially across different altitudes. Pack layers and rain gear, regardless of the forecast or what it looks like outside when you're leaving. You never know what'll happen out there.</p> <h2>19. Bring a Quality Knife</h2> <p>A good camping knife is handy for all kinds of outdoor tasks. If things get really dramatic, you could also use it to fend off a black bear, or free yourself from a boulder (not really, I hope!). In most cases, you'll find it handy for cooking, setup, and most important, making marshmallow roasting sticks.</p> <h2>20. Stop and Smell the Flowers</h2> <p>For real! Wildflowers are beautiful. What I also mean by this is to give yourself plenty of time to complete a hike so that you can stop and enjoy the scenery along the way. Wild places offer so much to see and learn. I'd hate for you to miss out on any of it!</p> <p><em>What's your top hiking hack, and how has it helped you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">A DIY Air Conditioner and 14 Other Cool Camping Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">8 Things to Never Do When Traveling Alone</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">14 Things You Should Do When You Move to a New Town</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">6 Ways Autumn Is Good for Your Mind and Body</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks adventure exploring hiking outdoors safety trails Tue, 18 Aug 2015 17:00:45 +0000 Tara Struyk 1523122 at 10 Insane, Life-Affirming, and Cheap Things You Must Do Before You Die <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-insane-life-affirming-and-cheap-things-you-must-do-before-you-die" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="mountain climber" title="mountain climber" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Like the poet William Ross Wallace said, &quot;Every man dies &mdash; not every man really lives.&quot; So how do you know if you're really living?</p> <p>Well, you could read up on existentialism or employ a life coach &mdash; or you could tackle this bucket list of must-do's that are both frugal and utterly life-changing. (See also: <a href="">5 Cheap, Amazing, and Undiscovered Vacation Destinations</a>)</p> <p>Just reading our round-up of the top 10 is sure to light a fire in your belly.</p> <h2>1. Travel Alone to Someplace You've Never Been</h2> <p>Pull out a map and <a href="">pick a destination</a>. It doesn't have to be Paris or Dubai, but it could be. The biggest myth about foreign travel is that it's prohibitively expensive. The second biggest myth is that it's dangerous to make the journey on your own. Buses, budget airlines, <a href=""></a>, and hostels catering to backpackers are just a few of the tools that can help you travel on-the-cheap. Guidebooks and common sense will help keep you safe. All you have to do is pick a place.</p> <p>Now here's the catch: Don't plan an itinerary. That way you'll be wide open for spontaneous, wonderful things to happen. Oh, and about that knot you'll feel in your stomach upon embarking on a trip full of unknowns... That's the whole point! Travel experts say overcoming that feeling and learning to thrive on your own in a strange, new setting is precisely what makes solo travel so rewarding.</p> <h2>2. Climb a Mountain</h2> <p>Research shows that <a href="">mountain climbing gives people a sense of achievement</a> and boosts their self-worth. It's also downright exhilarating. Rocky peaks, narrow ledges, and burning calf muscles are all part of the experience. And the rewards are oh-so-sweet &mdash; an adrenaline high, sweaty mountaintop selfie ops, and stunning panoramic views, to name just a few.</p> <h2>3. Find Your Passion</h2> <p>Life's too short to be spent doing things we don't love. If you haven't found a career or hobby or person worth living for... well, what are you waiting for? Studies show that <a href="">people who are passionate about their work</a> perform better. And those who have established, loving relationships perform better at their jobs and feel more fulfilled in all aspects of life. So maybe it's time to change up your career. Try out surfing. Learn a new language. Take up woodworking or acting or one of the martial arts. Give online dating a fair shot.</p> <p>You'll probably always have to take out the trash and mow the lawn, but once you've found your passion you'll find you can do just about any task with a smile. (See also: <a href="">5 Simple Ways To Find Your Passion</a>)</p> <h2>4. Watch a Rocket Blast Off Into Outer Space</h2> <p>This here is free and mind-blowing entertainment, folks. Brought to you by NASA, <a href="">rocket launches can happen as often as twice a month</a> at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Watching the future shoot skyward in a cloud of smoke and fire is about the next-best thing to visiting space yourself. Just don't forget your camera.</p> <h2>5. Shower in a Waterfall</h2> <p>Need we say more? To find a waterfall near you, check out <a href=""></a> or the <a href=";msa=0&amp;ll=37.996163,-94.042969&amp;spn=46.173152,107.138672&amp;dg=feature">World of Waterfalls</a> map.</p> <h2>6. Play an Epic Game of Bossaball</h2> <p>This game of balance and strategy &mdash; a hybrid of volleyball, football, gymnastics, and capoeira &mdash; is <a href="">played on an inflatable court</a> with trampolines. It can be played anywhere, anytime. And despite the unique playing field, set-up only takes about 45 minutes. Oh, yeah. We should probably mention that you'll have about as much fun playing Bossaball as humanly possible. Intrigued? <a href="">Join a league</a> or <a href="">organize your own game</a>.</p> <h2>7. Roll Around in a Giant, Inflatable Bubble</h2> <p>If you're not already familiar, a Zorb is <a href="">a giant, inflatable sphere</a> that you climb inside and ride down hills or across wide open spaces. Why do people go zorbing? Because it's ridiculously fun. Invented in New Zealand in 1995, this gravity-trip has gone international. It's also reasonably priced. A Zorb ride typically costs about $40.