Arctic Vacation – Do Something Different

Posted By admin on April 22nd, 2014

Arctic Travel

Arctic Travel

While the idea of a holiday for most people is to pack their shorts and swimming costumes, buy an ugly shirt and prepare for a week or two of siestas and questionable music, there is a large and growing sector of society which feels like the party animal in all of us can be catered for adequately by bars and clubs in our home towns, and to expect this from our holidays is merely to export our town center to a sunnier location. Indeed, for many people the idea of sun, sand, sangria and other assorted things beginning with “S” is as far away from the perfect holiday as it is possible for a thing to be. Snow, however, is to be actively welcomed on a trip to the Arctic – something which has caught the imagination of many since the first packages to the area started running.

A holiday to the Arctic may seem like the direct opposite of what constitutes a “proper” holiday for many people, but when you consider it for a while, it makes perfect sense. After all, what could be more different than traveling to somewhere where the temperature is perpetually sub-zero (Celsius) and the common practice of a typical holiday almost literally a world away? If sea and sun is what you expect of a holiday, of course it won’t hold much magic for you, but for many the most important thing about a holiday is  to see something different and live in a different way. This much is definitely possible on an Arctic vacation.

An Arctic holiday, essentially, can be any break taken inside the “Arctic Circle” in a geographic sense. This means that we are not just talking North Pole here, there are several other locations, including some within Canada and much of Alaska. Additionally there are European locations such as Greenland, Iceland and Russia, as well as Antarctica itself. So what would you do while there? There are countless things that make it worth a visit, not least a range of wildlife that makes it entirely different and original. On any safari holiday you can see lions or tigers and a number of other wild cats among other things, but only on a visit to somewhere as cold as the Arctic can you see Polar bears, snow leopards and penguins. Opportunities for the photographer are certainly plentiful.

Additionally, the difference of the activities you can take part in makes an Arctic holiday a really good idea. At the right times of year you can see the famed Aurora Borealis – almost habitually listed among the things you must do before you die – and the opportunities for pursuits like dog sledding and kayaking are also worth bearing in mind. If you fancy doing something really different, a break in the Arctic Circle – possibly by cruise – would be well worth looking in to. There is an increasingly long list of travel agents which offer the opportunity to go, as well as many who specialize in particularly fascinating breaks.

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The Internet and Personal Development

Posted By admin on April 10th, 2014

The Internet Can Aid Personal Growth Immensely

The Internet Can Aid Personal Growth Immensely

There are an awful lot of stereotypes directed at the Internet and its users, although to some extent these stereotypes are becoming less prominent. Regardless of the changing opinions of individuals, however, there is still a hard-wired impression that those of us who choose to spend a fair portion of our life online must be socially inadequate, and in some way not equipped to live a “normal life”. It should not be ignored that the people who express this impression most vocally are rarely much of a role model for anyone – and their unfounded prejudices may well suggest that they are quite the opposite. The Internet can, in fact, work excellently as a tool for personal development.

Think about it this way. If you are growing up in a relatively small town with very clearly defined values and preferences, and happen to grow up with a mindset that is at odds with those values and preferences, life can be pretty lonely. Geography in this sense is incredibly limiting. With the advent of the Internet, however, it has become possible for like minded individuals from locations poles apart to form strong bonds of friendship. There are caveats to this process, of course – taking people at face value is inadvisable – but these caveats are no more pronounced than those which arise when interacting with someone who is physically in the same room as you. It is always important to keep an eye out for people who are keen to dissemble and distract.

Online forums are one way of getting to know people who have similar interests. There are so many forums and message boards on the Internet, devoted to such a wide range of interests, that it would be quicker to name the subjects that are not catered to than those that are. Sports, music, politics, whatever interests you there is likely to be a community or two (or a few thousand) devoted to it. On here, you may get the kind of conversation that you simply cannot have with a geographical neighbour. In addition, it is an excellent way to get a bit of debating practice – by speaking to people whose opinions on your subject of interest differ from yours, you can build a greater understanding of matters, something which aids personal growth immensely.

Social networking sites are often viewed very dimly by media commentators and everyday skeptics. There is a certain selective interpretation of the medium in this – for one thing, the media commentators are a little concerned that they will cease to be as relevant, and secondly the most scathing attitudes to social networking are based on a hugely skewed sample. Yes, there are some complete and utter fools on these sites, and when their pronouncements are frozen for posterity online it is hard not to cringe. But some real deep thinkers also use these sites simply because they have so much difficulty finding like-minded people nearby. By using the Internet wisely, you can find people who are really worth talking to. Like anything else, it is a matter of knowing how to separate the good from the bad.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Simplepersonaldevelopment.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Entrepreneur Journey site. This article originally published on the above website on May 19, 2009.

