Plan An Affordable And Problem Free Summer Vacation

Every year literally tens of millions of singles, couples, families, and corporations of buddies move on summer season vacations together. Summer vacations are popular, and it is that popularity that can make making plans and reserve one a mission, in particular for families and groups of humans. The call for for seats on airplanes are restricted by demand, as are to be had inns. The call for to wait occasions or go to vacationer points of interest can also be affected by the higher call for summer tourists pose.

There are a number of ways that you could make inexpensive bookings and reservations.

Obviously the first step to making summer time holiday reservations is selecting a summer vacation vacation spot. When choosing a summer season holiday destination, quite a number of factors want to be taken into consideration. Some of those factors are;Summer Vacation

Are you going to be traveling with youngsters and, if so, what are the a while of your children? Not each accommodation provider accepts babies, or even small kids. This is specifically the case with bed and breakfast operations or guest homes. Not every destination is suitable for children both. Some locations are targeted on honeymooners and couples in search of a place to go for a romantic getaway. While others goal teens seeking journey or thrilling nightlife. Destination catering particularly to adult travelers offer little in the way of amusements for youngsters.

Costs of airfare and lodging are normally constant, but services and amenities are often forgotten till tourists are in united states and being confronted with high-priced food, liquids, admittance charges to visit museums, ancient sites or different locations of interest, souvenirs, and so forth. Incidental expenses can upload up to a sizeable amount. If you have got an overall summer season excursion budget you want to live inside, these fees prove a hassle.

Do you, or all and sundry visiting with you have got food or other allergies to think about? For instance, if you or someone touring with you are allergic to bee stings, regions well-known for flowering gardens isn’t the most secure desire for a summer season holiday vacation spot.

Do you, or all of us you may be journeying with have scientific issues that would be exasperated via environmental factors, inclusive of dry air, humidity, dust, elevation, and so on. This author as soon as labored with a excursion operator that allowed an overweight guy with a coronary heart circumstance to book himself onto a Nepal excursion. He were given off the aircraft, which turned into now not disembarking passengers at a gate, however as an alternative on the tarmac nearly 100 meters from the terminal entrance. This is a not unusual exercise in lots of places, and particularly at smaller airports. In such cases, passengers are anticipated to stroll to the terminal to collect luggage and clear customs and immigration. The overweight man collapsed midway to the terminal and died shortly thereafter. The elevation, blended together with his obesity and present heart condition changed into a recipe for catastrophe, and it got here to be.

Do you, or all and sundry you tour with have mobility issues, along with needing a walking useful resource or requires a wheel chair? If so, remember the width and surface situations of sidewalks, accessibility to resorts for anyone mobility challenged, and pedestrian congestion. You ought to take into account that mansions and background homes that have been transformed into inns or mattress and breakfast hotels are not likely to have elevators. Many ancient sections of European cities are paved with cobble stones, whilst sidewalks may be very slim or non-existent. Both make navigation hard for all of us with a mobility trouble. For all and sundry needing to use a cane, a walker, or who is wheelchair sure, the congestion in marketplace squares or bazaars may be nightmarish, as can the pedestrian site visitors in cities which includes Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Fez, Cairo, and many others.
Keeping those elements in thoughts will enable you to pick out the summer season excursion destination in an effort to pleasant fit your needs and deal with any boundaries you or a journey partner may also have.

Once you’ve got decided on a summer time vacation destination you could search for lodges to book your stay. A massive variety of entertainment parks, campgrounds, and inns within the USA, Canada and at remote places destinations do not require reservations. However, it is recommended to order accommodations anyway. Summer excursion durations are short, and the call for is, therefore, plenty better than regular. This can purpose available rooms to be filled with visiting tourists quickly. By making a reservation, you now not only assures that you have a room, however, that you have motels that fit you.

When reserving a summer excursion, a exceptional many travelers will assume the offerings of a tour agent. Using a travel agent is extra convenient than looking on-line for excursion packages, calling accommodations to negotiate a booking charge, or sourcing your personal condo automobile deal. However, there are things to bear in mind while the use of a tour agent to prepare you summer time holiday:

A travel agent only is aware of what you tell him or her approximately your wishes. If you studies your own summer season vacation and make your personal accommodation arrangements, you’re not likely to e-book yourself into a hotel that can not cater to the kosher, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-loose, and so on., nutritional desires you or someone you’re touring with requires. Nor would you e-book your self right into a room with a lovely view from a 20th ground balcony in case you suffer from Acrophobia (a fear of heights). A tour agent can also achieve this if you did not mainly point out these or another barriers.

Travel dealers manifestly don’t offer their offerings for free. Most are paid a percentage of the amount you’ll pay, and many upload on a carrier charge as nicely. If you are making plans a summer season vacation and are on a finances, you could want to book your personal flight and make your own reservations. There are reasons. Firstly, a tour agent will arrange your transportation and live based on what earns them the highest go back. This may not be what offers the first-class provider or price to you. Secondly, with very little attempt, you may keep the portion of a resort reservation set aside to compensate travel sellers and tour operators. Simple research the motel quotes online, then name or e-mail and provide 30% much less. It will both be time-honored, however if now not suitable the motel will respond with a quote. It will likely wonder you while you research what the savings may be. Also, make certain to mention any mobility problems, allergic reactions or unique diets that may be relevant earlier than you e-book. Discounted rooms aren’t generally entitled to big offerings with out introduced costs, until it’s which includes within the reservation bundle.
Aside from visiting by means of an automobile, air journey is a desired method of the tour to reach summer time holiday locations. If you are reserving your personal airline reservations, do so on line and search for all of the alternatives to get you from factor A to B. For example, a right away flight is handy, however, it could be highly-priced if even to be had. Many departures to vacation spot flights are really no longer to be had because of the want to refuel. In instances where an immediate flight is to be had, a flight with a stopover or may be half of the charge. Likewise, for the same fee as an instantaneous flight, you may regularly choose to arrange an excursion for yourself.

When flying from Vancouver, BC, Canada to Quito, Ecuador, a height summer season flight is just over CAD$1500 with taxes and surcharges. For the same price you may e-book a charter excursion to Cancun, Mexico, spend every week there, accommodation protected. After a week in Cancun you can take the train, a bus or fly to Mexico City. There you could live an afternoon or , then fly from Mexico City to Quito, Ecuador. The price is definitely the identical, if no longer much less, and you’ve got an enjoyable tour. The authentic flight Vancouver to Quito calls for as a minimum on prevent, maximum two. So does the opportunity Vancouver, Cancun, Mexico City and on to Quito direction. The distinction is you’ve got a live in Cancun and Mexico City at no more value, instead of wait in an airport for your connecting flight. It takes quite a few searching to discover these offers, however they are available. This is because, because the saying inside the airline enterprise, “A aircraft that takes off with an empty seat misplaced sales.” Airlines will do some thing to fill every seat, even supposing that seat sale is drastically discounted.

If your summer excursion is targeted on taking part in the outdoors, then you definitely likely want to be camping. Even whilst making plans a tenting vacation, you have to nonetheless make a reservation. Public and personal campgrounds are restricted as to the amount of camping area they have got. By booking a tenting area you’re assured an area to installation your tent or park your RV or trailer.

To e-book a famous excursion vacation spot at a reduction, test out on-line travel websites. Travel websites provide discounts on famous motels, airlines and eating places round the sector. There’s a downside to the usage of on-line cut-price tour web sites although. The tour web sites in general recognition on the extra famous summer time holiday destinations. That stated, you could regularly discover a better motel deal that falls inside your finances than you will booking someplace else, saving nothing however enjoy far extra luxury on the identical fee. Affordable

There is a final, very crucial consideration to making plans and reserving your summer time excursion flights and inn reservations. Do your research and e-book well in advance of your supposed departure. Deals on flights are hardly ever available under 21 days from departure, apart from through closing minute seat sales. The trouble with remaining minute seat sales is that they’re restricted in each availability and commonly in the quantity of luggage you could carry. This is because the load luggage might take is allocated to freight, which is absolutely greater worthwhile for the airlines than transporting passengers. Plus closing minute manner remaining minute. You do no longer want to hazard your entire summer time excursion on being able to secure last minute seat offers. Likewise, inns will not often make offers at the remaining minute either, until you show up at the table at 2:00AM and there are vacancies. Even then, the table clerk has parameters as to the reductions he or she will give. When you start negotiating for rooms well earlier of your arrival you’re dealing with control, who typically have more range on the subject of granting discounts to cozy bookings.

Travelling the Silk Road

The Silk Road is one in every of China’s maximum popular visitor destinations. There are already heaps of travel agents and excursion agencies present. So in which is it and why is it so popular?

