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Staycation Ideas: 14 Activities You Can Do in Your Backyard

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It almost sem break! Most students are already making plans with their closest friends and best mates. They’re planning a beach trip, elaborate sleepovers playing video games and bingeing Netflix and out of town excursions. They look forward to their time off homework, tests, and projects.

Unfortunately, not everyone can be with their friends to do these things. Some students have to stay at Nuvali home to watch over their siblings while their parents are at work. Others have to guard their house and babysit their dog. Still, other kids want to stay at home with their parents. It’s not a bad thing to spend time with the ‘rents. But if you wish to have a great time during your break from school, here are 14 outdoor activities to do in your yard.

1. Create a theater out of vines and tree stumps

It’s a simple yet fun activity to do with younger siblings. Gather twigs, thick branches, and vines to make a roof. The tree stumps can be your platform or stage to showcase magic tricks and handmade puppets. Use old curtains or sheets as curtains.

2. Transform the shed into a den

If you don’t want your parents hounding you for always bringing your friends in your Cavite townhouse, you can use the shed as your hideout. Bring in some chairs or your old sofa. Install some shelves on the wall if floor space is limited. Use the shelves to store your stereo, books, and other stuff that keeps you and your friends entertained.

3. Have a drive-in movie night

Gather some cardboard boxes and paint over them. You can also allow the children to design their car for the movie night. Get a projector, a white sheet, and prepare a booth for the snacks to resemble a real-life drive-by.

4. Play Twister

You don’t have to purchase the game. You can spray paint circles on your lawn. Then, make your version of the spinning wheel using a bottle and printing out a copy or painting it on the grass.

5. Grow a moss graffiti

Do you want to do something crafty but still be out in the sun? You can write your favorite quote using moss. Moss is fairly easy to grow. It’s also safer to use than spray paint. You can use it on concrete walls, rocks or bricks.

6. Initiate a game of beer pong battleship

Carve out ships using styrofoam. Every time a boat sinks, the player takes a shot. You can use fruit juices instead of beer. That way, kids can join the fun.

7. Create a mini golf course

It’s a shame not to put your yard to good use. Another game that requires a bit of creativity and strategic planning is mini golf. Think of different ways how you can come up with a funky hole. You can create a ramp or use everyday items like plastic cups, books, and soup cans for your backyard golf.

8. Use plants to make a secret passageway

If you have a hedge, you can carve out a passage that is highly useful when you play hide and seek. If you don’t, you can always wait for it to grow until it’s thick enough to trim down.

9. Build an outdoor reading nook

Use leftover wood from a previous project to build a mini fort or a shelter. Make sure it the right size to fit a comfortable seating and a shelf to hold your favorite books. It’s sure to become your favorite place especially when the heat indoors becomes unbearable.

10. Blow out some bubbles

Everyone loves bubbles. Little kids will enjoy running in the yard to catch them. If you want big, long-lasting bubbles, you can add a teaspoon of glycerin for every tablespoon of soap and glass of water. The kids will be amazed to find out they won’t pop out too soon.

11. Play with ropes

If you have a few thick cables and cords, you can use them for making a zip line, a rope bridge or a rope course. It will not only force your body to move. It also tests your knot tying skills. You have to be sure that you tie them, so you don’t come across accidents during activities.

12. Raise some sunflowers to create a fort

Form a circle on the ground. Mark it by adding some soil over the seeds. Diligently watch over them so they would grow healthy. Practice your green thumb and see them turn into healthy plants.

13. Play water balloon pinatas

The game is simple. You need to fill the balloons with water and hang them on branches. Look for a long rod or a baseball bat you can use to hit the hanging balloons. Don’t forget to remind players to wear board shorts or their swimsuits.

14. Attract butterflies

Fill your bird feeder or outdoor fountain with overripe fruit. Butterflies are sure to catch the scent and stick around for days.

Getting bored is not an option even if you are staying at home. There are several things you can do even when you are just hanging at home. Try these 14 backyard activities with your parents, friends or little siblings so you won’t feel the blue during your break.

