#171 Go Camping (or Glamping)

Glamping is a relatively new twist to the idea of camping – taking all of the reasons people don’t camp – and erasing them.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#171

Go camping (or Glamping)

I didn’t exactly grow up camping the way so many people have but it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with getting away and sleeping outdoors, once I did.  There’s just something very natural about sleeping outdoors. Perhaps it calls to our ancestral memories when outdoor living was the only option. When we can spend time outdoors (or with the essence of being outside) without the frustration of insects, bad weather, or discomfort – it’s a wonderful experience that resonates deeply for most of us.

Options

Camping accommodations are about as diverse as there are places to camp. When you’re young and broke, tent camping is a great place to start. Small, easy to set up tents are inexpensive as are tent camping sites – especially at National Parks. There are pop-up campers, hard shell campers, fifth-wheel traveling homes, cottages, cabins, yurts, and various contraptions that have been turned into camping rentals (i.e., treehouses, cabooses, etc.). Likewise, prices run from just a few dollars a night to potentially hundreds if you’re Glamping in an elaborate tree house with all of the comfort amenities.

Comfort

Glamping is a relatively new twist to the idea of camping – taking all of the reasons people don’t camp – and erasing them. Glamping is perhaps the very best way to experience a change of scenery away from home while embracing a bit of the best camping elements. Glamping give you a chance to do all of the things that are great about camping; cooking on an open fire, eating outside, stepping out of your sleeping area and taking a hike, embracing copious amounts of fresh air, etc. By definition, Glamping is where campling and modern comforts (bed & flushing toilets) – collide.

Rental

The idea of Glamping has become so popular that AirBnB lists dozens of owners who are now making money by offering ‘accommodations’ that take camping to a whole new level. RV’s – Tents with beds, and treehouses are only a few of the offerings available now on these online overnight reservation services. Imagine the owner of a farm in western New York who puts up a large tent out on the edge of his tree line, lays in a throw rug, a queen sized mattress with high end linens, a few high powered battery operated lamps, lots of throw pillows, prepares a fire ready to light, and then leaves a tray with s’more fixings for you to enjoy at some point in the evening. Oh… and don’t forget the chemical toilet that’s available so you won’t have to succumb to any ‘out house’ experiences. That farmer… smart guy!

Certainly, throwing down a sleeping bag next to a babbling brook after sundown and watching the raccoons try to steal the bag of hot dog buns you left on the picnic table while you roast marshmallows over a fire you made by collecting scraps of wood across the forest floor… there is a beauty to that simplicity as well.

Perfect timing.

It’s that time of year in the Northern hemisphere where camping is prime… warm days and cool nights. Leaves will be changing colors and there will be a crispness to the air that is attractive no matter where you stay. It’s a time of year when the mountains call. There’s so many advantages to getting away from the daily stressors of your life and communing with nature – even if you do it in comfort! Your stress level will reduce, your exposure to Vitamin D will rise, your connection to family and/or friends will strengthen and your opportunity to ‘get grounded’ improves dramatically when you…

Go camping (or Glamping).

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#186 Sleep on the Beach

No matter how you do it or when, there’s a magical element of being able to drift off to the sound of ocean currents embracing the beach.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#186

Sleep on the beach

In the spirit of Labor Day weekend, I thought it best to remind you how amazing it is to fall asleep on the beach. Maybe not on a hot sunny day when the beach is crowded as you may expose your skin too long and/or awake with each passerby kicking sand across your back. It is amazing however, to sleep on the beach overnight – allowing the thunder of consistent wave action to lull you into a deep slumber.

These days isn’t almost impossible to pitch a tent in the dunes as they are protected along almost every coastline in the USA but… there are dozens if not hundreds of public and private campgrounds that border ocean beaches. If you’re planning well enough in advance and with a little research, you can pick a spot as close to the wave action as possible. In some areas, tying a hammock between a couple of trees may even give you a sunrise view over the top of any dunes. As an avid camper, the only drawback I’ve ever noticed about beach side camping is the amount of sand that I end up bringing home.

