Should You Give To Charity?

Posted By admin on July 21st, 2014

Charity Work

Charity Work

The topic of charity has become a surprisingly controversial issue over the years. Where once it was considered inherently good to give money to a cause, the concept of charity has now become loaded with caveats and provisos. Charitable donations now are something of a moral minefield, with people feeling that they have to do extensive research before writing the cheque or making the bank transfer. In some respects this is perfectly understandable. With just about any initiative formed on good intentions, there are loopholes through which those good intentions can be abused. Some people have taken this as a basis on which to decry all charity, which is perhaps the saddest thing of all.

It is easy to become cynical when you see the inherently decent concept of charity being abused. But it should be avoided – all too many people think now that by giving money to help a cause you are inevitably giving money to the lazy or the immoral. Some people have just been cursed with bad luck. Are we to consider that the homeless, the starving and even the long-term ill are malingerers whose only real problem is that they can’t pull themselves together, put on their best suit and go out and find a job? It would be a very regrettable situation if this mindset were to win out. Sure, it is worth putting a bit of thought into which charity you help out – but using the “bad” ones as a reason to doubt all charities is something to avoid.

There is another way that you can help out a charitable cause without needing to worry about handing money directly to a faceless corporation who will put it in the bank and “forget” to hand it over, or that it will end up being swallowed by administrative costs. You can refrain from donating money, or donate a smaller amount but add to it with your time.

Time and labour are often the areas where most charities find their biggest challenges. “No-one wants to give their time for free” is a common complaint. If however you are looking for a worthwhile way to use your time, charitable work can be a very rewarding way to achieve this. It may just be packaging up donations of clothes and food for delivery to needy causes. It may be taking boxes in your car to drive to a refuge for people who have been beset by the problems of a broken home, violence or any other difficulty. But by doing this you also get to see that your work and your time are not wasted.

Cynicism is natural, if not desirable. Skepticism is, to some extent, to be encouraged – it is what allows us to distinguish good causes from bad ones. But doing work for charity can allow you to see just what good work some charities are still doing – and at the same time learn a little bit about yourself as a person. It also allows you the chance to meet some very interesting, very driven people. It’s clear how charity helps the needy, but it can help anyone who gives it a chance.

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 July 3, 2009.

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Vietnam – The Land Of Hidden Charm

Posted By admin on July 8th, 2014

Where To Travel In Vietnam

Where To Travel In Vietnam

Vietnam is a country that offers uniquely breathtaking scenery, with mountains, rice fields, and islands surrounded by clear waters. Vietnam also has a deep history and significant cultural wealth, as well. Here, you will find that agriculture is a mainstay, and that traditional methods still exist.

When you travel to Vietnam, you will want to notice which region you are planning on visiting so that you can pack accordingly. Southern Vietnam is warm and dry during the months from March to June, then rainy from June to November. The winter months are typically cool and dry. If you are visiting during the rainy season, remember to pack both warmer and cooler clothing, since the temperature may change quickly.

The Northern section of Vietnam has traditional four seasons, with the coolest months running from December to March and the warmest months running from May until September. Monsoon season in Central Vietnam is the country’s most harsh, with cold, windy weather from September until February.

If you want to travel to Vietnam during its busiest season, then the holiday of Tet is the most important one to choose. Tet is the Vietnamese New Year, which occurs on a date that can be anytime from late January until March, with dates ranging from year to year. If you are visiting an urban area of Vietnam during Tet, you may find that there is a large amount of traffic.

For those looking for a relaxing spot on the beach, Nha Trang is the spot to visit. This small resort village is home to dozens of tourist attractions, although the beautiful clear waters of the beach are definitely the most popular. You will find that there are hotels and dining establishments for any budget, as well.

When traveling in Vietnam, you may be able to use a wide variety of international currencies, such as the US dollar, but the national currency is the Dong. The exchange rate between the dollar and is the dong is about one dollar US to eighteen thousand Vietnamese dong. You may want to consider carrying along both your own currency and the Vietnamese currency, even though both may be accepted locally.

The language in Vietnam is diverse, with Vietnamese being the official language. There are also large populations of people who speak English and Cantonese, as well. Visitors may find that signs are in both English and Vietnamese, making it simpler for English speaking tourists to find their way in large urban areas.