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Memorable Vacations: Three Excellent Tips for Picking a Good Hotel Online

 

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“The gladdest moment in human life, I think, is a departure into unknown lands”-Sir Richard Burton

 

Hotels can make or break your vacation.

However, much of this depends on the kind of travel you are looking for: a comfortable and luxurious one that allows you to relax or one that pushes you out of your comfort zone and enables you to rough it. Depending on the kind of traveler you are, you might consider overlooking the accommodation aspect in your vacation given that you will be spending more time experiencing the city rather than within the confines of your room. However, while much of your vacation is spent exploring the city, a comfortable night at a hotel would significantly contribute to a better experience.

Sure, you might not be spending the majority of your time inside your hotel room, but an excellent hotel does more than just provide you with a comfortable night’s sleep and stay. It ensures your personal safety, almost guarantees that your belongings are safe from being stolen and prompt quality service would be rendered to you should you need it. Furthermore, the hotel concierge would be able to give you a myriad of sightseeing suggestions which you can add to your travel itinerary. On the whole, a good hotel can elevate your trip and make it all the more immersive and memorable. However, booking a hotel is best done in advance to ensure that there are available rooms for occupancy and the only way you can do that is to either book at their website or over the phone (which can cost you a lot in long-distance toll fees).

Considering that your accommodation quarters is paramount to your comfort and convenience for the entire duration of your trip, it is best to pick a hotel you deem most appropriate for your kind of travel. Unfortunately, singling one hotel among innumerable others can be quite the challenge to do and figuring out what you want may prove to be even harder—especially as all this is done online. Unless you are traveling to an obscure and incredibly remote place, the information you need about your hotel can all be found online regardless of whether you are selecting from a slew of hotels in Pampanga or elsewhere. So, use this to your advantage.

In any case, here are some of the indispensable tips to keep in mind in finding the best hotel for your trip online:

 

1.) Determine what is important to you

Selecting the best hotel for you starts with determining what is most important to you. In this regard, it is best to start your search with a list in hand. This list should include all the things that would make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable. The contents of this list can range from anything to having free breakfast along with the room to fast Wi-Fi. Identify the aspects that are most important to you and come up with a realistic price range for your accommodation. Remember, more often than not, your hotel would be one of the costliest aspects in your trip, but it is not the only thing you would be spending for. Know what your priorities are and then choose from there.

2.) Make sure your hotel is equipped with the holy grail of amenities

Before deciding on a hotel, ensure that the amenities pivotal to your stay are offered by it. It might vary depending on the kind of traveler you are, but it would typically consist of an excellent air-conditioning unit, free Wi-Fi, adequate parking space, and breakfast. If all of these are offered, then well and good but you should also take the extra step of checking whether the hotel would charge you extra for these perks. A hotel that comes with Wi-Fi and prepares breakfast does not make these as perfunctory additions to your room. It could be that they would charge patrons extra for both. Incidentally, try to read the hotel reviews and see if any of these aspects were cited as a complaint to ensure that you get the best deal out of your buck.

3.) Check the hotel’s website

While most third-party booking apps would offer you comprehensive and exhaustive reviews (sometimes detailing what the guest liked and did not like), it would be to your advantage to be a little more thorough in your research. In this regard, your research should extend beyond what TripAdvisor and Agoda reviews say and take time to check the hotel’s official website as well. Although third-party booking apps would ensure they offer accurate information, hotels may change their policies, have additional fees and the like that would take third-party apps a little time to update. With this in mind, it is always better to check the official website as well. To be entirely sure, you can always opt to call the hotel.

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Food Tourism: Three Questions to Ask in Picking the Perfect Food Tour in

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“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote time to eating.” –Luciano Pavarotti

It has been said that to get to know a foreign country truly, one must eat their way through it.

Sightseeing tours can only get you so far, but to consume ethnic cuisine is to partake and immerse yourself in a new culture and custom. Eating has been known to be a very personal and visceral experience insomuch that sampling a foreign country’s epicurean offerings can be synonymous with experiencing it as a whole. After all, much of what is to be discovered about a foreign place can be found in their food. So, in this regard, going on a gastronomic journey in a new place should be one of the primary things included in one’s travel itinerary.