Traditionally the Silk Road extends from Xian in primary China to both the Middle East or Europe. In truth, there are numerous routes, a few to Moscow in the north and those in India and Pakistan inside the south. Just like guests at the time of Marco Polo – the thirteenth century – the historic trade routes still exist even though the type of goods offered and the method of shipping have changed. The reason why the Silk Road starts of evolved/leads to Xian is that it becomes the ancient capital of China and Inner trade routes, in many cases alongside the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, were already mounted to distribute items inside China.Travelling

Nowadays, many tourists begin their Silk Road journey in Beijing. The Imperial City, the Great Wall of China the numerous places of historical interest will make a three-five day stay worthwhile. Add to it a touch purchasing and time to revel in northern Chinese cuisine and you’re prepared for your Silk Road experience.

Getting there.
Most global Airways fly into Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. There is a lesser preference of flights to and from western China and maximum of these are based out of the capital of Xinjiang Province, Urumqi.

China has rail connections north to Mongolia, Hong Kong, Tibet and west to Moscow. For the more adventurous there are more than one rail hyperlinks into Vietnam.

Coach get admission to from/to Pakistan is available alongside the Karakorum Highway, other than November even though April, whilst it’s miles closed. Delays and discomfort may be a part of this direction so be prepared. Travel in Pakistan wishes critical consideration. We spent 12 outstanding days journeying there in past due 2007 but with the rise of the Taliban, the danger for westerners has elevated dramatically.

Visas are required for all get entry to points to China and I advise that those be acquired well in advance.

Getting round
Train tour is popular in China even though it does have an in depth teach network. Of route, you can fly however that could, in reality, defeat the principle purpose of traveling China – to satisfy the people. Train tour is reliable, speedy and reasonably priced. “Soft” dozing cubicles either for four or on a few routes for 2 people are available or in case you want to join the locals attempt the “tough” elegance, but except you’re on tight finances, it is not endorsed. You will need assistance shopping for the rail tickets as few station personnel speak English. The timetables and options may be complex. Ask a tour company with China revel in to help.

Many corporations offer excursions along the Silk Road. Most of those use an aggregate of instruct and rail travel. International corporations include GAP, Peregrine, World Expeditions, Travel Indo-China. You can discover those using Google. Some tours include a tour leader and manual. Standards of lodging and luxury are meditated inside the pricing.

Another option is to lease a guide through Chinese corporations like Xinjiang Silk Road Adventures in Urumqi. Local publications may be provided on a per day foundation or typical for an excursion, at very reasonable charges. Tour publications are required to be certified in China.

When to Go
China is the giant USA overlaying 8 time zones. Its climate varies drastically. Summers may be warm and sticky and the winters extraordinarily cold so the great months are in Spring and Autumn. Consult an amazing manual book for the temperatures that you can experience at the time of your planned travel so you can get dressed correctly.

Silk Road Highlights
To get the maximum out of a Silk Road journey it must now not be rushed. Allow not less than 14 days similarly to any life in Beijing. If you are including Uzbekistan add any other ten days:

The major attractions are:

o Xian the Terracotta Army and different historical websites
o The Labrang Monastery in Xiahe, inside the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous place
o The Fort and Great Wall of China Museum at Jiayuguan
o Dunhuang for riding the two-humped Bactrian camels within the substantial sand dunes. Nearby are the Buddhist Mogao Caves set right into a barren region backdrop of the Flaming Mountains.
O Urumqi has a wonderful Xinjiang Regional Museum. Two hours away is the outstanding lake district of China, the Heavenly Lake. Here you’ll discover Kazakh humans living in yurts and grazing their herds of horses, sheep, and goats. If you have the time, live overnight and experience the meals and hospitality of the locals.
O Turpan is famous for its grapes, and close by are the ancient towns of Gaochang and Jiaohe, the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Tombs and the underground water structures are known as Karen that link Turpan to tons wanted snow to soften from the distant Tian Shan mountains.
O Kashgar, a change path metropolis for heaps of years. Visit the vintage town before it is demolished and attend the well-known Sunday animal market which although Dusty is an excellent spectacle.
O Those with more time may also discover the southern Silk Road oasis towns of Yarkand and Khotan of interest. This location is less visited but does have some interesting facet journeys which include camel safaris and treks into the Taklamakan desert. This predominantly Uyghur vicinity has much of hobby for those which are seeking out something a touch exceptional.
O A brief teach journey or flight will take you across the western Chinese border and then directly to Tashkent the capital of Uzbekistan. Here the real gemstones of the Silk Road are to be located within the historic towns of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. Coach travel in Uzbekistan is comfy and low-priced, despite the fact that the rail line west offers an opportunity.silk road

If you are searching out a vacation with a difference and you’re a little adventurous, then visiting the Silk Road ought to be the pinnacle of your list. It is safe and inexpensive. And it’s miles an extremely worthwhile experience. Yes, it will have its challenges but what a tale you may inform whilst you get home, no longer to say your exquisite virtual pics of the highlights of this scenic journey.

You ought to, like Marco Polo, even write an ebook about your reports. I did. It’s called Following Macro Polo’s Silk Road.

The creator became born in the UK, delivered up in South Africa, married in London to a New Zealander and now lives in Sydney, Australia. He has traveled to greater than 70 international locations and is the writer of an e-book that describes his travels along the Silk Road called Following Marco Polo’s Silk Road.

Tips For Italian Travel

1. Lie about when you’re leaving and returning. Tell yourself and those in your international you will be away the day earlier than and the day after something it says on your plane price tag. It’s no longer truly mendacity. Mentally you are in Italy the ones pre and post travel days. This allows me to no longer depart packing until the ultimate minute and spares the ones around me from being with getting-on-the-aircraft-to-Italy-obsessed-Suz. The day after you come back, you will be on an Italy high, unpacking, and could get no sympathy with, “I’m jet-lagged, simply got back from Italy.” Consider those border days presents to yourself, to ease in and out. If you do inform absolutely everyone your actual go back date, have it be a masseuse.

2. Get psyched. Your destination has probably been featured in films or YouTube films to look at and books to study to enhance your enjoyment. Before you get on the aircraft, use them to familiarize yourself with your preferred region’s records, artwork, and delicacies. And though the natives you may stumble upon inside the essential cities will maximum probably communicate English, learn at the least some words of the lovely language-Buon Giorno, Buona Sera, graze. You’ll be thrilled with the Italians’ cheerful response in your efforts, and could assist to dispel the “Ugly American” picture by truly attempting to talk their language.Italian

Three. Spread The Word. Tell your buddies and own family wherein you will be traveling, and inevitably they may have a friend, someone met when they were going to school in Florence, or a kind cousin as soon as removed who lives in your vacation spot. Make touch in advance and experience time with a local. It’ll be a treasured part of your trip.

Four. Go, Solo. Italy is a tremendous vicinity to wander solo, following your very very own goals. As Italians are such wonderfully social people, you will not often locate yourself feeling lonely. Even once I’m traveling with my husband or girlfriends, I love having time on my own during the day to discover at my very own pace it makes dinner times extra fun, while we are part of collectively to share our separate adventures. If you’re in your very own and would really like to interrupt up your solo time, log onto Lonely Planet’s Thorntree (lonelyplanet.Com) or Connecting Solo Travelers Network (cstn.Org) to find out who else is around that you may join up with. You could also test out Florence For Fun (florenceforfun.Com), an organization that arranges events for English audio system in the metropolis and beyond. Or you could join a set tour it’s centered on an active adventure, sightseeing, or a workshop that specializes in your pursuits. In other phrases, “I haven’t anyone to go together with,” doesn’t should be an impediment to your Italian tour dreams.

Five. Flirting. There’s a reduced in New York who prescribes an experience to Italy for girls who need a lift to their self-worth. Italian men have mastered the artwork of flirting-it is one of the city’s masterpieces. Females of all ages are cherished right here. Enjoy, with out taking it too severely. It’s all within the spirit of You are ladies, we are men. We are alive! And what a fun sport we play! If you get harassment in preference to flirting, a loud “Vai Via”=”Go Away” is the age antique stopper to it, that typically works.

6. Take A Guided Tour. I become proof against this for plenty trips, with visions of traipsing behind a screaming individual hoisting an umbrella. At the equal time, I had the frustrating reviews of waiting in line for the Sistine Chapel even as tour agencies have been ushered through in front of me, being baffled in the Forum in which not anything is marked, and so forth. It’s awesome to enroll in on a small excursion group-my favored is Context Travel (contexttravel.Com), a corporation that runs tours in Italy’s fundamental towns, and limits them to 6 contributors. Their courses are scholars and authors (on no account pretentious) so that you get the revel in of seeing a part of Italy with someone who is like an in-the-recognize pal. Also, in Rome, if you can get any time with the splendid guide, Iris Carulli imcarulli.Com), you will have a golden time.