When traveling in Vietnam, you will inevitably want to enjoy traditional Vietnamese food. There are plenty of street vendors selling everything from spring rolls to pho, traditional dish of noodles, spices, and lime. This delicious dish is available everywhere in Vietnam. If you are lucky enough to be in a seaside town in Vietnam, then you will want to try the local seafood, which is freshly caught and prepared daily.

Vietnam is a scenic country, so take the time to enjoy the sights on a motorbike tour is the weather permits. There is plenty to see and do in any region of the country.

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 Dec 20, 2009.

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How To Change Without Making A Jump Into The Unknown

Posted By admin on July 1st, 2014

Jump into the unknown to change

Let’s Go Retro!

A lot of us tend to find life unnecessarily trying from time to time, and this is due in no small part to the repetition of it all. It is a regular complaint from people in various jobs or other situations that they find each day runs into the next, with no variety to break it all up. It feels like Groundhog Day to many of us, as we wish we could just break the cycle a little bit and do something different. Of course, just as many of us have a bad feeling about changing too radically – what if we don’t like the change, it’s too difficult to change back or it’s so costly to make the initial change that we leave ourselves out of pocket for what turns out to be no real reason?

Well, there is another way to change things, a way that doesn’t leave you high and dry from a financial point of view and which you can feel confident about enjoying. It is called “turning back the clock” by more than a few, and various other names by various people what it amounts to is doing the things you always used to enjoy, without entertaining the boring and inaccurate state of mind that says it is uncool to do such things. Think about it – you always used to enjoy something, before life got in the way and stopped you. Now that things have settled and you need something to give your days a bit of a shake-up, what better way of doing that than rediscovering something you’ve always loved?

It doesn’t much matter what it is. If the thing you always used to love doing was a physical exertion like a sport or dancing, you may find that you have got out of condition for it in the meantime. Whether this is enough to persuade you to give up on it is up to you, but you could find that the journey of getting back to where you used to be is as much fun as the feeling of actually being at that point. Maybe it is something like old-school video games. A lot of people say that video games are for kids, but most of those people have either never played one, or last played one when they themselves were kids – and things change a lot in the world of video games, sometimes very quickly.

The key point here is that there are many things which we give up before we really want to – sometimes because we genuinely have to and sometimes because we feel we must. Re-evaluating at some point along the way means that we can look at bringing these things back into our everyday lives, or as a weekly treat. It is a way of changing things up without having to make a jump into the unknown, and allowing ourselves to enjoy a pursuit that we already know how to do. As a side benefit, doing things you used to enjoy can make you feel younger, and we could all do with that from time to time.

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 June 20, 2009.

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Dominican Republic – An Endless Summer

Posted By admin on June 14th, 2014

Where to visit in Dominican Republic

Where to visit in Dominican Republic

It is vacation time again and you have decided you want one with difference this time. You may have saved up your monies for so long and if there is anything you want it is value for your money. And actually if you can you are looking to experience more value for less dollar, and for this reason you have chosen to visit the Dominican Republic. If you are the usual traveler who just goes by the tide, you will spend all your time in a hotel or resort that was recommended to you by the travel agency. But that is just a tip of the iceberg, so get ready to keep a bagful of tips for you to consider in your trip.

There are many good things that happen to you when you visit the Dominican Republic because the activities are just in the plenty. Whatever you love to have in your holiday, you get it here in very pocket friendly packages. Whether you want to go for windsurfing, scuba diving, a little tan on your skin in the sandy beaches or even some little indulgence with the beautiful local women, this is a place you will want to come again and again especially if you discover the good hidden places.

Anyone who has been on vacation in Dominican Republic and never got to visit Bavaro and Punta Cana missed half of their experience. It is this beaches that are located on the South-eastern part of the republic that are the crème de la crème of the beaches in this part of the world. For the new comer or the returning visitor, ensure you have it in your itinerary, because this is a must visit. Your eyes will view miles upon miles of sandy beaches and you will just love the experience.

