"The Great Wall of China" - 长城

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Angela Petitt has what I would call ‘time freedom’. She woke up one day, twenty years into her corporate career, took stock of where she was versus where she wanted to be, quit her job and went on a one-and-one-half year sabbatical. She reduced her debt to the point that she could comfortably live on her savings while investing in herself.

“I believe we all have deep-rooted desires that we want to accomplish, but we suppress them due to the daily grind of life and responsibilities.  We tend to think ‘One day I will do it’ or that they are pipe dreams and not possible.” She climbed the Great Wall in China, froze in Siberia, escaped the unfortunate earthquake and tsunami in Japan, learned how to fly a small plane and started working on her doctorate.”

Her adventures have been documented on her blog, Sabbatical Scapes. For her, the nineteen months she’s spent discovering the world brought her closer to herself.

Isn’t that what travel is all about? Travel is a stretching experience. Where will your life take you?

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Description of relations between Axial tilt (o...

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Daylight Saving Time is a time of loss for some. Those who complain they ‘lose’ an hour in March should beware. We may have lost yet another 1.26 microseconds for good, too.

The massive earthquake in Japan was so fierce that it literally shifted the earth’s axis. As any lay physicist (or is is geologist?) knows, our days are measured by the earth’s rotation.

According to the Italian Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology, the 9.0 earthquake moved the Earth by ten centimeters. It is the largest shift reported in over fifty years. Last year, after the Chilean earthquake (8.8) we lost 1.26 microseconds. So the question during the lengthening of days for the Northern Hemisphere is, are our days really getting shorter?

If yes, how will you spend what time you have left?

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Forest Bathing

August 18, 2010

The Japanese are at it again. No, I’m not talking about their being replaced by China as the second largest world economy. I’m referring to their most interesting way of looking at life, Nature and well-being.

The other day I stumbled upon a New York Times article about forest bathing. Before you think you’ve got to grab a zinc tub and some Ivory soap and head for the woods, think again. Forest bathing refers to the Japanese term, “Shinrin-yoku”, which means to literally surround yourself with forest air. The airborne natural chemicals, phytonides, that plants emit to stave off insects and strengthen their immune system have been proven to increase our natural killer cell (aka white blood cell) activity. In a 2007 study of men who took a two-hour forest walk twice a day, their white blood cells increased by 50% in just a few days!  Japan’s Chiba University conducted another study that found the forest air let to lower concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol, a lower pulse rate and lower blood pressure. Now those are even more reasons to strap on your boots and go for that nature walk.

Although the University of Sussex claims a nature walk reduces stress only by 42% (as determined by pulse rate) while reading just six minutes brings your stress levels down by 68%, the side benefits of walking through the woods are very compelling.

So the next time you find you’re teetering toward burnout, push your chair back, walk away from your computer and head for the wooded hills for a slow walk.

Take a dip in the forest air. Your heart will thank you for it.

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