7. Stay Healthy. You’ll inevitably be in crowds of coughers, so beginning with the airplane, take Airborne or loads of Vitamin C and convey along anti-bacterial hand wash. And (God forbid), recognize that the wide variety to dial for an ambulance is 118.

Eight. Bidets are located in almost each motel room. Even in a simple convent where I stayed, there has been a spigot gizmo attached to the bathroom to function a bidet. Answers to most often asked questions: (1) you can take a seat either facing the faucet or now not, (2) Use after your normal toilet ordinary. To avoid surprises, test it out to peer if it’s the basic kind or has squirting jets. Travel

Nine. Keep an eye on your stuff. Please do not emerge as a paranoid vacationer, but the fact is there are expert handbag snatchers out there, who goal tourists in places of principal distraction: public transportation, outdoor markets, and crowded sights. Get your offensive style down, so it turns into 2nd nature, and then you may roam round with ease. While some opt for a mystery money belt, neck pouch, or bra-stuffing, I replica the native’s fashion. Stand back and observe for a moment, and you’ll seize on. I deliver a shoulder bag tucked under my arm, continually closed, on my internal of the street arm, to avoid whizzing motoring thieves. At sidewalk restaurants, keep it hooked to you or your seat. You’ll get greater warnings concerning the extraordinary city of Naples-warnings that made me sense like I’d be ransacked the minute I stepped off the educate. Instead, I met the kindest humans I’ve ever met on the planet in Naples and fell in love with the city. So do not omit Naples, but like everywhere you travel, use commonplace sense, don’t flaunt high-priced rings or massive payments, and leave what you do not need lower back at the resort.

10. Experience Il Dolce Far Niente=The Sweetness of Doing Nothing. Though you may have “must see” in your itinerary, take the time to break out from a schedule and really be inside the second in Italy. It may be napping late with the sound of church bells in the distance, lingering at a cafe while stunning people looking, or meandering around a vineyard-such bliss! Ideally, plan a “vacation out of your excursion”-as a minimum an afternoon or two outdoor a metropolis wherein Il Dolce Far Niente peacefully awaits.

Wine Travel Blossoms in Alabama

Much of Alabama’s wine country is positioned inside the important part of the kingdom, where the hilly terrain is conducive to vineyards and grape growing. South of Birmingham, it’s a downhill run to 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, the state capital, and Mobile, an active port metropolis hugging the Gulf Coast.

When you visit, you’ll navigate Interstate sixty-five, which cuts a north/south path thru the coronary heart of Alabama. Travel is a breeze and maximum sights are without problems handy off the highway. Currently, there are three wineries in the southern half of Alabama, so whilst you integrate vineyard visits with the pleasant cities of 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein and Mobile, you’ve got the makings of a great 3-4 day getaway.

Planning The Route: Two I-sixty five Wineries

Our plans referred to as for a mid-morning departure from Birmingham with an in a single day stay in Sir Bernard Law. Then, a half of day’s force to Mobile and the subtropical weather of Mobile Bay and the Gulf Coast. Two Alabama wineries sit down alongside the I-65 corridor between Birmingham and 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, which might be ninety miles apart. And so, after a light breakfast in Birmingham, we headed south on I-65 with our attractions set on Vizzini Farms Winery. Located only half hour south of the metropolis, Vizzini is open every day at 10 a.M. And is simple to find proper off go out 234.Alabama

Vizzini offers an onsite deli and outside patio where you can revel in lunch overlooking the vineyards. We arrived at 10:30, too early for lunch, although we did snack on freshly baked bread and nearby cheese from the deli counter.

You’ll have your preference of approximately a dozen Vizzini wines, crafted from a combination of west coast and Alabama grapes. If you’re familiar with our travelogues, you recognize we adore to “drink local” and sample wines made with neighborhood grapes. At Vizzini Farms Winery, meaning a notable Cabernet Franc, whose easy taste compared favorably to Virginia or California wines of this style.

Sensing how tons we liked the Cabernet Franc, our tasting guide counseled the Sangiovese, a purple Italian table style wine that had us taking into account a pairing with the fish fry. Among others we appreciated were a Pinot Noir, Blush, and a pleasantly unexpected Riesling that turned into proper in our sweet spot. We are not sure where the grapes originate for Vizzini Farms’ Riesling, however, we propose it as a “need to try”. Crisp and a chunk sweeter than many Rieslings, we desire we would offered a couple of bottle.

Less than 10 minutes away, handiest a mile off go out 228 close to the metropolis of Calera, is the stunning and welcoming Ozan Vineyard and Cellars. If you’re pressed for time and can best go to one winery in Alabama, Ozan is a superb preference. Situated on a 24-acre property inside the midst of Alabama wine use, this incredibly new winery boasts a constantly increasing vineyard with emphasis on the Norton grape.

Ozan’s Wine Train

One of Ozan Vineyard’s greater exciting tasks is their month-to-month wine teach excursion, which mixes wine tasting with a leisurely educate trip thru the countryside. Operating from April via November, each ride offers an extraordinary environmental attention, relying on the season. These Saturday journeys last three hours and consist of wine tasting, connoisseur box lunch, and topic narration. See Ozan’s internet site for greater info.

We settled in for a taste of Ozan’s Norton Red Label. Norton wines are rapidly becoming our crimson wine favored, having been delivered to the style in Missouri and southern Illinois. We were not surprised to peer it right here, as the countryside reminded us of relevant Missouri. This wine is large and bold, with an appealing black cherry taste and mildly oaky end. Also try the Reserve Merlot, vinted from nearby grapes and aged for 16 months.

For something sweeter, there may be Ozan Peach. Peach wines are big in Alabama and this one is honestly correct! Very excellent and well made, it is no longer overwhelmingly candy and has the aroma and taste of farm sparkling peaches.

There are almost a dozen wines to strive here, with unique releases planned thru 2009. Only mins off I-sixty five, it is an ideal forestall among Birmingham and Montgomery. Ozan is a huge supporter of the Alabama Wine Trail and facilitates enhance merchandising of the Alabama wine enterprise. They’re open Fridays and Saturdays, eleven-6.

Down I-65 To Bernard Law Montgomery

Less than an hour from Ozan is Alabama’s historical state capital, Sir Bernard Law. Located in the coronary heart of Montgomery’s downtown a few brief blocks from the Alabama River is a 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein landmark, Daisy’s Diner. Daisy’s is southern cooking personified. There’s a set menu at Daisy’s, and each day specials, commonly centered around a “meat and 3”. This way you may get one meat and three side dishes. From the moment we walked in, we were mesmerized via the heady scent of fried hen, which was nothing brief of awesome. The outer breading became crisp and engaging, the bird itself wet and gentle. We additionally ordered a plate of meatloaf, with buttered corn, squash casserole, and turnip greens at the aspect. What a delicious introduction to Montgomery!

With just over 2 hundred,000 citizens, Montogomery isn’t in particular huge. It’s easy to navigate, specifically the walkable downtown region. The metropolis is wealthy in history, with several civil rights landmark websites. The great area to start is historic Union Station, an 1890’s era building housing the Montgomery Visitors Center. We regarded a quick video assessment of the metropolis and visited “The Depot”, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein’s reputable present save. You can also purchase $1 all day passes to the Montgomery Trolley System, in order to ship you all around the downtown place.

From right here, your alternatives are many. Visit and excursion the Alabama Capitol, discover ancient sites or spend an afternoon amidst the specialty shops on Mulberry Street. This is a government metropolis, so the downtown is bustling, mainly for the duration of the day.

We enjoyed meeting some local Montgomerians, who were thrilled we had been spending a while of their town. They declare many travelers bypass Sir Bernard Law on their manner to the Gulf Coast and never experience the city’s charms. We enjoyed our go to very lots, and suggest an afternoon or two stays for absolutely everyone traveling thru Alabama.

On The Road To Perdido

Our next morning’s schedule pointed us south on I-sixty five for the 170-mile ride to one in all our favorite beach locations, Mobile. About 30 miles out of doors of the metropolis, you will find Alabama’s oldest and southernmost farm vineyard, Perdido Vinyards. This turned into our first prevent of the past due morning.

