Monthly Archives: May 2017

5 Reasons You Should Pack Your Bags And Travel

Breaking the monotony of life is the best feeling ever – you create better ways for yourself and have better experiences to share, but most of all you develop a better understanding of life.

If you’ve still got your questions about how you can break the tedium of life, then you must travel because that’s exactly what your mind needs and that’s the only thing that can relax your body. So, stop whatever you’re doing and know these 5 reasons that would convince you to travel.

It changes the way you relate to yourself – Travelling makes you know the deeper meaning of your life – it enables you to relate with yourself and how you’re leading your life. You might even develop a deeper sense of commitment to save our planet’s exquisiteness for the coming generations – after all, you’ve seen it personally, and it’s worth saving!

It changes the way you relate to other – We’ve all grown up visualizing diversity, but travelling makes you experience a better side of it. You will be able to relate to more people, in a better way and might as well take an initiative to create some form of balance in the world. The key to everything is ultimately being able to relate with the things you see around you.

It makes you understand that life is not only about you – You’ll witness a better version of you and you’ll also witness a better version of everything else around you. You will see that the world is so much bigger than your perception on it. You will soon realize the world does not gyrate around you. You will learn that you really are not everything the world needs – you’re just a tiny minnow in a pothole.

It empowers you to take new challenges, without fear – Sometimes travelling puts you in a difficult situation and that’s when you’re required to make some bold moves, some decisions and take challenges. You meet your true self when you travel, and at the end of the journey you’re a better and improved individual, able to decipher the meaning of life without the fear of failing.

It pushes your educational horizons – There’s a lot to learn when you’re out travelling – but most of all there is one reason why you should not just miss travelling – it pushes your educational horizons. You learn new things and grab more valuable information about places, things and people – creating a complete travel journal.

And one last reason – Because you’ve got one life and you should live it rather gleefully.

The History of Leisure and Recreation

When you stop to think about it, humankind has always enjoyed some type of leisure and recreation, so the history of leisure and recreation goes back a very long way. The Romans had the Coliseum, where they watched chariot races and other entertainment. The Greeks had amphitheaters where they viewed drama and comedy, and of course they invented the Olympics, one of the greatest entertainment sport spectacles on earth. The list goes on. Even the Bible discusses singing, dancing, music, and other forms of acceptable recreation, so even the most ancient civilizations enjoyed entertainment and recreation of some sort.

The Middle Ages

Life for most people in the Middle Ages was dark and difficult. More emphasis was put on work, and there was little time for leisure. However, jousting tournaments, hunting tournaments, and the earliest forms of chess, checkers, and other games developed during this time. The people worked hard, the Church forbade many forms of entertainment, but there were still leisure pastimes to help develop the growing history of leisure and recreation.

The Industrial Revolution

This history of leisure and recreation goes far back in time, but leisure and recreation really took off when the Industrial Revolution hit Great Britain in the 1700s. The Industrial Revolution revolutionized work in the modern world, and helped create the modern factory environment. Machines mechanized the manufacture of fabric and fibers, and this ultimately led to more leisure time for the workers. They worked long hours in the factories, but they also had time off, and most employers gave at least some holidays off. Thus, people who had labored from dawn to dusk on farms in rural England, moved to the big city, got jobs in factories, and had leisure time away from their jobs. The Industrial Revolution helped create the notion of leisure time, and it helped create a different view of work and leisure.

The 20th Century

If the Industrial Revolution helped create the history of leisure and recreation, the 20th century helped cement it. Workers demanded shorter working hours, paid vacations and holidays, and weekends off, leading to even more leisure time for the world's workforce. Today, work and leisure are still strictly separated, but leisure time and recreation are some of the most important aspect of modern life, showing how the history of leisure and recreation has altered throughout time, and become increasingly popular as people gain more freedom from work and toil.

Tribal Warfare

It's interesting to note that the wide separation between work and leisure in our modern society is something that was not necessary in early, tribal cultures. Early man (and woman), worked when it was necessary to find food or to create items they needed to live, but they did not work continually, they interspersed work with pleasure or leisure, something our society not longer enjoys. For example, in Native American societies, boys "played" at war and warfare, but this play taught them how to use a bow and arrow, useful for hunting as well as defending the tribe. Work became play, while today, the two terms are decidedly distinct.