</p> <h2>8. See a Volcano</h2> <p>There are about 6,000 volcanos in existence and the Smithsonian has created <a href="">a user-friendly database</a> of them all for your convenience. Now there should be nothing stopping you from checking out one the most mesmerizing geographic features that link the land we walk on to planet earth's fiery core. Don't be fooled &mdash; you can do a lot more than just look at them. You can ski the Cascade Volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest, witness the fiery lava of Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano as it drizzles into the ocean, and scuba dive around the underwater White Island Volcano in New Zealand.</p> <h2>9. Conquer a Fear</h2> <p>Turns out that <a href="">facing your fears really works</a>. Research shows that people who expose themselves to the thing that unnerves them &mdash; be it a gigantic, hairy spider or standing at the edge of a cliff &mdash; can actually reduce their fear of that very thing. The results can be truly liberating. So if you're afraid of spiders, go to a zoo that will let you hold one. If it's heights that make you squeamish, go cliff jumping. Life is too short to let irrational fears keep you from living vibrantly. (See also: <a href="">9 Techniques That Can Help You Conquer Any Fear</a>)</p> <h2>10. Learn How to Meditate and Practice It Daily</h2> <p>The <a href="">ancient practice of meditation</a> is proven to make you happier, more focused, and more even-keeled. Researchers say it can even make you nicer. Yet perhaps it's not scientists but Hugh Jackman who best sums up <a href="">why we all should do it</a>: &quot;Meditation is all about the pursuit of nothingness. It's like the ultimate rest. It's better than the best sleep you've ever had. It's a quieting of the mind. It sharpens everything, especially your appreciation of your surroundings. It keeps life fresh.&quot; What a wonderful tool to have at your disposal as you progress on this wonderful, crazy ride we call life.</p> <p><em>What have you checked off your life's &quot;Awesome To-Do List&quot;? Please share in comments (and cross &quot;Comment on Wise Bread&quot; off the list!)</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">15 Adventurous Things You Should Do Before You Die</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Things the United States Should Copy From Other Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Taking Frugal Road Trips (Even When Gas Prices Are High)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">39 Tips That&#039;ll Save You Hundreds on Your Next Trip</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Passport Pictures for Under a Dollar</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Travel adventure bucket list cheap thrills Thu, 14 Aug 2014 17:00:30 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1183824 at How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Try Something New <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-step-out-of-your-comfort-zone-and-try-something-new" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="A man rappels off cliff over a mountain stream." title="rappelling in canyon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you want to try new things?</p> <p>Maybe you do, maybe you don't.</p> <p>New adventures involve risk and uncertainty. And you may be at a phase in your life where you are seeking stability. For example, when my children were young, my time, thoughts, and energy were devoted to maintaining safety and the status quo.</p> <p>At some point, though, you may feel you are spending too much effort on keeping things &quot;as is&quot; and not enough on striving for what could be. For me, this realization came when I noticed that the most perilous thing I attempted on a regular basis was running the dishwasher at the same time as the microwave (unless impeccably timed, this set-up would cause a breaker to switch off).</p> <p>Since then, I have tried many new things. My list includes <a target="_blank" href="">running a 5K</a> and half-marathon, taking <a target="_blank" href="">graduate-level courses online</a>, doing <a target="_blank" href="">indoor cycle (spin) classes</a>, growing lettuce in a garden, organizing a group to provide meals for an inner-city outreach program, and participating in the local MS Bike Ride (which involved more new things like riding with a group and showing new cyclists how to use cue sheets).</p> <p>Your list may be different than mine. But the hows of trying new things are often the same, whether an excursion to a new consignment store, a hike on a new trail, cooking with a new recipe, or the <a target="_blank" href="">launch of a new career</a>. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">How to&nbsp;Do&nbsp;Things That Scare You</a>)</p> <h2>Choose What Inspires You</h2> <p>Intrinsic motivation will get you started and help overcome challenges.</p> <p>You probably have a bucket list or wanna-try inventory of items awaiting your attention. If not, get a pen and paper, record your dreams, and narrow down to one or two new things you'd like to do soon.</p> <h2>Remember That It's Okay To Be Scared</h2> <p>Trying new things is exhilarating for some, scary for others. Whether you are truly thrilled or massively intimidated, don't let (irrational) fear stop you.</p> <p>And don't think that you are alone in your dread. Here are a few of the things that I have worried about:</p> <ul> <li>Seeming incompetent to others in all areas, not just the new realm that I am exploring</li> <li>Wasting my time and being disappointed</li> <li>Coming in last place</li> <li>Paying too much for stuff (expert advice, gear, etc.) because of inexperience</li> <li>Getting hurt</li> <li>Embarrassing myself in front of other people</li> <li>Getting in trouble because I didn't understand and follow some rules</li> <li>Ruining an experience for companions because of my lack of expertise</li> </ul> <p>You'll likely find that others, who now appear to be comfortable or masterful at whatever you are now attempting, were once uneasy, too. But they found a way to ignore demons and confront their fears; you'll do the same.