Since 1983, Perdido Vineyards has been a stalwart of the blossoming Alabama wine industry. Open six days every week from 10 a.M. To five p.M., Perdido welcomes visitors and offers vineyard and winery excursions to people and corporations. They concentrate on muscadine desk wines however additionally produce a stunning array of other wine patterns.

Perdido is a outstanding region to get familiar with muscadine wines. This prolific grape is commonplace in southern states and is a conventional sipping wine loved by using generations of southerners. If you want sweet wines, they’re right up your alley. We observed Perdido’s to be very well made. Muscadine wines are a chunk too candy for our liking, however it’s now not a knock on them in any respect. After all, the high-quality wine is the only you enjoy the maximum! As our tastes fashion toward semi-dry wines, we’ll like some wines you won’t, and vice versa. Taste, evaluate, revel in, and tell your friends. That’s what wine journey is all approximately, proper?

For our palate, Perdido’s Demopolis Ecor Blanc become a excellent discovery. This semi-dry white has slight tropical fruit flavors and an exceptionally nicely balanced finish. This one got here home with us, as did Delta Bouquet, an exciting blush wine with just a tinge of sweetness. And in case you’re headed out to the Gulf Coast seashores, do not bypass up Perdido’s Wine Coolers, the most modern addition to their product line.

Mobile: Gateway To The Gulf Coast

When describing Mobile to friends, we often examine the city to its Gulf Coast neighbor, New Orleans. There’s a comparable pace and a excellent mix of cultures in each cities. But as tons as we revel in New Orleans, we revel in Mobile even extra. Maybe it’s the close proximity to such herbal sights as Dauphin Island. Maybe it’s the safeness and walkability of the downtown vicinity. And perhaps it is because Mobile is a piece of the underdog, within the shadow of it’s more prominent neighbor. Whatever the cause, if you like all the good stuff approximately New Orleans, you may love Mobile.

Here’s some other parallel … Did you realize Mobile is the birthplace of Mardi Gras in North America? Mobile first celebrated the Mardi Gras lifestyle over three hundred years ago, in 1703. Every February, Mobile throws a huge week birthday celebration to rejoice the occasion, with parades and all types of revelry. In reality, Mobile is referred to as home to “America’s Family Mardi Gras”. There’s even a special store devoted to the event, Toomey’s Mardi Gras.

The metropolis itself hugs the western shore of Mobile Bay, a huge inlet that merges with the Gulf of Mexico 10 miles to the south. Ecotourism is large right here, with all forms of amazing natural attractions in this subtropical weather. Even in January, we enjoyed temperatures hovering properly at 70 tiers with gentle breezes and flowers in bloom all over the metropolis. Nature has virtually blessed this region, making the Mobile area a one-of-a-type waterfront destination.Wine Trails

Summing It All Up

We chatted with one of the shopkeepers about our Alabama wine travels, and he or she answered: “Alabama is stunning earlier than a tumbler of wine, and after!”. We could not agree more. This is surely an underrated holiday spot. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love the southern cooking, the fish fry, and of the direction the sparkling seafood. If you’re into history or the outdoors, Alabama has you included with friendly cities, smooth and clean mountain regions, and the compelling Gulf Coast.

And finally, in case you’re a wine lover, with any luck we’ve got given you a glimpse into the Alabama wine enterprise. May you revel in your Alabama travels as a lot as we did!

It Is Your Birthright To Live A Beautiful Life!

The beauty about owning our own life and owning our Self is that we can go anywhere that we desire in our life. If we are drawn to something and it fulfills us then we stick with it until it no longer serves a purpose. We have the FREEDOM to chose whatever it is in life that will make us happy and contented. That’s the beauty about life, our life. Whatever you want to do in your life as long as you have the means with which to do it then by all means go ahead and start creating and living your passionate life. No one outside of you can block your abundance and your blessings. Living our own life can be difficult because that would mean that we break away from all the things that is or has the potential to hold us back. It takes strength to walk away from something that is not contributing to us living a beautiful life. But once we get the inner strength to go after our unique life then nothing can hold us back. We will free that caged bird and soar high above the mountain tops.

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When we decide to live our own life we will travel down many paths before we settle on the path that is true and right for us. Have fun with your life. Take up that Portuguese language class that you always wanted to try out. Go take Ballroom Dance lessons and learn to do the Foxtrot, the Cha-Cha or my personal favourite, The Samba. Start feeding your creative self. Travel to a country that you always wanted to visit. Nothing is holding you back unless you are the one holding yourself back. Don’t be afraid to explore life. You only have one life to live, so live it up and have fun doing so. Bring laughter and happiness to your life. There is so much beauty in this world and that beauty should be apart of your life. Now, usually I do not like the word should, but there is a time when you “should” be doing something and a time when you “shouldn’t do something. If you are doing something to please other people and to gain their approval, then you “shouldn’t”, but if you are doing something that brings about your happiness, then by all means you “should” be doing that. Do what makes you happy.

Instead of following the crowd, blaze your own trail and walk your own path. Live the life that you want, not one that was carved out by Society. Create and live your own values and morals. You are not supposed to seek permission from anyone outside of you to live the life that is yours. You are no longer a child. Do not give anyone outside of you that kind of power over your life. Always remember that you are not living to seek approval from anyone outside of you. You are the approval that you seek. Remember that! There is not a set blueprint of life that everyone should follow. That would only make us clones. We have to create our own unique life, a life that makes us blissfully happy, not a life that makes us depressed and jaded with life. I know the two lives and I can tell you the life that makes me blissfully happy is the perfect and only choice for me now and going forward. Anything less and it will not be accepted into my life. There is no reason that we should live life unhappy, depressed and dejected. There is more out there in life and we all can have it only if we begin to believe that we are deserving of such a life. It is our Birthright to live a beautiful life. Anything less is not acceptable.

Live a life that you can later share with your grandkids. Live a life that you can look back on and smile or laugh in giddiness. Create memories now instead of ending up later in life with a lot of coulda, shoulda, woulda’s. Live it up. Be crazy, be wild, be daring, be gutsy. Try something at least once. If you like it, great. If you don’t like it, at least you tried it. I have hiked through the Amazon Jungle in Brazil, ate dinner with the Indians living in the jungle, swam with the Pink Dolphins and more. My next adventure I would like to try Scuba Diving and I have to go Rafting down the Rio Grande River in Portland, Jamaica, W.I at least once in my life. I have climbed the famed Dunns River Falls and I’m constantly seeking out more adventures.

Your life does not have to be linear. Success does not happen in a straight line. There are a lot of trial and errors that is part of the learning and growth process. If something does not work out, try something else. Don’t worry about the money. If it is your passion then the money will follow. If it makes you happy, then it is money well spent. If it doesn’t make you happy, it is still money well spent, because you learned what doesn’t work for you. Not-to-mention, think of all the connections you will have made or the things that you were able to learn about yourself. Things that you may not have known before. Life is always a win/win. Everything that we do brings us some greatness.

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Remember, happiness is not found at the end of the Journey. It is found along the way. So stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the sunset or the sunrise. Go take a walk and enjoy the Divine creation of Life. Open your life to the beauty that is within and is on the outside. Start living a life that you can deliriously love. Where ever it is that your life need to be, it will get there in due time. Until then, enjoy the ride of life. And even after you have reached your goal, still continue to enjoy life. There are many wonders of life still waiting to be explored.

Never give up on your life. If your life was knocked off it’s axis it will take some time to build up back your life and climb back up to the pinnacle of your life. Whatever it is that you want, put it out in The Universe and let The Universe worry about the “how”. The “how” is not our concern. Follow your dreams, follow your bliss. Stop living an ordinary life. It is time you upped the ante on your life and start living an extraordinary life. There is no reason why we shouldn’t live a beautiful life. If you want to know how large you can live your life, then look at the vast expansion of The Universe. There is no end to The Universe, therefore, there is no end to your beautiful and abundant life. Of course, always remember to share your life and your abundance with others. Live your Birthright. Live life on your terms. Move to the beat of your own Drums.

Life Settlement Underwriting – The Flip Side of the Coin

Life settlements are fast growing into a staple of the insurance and financial planning world. Most financial professionals have heard of life settlements, which is the sale of a life insurance policy of a senior (age 65 and over) for a lump sum which is greater than the policy’s cash surrender value but less than its death benefit. Policies which are viable for a life settlement are generally those beyond the contestability period wherein the insured has a life expectancy of between 2 and 15 years. Today life settlements are dominated by institutional funders and pension funds.

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Despite the continued growth in the life settlements market, the number of insurance or financial professionals that have actually completed a life settlement is surprisingly low. This can be attributed mainly to a lack of in-depth knowledge of life settlements on the part of these professionals. Considering that life settlements are a relatively new option for policy owners, many financial professionals, although having heard of life settlements, have still not had the opportunity to delve into the subject on a deeper level.