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How To Get Cheaper Air Fares

Posted By admin on March 26th, 2014

How To Get Cheap Airfare Tickets

How To Get Cheap Airfare Tickets

One sector of the economy which has suffered perhaps more than any other from the depression in the global financial market is the travel industry. To be slightly more accurate, international travel is where the squeeze has really been placed. A lot of people who most years would actively consider flying abroad for their holiday have decided in the wake of job losses and reduced incomes that staying close to home for a holiday is perhaps more prudent. For anyone who retains an element of wanderlust that simply cannot be satisfied by a short stay in a neighbouring state, the importance of reduced air fares has become all the greater. You can still fly abroad for a holiday, assuming you have the means to pay – it is all about maximising what you can get for your money.

To find the cheapest air fares, you need to widen the range of your search. The laws of supply and demand dictate that where there is a lot of demand the prices will be higher. Therefore, while prices may have dropped to forestall a mass exodus from the traditional holiday hot spots, there will still be a premium for flying to places where a lot of people still want to go. But just because a place is not frequented by as many tourists, that does not mean that it is going to be a bad place to visit. For many of us, in fact, that is a selling point. Many people complain about the tourist traps as holiday destinations, feeling that if they want an experience that is just like home, they could stay at home and save a lot of money. Visiting somewhere that is off the beaten track may be the best thing you can do to enjoy your holiday and save on your budget.

To find a cheaper air fare you may be well advised to avoid package deals. Certainly, it is easier to make one payment and have your flight, board and meals covered for the holiday. It is, however, also more expensive. You can make an immediate saving by looking to arrange the details separately, although this will obviously be easier if you have a working knowledge of the language spoken in the country you are visiting. Travel agents are excellent at arranging lower cost air-fares if these are not bundled with transfers and accommodation.

Another way of finding lower air fares is to look online. There are numerous sites which promise to arrange the flight for you, and search for the lowest fare. You do, however, then have to pay them for the privilege of arranging things. There is an alternative here – you can use these sites to search for lower air fares and then book directly via the airline website, saving the arrangement fees in the process. This will mean more work on your part, but when you see the savings you make by being prepared to make your own arrangements it can easily pay for itself, and also give you greater freedom once you are on the ground in your destination.

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Is Your Job The Problem?

Posted By admin on March 15th, 2014

A Job Can Negatively Affect You

A Job Can Negatively Affect You

Life can be frustrating, draining and annoying. For far too many of us, every day is a struggle. Getting out of bed can be as much of a struggle as any other part of the day, and this should not be the case. It isn’t how things should be, but for too many of us it is a reality that we have to come to terms with. How many of us wake up in the morning and think “I’m looking forward to this”? Far too few. And, while there is not always an instant solution to this problem, the truth of the matter is that we have choices in life – it is about finding a way to make these choices a reality. It’s not easy – nothing that is worth doing ever is, unfortunately – but the truth is that if you work at it, you can make the future a lot better than the present.

The overwhelming majority of the time, we have difficulty getting out of bed because we know that what is lying ahead is a job that has very little about it to look forward to. Some of us have great jobs, and cannot wait to go in every day. The rest of us look at them with a mix of envy, admiration and hatred. The truth is that through one thing and another we can end up working in a job for which we have no great love from school through to retirement. And it can have an effect on our health, both mentally and physically. In order to have the life we want, we need to consider a number of factors, and our job (for what it does to our minds and bodies) is certainly one of those.

There are many ways in which a job can negatively affect a person. There is the most simple of all, which is that it is boring and repetitive. Going in every day to a job which is unchanging and which offers little prospect of variety can seem like a life sentence. As melodramatic as that sounds, getting some enjoyment out of your job is the least we should expect. Simply in order to stay sane you need to be able to smile and laugh every so often. Then there are the jobs that morally compromise us. Certain sales jobs and cold-calling can really put someone in a difficult position mentally. If you know that your job is going to involve putting an unwelcome crimp in someone’s day, it can be hard to live with yourself. As much money as some of these jobs can pay, it is usually the ones getting paid least who have the most uncomfortable duties.

Changing your job is not simple. Saying goodbye to a steady living is not something many of us can afford to even consider in the current climate. If, however, you have the freedom to look for a better job while you are doing the one that is currently giving you so much heartache, it can be highly worthwhile. It is something that can even lift the drab days when you are working at the job from hell – look at it as a way out!

