Stay Safe While Travelling – Tips and Tricks

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Travelling is always an exciting time. With the lead up, the actual act of leaving home and the constant moving around on the road you can run into not just amazing, new opportunities, but sometimes strange ones as well. While most people have the best time ever while travelling, it does come with a risk. Going into places where your native language may or may not be spoken, rubbing elbows with locals who sometimes can be desperately poor and being a westerner can all make you a bit of a target. While not everyone will be out to get you, some people will try to take advantage of you, assuming that because you’re from the west, it means you’re well off. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to keep yourself safe while travelling.

Know Before You Go

One of the best things you can do before you go is to read up on potential scams that exist in the place you’re going to. For example, one popular scam in Cambodia is for a local to claim that their sister is travelling soon to your home country and would you mind coming to talk to her about it. Once you get to the home of the local, reports claim you become drugged over a card game with a substance known to make you compliant. Known as the mind control drug, it makes you susceptible to suggestion – such as draining your bank account. While this is an extreme example, scams to take your money without outright robbing you do exist, so learn them before you go to reduce your chance of becoming a victim.

Dress Down

Got Gucci shoes? Versace bag? Louis Vuitton earrings? Do yourself a favour and leave ALL of that kind of thing at home. Dress like a traveller – baggy pants, worn in clothes. The more dressed down you are and the more you look like you’ve been travelling for a long time, the less likely people will approach you to try their scams as you will appear to have been around for awhile and are supposedly wise to the con.

No Jewels, No Bling

Don’t take anything travelling that you wouldn’t mind losing. Diamond necklace from your father? Nope. That sapphire ring of your mother’s? Leave it at home. Don’t take chances with family heirloom jewelry on the road – chances are it will go missing at some juncture, even just by you accidentally leaving it on a bedside table and forgetting it while rushing to catch a flight or bus.

Be Safe In Your Activities

This sounds like a no brainer, but if you wouldn’t do it at home, don’t do it on the road. You wouldn’t get drunk or partake of other things with complete strangers at home would you? So don’t do it abroad. While it can be easy to get carried away, if you do choose to go out for drinks with new friends or strangers, go with other people you’ve met and have known for awhile, never go alone. It’s just common sense.

So there you have a couple of great ways you can keep yourself safe on your next trip abroad to ensure good times only.

How To Find a Career That Will Light Up Your Soul

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Are you recently graduated or about to be graduating soon? Whether it’s from high school, college or university, you might be wondering how you can find the career of your dreams that really lights up your soul. While there are so many career choices out there that you might want to explore, sometimes you need to try several before you find the one for you. Here are the top ways to find the perfect career that really speaks to you.

Consider Professionalising A Hobby

Do you have a hobby that you absolutely love to partake in? Consider taking it pro. Many people start by getting really good at something and then begin selling it on the side. While it takes awhile to get to a point where you can sell a skill or talent for money, it’s entirely possible. Whether it’s painting, writing, graphic design or languages, there can be money to be made if you grow it to the point of being able to sell it and live off the proceeds. There’s a reason they say artists are starving though. The money sometimes ain’t so good, but it’s the price you pay for living your dream.

Pave The Way For Passions

Even if you can’t grab hold of a career that lights you up now, what you can do is start working towards a career that does in your spare time.Take courses at night school or on weekends or get qualified in doing something by taking correspondence or online courses. Try to find time in your days to pursue your passions as they correspond to living them as your life and potential career – start websites offering services like commissioned portraits of people or pets, or set up profiles on freelancing websites such as Upwork, Elance, Freelancer or Fiverr to start showcasing your skills to potential clients.

Work Life Balance

At the end of the day, one of the key things to look out for when choosing a career that lights you up is the work life balance. You want to be happy in both your work and home life and you can only do that with a balance of the two. Working 70+ hour weeks isn’t going to help you pursue your passions, work on your hobbies or spend time with your family, so find something that will allow you to develop yourself both personally and professionally.

It’s Not About The Money

Picking jobs that are all about the money is not the way to find a career to be passionate about. High paying jobs are great but they don’t often allow much in the way of free time to enjoy your passions or pursue other roles. While you might have to work a job or two before you find the one you’re really excited about, working a job that has you in the office for most of your life won’t help you figure out what you really want to do, but on the plus side it might help you figure out what you don’t want to do.

So there you have some great suggestions on how to find the career that really speaks to you. So what will you do to start getting into the perfect career for you?

How To Prepare For a Juice Cleanse

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With all the buzz around health fads these days it’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement over each new addition to a long list of awesome healthy diets, drink choices, exercise options and more. With the advent of yoga and meditation for just about everyone, veganism on the rise and other decisions to make when it comes to your health, one thing you might have heard of is the juice cleanse. But what is a juice cleanse? What are the benefits and how do you prepare for one? Check out everything you need to know about juice cleanses and how to prepare to do one.