Many policy holders come to a juncture wherein they continue to pay life insurance premiums on an unwanted policy in hopes of a gain at maturation, or to recoup some of the investment by trading the policy for its cash surrender value. Corporate policyholders often face additional dilemmas when dealing with departing executives with key-man or split-dollar policies, or insurance purchased as part of a buy-sell agreement.

With a life settlement, the policyholder realizes an amount much greater than the cash surrender value in exchange for the policy’s ownership. Term life insurance policies are also applicable when converted into permanent insurance. Life settlement transactions involving key-man or buy-sell policies can provide businesses with increased cash flow to solve immediate financial problems, while transactions concerning split-dollar policies typically involve retirement planning and charitable giving issues.

In short, life settlements offer policyholders of all kinds an array of options previously unavailable to them.

In a recent advisor survey, nearly half of the respondents had clients who had surrendered a life insurance policy, many of whom might have qualified for a life settlement transaction and subsequent lump sum cash payment.

In this article I will discuss in depth the underwriting process related to life settlements, which is of paramount importance in the process, just as it is in life insurance itself, although there is a great deal of difference in the process for each respectively.

Settlement amounts are determined by a multitude of factors that arrive at a Net Present Value, which is the present value of future benefits from the death benefit minus the present value of future payments associated with sustaining the policy until maturation. These expenses include premium payments, cost of capital and administrative costs. This calculation enables the purchaser to factor in the desired profit from the investment and propose an offer to the seller of the policy. Due to the fact that the investor will be sustaining the policy premiums until maturation, the life expectancy of the insured becomes critical in assessing the value or sale price of the policy. If the assessment of an insured’s life expectancy is too short, the purchaser will have paid too much and risks a financial loss. By contrast, should the assessment of an insured’s life expectancy be longer than his or her actual life span, the offer to the seller would have been less than it could have been, thus resulting in an undervalued sale for the policy owner. Institutional investors in life settlements generally obtain life expectancy reports from two or more independent LE (life expectancy) providers. Many of the larger institutions investing in life settlements have proprietary underwriting personnel on staff. LE reports can vary significantly based on interpretations, medical data on the insured, and/or the actuarial tables used.

DIFFERENCES IN UNDERWRITING METHODOLOGY – Companies which provide LE reports use actuarial and medical experts who apply probability theory, actuarial methodology and medical analysis in calculating the probable mortality of an insured. Many LE providers employ the services of experienced life insurance underwriters who work in tandem with the actuarial and medical experts. There are a number of companies which provide LE reports. Among those most commonly accepted by institutional investors are: AVS, Fasano, 21st Services, ISC Services and EMSI. These companies specialize in underwriting the senior segment (insureds above the age of 65) and have developed specified methods, underwriting manuals, and mortality tables. The insurance industry customarily employs Reinsurance underwriting manuals as the basis of its ratings for insurability. However, Reinsurance manuals are gauged primarily for insurance applicants up to the age of 65 with insurable impairments up to 500%. These standards reflect the traditional demographic for life insurance. Conversely, life settlement underwriting is geared toward those above the age of 65 and can have impairment ratings much higher than 500%.

In order to cater to this market segment, adaptations were made to these underwriting manuals based on extensive research of current senior mortality data and scrutinized against recent medical advances and the treatment of diseases or disorders often associated with the elderly. In addition to this, companies that provide LE reports also draw from, and factor in, proprietary data accumulated from previous assessments. Generally, a traditional debit and credit methodology is used by the underwriter in determining the overall rating of an insured, resulting in either standard or substandard. Of course, this is an approximation due to the fact that few impairments cause a uniform percentage increase in mortality. Results using the standard debit and credit method produce reasonable and quantifiable results; however, for conditions such as many forms of cancer, the debit and credit methodology does not generate reliable results. This is mainly due to the fact that the impaired mortality curve is significantly different than the standard curve used in the absence of these impairments. Companies that provide LE reports employ different approaches in order to calculate these impairments. Some utilize the debit and credit approach, others apply extra deaths for a limited time span, and still others will use a combination of the two and apply them to the actuarial calculations. For a policy with a high impairment and a short life expectancy, clinical judgment may supersede the actuarial calculation. Life expectancy calculations utilize the underwriting assessment in tandem with the appropriate mortality table; however each life expectancy provider uses its own proprietary mortality tables based on sex, smoker or non-smoker status, impairment and preferred class. The general understanding is that most life expectancy providers use the 2001 VBT (Valuation Basic Table), but it seems that most use a heavily modified version of the 2001 VBT or their own table altogether.

Individuals with medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, congestive heart failure and other serious ailments would most likely be declined for a life insurance policy. However, for the purposes of a life settlement, it is possible to estimate the life expectancy of an insured with these medical ailments. For insureds with serious medical conditions, life expectancy assessments often take into account factors that contribute to healthy aging, such as regular physical exercise, social activities, the mental attitude of the insured, and his or her commitment to living a healthy lifestyle. Access to care givers and a support network, are also variables that are taken into consideration. All of these factors can sometimes add a level of complexity to the underwriting process that will affect the final mortality calculation

DIFFERENCES IN UNDERWRITING REQUIREMENTS – When submitting an application for a large life insurance policy on an older individual the application needs to be accompanied by medical data as outlined in the insurance company’s requirement guidelines. This medical data would usually include a physical examination, blood profile, EKG and an Attending Physician’s Statement (APS). Many insurance companies also require functional assessments of an applicant, which include ability to carry out the activities of daily living. Often, financial underwriting is a part of this assessment of insurability. By contrast, life settlement underwriting is based on existing medical data and rarely requires any medical examination, EKGs or blood work. A life settlement application should be accompanied by HIPAA and release of medical information forms. The application is then followed by Attending Physician’s Statements ordered from selected physicians by the company transacting the life settlement, usually a broker or provider. This information is then forwarded to the company or companies providing life expectancy reports on the insured. After review of the attending physician’s statements and medical history, a life expectancy provider will provide a detailed LE report on the insured. Based on the information in the LE report and the profile of the life insurance policy, an institutional investor will prepare an offer on the policy. Occasionally, the company or companies providing the life expectancy report will indicate that additional information from an attending physician may give them further insight into the insured’s life expectancy, which would possibly affect the offers from institutional investors. In such a case, the life settlement broker or provider will order additional information from the appropriate physician(s). In cases where the insured has not seen a physician in two or three years, which would seemingly be a good thing, indicating that the individual is not suffering from any chronic ailments, the company providing a life expectancy report is afforded little current data on which it can effectively base a life expectancy assessment.

The principal difference in underwriting for life insurance and life settlements is that in traditional underwriting as low a mortality rating as possible on any medically impaired risk would be preferred in order to obtain a lower cost of insurance. By contrast, for life settlements a higher impairment rating would result in a shorter life expectancy. Thus, the insured would receive a larger settlement for his or her policy.

SELLER BEWARE – With life settlements growing at an astounding rate, there are more and more companies seeking to enter this market. Many states have some form of regulation regarding life settlements, while others are unregulated or pending regulation. Some life settlements, such as those on a variable policy, are considered securities transactions. With all of these different regulatory variables, it is important for insurance and financial professionals to make sure they work with a reputable company to facilitate a life settlement. When considering which life settlement company to work with, most of us look for the obvious: to wit, a company that will facilitate and expedite the policy with professionalism as well as acquire competitive bids from a number of institutional investors. However, perhaps of even greater importance to the professional, is a company that has an infrastructure that enables the record keeping necessary to fulfill regulatory standards, as well as a compliance department that will keep abreast with changing regulatory requirements and reporting. Most importantly, the company should hold the applicable licenses in the states were it conducts life settlement transactions.

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Not surprisingly, these various attributes and characteristics tend to coincide with each other. A reputable company will hold all of the applicable licenses needed, or will refrain from activities in states in which it is not licensed. If they have the proper reporting and record keeping capabilities, this is usually overseen by a compliance department that is also responsible for licensing and regulation. Organizations such as these generally have built an infrastructure that has the manpower to process settlements with fastidious precision. Processing large numbers of settlements according to a high standard will give a company a preferred status and leverage with institutional investors, which might even result in higher offers on a given policy.