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Simplepersonaldevelopment.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Entrepreneur Journey site. This article originally published on the above website on May 13, 2009.

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Posted By admin on March 9th, 2014

You Might Have To See Pyramids More Than Once

You Might Have To See Pyramids More Than Once

Of the many reasons to travel, sight-seeing is one which has held strong for longer than any of us have been alive. These days, there are so many different niches in the tourism industry that it would possibly be quicker to list the things that do not have a travel industry attached to them. However, among the major ones we have sports, cuisine and music. Above all of these, though, tourism still retains its love for seeing the sights of a new place. And when it comes to sight-seeing, historical locations have a big advantage over everywhere else. Simply put, people love to see the places that have been written about and photographed, and captured by so many travelogues that one couldn’t fail to know about them.

So we accept that tourism is in love with sight seeing, and sight seeing is inextricably linked with history. If we can go further, it would be fair to say that when it comes to history, a country which is home to the last standing remnant of the legendary seven wonders of the world would be an excellent destination. This is, of course a reference to Egypt, and specifically to the great Pyramids. More specifically still, the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is impossible to overstate the historical significance of this site. At the time when the Wonders of the World were designated, the major civilisations of the time were in Rome, Greece and in Egypt. In ancient Egyptian culture, craftsmanship was an issue of major importance, especially when it came to death.

Death in ancient Egypt was an issue that immediately made people think of tombs. The ancient Pharaohs of Egypt took their tombs very seriously, and more to the point were seen as almost god-like entities by the people they led. A visit to Giza, and to the wider Egypt in general, allows you to see the classic mausoleums and sarcophagi of the people who made Egypt what it was. In addition you will have the chance to see the Sphinx, built at the time as a guardian to the Pyramids and the center of some important and fascinating mythology. Giza is well situated, as it is just outside the modern capital city of Egypt, Cairo.

If traveling to Egypt, Cairo should be your landing place. In itself a fascinating city, it is a gateway too to the rest of the wonderful locations within Egypt. For example there is Luxor, considered by many to be the world’s most important open museum, such is the depth and the quality of the ancient architecture there. It is even home to the world’s greatest collection of mummification memorabilia. By traveling further out you can also pay a visit to the seaside paradise which is Sharm el-Sheikh – in many people’s view one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in the world. Speak to your travel agent about package tours to Egypt. There is so much to see that you might have to go back – but the chances are that you won’t be complaining.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Travelnowsimply.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Entrepreneur Journey site. This article originally published on the above website on Aug 14, 2009.

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Posted By admin on March 2nd, 2014

Change You Can Believe In

Change You Can Believe In

If you spend more time than you used to complaining and feeling frustrated, chances are that you have fallen into a rut and it is bringing you down. Although we as humans are creatures of habit to a large extent, there is no getting away from the fact that every once in a while following the same routine gets boring. However much you may instinctively dislike change, it can be the answer when things get just that bit too dull – and it broadens your horizons to allow you the chance to appreciate new things.

There is no change that is too small to influence your life in some way. Even waking up ten minutes earlier in the morning can give you a new appreciation of something. But most of us want more sleep, not less, and it is understandable that we are protective of our duvet time. It is for this reason that you should look initially for changes that will be more fun. The definition of “fun” differs for us all, of course. Some people don’t see the point in watching or playing sport; others are left unsatisfied by the cinema. Fun is anything that makes you glad to have the opportunity to do it.

When it comes to dinner time, why not try something you have never eaten before? Pretty often, even when eating in a restaurant, we will skim over the pages of stuff that we are unfamiliar with, and select the same thing we always do. Instead of this, why not stop for a while on a page that you normally flick past and give it your time? Changing something as simple as your meal rotation can give you a little bit of a boost when you need it most.

Food is just an example, of course. Sometimes change for change’s sake is a good thing, pure and simple. If you go through life never trying anything different, you will miss out on one of the most enriching parts of life – variety. I don’t know if you have heard, but it is apparently the spice of life. And it can be a very valuable thing, too. Even changing the desktop picture on your computer can make a difference on a day when you are feeling laboured and unmotivated. Buying a different breakfast cereal can also do the job. The point is not the depth of the change, the point is change itself.

However weighed down you may feel, and however weather-beaten it is making you, there is a real value in facing it down and refusing to become embittered. Changing your outlook can be as simple as deciding that you are not going to keep to the old rules, and making a bold strike for freedom. Try changing one thing every day, no matter how small it is. The difference that it will make, cumulatively, can be the difference between a positive mindset and a negative one. It’s a difference worth making.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Simplepersonaldevelopment.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Entrepreneur Journey site. This article originally published on the above website on May 5, 2009.