Words are not enough to tell what experience you will get visiting the renowned La Costa Del Coco because this is just another must if you are to experience in relaxation and joy in your Dominican visit. The long beach is dotted with coconut trees and every class of hotel or resort for everyone’s special liking. There is also the place they call Casa de Campo which you will find nestled in the south coast in an agricultural city known as La Romana. Getting to La Romana is not a problem at all because it is aptly served with an international airport that is close to all the resorts which means you get there fresh and raring to go. But just in case you begin from some other part of Dominican Republic and you want to get here, there really should be no hassle because there are adequate helicopter services that operate to La Romana.

But for the really adventurers person who loves nature, there is no better way of touring Dominican Republic and enjoy all the trappings of Mother Nature than to do a bus ride. You will get a chance of savouring the magnificent landscape and remember to carry your camera along because the pictures you will click away are simple breathtaking. While at Caso de Campo the theatre lover will be reminded to ensure they visit Altos de Chavon whose architecture is inspired by traditional Mediterranean village as well as the famous Las Minitas beach. Enjoy an unforgettable holiday in Dominican republic and you will surely come back again and again.

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 Nov 24, 2009.

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Are Book Readers Becoming Extinct?

Posted By admin on June 8th, 2014

Reading for enjoyment

Reading for enjoyment

Many of us, in everyday life, spend a hefty proportion of our time reading. The reasons for this reading will vary from person to person. Mostly, though, it will either be for the purposes of keeping up with the news, or for work purposes. This is a perfectly good reason for reading, of course. There is, however, some sense of injustice in the fact that merely living is taking the element of fun out of something that we used to do almost entirely for pleasure. Reading a book just because we want to do so, as a simple pleasure, is something that disappointingly few of us are doing. There are numerous reasons for this, and they say a lot about how the meaner side of human nature has taken hold among many of us.

There is a sense among a sadly growing number of people that reading is simply something for the college kids and the wannabe intellectuals. Who reads for pleasure these days, people will seriously ask, when we have DVDs, cinemas and the TV for our entertainment? There is even an element of distrust shown towards those of us who like to read. It is a massive shame, but it seems that there is a tendency to dumb things down and to actually wear ignorance as a badge of honour. Just to clarify things, there is nothing shameful about cracking a book every once in a while and reading for fun. Don’t be concerned about people looking at you in a slightly dimmer way just because you enjoy the written word. It is something that gives life a bit of flavour. A good book can take you outside the confines of the everyday and turn free time into dream time.

Now, this is not an order to go out and read the classics. If you don’t like Shakespeare you don’t have to read him. If Dickens doesn’t do anything for you, don’t buy his books. It really isn’t about who you read, or even what you read. It’s about why. And the fact is that sometimes reading for pleasure can make a real difference. It relaxes you physically while at the same time exercising your mind. Even a fairly simple and pedestrian novel that won’t win any awards will keep your brain functioning at a higher level, exercise that it needs in order to keep operating at the level you are used to.

So, if you have a favourite childhood book that always used to make you laugh or smile, why not pick that up once more? If a friend is reading something that they deem excellent, ask if you can borrow it when they’ve finished with it. Reading just for the sake of pleasure is something that makes us richer as a people, and something that should survive the prospect of being sneered at. It really is good fun, and we should see it as such. Find a new favourite author and read as many books as you can find, and before too long you’ll be reading a couple of books a week!

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 June 14, 2009.

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Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea

Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea – Heaven on Earth

Posted By admin on May 29th, 2014

Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea

Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea

The world is full of beauty, and beautiful places are always attractive to tourists. There is probably no greater advertisement for a country’s tourist industry than a non-captioned picture showing beautiful scenery, unspoilt land and smiling faces. And perhaps more than any other region, the South Pacific has all of this in great quantities. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia, and an attractive proposition for any sun-seeking tourist with an interest in living the relaxed life. If you had to put a visual picture to the word “holiday”, then perhaps the most immediate one would be one which corresponds very directly to what you will see in Tahiti – palm trees, sandy beaches, the whole nine yards.