As much of a city’s culture is reflected on its cuisine and seeing as food is one of the main highlights of a trip (not to mention one of the most important considerations in a vacation), tours dedicated to food and its consumption have been conducted all over the world. In this regard, food connoisseurs and food enthusiasts from all over the world can converge and share their unique passion and love for the consumption of food. Going on a food tour is an excellent way to explore a city. Furthermore, these tours are also known to be incredibly diverse, and you are guaranteed to find something to suit your discriminating palate and food preferences. However, how do you pick the perfect food tour for you? After all, a food tour is so much more different than an ordinary food trip in Pampanga or elsewhere. It is immersive with food curated only from the best restaurateurs. Moreover, the various selections of food included in these tours have been deemed to be absolute “must-trys” not only by the organizers but the locals themselves. At times, the food included in the food tour menu would only be available in that place alone or is a definitive food staple in the country. So, if you are preparing for your next overseas food trip, here are the ways to choose the appropriate food tour:

 

1.) What neighborhood is the food tour in?

More often than not, a food tour is more than just a simple sampling of various local food offerings; it can be an avenue to explore the city as well. For this reason, many food tours would be on foot and conducted in a particular neighborhood so as to prevent tourists from getting worn down by all the eating and walking. In this regard, consider going on food tours as hitting two birds with one stone wherein you would not only get to eat a variety of local food but go sightseeing as well. With this in mind, choose a neighborhood that sounds interesting to you. Check the description and see where the food tour would be held which can either be in the center of town or a less frequented place. Both have their respective benefits with the former providing you quick access to famous landmarks and monuments while the latter would give you an insider’s look at the place’s particular lifestyle. Select whichever appeals to you best.

2.) What are the food offerings included in the tour?

Before going on a food tour, it is always a good idea to do your research first. Read up on the tour description to have an overview of the kind of food included in the tour. Undoubtedly, this would be of paramount consideration to you seeing as you are mainly participating in this tour for the food. Unfortunately, making a judgment can be quite the challenge seeing as there might be food items you are not familiar with. If you are an adventurous eater, go for the exotic and unusual food offerings. However, if you do not wish to venture out of your traditional tastes, be sure to ask the organizer what the food offerings will be and try to see if the majority of what is offered would sit well with you and your palate.

3.) How many tastings are on the food tour?

To ensure you are getting the most out of your buck, go for the tour that includes the most stops or the best restaurants. On the surface, it might look like you are getting a better deal on a tour that has ten stops than one that has five. However, remember that both are equally enjoyable and you would be getting roughly the same quantity of food. A food tour with more stops usually serves smaller portions than tours with fewer stops. Regardless of these, your criteria for choosing a food tour should primarily be based on what food you would like to try and what city you would like to city rather than solely the number of stops alone.

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Family Getaways: Have a Hassle-Free Weekend at the Adventure Park with These Five Tips

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“Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.”-Lovelle Drachman

 

No doubt, one of the best ways to bond with your family and children is to take them on holiday trips with you. For those who cannot take an extended leave of absence away from work, you might elect to take on an abbreviated form of a lengthy trip—such as a weekend visit to an adventure park like Sandbox, Pampanga.

While this might seem like a sound and fun idea for the entire family to enjoy, it is not exactly easy to plan and may be a little more challenging to execute than had it been just you and your spouse on the trip. Ensuring that everything goes according to plan or simply just drafting out an itinerary for that day alone can be a little overwhelming. There is a myriad of things to consider, and getting to the adventure park would take a significant time (or a road trip at the very least), what would have been a fun getaway could easily devolve into pandemonium. After all, kids have rather short attention spans—particularly if they are quite young. In this regard, you would need to think of ingenious and creative ways to keep them occupied.