What Is It?

Often a part of overall detoxing diets, juice cleanses are a form of fasting. During the cleanse you will abstain from solid foods and drink only juices of fruits and vegetables, often made yourself by hand or purchased from a reputable supplier of cleansing juices. You certainly don’t want anything from a grocery store that will be packed with sugars and carbohydrates – that’s the very thing you’re trying to avoid with a juice cleanse.

What Are The Benefits?

Juicing your fruits and veggies is a great way to help your body absorb nutrients easier. Likewise, a juice cleanse can help you easily get your daily dose (or more!) of your fruits and vegetables especially if you’re constantly on the go and find you don’t have a lot of time to devote to sitting down and eating or you don’t even have the ability to graze and snack. Finally, a juice cleanse can help cut down on produce waste, using much of the product – even if it’s a bit squidgy or over ripe, it can go in a juice!

How To Prepare

Before any cleanse you should start to prepare your body to take on this new way of working, even if it’s just for a couple of days. Depending on your body type and your current lifestyle you will want to do anything from a 2-7 day preparation period. This is where you will wean yourself off things like caffeine, sodas, sugar and other naughty foods that you usually eat. During this time you should also up your water intake to help jump start flushing out of toxins from your system. This will also help eliminate false hunger – as thirst and dehydration often present physically as hunger. Remove all processed foods from your diet, begin to remove animal products and up your fruit and vegetable intake. All of these things will help ensure a successful and healthy juice cleanse period, allowing you to get the most out of the couple of days you do it.

So whether you’re looking to reset your digestive system after months of abuse from processed, high sugar, high fat and carb foods or you just want to try a juice cleanse for the first time to see what all the fuss is about, hopefully these short points will help you decide if it’s the right thing to do for your body as well as which type of cleanse you should go with and how to proceed. Here’s to a healthier you! Good luck!

6 Ways Meditation Will Help Your Romantic Relationship

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These days it seems meditation is all the rage, and for good reason. This process of closing your eyes and totally relaxing the mind and inner chatter has a whole host of benefits for not just yourself, but the people around you as well. The more you meditate, the more benefits you will see from this very simple practice. Keeping in mind that it’s better to do one minute a day than an hour every week, having a consistent practice will help you reap the benefits as well. But what are the benefits to meditation and how can they help your relationship? Check out these great six ways below.

You Work On Yourself

Working on yourself is integral to maintaining any kind of relationship health. It’s not always the other person’s fault and sometimes you are actually ‘the toxic person’. Using meditation to get back in touch with your inner self amid all the chaos and stress in your life can help you realise where you need to apply focus – be it on communication, your actions or your speech.

You’re Less Stressed

Meditation is clinically proven to lessen stress and fatigue. Through the full relaxation of all the body and the mind, the inner chatter or inner noise actually quiets itself for awhile. Many people have what is referred to as ‘monkey mind’ – where the brain flits from one thought to the next and tries to keep us engaged so that we keep it entertained and we keep listening. By quieting our minds, we let stresses go and realise that we can truly be at peace – even for five minutes a day.

Better Management Of Your Reactions

When you’re less stressed you’re more likely to think twice about how you react to certain triggers. You might find that meditation helps you control your usual impulse to fly off the handle at the smallest issues, something that can damage relationships steadily over time. Meditating is a great way to help you take a step back and evaluate your actions in the waking world.

Better Communication

Getting back in touch with yourself means you will probably dredge up things from the past you thought you buried – old memories, feelings and more. Getting in touch with real, honest feelings about yourself and your life can help improve communication with partners, friends, spouses and more and will leave you willing to share more with those you love, allowing everyone to get closer to you. This also helps you tune into other people deep down, resulting in more meaningful communication.

Improved Empathy

As you explore deeper meditation you will find that you come to understand the interconnectedness of everything in the world and how everything works in tandem to operate to maximum efficiency, including us humans. Empathy is the understanding and feeling of other people’s emotions and emotional state, an inner knowing of just knowing when something is off. This is often referred to as being empathic, but just being able to ‘get’ someone’s state of mind is incredibly important to having meaningful conversations and relationships.

Enhanced Intuition and Insight

Meditation also helps develop both intuition and insight into ourselves and the world at large. The development of empathy towards others will help us connect the dots as to how everyone and everything in the world is just like us – living, breathing and feeling. This will help you become more in tune with others, with animals and with nature. Some people report that following developing a meditative practice they are able to just know when someone is going to phone them, when a storm is brewing and more strange things. Meditation can help us trust our ‘gut feelings’ – essentially intuition and allow us to make better choices in our lives.