In fact, Tahiti is a series of islands, and also the name of the larger island which makes up most of the landmass of the small French protectorate. The island of Tahiti, in fact, does not quite have the same beach lifestyle as the rest of the country, but what it does have is a lot of holiday resorts which feature the aesthetic beauty of the South Pacific in all its glory, along with the capital city, Papeete. Papeete makes for an excellent base from which to see the rest of Tahiti. Also on the main island are some volcanoes which form part of the breathtaking natural scenery of the area. Off the main island you will find, though, some of the most heartbreakingly beautiful scenery that you have ever seen.

Bora Bora is recognized as being among the most desirable locations for a honeymoon that the world has to offer. In the holiday resorts of Bora Bora you will find the immediately recognisable overwater bungalows, wooden huts raised on stilts over the lagoon which surrounds the island. These range from some very affordable accommodations which will suit the pocket of any visitor and serve perfectly well as a marvellous setting from which to see the area, to more luxurious bungalows which make for the ideal setting for a honeymoon. Anyone who could look at Bora Bora, its tropical lagoon, coral reef and the overwater bungalows and not want to visit, must surely have seen everything in their life.

Moorea is seen as the more exclusive sister island to Bora Bora, but is in truth not that much different to it. This is not to denigrate its charms, which are extensive and very clear to anyone who pays a visit. In fact, on Moorea the main selling point is that it is simply something different to Bora Bora – equally beautiful in a different way, with stunning views over any of its two gorgeous bays. The overwater bungalows are also present here, as are garden bungalows and apartments which are set among a relaxed atmosphere which would make not just honeymooning couples but also any casual traveler feel absolutely blissful. Beyond these two islands there are still others, making a package deal a worthwhile choice for anyone looking for a break in the sun.

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 Oct 11, 2009.

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Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Posted By admin on May 23rd, 2014

Why You Are So Tired

Why You Are So Tired?

Meet Award Winning Author A. Dawn At The Toronto Reference Library

Most of us will, at least once a day if not more often, feel a little bit short of energy and experience a desire to stop whatever we are doing and go chill out for a spell. Excessive tiredness is a surprisingly common complaint, and it affects people in all manner of jobs from the highly physical to the mainly sedentary. How often will you hear someone say “I really don’t know why I am so tired – I’ve not even done much today!”?

The reason that people find themselves wondering just that is that they have, as often as not, got too little sleep. In today’s society, the work-life balance tends to be weighted firmly in favour of work – and that leaves many of us fighting to get through the week. “That Friday Feeling” may be about partying for some people, but for many of us it is more about feeling blessed relief that we can crawl under the duvet for a spell.

For many of us, work commitments mean getting out of bed at any time from 5am onwards. To get the eight hours of sleep that the average human being needs, this would necessitate going to bed at some time prior to 9pm. If you have got back from the office at any point after five or six o’clock, that leaves you with a very short window in which to get something to eat, chat with family or friends, and get ready for bed. Although that sounds monstrous, it doesn’t always happen that way, as we often rebel against our body clock and stay up a few more hours to watch TV or whatever else we like to do.

The problem with doing that is that we are simply saving up a “sleep debt” for ourselves, which our body will be looking to cash in at some point. For those of us who have weekends off, this means that as often as not we will spend the mornings of Saturday and Sunday catching up on missed sleep. So much for any plans we had to get things done around the home.

The solution to the sleep debt problem is not immediately evident. Many of us just accept that we will have to deal with the effects of sleep deprivation during the week, get ourselves back on a relatively even keel at the weekend, and then begin the process anew on Monday. If we could all find jobs that allowed us eight hours of work, eight hours of free time (minus travel and preparation times) and eight hours of sleep, we’d probably all be a lot happier. As this is not an achievable situation, we have to look at the options we do have.

It is vital, however, that we all realize that burning the candle at both ends is not a sustainable way of doing things, long term. If you can find a way to increase your window of opportunity for sleeping, then it is a good idea to do so. You will feel a great deal more recharged as a result.

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 June 7, 2009.

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Chiang Mai – The Rose of the North

Posted By admin on May 18th, 2014

 Chiang Mai - Best of Both Worlds

Chiang Mai – Best of Both Worlds

The world in which we live is such a diverse planet that even the most committed travelers will never get to see it all. This could easily be a depressing thought; that one life is not enough for us to see everything, and that no matter how far we travel and how much we spend we will still leave something undone. What it means, in practice, is that we have to pick and choose where we go. We need to decide what we want from our travel portfolio and leave undone some of the things that do not quite come up to the standards offered elsewhere. For some of us, it is enough to see a few countries of choice; for others, to see at least one country on each continent; still others, to see as much of the world as funds and free time permit.