Make Peace With the Life You Did Not Get

Make peace with the life you did not get so that you can make way for the life that can be yours to find its way to you. Recently, I was watching “Devious Maids”, one of guilty pleasures on Lifetime TV. One of the characters, Zoila, is a maid and she feels that all she can be is a maid because she was unable to accept a scholarship and go to college. She does not want her daughter to be a maid and rightly so. However, the daughter wants to pay her own way to college rather than depend on her mother and father. Her mother, Zoila, is adamant and does everything to make sure her daughter doesn’t make the same mistake she did, even trying to get her fired from her maid job. Now, the moral here is not that Zoila wanted better for her daughter. It is the fact that Zoila never got over not being able to go to College and pursue her dreams, so she accepted a life of “demeaning servitude” because she thought that was all she was good for.

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How many of us are still upset about a life we did not get? I will be the first one to raise my hand. I never got to go to a prestigious University. To this day, I still regret not being accepted to Fordham University, which was my first choice College. There are days when I wonder what my life would have been like if I had gone to Fordham University. I do know for a fact that my life would have definitely been different. I had loved everything about Fordham U. Its prestige, it’s alumni program, their special programs for High School students, programs that I took part in. I even won an Internship of the Year Award. I had interned at some of the best Companies. My life was on the right path. I was not accepted for reasons that were out of my control, although I had the grades. Instead, I was accepted to another University and while that was a private University, it was still not Fordham. My plan was to spend two years at that University, get better grades and then transfer to Fordham University. Yes, I was that obsessed with attending Fordham University. However, life did not work out that way. I made do with the University I was accepted to.

It was not until I was watching that episode of Devious Maid that it hit me. I never made peace with not being able to attend Fordham University or even Fordham Law. Recent circumstances made me realize how much resentment I had for not being able to attend a prestigious University. School and education were my identity. Since I never got to go to Fordham U. for my Bachelor’s degree, I decided that I would apply to Fordham Law and combine the prestige of becoming a Lawyer with the prestige of attending Fordham Law, a Tier 1 Law School. I had to get my J.D then my LL.M (Masters of Law) and them my LL.D (Doctorate of Law). But that did not happen. Well, that part was on me.

I realized that I did not want to go to Law School. Oh the horror of horrors. My family was appalled. They thought I had no direction and I was wasting my life. I still have an Aunt, who to this day still asks if I will reconsider my decision to not go to Law School. I had to restore my family’s honour and do something prestigious with my life. It would help if I went to Oxford or Cambridge University. I have even found myself encouraging my nephew to use his grades to apply to Oxford or Cambridge. I want him to make something of his life and get the opportunities I never got. I hope he forgives me for putting that on him.

Even though the decision to not go to Law School was mine, I still spent the next ten years of my life resenting my life. I just know that if I gotten certain opportunities, I would have had a better life. Yes that was how deeply obsessed and meshed my identity was with the “right schools”, the “meeting the right people”, marrying “up” and living the “right affluent lifestyle”. To add fuel to the fire, I sacrificed my life for “family” and that did not turn out well. It actually blew up in my face. More pain and resentment.

I have spent many years resenting my life and where it has ended up. As a result, things came into my life to help me feel worse about that life. Yes, I have done many things that brought me happiness, but that was fleeting for me. Throughout all that, I learned something very important. No matter how much we may love our surface life, it will be fleeting if beneath all that we are filled with resentment for the life we felt we had missed out on.

One of the things that I have learned about the life that we live is that if we are not okay with where our life is it is easy for others to make us feel bad about our station in life. However, if we are okay with who we and where we are then no one can make you feel ashamed, guilty for what you did not achieve, by their standards. That is why we need to have our own standards for our life and make peace with who, what and where we are in life. If we do not like where we are then we can take steps to change course. We do not need approval from anyone outside of us to do things differently for our lives.

If you were to seriously take a look at who you are now and then look back at the life you thought you missed out on, ask yourself, are those things important to me today? Do I really want that life? Do I still think like that 22yr old? Chances are that life is no longer important to you. There is far more to life than having the right contacts, the right network and the right life. Those things were no longer important to me, but I never made peace with all that. I just went about life continuously burying my hopes and dreams and finding other things to make me happy.

Deep down I was not happy at all. I felt that I had no ambition because I do not want to pursue Law or any other higher degree. However, that was just the criticisms of others that was creeping into my ears and damaging my brain. I started criticizing and putting myself down in the same manner. I felt as if I did not turn out into anything good. I began to believe the criticisms that I had no direction even though the previous direction towards Law School, Masters, and Doctorate was not making me happy.

There is far more to life. Our individual happiness is far more important than getting into the right schools and making the right connections. Do the things you love. If people think you have no direction then that is not your issue. We all deserve to live a life that makes us happy, contented and filled with love and joy. Not some life that creates misery for us. If wanting to be happy, filled with passion, love and joy causes me to lack direction then so be it. At least I am creating my happiness and my passionate life. I do not need to live my life in a way to gain approval from others.

I have learned that I am my own person and I decide where I want to go and if others are not happy with that well, I am not a child and I moved out of my parents home 18years ago, so I do not need permission to live my own life. No one should try to force someone else to live in misery just so they can be seen as having direction. Matter-of-fact, coming from a very strict and structured childhood, I am so happy that I can throw caution to the wind and live my life in freedom WITHOUT direction. I love where my life takes me, sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised, while other times I chose that direction. I love living life from the seat of my pants or my shorts or from the deck of a long pier with my legs hanging off in the beautiful Atlantic Ocean or the clear blue-green Caribbean Sea.

For a long time I was unable to laugh and enjoy myself. I was punishing myself for not having direction and feeling guilty too. That only caused me to be more upset because I had believed that other people were right and I was wrong where my life was concerned. Do not make that same mistake that I did. How you live your life for you is not wrong, as long as it is making you happy. Do not sacrifice your happiness so that you can give others the impression that you have direction. You are not placed here on earth to please others at your expense.

Dance to the rhythm of your own life and move to the beat of your own drums. Live life passionately and exuberantly. Life is way too precious to spend it living in a shell. No one should live life not getting the chance to live out their dreams. That is why as much as I do regret not attending a prestigious Law University; I would not in a million years trade my life for that life.

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It is important that we make peace with the life we did not get so that we can make way for the life that can be ours to find its way to us. There really is a purpose for everything that we did not get and for what we did get. Life has a way of surprising us in a wonderful way. Life is always a win/win. School was one path that I walked and when it no longer served a purpose in my life, another path was cleared for me to walk. The life we think we missed out on was not really the life for us. Something bigger and better was and is in store for us.

Every path that I have walked has brought about numerous blessings. I may not have gone to Law School, but I have gained other wonderful opportunities in my life. I can bet you any money that if I had become Partner in a Law Firm and I would have, I would never have been able to go to Brazil and the Amazon anytime that I wanted to. Anything that I do has to accommodate me going to Brazil at the drop of a hat otherwise, it’s a no-can-do. I would not have been able to live my life freely the way I have been doing the past several years.

Allow Yourself to Live The Life That Is Best For You!

Each and every one of us is responsible for our own lives. That means we are responsible for our own growth and development. Adults are not children, so we need to give them the space to grow themselves and to develop themselves personally. We can offer suggestions, we can provide a listening ear and a huge hug when they need it, but in the final analysis, that person has the final say on their life and where it’s going. We need to respect adults for the mature, capable adults they are supposed to be and not micro-manage their life. That does not make for a good boss, nor does it make for a healthy relationship with others.

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Instead of trying to control others or even trying to control ourselves, we need to manage our individual lives. That means you should not hold up your individual growth and progress by waiting on others to make a decision that may or may not affect your life. You may be waiting on others to want a better life for themselves and because you are growing and moving forward you do not want to leave them behind. However, if someone doesn’t want something for themselves there is no way you can force them to want it.

I will even go as far as to say that what you may want for someone may not be what they want for themselves or they are not ready as yet to make changes in and for their life. While it is commendable to want more for others, you cannot keep your life stuck waiting for others. It is important that you do not stop your growth for anyone, therefore, it is imperative that you keep your life moving forward while focusing on your growth.

Another point to take heed of is that people can and will string you along for as long as they can before you even realize what is happening. They will give you a sad story to draw you in or they will say the right words that they know will pull at your heart strings and you find yourself understanding them and waiting on them. You are now at their mercy. They can pull you and twist you up in any way till Sunday. Do not blame yourself once you realize or become aware of what is happening. Forgive yourself for getting caught up in the madness and now start to take steps to get your life going again preferably without those individuals.

Once you become aware of what is going on, you will no longer allow your life to remain stuck. People can make promises all they want, however, it is in the doing that you should put faith in, especially when it comes to your personal life. Do not tolerate nor allow anyone to run amuck in your personal life and leave it in disarray. If you find that your personal life is in disarray as a result of who and what was in it, then it’s time to do some internal house-cleaning.