Perhaps the best spot in the Mid-Atlantic is Assateague State Park. It’s a bit of a pain to get to and the flies can be atrocious at times but you just can’t beat the location!  California has tons of locations as well as Florida. (I guess the more coastline you have, the better the opportunities!) The Travel Channel did a piece and after seeing the options, my bucket list just got a bit longer.

Now, this suggestion is to actually get down in the sand… form it to your body and sleep there – preferably under the stars but I’m aware that might be simply too much to ask of some people. So… with a bigger budget you can go all fancied out and rent a beachside bungalow in almost any beach community. Certainly, around the globe there are thousands of options and perhaps the only reason that people go to places like the Seychelles islands where the beach and luxury go hand and hand; where almost every sleeping option is either over sand or surf.

No matter how you do it or when, there’s a magical element of being able to drift off to the sound of ocean currents embracing the beach. Treat yourself with the experience as often as you can…

Sleep on a beach.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#210 Sit by a Waterfall

Adding the element of water is akin to icing the best cake. It improves stress reduction techniques that are proven to increase happiness.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#210

Sit by a waterfall

Much of the USA is draped in sweltering heat this time of year and other than air conditioning, only a few options for relief exist. One of them is any location in close proximity to a waterfall. Often, there are shade trees to soften the intensity of the sun and as the water moves over rock and falls, it stirs the air and simultaneously cools.

Moving Air

Even if you live in a major metropolitan region, there are water features available in the form of fountains that serve much the same function as a natural waterfall; water – colder than air temperature – moving the air and cooling it. There may be less natural shade in that environment but it’s a close second. In the event that you live a more suburban life, there is a good chance that a waterfall exists within a drivable distance. A basic Google search for waterfalls near Philadelphia returned an article listing 11 that were an easy drive away. Pack a picnic, put the kids in the car, and escape the heat with a little hike leading up to a cool lunch location.

Liquid Music

The sound of falling water is a known soother. Rain, creeks, and waterfalls are options on a variety of white noise machines advertised to calm our nerves and induce relaxation. It acts as a buffer to city noise or the chatter in our brain. It connects us to nature in the most elementary way.

De-Stress

Eliminating the stress and misery that comes with bracing the summer heat will certainly improve one’s disposition and overall sense of well-being. Getting outdoors and into air that moves – a little at least – compounds the benefit. Adding the element of water is akin to icing the best cake. It improves stress reduction techniques that are proven to increase happiness.

Escape the heat – reduce the stress – and make your way to the nearest location that allows you to…

Sit by a Waterfall

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#211 Dry Your Sheets Outside

It takes clean sheets to an entirely new level and may offer the sense that you are sleeping under the stars – at least as far as your nose is concerned.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#211

Dry your sheets outside

Smell Sunshine

For much of the population, having a machine available to dry our clothes is something that we take for granted. Few of us hang our clothes on ‘the line’ to dry in the sun and breeze. If you have had this experience, you know that there is a sweet scent of fresh air that permeates the material so that when we come nose to fabric there is no question as to the smell of sunshine.

Line Dry

I know most of us don’t keep a clothes line permanently installed these days but having a line that can be temporarily strung and used once in a while offers us the opportunity to bring a little of the outdoors – inside. Sheets are easy to dry this way because they can be draped over the line – no clothespins needed.

The nose experience

Crawling into bed with sun dried sheets is an experience we should all have at least a few times in our life. It takes clean sheets to an entirely new level and may offer the sense that you are sleeping under the stars – at least as far as your nose is concerned. You may be used to the pleasant aroma of your brand of dryer sheets and yet I’m certain that you’ll fall in love with the fragrance of the sun after you…

Dry your sheets outside.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Dmitry Arslanov on Unsplash

#307 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Allowing yourself to ‘attune’ to nature may nurture innate instincts that our brain rarely uses. Our internal wiring is still programmed to exist in the midst of natural habitats; to embrace the energy released by living organisms.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#307

Take a Hike

The term ‘hike’ simply refers to a long walk and yet it instills images of heavy backpacks, rustic camping and ragged trails for many. Personally, the word conjures thoughts of burnt calories and heavy sweating on one hand and serene communing with nature on my other.