Although stringing along your kids with you on family adventure trips might prove to be a daunting endeavor, it is in by no means impossible. However, you do need to do some prior planning so that you can mitigate the projected burden you will inevitably face during the day. However, it needs a little extra time and patience on your part to effect. In any case, if you are planning an adventure trip, here are some tips that would make your adventure smoother and better:

 

Do not tell your kids about the trip ahead of time

Once you make the plans of visiting an adventure or amusement park, it can be pretty hard to keep the news from the kids—most especially when the trip is planned and designed with them in mind. However, know that keeping the news from them would be worth it. Psyching them up way too early would mean they would get far too enthusiastic.  Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, some of them might even lose sleep the night before because they could not contain their excitement. Of course, this is not something you would want as they would not be able to fully enjoy the adventure park during the day and might even end up getting cranky. Just surprise them on the day itself and achieve better results.

 

Buy tickets online

Whenever possible, try to buy your tickets online. In doing so, you would not only guarantee passes for you and your family but you might even score discount deals, most especially if you purchased them ahead of time. Great deals and discounts can also be found if you just do a little bit of research online. With that in mind, do not get duped into paying the full price when you can find so many cheaper alternatives online.

 

Come up with a day itinerary

To avoid long stretches of time wherein you and your family are still trying to figure out what to do next or which attraction to see, come up with an itinerary. Apart from ensuring that you have a seamless way to go about your day, it also mitigates the chances of your kids getting restless because you are still figuring out what to do. A week or even days before your scheduled getaway, research the activities that can be done in the adventure park and assign time slots for them. In this way, you will have a much more cohesive plan that would ensure that you can make the most out of your visit.

 

Print a map

Before leaving the online website, be sure that you download their map and keep it close to you. Furthermore, while you are already on the website, it is best to check which rides are worth trying and which ones would be appropriate for your kids. In this regard, creating a schedule would be so much easier as you would already have an idea how much walking you would be doing in between rides and how long you would have to wait before you got on each one. Mapping out your day would definitely reduce the possibility of tantrums, whininess, and crankiness.

 

Dress accordingly

You would be doing a lot of walking in between rides and possibly a lot of waiting as well. With this in mind, dress yourself and your kids in season-appropriate clothes. Similarly, it is best to color coordinate the colors of your shirts (make sure they are in bright colors!) so that you can easily pick out a family member or your kids from the crowd of people when they start jostling for the ride queues.

 

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Seeing the World: Excellent Reasons to Travel at Least Once a Year

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“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

 

It has been of no question that travel is an essential outlet for us to take a breather from our perpetual lives. Apart from that, it allows us to reinvigorate our souls and put a pause on whatever present and current worries we might have and in one way or another, it can be seen as an avenue for a momentary respite from our daily grind.

In this regard, we can infer that taking a trip at least once a year would be necessary for optimal functioning. Furthermore, taking a brief break from your year would ultimately culminate to a better productivity and efficiency in the workplace. With this in mind, embarking on a journey at least once a year is an absolute must for everyone–regardless of whether you are in your early twenties or in your fifties. Travel and feed your soul, let it enrich your life and allow you to make memorable experiences. Ltravel-at-least-once-a-yearet it enthrall you and in turn, immerse yourself in the beauty of the world and the diversity of other cultures.

Regardless of what kind of travel plan you have, whether that may be participating in a food trip in Pampanga or something else entirely, you should dedicate time for traveling every single year. Here are some of the most compelling reasons why you should:

 

1.) It educates you

No doubt, travel is the best form of education there is. After all, what better way is there to go and learn more about the world than to turn it into a visceral experience itself? In some ways, traveling can offer you a limitless source of knowledge and education that cannot be found within the confines of a library and even impossible to get in a university. Apart from the obvious, traveling teaches you a lot about culture, history, economy, sociology, politics and more importantly, geography. All of these you can learn without ever having to set foot in a classroom.