It is now time to take back your life, take back control over the ship of your life, start playing your life full out and start living the life that is best for you. Do not make the mistake of stopping your life because you feel that you should wait on others. No, keep moving your life forward and if others want to be a part of your life then they will catch a ride on your ship. If they do not want to be a part of your life, then still keep your life moving.

You have the power to stop your life-ship if you so desire, however, do not allow others to slow you down. It is one thing to stop or pause voluntarily, it is another thing when you unwittingly allow criticisms and other negative behaviour to seep into your mind and cause you to stop your own progress. You are now so beaten down that you barely have the strength to get up in the mornings.

ENOUGH! Your life is not meant to be mediocre nor is it meant to be wasted being stuck in the same existence with no change. No, you are meant to live an EXTRAORDINARY life. So don’t be afraid that by you moving forward you are leaving people behind. If they are for you they will be right beside you as you move forward. If they are not for you, then you will meet other people as you move your life forward.

In order to be able to move your life forward, focusing on nourishing just your heart and soul is not enough. Your mind needs to be built up in order to become rock-solid. Having a weakened or a vulnerable mind will leave you open to external influences. It is then that the negative and harsh criticisms of others will be able to permeate your mind and twist you up from the inside out. That is what is called psychological abuse.

Once someone has control over your mind, you no longer own your life. They can twist you up in any way and in any direction that mirrors their state of mind. That is why we need to build up our mind so that nothing negative and mind-twisting can penetrate. Own your own mind, have mastery over your own mind and you will be able to direct and lead your life towards your dreams, passions and goals. Having a weakened mind doesn’t mean you are stupid or mentally unbalanced. Far from it. Immense pain can weaken your mental state.

Experiencing serious life events and having to go it alone can cause your mind to take a massive hit. Do not feel guilty if your mind was in a weakened state. You are human and there are times when life is going to hit you hard to the point where life knocks you down clean of your axis. Use this time to rebuild your foundation. Life hit you hard for a reason. The life you were living, you have outgrown it and life needed to get your attention, to say, “Hey, you no longer belong over there. It is time to go down a different path.”

You are getting an opportunity few people get or even recognize that they are getting. You are being given a chance to start your life over from scratch. A life that you can now build according to your specifications and not those of your family, religion, culture, media or society. You can build a life that has all the support your life needs in your internal life and in your external life. Both parts of your life need to be in full alignment and giving you balanced support.

That is why you should never look so longingly at what was or what wasn’t that you miss the opportunity to appreciate what is coming into your life. If you need to take the time to heal wounds of the past, then do so. Your life need you to be front and center in your present so that you can look boldly to the future. Although your past may have had great times and wonderful experiences, there was also a lot of misery, pain, loss and disappointments. Why would you want to go back to something that caused you pain, misery and torment? You can’t change what happened, but you can heal so that you can create a new and better today. Remember, yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn’t here as yet, but you do have today and today should be where you are living your best life.

Refrain from engaging in should-a, would-a, could-a. That is gone. Refrain from engaging in, tomorrow it will be better, next year will be better, this is the life I want to have someday. It hasn’t come yet. However, today you can live your best life, today you can attempt to do one thing that you are passionate about, today you can tell someone that you love them, that you care about them. Today is what you have. Embrace it, rejoice in it and live it to the best of your ability.

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As you take your new life one day at a time, bit by bit you will start falling in love with yourself. Soon and very soon, you will be living your life fully and completely in love with the new you. It is that love that you have for yourself that will catapult you to live in your greatness and living the best life possible.

There are no limits as to how great and extraordinary you can live your life. Do not allow the past nor the future to continuously rob you of your joy. You no longer have to just exist in life trying to survive day by day. Now you can thrive in your life enjoying your passions day by day. It is your life, so live it up, live it freely and live it passionately.

Five Top Tips for Living Your BEST Life

Enlightened wisdom believes that the question is more important than the answer. In other words, without the correct question being asked, you cannot ever get the correct answer. So asking the RIGHT questions to yourself is the most important thing you can do for your own personal growth…

We are born, and we will all die one day – this is certain. In the middle of our birth and death is this thing called Life. We don’t have a choice about the fact that we will die one day, but we do have a choice about how we will live the days of our life. So here’s an important question to ask yourself – What is life for? What is my life about? What is the purpose of my journey here?

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It’s important to ask this question because the answer will decide what your experience of life becomes. Is life just for growing up, getting education, meeting your partner, having children, creating a big successful career, company, or family, having experiences, friendships, relationships, and then one day leaving it all behind when you pass away?

It is true that along the way you may do all of this, but what is the big picture of life all about? This is an important and powerful question to ask.

I asked myself this question when I was just a teenager, and then went in search of the answer. I looked both within, into my heart, and also searched externally, by meeting and learning from enlightened teachers. Eventually after a lot of search, practice and experience, I found my answer.

While each one of us has different goals to fulfil and life to love, there is a common thread in our existence too. We are all here, experiencing life, to bring out the best possible potential from within us and share it with others. We are all here to be the best we can be, as individual human beings.

This is the answer to the big question that will clarify and set the path of your life – You are here to be the best that you can be, in your relationships, in your work, in your friendships, in your efforts and in your life.

To help you live your best life let’s begin by understanding that there are essentially just three ways to live life.

    1. You can live your lowest life: regardless of circumstances, this is a life where you don’t follow your dreams; you keep chasing STUFF. You are the least important person in your life; everyone else is more important than you: your partner, your kids, your work, and your in-laws – all of this is more important that being authentic to yourself.

 

    1. You can live a mediocre life. Regardless of circumstances, this is a life where sometimes you get your way, but it is only after other’s get theirs too. So there is always a compromise. And you’re supposed to feel satisfied with just what you’ve got, been given, or received in life. You look around and see that everyone else is doing the same thing – they are not living the lives they want to live, instead they are always compromising to keep moving ahead. Mr Jones gets up, goes to work, comes home, spends time with the family, then goes to bed. The next day, he gets up and does the same thing all over again. This is the conditioned life, albeit stable, secure and comfortable. Living this life of no sense of life purpose every day is dangerous as it may bring you to a mindset that believes this is how life is supposed to be. Once this mindset has taken root you are condemned to a life time of mediocrity and non significance.

 

  1. You can live your best life! This is a life where you know the reason you are alive. You have a clear sense of what you want to do with your life. You are living authentically, not to fulfil others expectations of you. You are full of purpose, passion and a sense of completeness. You are engaged in work that you love, you share life with someone you love. When you wake up you know you’re living your highest potential.

If you can find the courage inside you to decide to live your highest life, here are 5 tips to help you to do so.

Living your best, highest, biggest, brightest life is easy when you follow the 5 tips. The first tip is the most difficult, but let us start here because if you can do this, then all the others that follow are easy.

Tip 1 for living your BEST life – Accept Responsibility for your life and everything in it.

Understand that you can only change what you have responsibility for. If you are not responsible for it, then you do not have the power to change it either.

So accept responsibility for yourself and creating your BEST life.

Make a commitment that you will live your best life. Accept that you have to make it happen – not your partner, your husband, your family. It’s not your mother’s responsibility! Others can help and guide you, but it is your job to walk this path. This also means that you STOP WAITING!

Stop depending or waiting for others to make your life better! Instead you do it yourself. This step is most important but difficult too. If you don’t participate in making your own life better, well then nothing can become better. Make a silent mental commitment to yourself “I will do/change whatever I have to… I am responsible for living my best life.” Then think of what actions you can take to make your life better today. Not tomorrow, not next month. Identify some small steps/things that will improve your life experience today, and then take action on them.

Conscious change starts inside you first. This is a truth that can never change. Wasn’t this article a thought in my mind before it became real? Similarly, your relationship, your home, your children, your job, your current life – all these were thoughts first before they became a reality. When you understand this, you can also understand how to change your life for the better.

Tip 2 for living your BEST life – Invest in yourself by learning meditation

Every day that we are alive, we invest. We invest our time, energy and effort in our children, our homes, business, our travels, our stocks & shares… but along the way we forget to invest in ourselves.

You are at the centre of your whole life and everything you have created in it. So make sure the core is always well taken care of. Think about it – before your children came into your life, were you not there first? Who came before your home? You! Before the relationship? You!

You are the reason why everything else is in your life. Sometimes we lose sight of this powerful truth…

So make sure you invest in yourself by training your mind to be happy and joyful. Meditation is the ancient science of mind training and it shows you the way to create your own happiness and joy. It also gives you a mental clarity that allows you to see the big picture of your life and empowers you to take steps to make it what you wish.