</p> <h2>Do Your Research</h2> <p>You'll naturally want to do research online. And you should.</p> <p>Sure, reading how to do X is not the same as doing X. And, no matter how many articles you read or forums you visit, you can't fully grasp the nuances of the new experience.</p> <p>But you can often get enough information to try something new on your own. Or, if you're still unsure, you can familiarize yourself with the topic, learn the main issues to consider, and form the questions you'll need answered to get started.</p> <h2>Talk to a Friend Who Has Done What You Want To Do</h2> <p>A trusted friend can guide you through the process of learning something new. The right person will explain what's standard practice and what's unproven. She will share tips about what has worked for her and what she has noticed has helped other people.</p> <p>The best way to tap a friend's expertise is to get general advice when you are getting started. Then, as you take steps to become more proficient, get her insights on specific concerns. This way, your buddy serves as an occasional resource rather than full-time mentor.</p> <h2>Make New Friends Who Can Advise You</h2> <p>If you don't have someone in your life who can help you, make new friends.</p> <p>Last year, while training for a half-marathon, I realized I needed help. Although I had researched how to handle race-day scenarios, I wasn't really sure how suitable this advice was for me.</p> <p>So, I struck up a conversation with a woman on a trail where I often ran. Like me, she was a mom who had just a few hours each week to dedicate to training. I approached her as she was stretching, asked her what she was training for (always a great way to get an athlete to start talking; her response was that she was getting ready for a season of half-marathons), and then posed my questions about fueling and hydration during the race.</p> <p>Not only did she kindly answer my questions, she also offered encouragement. She recalled her first race and told me about the sense of accomplishment that crossing the finish line had given her, and how she has continued to set more aggressive goals.</p> <h2>Talk to an Expert</h2> <p>An expert can be a great resource. Look for those who relate well to beginners, are willing to help you take the next step no matter where you are starting, and enjoy helping those eager to try something new. For me, those have been local merchants and service providers plus friends who happen to have expertise in a certain field.</p> <p>Just as you might approach a friend, try to learn the basics on your own and then ask for insights on specific concerns.</p> <h2>Take a Class</h2> <p>Outside instruction can help you get the skills needed to try something new and provide a great foundation for further learning.</p> <p>Look in these places to find classes:</p> <ul> <li>Community college</li> <li>Local merchants or service providers</li> <li>Non-profit organizations</li> <li>Online sources</li> </ul> <p>Classes may be offered over several weeks or presented in shorter time frames. I have taken quarter-long classes in bread baking, CPR, personal taxation, and more at the <a target="_blank" href="">community college</a>. Plus I have participated in half-day sessions to quickly get the basics on things like how to start a garden or the finer points of riding in a double paceline. So, even if you don't have much time, you may still be able to squeeze in a short but valuable lesson.</p> <h2>Learn the Big Mistakes</h2> <p>Get the lowdown on big mistakes to avoid when planning a new adventure.</p> <p>This insight comes from my brother-in-law based on a conversation he had soon after becoming a program manager for a North Carolina television station. New people are hired largely to bring fresh approaches to programming. A wisened manager there gave him just one tip in the &quot;whatever you do, don't do 'X'&quot; format. At the time, &quot;<a target="_blank" href="">The Andy Griffith Show</a>&quot; was a mainstay. The advice was (and here, I will keep this advice family friendly): &quot;Whatever you do, don't mess with Andy.&quot;</p> <p>In many new experiences, whether it's going to a new restaurant (don't order the &quot;Y&quot;) or taking a backpacking trip to a new area (remember to bring &quot;ABC&quot;) there's a never-do-this-one-thing or be-sure-to-do-this-other-thing caveat. Pay attention, and don't think you'll be the exception on your first try.</p> <h2>Start Early</h2> <p>If you are attempting something new, it's likely that one element will not go as anticipated or planned.</p> <p>There might be instructions you misunderstood or a map that you misread or a piece of equipment that needs repair. An early start means you have time to fix problems without compromising your success.</p> <h2>Take Small Steps</h2> <p>Taking small steps works for many new things with exceptions such as skydiving or rappelling.</p> <p>Be patient with yourself. Just keep moving forward. Eventually, you'll notice that small movements have pushed you to the point that a big leap would have taken you.</p> <p>Trying new things is its own reward, freeing you to have the experiences that you long to enjoy. But, along the way, you may learn to navigate new situations, overcome fears, <a target="_blank" href="">cultivate patience</a>, show humility, become more interesting, and deepen friendships.</p> <p><em>What new things have you tried recently? What helped you have a great new experience?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">9 Techniques That Can Help You Conquer Any Fear</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">25 New Things to Do Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Learn All the Frugal Skills You Need With These 9 Great Video Tutorials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development adventure overcoming fear trying new things Mon, 18 Mar 2013 11:24:37 +0000 Julie Rains 967828 at