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What’s Your Browser?

Posted By admin on February 26th, 2014

Firefox, Chrome, IE, or Avant
Photo Credit: www.avantbrowser.com

Firefox, Chrome, IE, or Avant?

Just like smart phone apps, I am always looking for new browsers. Today, I will share a few thoughts about my various browser experiences in brief.

Firefox – This is what I currently use. I believe in terms of speed, it is slightly slower than Chrome, but I don’t mind it. I use Firefox for my smart phone and tablet as well and I think that Firefox does a better job than Google on smart phone or tablet.

Chrome - When Chrome first came out, I abandoned Firefox and stuck to Chrome for a long time. However, later on I switched to Firefox again and now I use Chrome as my backup browser.

Opera - I used Opera for probably 6 months. Then they came up with a newer version, which is the current version (as of Feb 2014), and their newer version actually went downhill in terms of quality when compared to the previous version. Since then, I stopped using Opera, even on my smart phone or tablet.

Internet Explorer – Never used it, never liked it. Whenever I open IE to check their latest version, it gives me headaches just to look at it for a minute. So cluttered and user-unfriendly that I don’t understand why Microsoft engineers don’t get something that’s so easy to get (i.e. make it uncluttered and user-friendly).

Avant - Just discovered this recently. This is not really a browser by itself. It renders 3 different engines to give you browsing experience you cannot have anywhere else. In other words, you can open a URL within Avant using Firefox, Chrome, or IE. You can even assign for specific websites to open with only particular browsers among IE, Firefox, or Chrome. It’s packed with lots of other interesting features. Try it, you might like it. One thing I noticed is that when you browse using Avant, web statistics sites (like Statcounter.com) do not show Avant as your browser, it would show the engine you are using at that time as your browser (Firefox, Chrome, etc.).

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Kuala Lumpur – A Vibrant City

Posted By admin on February 22nd, 2014

Travel Kuala Lumpur

Travel Kuala Lumpur

It is not always easy for other Asian cities to live up to the standards set by Dubai, especially given that Dubai is very much one of those cities that is a standing monument to the extraordinary – but if you are looking for a city that will offer all the things that Dubai does without costing as much, then Kuala Lumpur is a genuinely excellent choice for any tourist. It may be dominated in some people’s eyes by the Petronas Towers, but KL, as the locals call it, is really about a lot more than just some of the most striking architecture in the entire region. The city has become the focus of a Malaysian tourist industry which is very much interested in developing for the future while retaining clear links to Malaysian history.

To get anyone interested in visiting Kuala Lumpur, the first step anyone should take is to show them the city’s skyline. It will rapidly disabuse anyone of the notion that KL is the Petronas Towers and little else. A night-time cityscape of this magnificent location is a sight which goes far beyond impressive and right to the point of visually and architecturally stunning. For six years up until 2004 the Towers were the world’s tallest buildings, and they are still the tallest in the country now. Of course, Kuala Lumpur is not all about the architecture. Many people these days do not see fit to visit a country or a city unless they can shop ‘til they drop once there. If this is what you are after, the city of Kuala Lumpur is ideal.

While outside, the Western tourist may well find that the temperature can get a little bit severe. In actual fact it rarely, if ever, drops beneath 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius), even in the winter months. The shopping malls are air-conditioned and may well be the best places in the city for getting a bit of a breather if the heat is becoming oppressive for you. Assuming you are well equipped to deal with the heat, however, then you can take to the streets and enjoy the markets (which can get very busy but offer a real range of bargains and an opportunity to practise your haggling). You have surely been to shopping malls and seen inside them fountains, big-screen displays and other center pieces, but only in Kuala Lumpur will you see a shopping mall with a canal running through it.

You won’t be short of hotels to stay in either, no matter what your price range. While in a lot of other cities you will get a feeling you are paying for the name (of the hotel or the city), KL offers a great range of hotels where even the best by public decree are less than $150 a night on average year round. For people used to a Western climate it may well be the ideal winter break. Not too hot overall, but hotter than a Western summer, and affordable too. A really interesting experience

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Posted By admin on February 16th, 2014

Learning Language Can Be A Good Thing

Learning Language Can Be A Good Thing

For many of us, the reason that we want to change our life is because so much of it is stale. The everyday fact of doing the same thing again and again, and having a set routine, means that if there is anything that gets us down about life, it will be a recurring pain for us. To make our lives more enjoyable, what we require is a bit of a shake-up. Changing things around will give us something to get excited about and look forward to. Even a simple break from the norm can make a big difference.

