Sick of being sick during the sniffly season? Then read on. We count down some of the best superfoods to keep you fit, healthy and feeling great over the winter months. Continue Reading…
New Year’s resolutions…ugh. The source of so much anguish. I should eat better, exercise more often and quit my job for real this time. Oh wait…that was last year.
It’s time to say sayonara to New Year’s resolutions. Just chuck ‘em. You know what you have to do. You’ve always known it. You know what you should be eating, how you should be exercising, where you should be working and what sort of people you should be spending your time with. You know it.
What’s more, what you need to do isn’t complicated. It requires infinitesimal steps daily in a certain direction.
So if it’s so simple, it must follow that something is holding you back. There’s something in the way of you and your best self. Continue Reading…
Do you reach for your phone to check emails the second you’ve wiped the sleep from your eyes? Perhaps you’re an adept multi-tasker, capable of juggling an entire dinner service worth of tasks, but never able to step back and savour your accomplishments. If you feel things have reached something of a critical mass, perhaps it’s time to take stock and assess how to make some beneficial changes by following a few of these helpful tips for a slower, and happier, life: Continue Reading…
Bilbo Baggins was leading a simple and agreeable life, enjoying books and mead and humble pleasures – until an adventure was thrust upon him. Like most adventure travelers, Bilbo came to enjoy himself despite the barrage of beastly creatures and uncomfortable bedding arrangements. And so with Mr. Baggins (and his new film “The Desolation of Smaug”), in mind we present a Hobbit’s Guide to keeping safe and healthy during all your daring explorations.
The journey of the Hobbit is all about traversing rocky cliffs and scaling great, grassy heights. Many human travelers, too, enjoy a vacation where the climb is just as important as reaching the destination – be it hiring a Sherpa at Everest Base Camp, hiking for three days to reach the top of Machu Picchu, or getting up Mount Kilimanjaro.
The health risks of mountaineering are many, but with a bit of careful planning, it’s easy to stay safe during the climb. Bilbo is constantly falling into caves and crevasses, and although this often proves useful to the Hobbit (his clumsy antics being a fantastic method of finding secret passages), humans will probably prefer to keep both feet firmly underneath at all times. Pack proper gear such as crampons, strong boots a helmet and an ice pick.
Also consider clothing. Hobbits are quite hairy, meaning that the weather outside won’t put a damper on their journey. Humans, on the other hands, might like to invest in waterproof, breathable separates, wool socks, and a sun hat or a wool hat. Suitable clothing can protect from frostbite and sunburn, and keep every part of the body comfortable and healthy while on the trek.
Wherever your adventure may take you, chances are you’ll be making your way on foot. Hobbits enjoy a simple footwear and foot care regimen thanks to their hairy feet and thickly-skinned soles. As humans, we have to work a little harder to keep our feet in good shape and carrying us to one exciting destination after the next.
Firstly, you are not a Hobbit, so avoid walking barefoot when possible. Small scrapes can grow into big infections, especially if the wound is on the bottom of the foot and being irritated with every step. Walking barefoot can also expose feet to the plantar wart virus which is both uncomfortable and difficult to treat. Wear rubber flip-flops while using communal showers, and keep your shoes on outdoors.
Adventure seekers in need of specialty footwear are recommended to do plenty of research before embarking on the journey. The right water shoe is essential to a white water rafting trip, while serious hikers and bikers will likely seek a sneaker that offers support combined with an appropriate level of weight. An expedition will be no fun if its marred by bruises and blisters, so bring along a back of mole skins, and break in your new shoes before you hit the road.
Surviving the Transit
Traveling to a less-touristed destination often involves a variety of vehicles: planes, trains, buses, tuk tuks and more. Maintaining your sanity and physical health while in transit is an important way to keep you focused on the adventure, and not the cramp in your left leg. Bilbo knows a little something about this – he did once travel from an Elvenking prison in a very bumpy, river-bound barrel.
There’s not much you can do about potholed roads and rough bus rides, so give yourself time to recover from long haul transit. You don’t want to fall asleep in your scuba gear because you didn’t schedule a buffer day between reaching your secluded Philippine island and diving in. Taking time to sleep will keep you alert and safe during your adventures, and rest is also a great way to stave off sickness.