So invest in training your mind through meditation. You cannot live your best life without a mind that supports you to be happy and joyful. Find a good teacher and then spend the time, energy, effort and money you need to learn the wisdom that will guide you to your BEST life.

Invest also in your health, and good experiences. Exercise, travel, enjoy good food and drink, enjoy nature, hang out with positive people and most important of all – remember to see the good in your life on a daily basis, not just once in a while.

Tip 3 for living your BEST life – Discover and follow your passions.

Ask yourself this simple question – How much passion do you feel in life? Do you feel alive and on fire as you start your day? Are you excited to be at work? Do you feel that you are doing what you were born to do?

To live your BEST life, you must discover and release your passion – this is extremely beneficial for you and everyone around you too. You must look within yourself to find meaning and work that will light a fire inside you.

It takes courage to live your BEST life because it means finding and following what you love to do. Be aware that you will always be better at doing what you love to do than doing what you don’t love. Now if you think that you don’t have a passion/dream in the first place, I want to remind you that you DO! It’s just been so long since you thought about your passion that you think it is no longer there. So spend some time looking within and discover the fire that is waiting to be lit inside you.

Tip 4 for living your BEST life – Release negativity.

Release and let go of all negativity, regardless of why it’s there. There are always good reasons of why we feel anger, hatred, grudges or jealously towards others, but no reason is good enough to keep on hurting yourself for. All negativity hurts you more that those around you.

Imagine that you are holding onto some heavy weights in your hands. And now you try to raise your hands higher to flap your wings to fly. You will find that the weight is really heavy and it holds you down. Blame, complaining, anger, grudges… these are all the weights that hold you down.

Interestingly, the more positive you become the more you see good opportunities – reasons to say thank you and be grateful. And the universe supports you more too.

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Be aware that if 5 years ago someone hurt you, but you keep thinking about how that person hurt you by what he said or did… then he hurt you but once, but since then you’ve hurt yourself a 100 times thinking back about it.

If you get on a flight to go somewhere there is always a limit on the baggage you are allowed to carry. 20kg in economy, or 30kg in business class, or 40kg in first class… but always there is a limit. If you take more that that you are penalised! Similarly, in life if you carry too much baggage you are penalised and you won’t enjoy the beauty that life has to offer.

So, let go of the negative experiences of your life. Accept that it is you who has to let go of the pain, not the people who caused you the pain (if you wait for them, you are playing out the role of a victim). The enlightened teachers say it is never the snake bite that kills you; it is the poison left behind that kills you.

Learn your lessons for the hard knocks of life, and move on a better person. Don’t hold on to the past, because the past is not holding on to you!

Tip 5 for living your BEST life – Love yourself every day.

Treat yourself with love every day, not just on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. Don’t wait for others to make you feel good either! Take the responsibility to make yourself feel good no matter what happens! Again, meditation training will be invaluable for this.

So everyday of your life, remember that the most important person in your life is YOU!

Enjoy small pleasures on a daily basis – a cup of coffee, a walk in the park, yoga class, a good book to read, a chat with a friend, a massage, enjoying the beautiful trees around you… anything to show yourself some love very day.

If life was just one thing, then all people would be having the same experience of life. Yet some are happy, others unhappy. Some are full of gratitude, and others are full of complains. The truth is that life is nothing without you. There would be no experience/ definition/ quality of life without you.

Outgrowing Our Old Life

As we grow we are going to outgrow people, situations, behaviours, thoughts and beliefs. Not everyone will make it over into our new life. It doesn’t mean anything was wrong with them it just means that their part in your life story is over. We are going to outgrow our old life. We are going to meet new people who now play a part in our new story. You might take a lot of flak for moving forward, however, it is important that you do what is best for your life and for your growth. All of us are individually responsible for the growth of ourselves and our life. We need to become leaders of our own life. That means we are responsible for the things, situations, people that comes into our life. We are going to outgrow certain kind of conversations, thoughts that no longer serve us and behaviours that do not bring about growth in our lives.

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Your destiny is never tied to anyone who is walking away from your life neither does anyone’s destiny is tied up to you walking away from them. No matter who is doing the walking away we need to respect people’s decision to move on with their life. If we realize that there is too much drama going on in our life and it is keeping us stuck then it is important that we remove ourselves from whatever is causing that drama even if it is us. We cannot continue keeping ourselves anywhere that does not bring about growth and development.

There comes a time when we need to take a deeper look at our life and see if where we are is where we truly desire to be. It is also going to take deep strength and commitment to growing for us to walk away from a life that is only causing us to break down more and more. That is not healthy. Each and every individual deserves to live a life that is abundant and prosperous. We can’t live that life if there is chaos in our life. We are blocking our ability to tune into our abundance if our life is not emotionally healthy and free. Everything that comes into our life serves a purpose, a reason and a healing. However, not everything that comes into our life is meant to be in our life forever. Problems occur when we try to force others to be in our lives. If someone says they need space, then honour that request. If someone is walking away from you let them go. They are not your prisoner.

We are born free. Free to be where we desire to be, free to make decisions about where our life is going and free to live a life of happiness, stress-free and safe. No one should threaten another person’s life just because they are walking away from them. That is not a healthy way to live. Life goes on and we need to let our lives flow. We also have a responsibility to ourselves to not let anyone hold us hostage in any way. That means we should never give anyone the power to hold us hostage mentally, emotionally, psychologically and physically.

I was born into abuse. So I grew up knowing a life filled with violence, sickness, anger, unhappiness, manipulation, mind control and all the others disgusting things that comes with abuse. However, in the midst of all that darkness, I did experience love, light, happiness, freedom. There were angels in the form of people during my teenage years that showed interest in me, cared about me, gave me strength and they instilled values in me. Those few years were a godsend. That was what I held unto during the darkest hours of my life. It is why at age 19 I could gather the strength to move out of the darkness in order to save my life. I vowed that I will never let my life be subjected to that kind of darkness. I needed more for my life and to get more for my life I had to make some hard decisions knowing full well that I would not get any support for my decisions. However, it was when I made the decision to move out that so many more angels were sent to save my life. Many of those angels are no longer in my life because their part in my story has ended, but their kind deeds have kept me going and it has influenced me to be someone else’s angel. That is how I strive to live my life every day.

While I will let my life guide me to where I need to go, I will not life in general just carry me along. Every day I take inventory of myself and of my life and where I am in my life. If I don’t like it then I take steps to take my life in a different direction. I once heard something that I now call a parable: “You will walk down a road and there is a hole that you fall into. You climb out of it and continue your Journey. The next day you walk down the same road, but this time you know about the hole, so you walk around it. The third time you simply walk down a different road”. It is the same thing with our lives. We need to be actively paying attention to our lives so that we can see if there is something that we will fall into. If we don’t see it in time then when we find ourselves in the middle of such a situation then we remove ourselves from that situation and then make the decision to walk a different Path.

We can’t be in the same thing over and over again without stopping to take stock of our lives and where it is going. It doesn’t matter if you feel that someone has betrayed you, stabbed you in the back, in the front or whatever it is? Take care of your mental, emotional and spiritual health by removing your life away from that person. That person may not feel that they did anything wrong. Don’t get caught up trying to get them to acknowledge their behaviour and trying to force them to apologize. You cannot live another person’s life for them. You have got to live and pay attention to your own life. It also means that that person does not belong in your life. Release them so they can continue living their life Journey and free up yourself so that you can live your life based on your values and morals. This has nothing to do with whose values and morals are wrong or right. Your values and morals are unique to you and if they work for you then continue on your way. If other people’s values and morals clash with yours then those are not the people to have in your life. Don’t argue with people about who is right and who is wrong. Live your life in the way that brings you happiness, freedom and joy.

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It was Albert Einstein who said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” We can’t enact changes in our life if we have the same thinking that brought us into the unhealthy situation. We need to change our thinking and inevitably the people in our life will change also. Each individual has the right to travel their own path and it doesn’t make one person better than the other. We are all human beings so we are all equal. We all get the same amount of time in a day, in a week and in a year, however, it is how we use that time that is given to us that is important. Wanting a better life is actually praiseworthy. Always seeking ways to improve yourself is praiseworthy. Seeking ways to help others is praiseworthy. So don’t allow anyone to negate your life’s purpose and goals. The world needs more Leaders. It needs people who are willing to go the extra distance to help in any way they can. So don’t allow anything to hold you back. While you can use your past to strengthen and fortify you and use it motivate you, your destiny is not tied to your past. Don’t allow your past to prevent you from moving forward. The time is the present and it is for you now to step into your Greatness.