Wanderlust: Long Life, Health & Happiness in Greece

image

April is Stress Awareness Month, which makes it an easy topic to tie into my newest wanderlust post because I am a firm believer that relaxation is essential to good mental health and happiness. And what’s a better form of relaxation than traveling? Few things can top it in my book.

My boyfriend is a tax accountant and as we reach the final stretch of tax season, he is easily booking 65+ hours/week. April 16, the day after one of the most stressful days of the year (deadline to submit your taxes!), is coincidentally or not recognized as National Stress Awareness Day. In serious appreciation of this day and our own mental stability, we are taking a few days to vacation, relax and have a little bit of fun to break up the monotony of life as hardworking adults.

While relaxation can help counteract the serious health complications linked to high stress (heart problems, dementia, seizures to name a few), it is just one of many ways to improve your quality of life. I recently read articles on Yahoo and the New York Times that state that the Greek island Ikaria is one of the places on Earth with the largest grouping of centenarians, or people who live to witness their 100th birthday.

According to the article, these Ikarians’ secrets to longevity include “lack of pollution, a diet heavy in fruits and vegetables, moderate consumption of wine, and…coffee brewed by a boiling method.”

image

As an avid and religious drinker of coffee, I am always happy to hear of more reasons why the deliciously fragrant little beans can protect me against diabetes and liver disease (Ironically, those who have had a liver transplant due to a liver disease must ban coffee consumption from their diets). According to research published in the journal Vascular Medicine, this particular type of boiled Greek coffee was associated with better endothelial function. Endothelial cells play an important role in blood vessel formation and in reducing the friction of the flow of blood in blood vessels.

image

Greece has been on my travel bucket list for years, ever since I saw my first picture of Santorini’s blue-capped, whitewashed stone homes flushed into the hills. If the same is true for you, be sure to check out my Pinterest travel board. Someday, I would love to move to one of the breathtakingly idyllic Grecian towns picture below. Enjoy!

image

image

image

image

image

image

Advertisements

Wanderlust: Places I’d rather be at today…

Now that I am officially going to the mountains and learning to snowboard in the near future, a part of me is always daydreaming about places like the one pictured above.

It has been 10 long months since the last time I went scuba diving. After diving in the Caribbean last fall, I want my next major trip to be to the Great Barrier Reef. So far, my favorite types are wall dives and cavernous rock dives.

But really, I’d be happy being anywhere near the water.

The book your soul is writing…

Happy Friday, everyone!

Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you. (Marsha Norman)

The leveled area of Saigon South , District 7, has become a popular weekend kite park (Đồng Diều).

So dream away, and never stop dreaming for better things. Today (and many other days), I’m dreaming of traveling and experiencing the world outside of the Dallas bubble. After I graduate, I hope to participate in a type of “volunteer vacation” much like the ones offered through Global Aware. For those of us fortunate enough to be able to take vacations, why not visit a country and give back to an underdeveloped/developing community?

Motorcycles are by far the vehicle of choice in urban areas of Vietnam.

My parents were grew up living in a country that struggled with social and economic problems for  years (and currently is still working on those problems) and with a war that began since before they were born. They were forced to flee from their family, home and country to live in refugee camps in countries where they didn’t speak the language. I couldn’t imagine their struggles. Seven years ago, my family and I visited Vietnam and it was a wonderfully educational and enlightening experience. Even though the standard of living is still below that of the U.S., it is a beautiful country filled with vibrant cities and so many colorful, hardworking people.

Saigon’s skyline at night.
A tất niên offering being made during the Tết (Vietnamese lunar new year) festival.

According to the International Monetary Fund, which tracks the global economy, Vietnam is classified as a developing country. To put it in perspective, Vietnam’s estimated 2012 GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita is $3,358 while the United State’s is $48,386.

Many people in Vietnam’s urban cities make a living as a street food or produce vendor.

The CIA World Factbook estimates that 14.5 percent of Vietnam’s population is living below the poverty line as of 2010, and the country’s inflation rate averages at 18 percent in 2011 with a high reaching 23 percent.

Vietnam is the second-largest exporter of rice, after Thailand.

Wanderlust: Chasing Sand and Sea

It’s been a gloomy few nights with rolling thunder and flashes of quick downpours that disappear soon after they arrive. Although I love cloudy and rainy days, it’s starting to feel like I’m wandering through a thick forest trying to reach a particular destination: a relaxing, exciting and worry-free vacation. I’m getting restless of the stress from work, school and graduation.

Four Seasons Hotel – Bora Bora

I want a few months to travel and see the world. I’d spend a week lounging in one of these bungalows and scuba diving during the day.

Lady Musgrave Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Some time after I graduate with my bachelor’s, my boyfriend and I plan on visiting Australia (hopefully for an extended vacation) and diving in the Great Barrier Reef.

The Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort in Sultanate, Oman.
Halong Bay in Vietnam.
Halong Bay in Vietnam.

I’ve been to Halong Bay once before and it was breathtaking. Just imagine yourself in a boat or kayak gliding through the water above.

Koh Lao Liang in Thailand

Wanderlust: Places and Spaces Around the Globe

Wanderlust: A very strong or irresistible impulse to travel.

This is a general collection of some beautiful places I hope to visit someday. These places are so rich in history and/or natural wonder, they make me think about what a shame it is that we can’t all experience these places once in our lives. If money, work and time weren’t an issue… But until they aren’t obstacles, I’ll travel vicariously through these pictures.

The historical and archaeological city of Petra in Jordan at night.
Blue Caves – Zakynthos Island, Greece
Plitvice Lakes National Park in Lika-Senj and Karlovac Counties in Croatia.
Coron Island in Palawan, Philippines.
Pongua Falls in the Lam Dong Province of Vietnam.
The town of Positano on the Amalfi Coast in Italy.