Bad Eco-Tourism Does More Harm Than Good

Tourism is a booming industry. With many travellers flocking to different destinations around the globe, tourism is becoming one of the most viable business markets in the world. However, air travel, car travel and other aspects of tourism are adding to the planet's pollution crisis and this is becoming a problem. Travel operators and hospitality corporates realised that some action needed to be taken, and Eco-tourism was created as a solution to this problem.

Eco-tourism is now one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism industry. Eco-tourism involves the conservation of biological and cultural diversity through education of locals and tourists alike. By protecting ecosystems it has had a positive effect on the local communities and their livelihoods through their participation in projects and lessening the impact on the environment.

Why Eco-Tourism?

A tourist operator who offers eco-tourism is basically an operator who makes no negative impact on the environment and helps to sustain and promote the life of the local ecosystems.

Their activities should not pollute the local surroundings and have a mutually beneficial relationship with local residents through education of how to sustain themselves without damaging the environment. In South Africa, teaching locals how to make crafts from empty cans and used containers to minimise litter and help create a source of income is one example of this. The tour operator should also be involved in the education of locals concerning the environment and teaching them how to live in harmony with it, instead of destroying it.

There are many benefits to eco-tourism, yet many hospitality providers claim they offer eco-tourism holidays and accommodation when they do not. Governments and tourism providers are leaning towards the promotion of anything which involves nature as eco-tourism, allowing activities which are not based upon sustainable development of the environment and communities.

Tourism ventures such as low-impact tourism, green tourism, bio-tourism and ecologically responsible tourism are advertised as eco-tourism when they do not fall under this category realistically.

The Problems with Fake Eco-Tourism

"Green washing" is a term used to describe the occurrence of a tourism operator claiming to offer eco-friendly holidays when they are in fact, environmentally destructive. This practice involves the commercialisation of tourism involving nature and some ecological projects as eco-tourism. Many people flock to these tourism operators and end up doing more damage to the environment than if they had not used a 'green' operator. They are destructive towards the environment, are insensitive towards cultural needs and exploit the tourism economy. They are also misleading to tourists as they appeal to the desire to help the environment which tourists have, yet destroy the environment, not giving the tourists what they have asked for.

Despite some operators meeting the guidelines, there may still be a negative impact on the environment and local communities. Eco-tourism operators need to have a thoroughly positive impact on the environment with few, if not no negative impacts. If there is a negative impact, this should be counter acted by some kind of compensatory action such as planting trees and so forth.

South Africa is currently reaping many economic benefits from eco-tourism but there are still problems with displacement of people, violations of constitutional rights and negative impact on the environment from tourism activities.

An eco-tourism operator should be involved in investing in the local ecosystems and conservation. Rejuvenation of the natural resources and the education of locals in living in harmony with these ecosystems is paramount to eco-tourism. Education of tourists, assisting the livelihoods of locals in supporting themselves without negative environmental impact and the conservation of biological and cultural diversity should be not only endorsed but achieved through eco-tourism. Money generated from eco-tourism should also be invested in furthering conservation efforts.

Christmas Traditions in North America

Many of the celebrations in the United States that are associated with Christmas were traditions brought by German and English immigrants. Along with the well-known and practiced tradition of a brightly decorated Christmas tree, other traditions brought by these immigrants include Advent calendars, Christmas greeting cards, gingerbread houses and gingerbread cookies.

Christmas in the United States today can be seen as focused around family, travel, shopping and decorations.

Family and travel go together during Christmas in the United States because family members often have to travel fairly long distances to be with each other at one location. The growth of cities that have primarily economic activity, suburbs for residences, as well as the fact of different industries being found in certain geographic locations, are among the reasons that family members often live great distances from each other in separate states.

Christmas and its festivities therefore present a wonderful opportunity for many members of the family to gather in celebration and see each other in an intimate setting. The traveling involved makes the Christmas season a busy time of the year for rail and air travel.