Even if the only vehicle you ride is an airplane, be attentive to your muscles and immune system. Just as Bilbo eventually exits his barrel, you too should exit your seat and move around during the flight, to protect muscles from deep vein thrombosis as well as generally soreness. Taking an extra dose of vitamin C before boarding couldn’t hurt either – you’ll be thankful when your seatmate turns out to be snottier than a goblin.
Insects & Beasts
Middle Earth is not the place to go if you’re squeamish about critters big or small, and here on regular Earth we’ve got plenty of animals to be wary of as well. Read up on where you’re traveling too, what insects and beasts you’re liable to encounter, and find out how to maintain health and safety in the face of whatever creatures you might meet – be they the giant spiders of the Mirkwood Forest or a herd of hungry, ugly trolls.
While the monsters of this Earth are hardly supernatural, they can be dangerous. Protect yourself from spider bites by wearing long pants and long sleeves, and spray on a leech repellent if you’re trekking around in damp, wooded areas. As for bigger beasts, learn the protocol before you start your trip. Make lots of noise and stand your ground if faced with a black bear, but play dead and be silent if you’re looking at a grizzly.
One of the most dangerous critters you’ll encounter on adventure travel is also one of the smallest – the mosquito. (As Gandalf said: it’s the little things that are important). Mosquitoes can carry malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever; diseases that will make you ill in the short term and could cause permanent health damage in the long run. Find out about the mosquito risk in the area you’ll be visiting, but get a preventative vaccine only if its strongly recommended. Use a DEET mosquito spray and cover exposed skin, especially at night.
The holiday season can be can be a lonely affair for a backpacker, with too many sad souls sipping cheap pitchers at the hostel bar, munching on things in crinkly bags with relative strangers and longing for home, white snow and the smell of evergreen trees.
This needn’t be your lot as a backpacker! Spending the holidays away from home is a rare opportunity to reinvent Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever it is you’re celebrating, and to begin new traditions (hello, mimosas with breakfast!) and dispense with the ones you never liked anyway (bye bye, fruitcake!).
It may take just a little extra effort to make the holidays abroad something worth celebrating, but it may also be the most memorable one yet. Continue Reading…
The one item you can’t pack in a suitcase – and the item travelers need the most this time of year – is in short supply during the holidays. You can’t pack it in a suitcase, tuck it into your carry-on or purchase it from the airline attendant. It’s patience.
For whatever reason, we get stressed during the holidays. We overindulge in eating, drinking and shopping, making the season unduly taxing. Travel is one of the biggest culprits. But avoiding these seven mistakes can go a long way to creating an atmosphere of serenity and love this time of year. Continue Reading…
There are few places on earth that come close to the chaos of a mall in the final days before Christmas. Droves of sweaty shoppers, dizzying lights and overflowing car parks, all set to the inescapably cheery drone of endless Christmas carols. It’s enough to suck any enjoyment out of the festive period and to test both your sanity and resolve. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
Does your best friend spend all her time in spin classes? Got a family member looking to take on a half marathon, or maybe a colleague swept up in the CrossFit revolution? Make holiday shopping effortless with our compilation of the Top 10 Coolest Health and Fitness Gadget Gifts: Continue Reading…
Oh, Game of Thrones! So bloody. So juicy. So…delicious?
Indeed. All that carnage makes a knight’s stomach growl. After the battle there’s always time for hearty rabbit stew, honey-roasted chicken, thick pumpkin soup, roast onions swimming in brown gravy followed by lemon cakes and pigeon pie.
And with all those mouth-watering dishes flows a river of inventive vintages; strongwine from Dorne, as dark as vengeance itself; dreamwine from Qarth, to wash away aches and pains; the wine of courage for the Unsullied; metallic Ghiscari white, from the ruined city es Essos; and of course, hot, spiced wine at the end of a long day in any of the seven kingdoms of Westeros.
Any Game of Thrones fan worth his salt should be able to brew a nice pot of hot spiced wine. It may surprise readers to know that this popular medieval beverage is still around today. Spiced wine, or mulled wine as it is sometimes called, can be brewed easily in the modern-day kitchen, with ingredients found in most supermarkets. Continue Reading…
When temperatures plummet most of us crave a little comfort food to stave off the chills. Here are five moreish recipes to get you through the winter season with a contented smile on your face: Continue Reading…
Which vitamin keeps the skin looking taut and youthful, fights off nasty winter colds and prevents the body from becoming overwhelmed with stress? Yep, vitamin C does all these things and more. Continue Reading…