Truly, a hike can be a lot of things and it doesn’t have to be arduous or exhausting. In as little as 20 minutes on a trail behind your office park or around a community pond, a hike can be short and sweet. It can be a couple of hours along a creek in the country or along an old rail bed through a mountain gorge. And ultimately, it can be a trek spanning states or an expedition up a mountain.

Regardless of how it’s done, hiking is good for the mind, body, and spirit. It’s an activity that satisfies all of our basic needs for exercise, tranquility, and connection. A stroll through nature’s splendor highlights some of life’s most basic beauty no matter the environment; an ant mound that showcases the perfection of a natural community, views of countryside that extend for miles, or clear clean water flowing quickly over moss covered boulders.

Allowing yourself to ‘attune’ to nature may nurture innate instincts that our brain rarely uses. Our internal wiring is still programmed to exist in the midst of natural habitats; to embrace the energy released by living organisms. A quiet walk in the midst of nature’s glory may be just the piece you’ve been missing. So get out there and literally…

Take a Hike.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#360 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

My goal, for those of you who are curious, is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#360

Appreciate nature

So, maybe the ‘tree huggers’ were on to something. It seems as though literally embracing nature is good for mental health and fosters happiness. There is a certain homeostasis in the outdoors to which our internal barometers react positively. While it’s better to get outside on a sunny day to absorb as much of that Vitamin D as possible, studies tell us just communing with the great mother earth in any capacity will bolster our feel good rating.

It can be a walk in the fog which offers a distinct visual perspective that ignites our sense of mystery and wonder. Perhaps taking a stroll in the rain that excites your auditory system from the sound of the droplets on an umbrella to the great rolls of thunder in the dense sky above. It might even be as simple as sitting in the center of your backyard as you watch the squirrels scamper across a fence or the branches of a nearby tree as you notice how the evergreens have sprouted new spring growth.

There is so much to notice and hence, appreciate about the natural state of our planet and its animal inhabitants. Even though I work diligently to keep them away from my kitchen counters, I easily find myself mesmerized by the workings of an outdoor ant colony and could make their trail the focus of a meditation without much effort.

No excuses here. Even city dwellers can step outside and look up. All kinds of birds allow us a window to the appreciation of one of Mother Natures wonders. The goal is to see, acknowledge, and appreciate the essence of nature and its interwoven magic.  Just a few minutes at a time; deliberate and with attention…

Appreciate nature.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo on Foter.com

LA Bound – Tale #4

Suddenly, the road began to descend and immediately in front of me a canyon appeared leaving me to wonder where in the hell the road went…

Continued from LA Bound – Tale #3

“Nature has two powers: Her own physical power and the spiritual power of her beauty!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

Other than seeing the Grand Ole Opry, Erin’s only other request for this journey was to make the short detour to the Grand Canyon and so with our schedule in great shape and good weather in the forecast, we started day five with eager anticipation. I had been to the canyon several decades ago – when I was eighteen and I knew it was one of those landmarks that you had to literally experience to believe the magnificence. I was particularly excited to share it with her. We packed up the car, checked the oil, and filled the gas tank. As we drove up the ramp Erin noticed that the service engine light was on. Reading about it in the manual (teaching Erin to inform herself first) – it suggests that there was an issue with the gas tank cap. We pulled over and tightened the cap… no change. Google to the rescue for additional information… verifying that it could be a cap problem and if so… it may take a week to resolve. I discovered that if it wasn’t blinking we were OK.

The scenery between Gallop and Flagstaff quickly disintegrated into flat, dry, and dusty desert without much interest. We had four hours before we turned on our northern detour to the canyon and so we listened to Shonda for a while. There are a few ‘attractions’ in that area of the country and since we had made a little time up the night before, we opted to pick one… we agreed on the 50,000 year old Meteor Crater. What do you think of when you imagine a meteor falling from space? Even the one that supposedly killed all of the dinosaurs? I am sure that I imagined a hole in the ground but never did I consider that the hole would be nearly one MILE across and 550 feet deep – deep enough that the Statue of Liberty can sit inside without peeking out. The impact was 150 times the blast of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb and it decimated the forest that existed there at the time. Eventually, the hole filled with water and a lake existed there long enough for 200 feet of sediment to accumulate (the original depth was 750 feet – taller than the Times Square Tower). The vastness of it is staggering.