The occasion of seeing many family members at Christmas is also linked to the activity of shopping that is an important feature of Christmas in the United States. The Christmas season officially begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday and which now ranks second in shopping for a single day to the Saturday before Christmas.

Much of the shopping that is done is to purchase gifts for friends and family. Gifts for family members are usually exchanged after dinner on Christmas day, when everyone gathers in the room with the Christmas tree. Gifts are usually left at the base of the Christmas tree in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day.

Gifts may also exchanged before Christmas at parties held by friends and parties held at workplaces.

Second to gifts, shopping is also done at Christmas for decorations. While the Christmas tree may be the centerpiece of attraction, garlands, wreaths, candles and decorative lighting placed
outside on lawns or along rooflines are also used to create a beautiful holiday appearance for homes.

Canadians enjoy Christmas activities that are similar to those celebrated in the United States. That is so because in the 1700s when some German immigrants in the United States migrated to Canada, they continued to practice many of the activities associated with Christmas. The geographical proximity of the two countries also means they share many things, so similarities in Christmas traditions would not be an exception.

One thing that accounts for the difference between the two countries however, is the Eskimo population in Canada. Eskimos in Canada celebrate a festival during winter and have other traditions that are absent from American Christmas celebrations.

A practice also exists in Nova Scotia in which small groups of masked individuals march around about two weeks before Christmas. These masked groups attract attention by creating stir with much bell ringing and engaging in a noisy caper in an aim to get candy, sweets and goodies from onlookers.

This tradition bears some similarity to Jonkonoo celebrations in the neighboring islands of the Caribbean. Those celebrations also involve masked individuals, including some that appear on stilts that make them as tall as trees. The parade of Jonkonoo regale onlookers with various antics and present a minor scare to some children, who are then calmed with candies and other treats.

In Nova Scotia, onlookers can try to calm the noise and rowdiness just a little if they can correctly guess the identity of the masked person. A correct guess puts an end to the noise as the mask is removed, exposing the individual. For their part, maskers also play nice by friendly nudging answers from children about whether they have been naughty or nice and handing out candies and treats accordingly.

Camping in Kauai – State and Private Campgrounds

Kauai has four campgrounds located in its state parks. Two of these, both located in upland forest meadows are easily accessible by car, one, on a beach, is best reached by four-wheel, and the fourth is a backpacker's campground at the end of the Na Pali's 11-mile trail.

Koke`e State Park – Mosquito Free, Upland Camping on Kauai

Two campgrounds are found here in Koke`e State Park's cool and misty uplands just a few miles from the desert dry Waimea Canyon. Many of the State Park's numerous hiking trails begin near the campgrounds and meander through fragrant cedar and eucalyptus forests, under ancient koa and towering redwoods and past fragrant blossoms and succulent fruit.

It's not what you might expect from a tropical vacation, but it is a very beautiful rainforest and for those interested in Hawaii's flora and fauna very intriguing. The area is steeped in legend and also home to one of the island's most magnificent vistas that opens up to the Na Pali. And an extra bonus – the mosquitos do not care much for the coolness, so you will rarely see one, but you will see lots of colorful birds that also appreciate the mosquito free climes.

The temperature typically dips into the 40s at night up here at 3,600 feet, so bring or rent warm sleeping bags (or stay in one of the well heated cabins, cottages or YWCA hostel). The temperatures are quite pleasant in the daytime, and you will likely only want a lightweight rain jacket.

Koke`e State Park Campground

The State Park campground is situated in a long meadow bordered by tall evergreens. The Koke`e Natural History Museum and main office of the privately run Koke`e Lodge (with a restaurant / bar) also are right here. Like most of Hawaii's State Park camp sites, it's only $ 5 per tent site for the night. Camping permits can be booked up to a year in advance. If you're not OK with getting up early though, this may not be the place for you – the resident roosters crow at dawn.