2.) Allow yourself a break once in a while

If you have been grinding it day in and day out in the office, then you definitely need a well-deserved break. Travel and allow yourself at least that much in a year. After all, as a famous quotation goes, we are not only meant for working and paying bills. So, go ahead and indulge yourself and see beyond the things you are so accustomed to everyday. It does not matter if you have developed an affinity for your job or not, your efficiency will inevitably decline if you do not give yourself some time to metaphorically oil your gears and recharge your batteries. And you can only do all of those through traveling.

3.) It is very possible

Some individuals balk at the idea of traveling once a year thinking that it would put an unnecessary strain on their finances or would eat up too much time in their schedules. However, traveling once a year is very much doable–regardless of how parsimonious you are with your finances or how busy you are in your life. Today, seeing the world is made possible by cheap promo fares and inexpensive alternative accommodations. For this reason, you have absolutely no excuse for failing to travel at least once a year. In this regard, it is also best if you booked your trip in advance to ensure that it becomes a reality. Moreover, airplane tickets are much cheaper if you booked them way in advance.

4.) Relieves stress

One of the best avenues for stress alleviation is through traveling. If you have ever felt like you are swamped with work or are in an endless loop of doing work tasks and chores, then you do need to travel. In fact, a number of studies have stated that one of the biggest advantages in traveling once a year is stress reduction. Call it a momentary reprieve if you may, but if it allows you to relax and let go of whatever is stressing you then by all means indulge yourself to a day trip or two. Traveling relieves stress by allowing you to get away from your daily routine and immersing yourself in a totally new environment. Resultantly, it would reset both your mind and body. Moreover, traveling provides an avenue for optimal functioning and productivity once you get back to work.

 

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Fun Travels: Four Excellent Tips for a Hassle-Free Trip with Kids

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“When you travel with your children, you are giving them something that can never be taken away…experience, exposure, and a way of life.” -Pamela T. Chandler

 

It has been said that your children would remember not the material things you shower them with, but rather the time you spend with them. In this regard, the experiences you share together would not only cultivate better childhood memories, but foster a stronger relationship and a better familial bond with them. With this in mind, taking them to one of your travel excursions in seeing the world would be an excellent idea to give them a lifetime of memories to look back on. Unfortunately, traveling with kids can be somewhat of a challenge seeing as they would easily get bored and distracted. More often than not, parents would simply skip out on the chance of bringing their kids with them when they are out on a holiday in favor of a more peaceful and relaxing sojourn.

However, do not give up just yet. Although at times, it might feel like not only an extra expense on your part but extra stress to bring them along, there are ways of ensuring you will have an excellent time traveling. With a carefully planned travel itinerary that considers your kids attention spans as well as a well-executed strategy, you can keep your kids from turning into travel demons during your trip. So, if you have any trip lined up soon–may that be a short holiday with one of the Pampanga hotels booked or a much longer overseas retreat, here are some of the things you need to keep in mind to travel sans the stress with your little tots and kids with you in tow:

 

  1.) Bring stuff to entertain them

Plane rides can go anywhere from an hour to sixteen hours which to a kid, would mean an eternity. The same goes for long car road trips with your kids constantly badgering you with the incessant question of “Are we there yet?” which would inevitably lead to an unruly car or plane ride. To a kid, even a single hour can already feel quite a long time and unless you are raising an immaculate angel, having them keep still in their seats would seem like an impossible feat. To ensure that they do not go wandering around or have them fidget in their seats and annoy you, have something to entertain and distract them. For best results, introduce something new like a new app installed on your gadget device or even a small inexpensive toy from the dollar store. You have a better chance of distracting them and keeping them occupied with things they have never previously seen which would make your trip much easier.

2.) Answer their questions ahead of time

Before your scheduled trip, have a talk with your kid and tell them what they can expect. Let them know what you will be doing on what day and on what time and more importantly, walk them through your travel itinerary. It is also important to tell them what they need to do during airport security checks and plane changes. Tell them what they can pack and what they cannot. Lastly, encourage them to ask questions and answer them promptly before your scheduled trip.