Taking up a hobby is something that people often do to bring a bit more interest to their lives. What that hobby is, is truly limited only by our own imagination. What do you enjoy? If it is something that lends itself to a daily routine – or a weekly one – then it can be introduced into a pattern. Hobbies are alive with variety. All that matters about a hobby is that you find it enjoyable. Aside from that, the world is your oyster. But if it is something that you are taking up in order to introduce an aspect of fun to your life, you should make sure it has some sort of shelf-life.

One hobby that people like to take up is learning another language. When we are in school, it is often obligatory to choose a language as one of your elective subjects. Depending on where we are in the world, there may be a specific language that is compulsory. In Canada it will be French (or for French Canadians, English). In the US, it will often be Spanish. If we are not of a mind to enjoy school, we can come to associate a language with the boredom and restriction of a classroom. But often, once we have left school, we regret not having paid attention.

It may be directed towards future holidays in the country whose language you are learning, it may be directed towards being better able to understand a friend who speaks it as a first language. Or it may just be for the fun of it. Learning another language – off your own initiative – is a beneficial process. It allows you to exercise your brain, and makes you more receptive to the process of learning. When we have sought out an opportunity to learn, it is much easier to follow the learning process than if it is forced upon us.

In learning another language you learn so much more than just the words and the rules of the language. A language is formed by the culture in which it has arisen. So by learning the language you learn a lot about the people who speak it and the country or countries where they live. There can be a lot of secondary learning opportunities. Early on in a subject’s vocabulary you will learn about food, for example. This can play directly into learning about how to make the dishes whose names you have learned. So by learning French, you will learn French culture, French cuisine… the options open up the longer you go on.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Simplepersonaldevelopment.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Entrepreneur Journey site. This article originally published on the above website on May 1, 2009.

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Dancing – An Alternative To The Gym

Posted By admin on February 8th, 2014

Take The Floor and Take Control

Take The Floor and Take Control

Everyone knows that exercise is good for you; it’s basically impossible not to be aware of the fact. We’re all constantly told how exercise helps keep us not just healthy in body, but also in mind. There is seemingly nothing that exercise cannot do for us. Yet there is one drawback; for the vast majority of the population, exercise is boring. Endorphins created by exercise may make us happy, but few are happy at the prospect of exercise and are positively bored throughout almost any exercise routine or gym class.

Yet the benefits of staying fit and active are clear for all to see, so the problem presents itself in that we should all be exercising – but we don’t really want to. Gyms and the like have tried incredibly hard to keep their exercise areas entertaining and stimulating, but unfortunately it still always feels like uncomfortable work.

Thankfully, there are ways that one can get that ever essential exercise without being bored or frustrated. The answer is surprisingly simple: dancing. With television programs such as Dancing With The Stars, and the UK version Strictly Come Dancing, populating television screens – dancing has been receiving something of a boost to its public image. Rather than being seen as passe and full of overly made up women, it is now genuinely being treated as a real sport which requires time and dedication to perfect.

What’s more, dancing is absolutely fabulous for burning calories. Obviously, to get the maximum effect from dancing, learning to dance fast and energetic dances is the best way to go about it. Dances such as the salsa, with fancy footwork and complicate arm movements, are ideal, as are old classic favourites such as the jitterbug and lindyhop. Salsa lessons in particular are a real favourite, and ironically classes are frequently held at gyms – the very industry they are taking customers from.

Slow dances, such as romantic waltzes and sultry foxtrots, are also wonderful exercise – particularly for the older generation. Performing and rehearsing these more sedate dances is wonderful exercise, though without the intensity – and immediate calorie burn – of dances like the salsa. However, they have plenty of benefits themselves and if done for longer than one would traditionally have a salsa class, are just as beneficial.

The wonderful thing about learning either slow or fast dances is that boredom is unlikely. Firstly, you are engaging your mind and instructing it to learn – usually following the steps of an instructor, and then constructing routines of your own. Also, unlike the gym, when dancing you are unlikely to be focusing on the idea of keeping fit and in shape; your mind is distracted by the steps and the fun of the dance itself.

Dancing is the perfect alternative for those who find the gym dull. You can learn to dance at numerous registered classes, or even if your own living room – try copying the routines from Dancing With The Stars, or from your favourite pop videos. The important bit is the activity and raising your heartbeat for maximum physical benefit; how you do that is up to you, so dance away.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Simplepersonaldevelopment.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Entrepreneur Journey site. This article originally published on the above website on April 19, 2009.

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