Camp Sloggett

The other campground in Koke`e State Park is Camp Sloggett, named after the family who donated this to the YWCA in 1938. This includes the tent sites (with showers and restrooms), a charming 1925 built lodge along with the bunkhouse (hostel) and beautiful grounds, all maintained by the Kauai YWCA. This is a fun place to stay – you'll feel like your back at summer camp! There's a historical fire pit with seats for 40 and lots of activities.

The campground's rates are significantly higher than the Koke`e State Campground: $ 10 per person opposed to $ 5 per site, but this is a really fun and nice place for families, while the Koke`e State Park campground and private cabins mainly attract hunters and backpackers.

Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park

This is backcountry camping for experienced backpackers and hikers. It is set on the Na Pali's stunning rugged coastline at the 11-mile turn around point for the Kalalau Trail. Camping fee: $ 10, and instead of per site as with the other two, it's per person on the Na Pali.

Camping on the Beach at Kauai's Polihale State Park

This Polihale State Park campground is located on a strikingly gorgeous white sand beach on the sun drenched west side of the island near where the Na Pali Coast ends. It is an extension of Barking Sands Beach and has huge sand dunes, as tall as 100 feet in places.

The downsides to this campground: you need to traverse about 5 miles on a pot hole ridden dirt road. Most do not go here without 4-wheel drive.

The other downside is that this is not a safe swimming beach due to its treacherous currents. There is the possibility of swimming in Queen's Bath, a rock lined pool on the south end, but Queen's Bath is only safe when the surf is small or the ocean is calm. Otherwise it is very dangerous. And there's no lifeguard at this beach.

On the upside: the setting is as mentioned awesome and you'll have romantic sunsets, views of the Na Pali, shore fishing (when it's calm), restrooms, picnic shelters, camping areas, outdoor showers and drinking water. Camp sites here are $ 5 per night.

Camping Kauai can be a really fun way to save money and meet locals and other visiting campers, if you enjoy camping. And if you do, there could be just the perfect campground for you on the Garden Isle.

What to Look for When Buying Sofas for Vacation Rentals

Vacation rental furniture must be durable in order to stand up to regular use by a wide variety of vacationers who may not care for your furnishings quite as well as you would like them to. Holiday rentals, by their nature, are occupied by a constantly transitioning parade of temporary residents who use them as a home base for family vacations, ski trips, weekends at the lake or corporate retreats in the mountains. While some renters are mindful of the furnishings and treat their temporary housing as if it was their home, many do not. Anyone who owns temporary rentals has either heard stories of raucous parties and trashed houses, or they have experienced these things themselves.

Knowing that your furniture will very likely be mistreated by at least some of the folks who call your rental property home for a weekend, a week or a month, it is imperative that you invest in furnishings that you will not have to replace every time a rowdy group of friends parties a bit too hard or a pair of permissive parents lets their children run loose with chocolate ice cream, crayons and fruit punch. This is particularly true when purchasing a sofa, since you know this piece of furniture will definitely be used on a daily basis and will take the brunt of any mishaps that may occur.

What to Look for When Vacation Rental Sofa Shopping

When shopping for vacation rental sofas, there are three main factors to keep in mind: They should be durable, washable and renewable. Other features that might not be deal breakers, but are certainly nice to have, include storage space and the ability to be separated and moved around to create a variety of seating arrangements.

Seeking out high-quality, durable sofas is a given when shopping for rental furnishings. Poorly made furniture will not last and is not worth the money, even if the sofa was incredibly cheap. If you have to replace your rental's sofa every few months, or even every few years, you are not getting the value you need out of the piece. Therefore, shopping for sofas with sturdy construction from a reputable manufacturer is essential.

It is also important to keep in mind that even the most well-constructed sofa can still be damaged from spills, cuts, ill-mannered pets and rowdy guests. This is where choosing a washable fabric sofa from a company that offers replacement fabric, cushions and pieces comes into play. Washable sofa fabrics are a must-have and allow you to easily launder all of the sofa fabric at the end of the vacation season or when a guest soils the fabric during their stay. This alone can save you hundreds – or even thousands of dollars – while making it easy to keep your rental attractive and appealing to new guests.