More and more people are of the opinion these days that, no matter where else you visit, Thailand is a country which simply has to be visited. Positioned in a continent which already offers the wonders of Japan, Korea, China, India and Pakistan among others this is no small thing. There is already so much to see and do in Asia – what makes Thailand so special? For many of us, the answer is simply in a glance. Just to look at Thailand is to see a country which combines modernity and bustling metropolises with something that is becoming harder and harder to find in this world – sheer, unique natural beauty.

Thailand is one of the world’s most beautiful countries, with simple bucolic scenes as far as the eye can see. Among this, the metropolitan area of Chiang Mai allows the traveler the best of both worlds – indeed, the best of a number of worlds, with the aforementioned natural beauty adjacent to shopping that compares favourably with many other cities, and the amazing old-fashioned buildings which are Thailand’s hallmark – beautiful Buddhist temples and traditional settings which are always worth visiting. There is much to see and do in Chiang Mai. Festivals are frequent and showcase the best of the region – from classical dance and music to traditional handicrafts – as well as the wonderful cuisine of the region.

Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most diverse regions. With a population in the metropolitan area of close to one million people, there are residents from a number of different tribal backgrounds. There is however virtually no clash of cultures, simply a peaceful co-existence which would make most visitors from the busier cities of the world somewhat envious. This may be why another one million people pour into the city every year from all over the world. If the mere feeling of good-natured welcome is not enough to put you at your ease, Chiang Mai is also one of the best places in which to experience the wonders of Thai massage – if you have time you can learn the basics yourself, otherwise why not simply put yourself in the hands of an expert and feel your worries float away?

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 Sep 26, 2009.

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Posted By admin on April 29th, 2014

Honesty Is The Best Policy

Honesty Is The Best Policy

Picture the scene: you have been worrying yourself into a blue funk over the course of a week with one subject dominating the horizon and no idea how you are going to deal with it. This worry arises time and again, often at inopportune moments, before sinking out of sight for long enough to give you a shot at cheering up – before the worry appears again and pulls the rag from underneath your feet. As you sit there consumed by the feeling that nothing is ever going to be enjoyable again, it is a level certainty that someone will ask you: “What’s up?”. It is also a fair possibility that you will pause for a moment and then say “Oh? No, nothing, I’m fine.”

Does that sound familiar? If so, don’t worry – you’re one of a great many people who have lived that exact scenario out maybe weekly, maybe even more often than that. We have a tendency to internalize our worries, and when someone asks us what’s going on it is somehow easier to pretend that all’s well rather than burdening them with some of what is bothering us. Never mind the fact that they may be able to help, we do not want to be thought of as wasting their valuable time. It is a little bit like a dance in a lot of ways – the initial approach, the intricate steps of offer and response, the big finish (where they walk away, perhaps a tad confused).

For politeness’ sake, we are almost hard-wired to decline any offers of help even when we would really benefit from having someone else’s advice. But if they didn’t want to help, they wouldn’t have asked. Whatever the situation you are trying to deal with, there might be something they can do. Maybe they can help materially. Maybe they’ve been there themselves and can offer advice that will fix things. Maybe they know someone who can help, even if they cannot themselves. Either way, it is counter-productive to turn down an offer of help simply because you don’t want to be impolite. If nothing else the act of telling someone, and having them listen to you, can make the problem seem a bit less insurmountable.

The act of “bottling things up” is one that we are all prone to every once in a while, but it is not a good habit to get into. Stress is a major contributor to many illnesses, both physical and mental, and allowing problems to snowball to the point where you cannot see a way out is only going to hurt you in the short and long term. A good friend will want to help you. Solving a problem is a lot easier when you have a second mind working on it. Don’t think that they are only asking in order to be polite, and that by telling them anything you will be ruining their day. They want to know. They want to help. Give them that opportunity, and it will make things a whole lot more straightforward for all concerned.

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 30, 2009.

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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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