Epic International Road Trips

We love getting where we want to be – fast – but sometimes the journey is everything. If you love the romantic idea of the great American road trip, try one of these on your next international vacation and experience the great scenery of the world from the intimacy of your automobile.

If you love the austereness and rugged feel of desert views, the drive from Lüderitz to Walvis Bay in Namibia is one incredible ride. The direct route is not passable by human legs – it’s 466 miles of impassable African desert. By car, however, this six day pilgrimage through the desert (which we recommend taking guided for safety reasons) is both stunning and has a jaw-dropping conclusion at the Atlantic Ocean.

The desert isn’t for everyone, however. If abundant wildlife is more your speed, we can’t stop talking about the 219 mile drive between Picton and Christchurch, New Zealand. The Kaikoura Coast is one of the most beautiful in the world, and we have no doubt you catch plenty of seals, whales, and seabirds on the way there (in between the many wineries on the way). When you arrive in Christchurch, you have to stop to get a rare glimpse at a kiwi bird at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, it’s once in a lifetime.

Finally, if you want a tropical location that’s big on beauty and short on time, you can do no better than the B9, the road between Le Morne and Souillac in Mauritius. Though it’s only 25 miles long, this gorgeous tropical drive has it all: palm trees, historical sites, hairpin turns and stunning drop-aways. It’s a must-do if you’re anywhere in the area!

 

Cheesy Campfire Potatoes

Camping is all about things you can cook over the fire. From smores to roasting hot dogs on sticks over the flames to wrapping corn on the cob in foil and throwing it directly in the pit, everything just tastes better when it’s cooked outside in a wood fire you spend 20 minutes trying to get to light. However, we might have a recipe that will put all the others to shame. It’s simultaneously excellent camping food AND home-style comfort food, and that’s just not easy to come by.

May we present Cheesy Campfire Potatoes, from the good people at delish.com! They’re ooey, they’re gooey, they’re made in foil so there’s practically no clean up … they’re the perfect camping side (or just eat the whole thing for dinner, who are you trying to impress?)! The recipe is ridiculously easy, too. Just take a piece of foil – we suggest a large piece so you can wrap it up tight, and throw in some chopped yukon potatoes, olive oil, garlic powder or chopped garlic, fresh chopped oregano, and salt and pepper. Wrap it up tight and toss that sucker into the fire!

Then comes the hardest part of the recipe: the waiting. If you make individual packets, it should only take about 20 minutes or so to cook, but that can feel like a lifetime as your campsite slowly begins to smell like roasting potatoes. Once they’re ready, use tongs to carefully take them out of the fire, and open the foil packet. Note: the steam that’s going to come out first can and will scald your hand if you let it! Then toss in some cheese (cheddar is classic, but if you’re camping, why not throw in some smoky gouda or spicy pepper jack to mix things up?). Seal it back up and toss it back in the fire for about a minute, just to melt the cheese. Then presto! Delicious, smoky, cheese potatoes that you cooked on your own damn fire like a wild man! Does it get any better than that?

The Value of Being Messy

Being a messy person is something that you seem to be born with; even at the youngest age, there are some kids who like to put away all their toys in a specific order, and some who will throw tantrums and have meltdowns when they’re asked to clean their rooms one a month. Parents know that while you can try to instill tidy habits in your kids, there are some people who will never ever pick them up. And sometimes, that’s okay.

Author Jennifer McCarthy wrote a book titled The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place, and in it she teaches that the messiest among us have redemption ahead of us, because in fact being messy has it’s perks too. For example, things are always easier to find if you don’t put them away. We’ve all reorganized our whole house only to not be able to find some crucial item the next day. Why? Because we have no idea where we decided it should “live.” Messy people don’t have this problem – they just look around the usual surfaces and voila! There it is!

Also, while the act of cleaning can help you clear your mind, it doesn’t actually fix your problems. You have the same problems as before, except that afterwards you can get to the back of the closet without something falling on you. And having a messy desk is the sign of a creative person, apparently. The knickknacks and sentimental items you’ve collected show that you’ve lived a rich and interesting life, and that you have passions that you can’t help but display. Besides, have you ever notice that when you clean something, you make a promise to yourself to keep it clean, and then immediately break that promise every day for the next month? That stresses you out, because you know that you should be de-cluttering, but for whatever reason you just can’t. And who needs that? We say forgive yourself for being messy and embrace your natural state of clutter! You’ll feel much better!

Teen Dies From Caffeine

Its always tragic when a young person dies, but especially so when their death is entirely preventable. Davis Allen Cripe was 16 when he collapsed in class in Chaplin, SC, but when the autopsy was performed, it came back “inconclusive.” However, afterwards the coroner’s office released a statement that said that while Cripe was in excellent health, his death was caused by a completely legal drug: caffeine.

Before you frantically consider how many cups of coffee you’ve had today, it should be noted that caffeine causes different reactions in different people. “You can have five people line up and all of them do the exact same thing with him that day, drink more, and it may not have any type of effect on them at all,” notes coroner Gary Watts. What Cripes “had that day” was a large Mountain Dew, a latte from McDonald’s, and a energy drink, all very close together. This caused arrhythmia (irregular beating in his heart), which can be harmless but in this case was fatal.

The USDA recommends people consume no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is roughly two cups of coffee (depending on how strong you like it). However, Cripe’s father Sean made a public statement against the dangers of caffeine in general and energy drinks specifically. “Parents, please, talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks. And teenagers and students, please stop buying them. There’s no reason to consume them they can be very dangerous.” Davis Cripe’s story is a sad one, but perhaps it can serve as a warning for other parents and teenagers.

The Key To Success

We’ve heard it all before: in order to be successful, you have to spend time, literal seconds out of your day, envisioning yourself succeeding. This makes sense, right? How will you know how to work towards your goals if you don’t know what you want the end result to be? This is not a new concept, but in addition to reminding yourself about your larger goals, you have to set daily goals for yourself to meet. We need to think about the big picture, but we also need to show ourselves how to get there slowly, by having daily or weekly goals that stand as milestones in our journey to success.

This might sound a little overwhelming (how many goals does one person need?!) but it’s as simple as looking in the mirror on Monday morning and envisioning how you want the week to go. If you know that you want to get promoted at work within six months, you could use this time to think about how to make yourself stand out in the coming week. It can be something as impactful as succeeding at a large project, but it can also include small things like making friends with your coworkers or coming up with new ideas to improve the office. Every little bit will count towards that promotion.

Make sure to check in with yourself and your goals at lunchtime. Have you accomplished some of them, or have you let yourself become distracted by all the little complications of your job? Successful people set small goals and large ones, and then systematically check in with themselves to ensure that they work towards achieving them. If you behave like a successful person, you’ll eventually become one!