Of course, you may have more than a spill to contend with if your renters managed to cut the sofa fabric, allowed their dog to chew up a sofa cushion or somehow managed to break one of the wood pieces on the arm or back of the sofa . If you purchased a sofa from a company that does not offer replacement pieces or fabrics, than this would mean costly repairs or needing to replace the sofa completely. But if you purchased the sofa from a company that allows you to easily order a single replacement cushion, new fabric pieces or new wood pieces, than you can inexpensively and conveniently have your sofa looking as good as new. This kind of renewability is an important part of getting the best value when furnishing rental properties.

Other Things to Consider When Shopping for Sofas

In addition to these must-have qualities, the sofas you choose for your rental properties can also serve additional functions, if the right sofa is chosen. For example, choosing a storage sofa that offers storage space under each cushion is a great way to make room for extra bedding, pillows and towels without having to purchase a cabinet or cluttering up shelves with these necessities.

If your rental caters to larger groups, you might want to also consider purchasing a sectional sofa that has multiple pieces that can be grouped together or separated to provide a variety of seating options. This will appeal to guests with varying needs, such as companies holding retreats, and is a great way to fit abundant seating into a small space.

How to Get Rid of Tension in Your Golf Swing

I think we have all been there. You are staring down a long par 4 from the tee box. The fairway is lined with trees on both sides. The landing area is "tight" and hitting 3 wood or iron is not an option, the hole is too long.

You pull out driver and tee up the ball, knowing to win the skin with your buddy you have to land this tee shot in the fairway. You take a few practice swings, address the ball, look down the fairway (it looks a little tighter than before), begin your backswing, and bang!

Your body tightens up. You hold onto the club and hook it into the tress. You think to yourself that bogey will now be a good score. You are upset at yourself and watch as your playing partner swings a smooth driver that lands the ball on the left side of the fairway.

You begin to grudgingly walk towards your ball, hoping you will find it, saying a few things under your breath, and questioning your swing mechanics.

What just happened? A situation that most of us have encountered at some time in our golfing career. We take some smooth practice swings, but when the ball is before us and we have to execute the shot we "tighten up" and hit a chunky, thin, or fat shot. We have allowed tension to seep into our golf swing. We all know that the swing is a free-flowing movement that requires your body to be loose.

Dean Reinmuth, one of Golf Digest's top instructors, speaks extensively about this term in his book. He discusses how a swing needs to be free and flowing. This allows for the club to travel on the correct swing path and develop club head speed. Muscle tension will impede and ruin your swing.

If your muscles are tight, how will you be able to swing a club in a free-flowing manner? You will not be able to do so. If you are gripping the club with a Hulk Hogan "sleeper hold," how are you going to swing the club freely? You can not. If you are unable to "feel" the club head, how are you going to swing the club freely? Again, the answer is you will be unable to do so.

If you have your doubts, give it a try. Head out to the range, purchase a bucket of balls and go at it! Warm up with a few wedges and then grab your 7-iron. Hit a few half shots and let's begin the experiment. First off, take the club and grip it as hard as you can. Now, attempt to hit the ball. What happened? I am guessing not a good outcome. One more time with our experiment, grab the 7-iron and address the ball. Now, when hitting the ball your thought should be: "I am going to hit this ball as hard as I possibly can." Go ahead, try to hit the ball. What happened? Again, I am guessing the outcome was not good. What happened in both of these situations? You developed "tension" in your swing, and it impeded your hitting the ball solidly.

Next question: how do you develop a smooth, free-flowing swing that is tension-free? Quite a few aspects are part of this equation. Developing proper swing mechanics is part of the answer. The swing is an intricate movement that is the "blending" of a series of movements into one free-flowing movement. In order to develop a "tension-free swing" you must develop your swing. This is a process that takes time, proper instruction, and practice.

Additionally, you must develop the proper mental confidence in your game. The example in the beginning of this article is a prime example. If you are not mentally confident in your swing, what do you think is going to happen on the tee box? Your body reacts to your mind and "tightens up," resulting in a poor swing.