We didn’t take time to see the movie or move through the little museum for long as the Grand Canyon was waiting but it was a great little stop and only six miles off the interstate so if nothing else – it was a good opportunity to stretch and use the facilities. We were there barely an hour and then hit the road again. In Flagstaff, the scenery begins to change to a more mountainous and pine forest environment. There were remnants of a recent snow storm and signs that warned us of ice on the highway as we made our way to the state highway that would lead us to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I couldn’t tell if it was a really long fifty miles because of our anticipation or because we were back in the high desert with little variance in the landscape but the closer we got, the more red appeared in the rock and my memories were dancing with excitement to be reminded and refreshed.

It was cold. We were 7,000 ft. above sea level and the wind was whipping across the top of the canyon plateau – again, we were wishing for hats and gloves. All considering, there weren’t many people there and so it was a great time to visit; the visitor center was almost empty and after looking at a scaled relief for a few minutes, the suspense got to Erin and we made our way to the rim. “What….? Oh. My. Gosh.” – there really isn’t anything else to say and you find yourself saying it over and over, not matter the angle you turn to view. I had forgotten that the canyon is an entire mile DEEP… and the view across to the other side averages about ten miles – and we thought the Meteor Crater was impressive!

I wonder if it is the same for everyone who returns… how many times must one visit before your body adjusts and no longer skips a breath as you walk upon the incredible view? There really is no way to describe the grandeur of the landscape or the colors, which even on a cloudy day, when they are muted, are quite spectacular. Within moments of us standing there, the sun came out as if in answer to my silent calling to demonstrate to Erin the astounding vibrancy of sunshine against the canyon stone. She was in awe and motivated to move along the path, snapping photographs every third step, appropriately oohing and aahing.  I think between us, we easily snapped a hundred photos in under an hour. It looks unreal, as if you could reach out and touch a canvas, a backdrop that was perfectly painted to fit into the immediate surroundings. In every one of the photos we took with a person it it… they look like they could have been taken at any Olan Mills or Sears Portrait Studio.

I have a photo of my eighteen-year-old self, sitting on a ledge with my legs dangling over the edge of the canyon. I remember my step-mom crawling out there on her hands and knees to get me off that ledge and I could suddenly appreciate her hesitation. Why is it, that as young people, we are so fearless? There were people crawling over and under railings all along the path to reach standing spots that looked impossible but allowed for amazing photo ops. I am completely surprised that only a couple of people fall to their death each year as the people I saw appeared to be quite close and I felt myself getting anxiety as I waited for it to happen.

Sadly, we were all too aware of our time constraints and lack of proper clothing so we headed back to the warmth of our car to notice that if we wanted… we could back track a bit and make it to Sedona in time for the sunset. We were only ninety-seven miles away and heck – after 2,200 … what’s another 100?

Motivated to squeeze one more intense sight into our day, we headed south again, then east for a bit (it felt quite misguided to turn onto 40 eastbound) before we exited onto Arizona-89A, a two lane highway stretching through pine forests that put the Pocono Mountains to shame. There had been some recent lumbering along the highway and we passed dozens of piles of timbered pine allowing my mind to imagine them lumbered and waiting for shoppers at Lowes or Home Depot… yes, my mind really does work that way!

Suddenly, the road began to descend and immediately in front of me a canyon appeared leaving me to wonder where in the hell the road went… I quickly found out as we were led into a deep switchback with six hairpin turns that had me gripping the steering wheel so hard that the word Nissan was imprinted in my palm when it was over. All along, Erin was exclaiming “oh my God, Holy Shit! Oh wow!” and more expletives in that genre to announce her awe at the beauty of the panorama in front of us. I was tempted beyond belief to look and take it in but there was traffic coming at me and no guard rail on my side so our lives depended on me staying focused on the road as we descended 4500 feet.

To be continued…

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