3.) Be friendly with the flight attendant

In no case should you regard the friendly flight attendant as your babysitter, but this does not mean you should not be nice to her. Give her a friendly smile and be nice to her and expect her to reciprocate the same kind of treatment to you. Flight attendants are well aware of the hassle of bringing your little ones to you, so the nicer you are to you, the more receptive she would be to catering to your requests. Plus, who knows, she might extend you the courtesy of being served first and you might even get extra perks.

4.) Prepare the snackage

If your kid is going to see someone munching something on the plane, chances are they are going to want the same thing for themselves. Unfortunately, in-flight snacks can be rather expensive and if you would rather skip out in the inflated price, it is best if you prepared an arsenal of snacks prior to your trip. Keep them calm and quiet with little snacks you can give them, but be sure not to overfeed them lest they would have to resort using the plane bathroom a lot. Remember to pack twice as many snacks as you would an ordinary trip and be sure to stick to the snacks that would not create so much of a mess.

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Better Travels: Three Principles to Make Your Travels More Memorable

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“There are many ways of seeing the world. You can hang upside down from a meteor. Volunteer to be the fourth stage of a three-stage rocket, or simply get in a balloon and keep going. But if it is sheer, unadulterated discomfort you are looking for, just stay on land.” –Michael Palin

 

Travels have always been about either seeing the world with fresh new eyes or rediscovering aspects of yourself that you have never been made aware of before now.

It is one of the whimsical avenues for taking a momentary breather from the perpetual hustle and bustle we all call life. And we come out of it feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. Unfortunately, as traveling cannot be an eternal state we can lose ourselves in, we only dedicate small fractions of our time and schedule to it. However, no matter how little our time for travel might be, we endeavor to make it memorable and enjoyable. In this regard, we save up for months and in some cases, we even do it for years. We save whatever we can, budget our projected expenses thoroughly and went for every single deal and bargain we can find. Unfortunately, even with all the detailed planning, we do, enjoying a trip is not always a guarantee. There is always a chance that once you get off that plane, you are going to hate where you go. It does not matter whether you have you have booked one of the five-star Pampanga hotels or a simple hostel by the street, there are just some things that are beyond your control and would put a damper to what would have otherwise been an exhilarating experience.

However, this does not mean that your travel has to end up this way but you do need to possess the right kind of mindset for it. With the travel manifesto listed below, you can try to stay on track, be an optimist, and overcome whatever travel challenge there might be, cultivate better travel experiences and create better memories.

 

Have an open mind

Commence your trip with an open mind and try to leave your expectations back home. Allow your travel to surprise and ensnare you. With this in mind, be open to new cultures and explore different ways of thinking that might even be better than the ones you are used to. Take note: Growth and maturity often happen once you realize that there is a myriad of ways in living and that yours is just a single snippet of it. However, this does not mean that you have to like everything you come across. Inevitably, you will find something you do not agree with. But be mindful of your words and instead of saying something hurtful and insensitive, just nod your head and accept it as something different. Even better, you can take interest and open your mind to understanding it better.

Expand your boundaries

If you have been doing things and activities you are so used to doing all your life, who are you to know that you will not enjoy something out of the ordinary? Explore new things and experience something new. Try to expand your horizons and step out of your comfort zone. After all, you cannot live your entire life staying just within your boundaries. Furthermore, you cannot say that you truly know your potential for greater things if you do not even try. Open yourself up to a variety of possibilities by trying something new such as eating exotic food, trying activities you have never done before, interacting with strangers and the like. Remember, if it scares you, it will probably lead you to growth should you overcome it.

Be grateful and travel with awe

Being able to travel and see foreign countries is a privilege in itself, so be thankful for that opportunity. Regard the world as a child would and see it through fresh new eyes. Marvel at the beauty you find yourself basking in and appreciate the bountiful nature abound you. There are things you take for granted every day that would only come to light once you get time to yourself and regard the world around you. Before now, you probably have not grasped just how beautiful the planet is and you may have not stopped to smell the roses—literally and figuratively. These are all the things you can finally do now and should do so with delight. Some people would never get the kind of opportunity you have, so treasure it well and be grateful for how lucky you are to witness the earth’s beauty.

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