How do you develop the mental side of the game? This is again done through the development of your swing, practice, and playing. As your game develops, confidence in your swing will develop. It is a give and take, so to speak. As your golf swing improves, so will the mental aspect of your game.

Finally, we must discuss the body. Yes, the body has an effect on a "tension-free" swing as well. Follow the logic, for muscles to be loose and free-flowing, they must be flexible. Being "tight" and not flexible puts you in a state of tension even before you get to the first tee! If you do not believe me, go to the gym and do 10 sets of heavy bench presses and then go to the range. See how well or poorly you hit that bucket of balls!

If your body is not flexible, you will not be able to perform the free-flowing movements of the swing. The body needs to be flexible for a tension-free swing. If you are inflexible, the ability to even develop your swing mechanics to a point where they are free-flowing will be impossible.

Bottom line is you need to develop your flexibility around your swing.

How do you go about doing this? The implementation of golf-specific flexibility exercises into a training program will do the trick.

The swing and the mind work together to develop a tension-free swing. You can not develop one without the other. A comprehensive approach is required when developing a tension-free swing. Working only on your swing mechanics will not work if your body is inflexible. Doing only flexibility exercises will not do the trick if your swing mechanics are incorrect. And focusing only on the mental side of the game will not work if your swing is a mess, and your body is as well.

A tension-free swing allows for great shots from all over the course. Developing this type of swing takes time and effort. You must train the body, the swing, and the mind. This is the ticket to your "tension-free swing".

The Importance of Human Resources Management For Hotels

One of the most important departments of any hotel staff is human resources management. Proper human resources management can be the difference between a really well run hotel and a poorly one hotel. The human resources manager can control almost the whole feeling and presence of the entire hotel. This makes the importance of human resources management for hotels very evident.

There are several different areas in which human resources management is very important. One of these areas is for newly hired employees. The employees that are hired in a hotel can really alter the quality of service and the whole atmosphere of the hotel. This means that it is very important to pick upbeat, dedicated workers for each position. It is the job of the human resources manager to make sure that good people are chosen to work in the hotel. In many cases many hotel workers are only participating in hotel work because they can find nothing else to do. Not very many people have a dream of running or serving in a hotel environment. However, there are some people who do want to work in that capacity, and it is the job of the human resources manager to find those people.

Retention of employees is another large problem in the hotel service business. Since so many of the employees do not have hotel work as their ending career goals, many of them only work in a hotel for a short amount of time. Other employees may have to be let go because of poor work ethics or other issues. However, there are ways that a hotel human resources manager can curb some of the desire and likelihood that employees will move to other jobs quickly. The importance of human resources management for hotels is very large in this area. Managers can provide good training and incentive programs that will cause employees to stay longer at the hotel. Having a clear progression plan to advance to higher levels of service will also cause employees to stick around much longer.

The issue of employee progression and promotion is also another large issue for the hotel industry. The importance of human resources management for hotels is proven in this area. Hotels which provide ways for employees to advance in position, or that provide training for employees so that they can gain skills necessary for an advanced position are very important to the retention rate of employees. It is easy to implement services of this nature and the expense is negligible compared to the expense and time necessary to constantly find new employees to replace the ones that always leave shortly after being hired. One of the easiest things to implement is English lessons. Many hotel employees do not speak English very well, and so it is a great incentive for them to stay working at a hotel if they are offered English lessons.

The importance of human resources management for hotels is also important in the area of ​​employee services. If the employees know they can come to the human resources manager whenever they have a problem or issue then it is easier for them to work in good conscience. Many human resources departments implement different games and activities to make the work environment more interesting and fun for employees. There are many different services that a human resources manager can think of to help employee morale. Maybe the hotel could implement a babysitting service, or have a park day every year. These little services go a long way towards making happy employees. Happy employees make happy companies and happy customers.

As you can see, the importance of human resources management for hotels is very great. There are thousands of ways that a human resources manager can make a hotel run more smoothly and more efficiently. There are many different areas that can benefit from the experience and guidance of a human resources manager. Therefore it is very important to not undermine the manager's importance. Without the human resources manager a hotel is not the same or as pleasing to customers and employees.