In all, we can really begin to change our relationships first by changing ourselves and one of the easiest, most non-invasive ways we can do that is through meditation. Does it sound like something you’d like to try? We’d love to hear how you find it!

How To Plan The Perfect Road Trip For You and Your Lover

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Trying to decide what to do for your next great getaway with your honey? These days there are literally so many things to do for holidays or great romantic getaways that it can be daunting to say the least trying to come up with something that suits the both of you, your relationship and is cost effective for your budget. Sure, an island vacation to Tahiti is high on everyone’s lists but is actually not achievable for many. So what can you do that is still romantic, fun, adventurous and lets you unwind? Here we run down how to plan the perfect road trip getaway for you and your partner.

The Location

One of the first things you will want to consider when planning a road trip is the location. By location of course, we mean the route and the country in which the road trip will take place. That’s right – country! Just because you’re going on a road trip doesn’t mean you need to do it in your own backyard. Some countries with great road trip opportunities include Ireland with the Ring Of Kerry, Canada and the Trans Canada Highway, the USA and its historic Route 66 and the Australian outback from Adelaide to Alice Springs. So which will you choose?

The Vehicle

Choosing the right vehicle can make or break your road trip adventure. Depending where you go and what you want to see and do will determine the type of vehicle you choose. We suggest renting an RV or small campervan due to their ability to provide all the comforts of home while driving long distances. Particularly popular in North America, many RVs or camper vans come with small bathrooms, eating areas, kitchens and sleeping areas making them the ultimate road trip vehicle choice.

Sightseeing In Between

What you want to see will determine where you stop. Often times on road trips the best parts are the sudden, unexpected stops you make in dozy towns with fifty locals where you find the best hamburger of your life, or a campsite overlooking a gorge you never would have found otherwise. Planning where to stop is part of the fun! Try to fit in some secluded spaces where you can be alone with your lover, overlooking beautiful lakes and valleys for some romantic one on one time.

No Plan? Best Plan!

Sometimes the best plan is not having a plan. It allows you to be much more flexible and ‘go with the flow’ which can be a huge adventure for you and your lover. Having no plan allows you to explore random possibilities that just pop up on the trip, sometimes resulting in seriously amazing experiences that you wouldn’t have had if you had created a cemented plan and stuck to it. Awesome, right?

So if you’re already starting to think about your next romantic getaway with your lover, why not consider a great road trip? With so many things to see and do along the way there’s never been a better time to consider this unique holiday idea. With several destination countries to choose from as well, you can still travel abroad and take advantage of the freedom of the road.  

Sassy and Classy – Fashion Tips For Go-Getting Businesswomen

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Whether you’ve been in business awhile or you’re just starting out in the wild world of office work and climbing the corporate ladder, one thing is for certain and that’s the fact that you will be wanting to look your best every time you cross the threshold from your home and into the office. It’s no secret that looking good on the job can go a long way to making a lasting impression, one that can help you climb that ladder faster than you think. If this sounds like something you want to get in on, check out these top fashion tips for go-getting businesswomen.

A Blazer Means Business

When it comes to jackets in the workplace and making yourself look even more professional, never underestimate the power of a blazer. Blazers can come in plain black, patterned, tweed or other styles and look great when paired with classic black trousers and white shirts, adding a bit of punch to any outfit. For a really classic but bright look, consider wearing a colourful button blouse underneath. This standard look is a hit all around offices and will always net you approval from everyone for being style savvy while staying business conscious.

Heels or Flats?

When it comes to shoes, many offices differ. Depending on your individual office and boss you may be able to even get away with trainers or runners in the office, but often this is a rarity. Some offices, especially customer facing ones will expect you to wear heels, possibly pantyhose as well while others don’t mind if you wear flats. When in doubt, check with your boss as to what is allowed and then pick yourself a pair of truly unique shoes that will really show off your style such as some Christian Louboutins or if you’re really feeling flash, a pair of Manolo Blahniks.

Dress It Up Or Down

Most offices allow their employees to ‘dress down’ on Fridays. Sometimes this means being allowed to wear jeans into the office but not always. Again, check with the boss as to what the deal is and go from there. If jeans are allowed, typically ripped, torn or otherwise altered jeans won’t be allowed so it’s the perfect opportunity to get a sexy pair of skinny jeans that you can both wear into the office as well as going out with friends at the weekend or even grocery shopping to look your best at any turn.

Hair And Makeup

Of course, what’s fashion without taking into consideration your hair? Office hair can be almost anything you’d like it to be within reason – usually. Offices with strict dress codes will sometimes impose a hair style specification as well such as long hair needs to be slicked back and tied up. Makeup should be subdued and used as an enhancer, although having smokey eyes is normally fine as long as you don’t overdo it and end up looking like a tutorial for goth makeup.

Overall when it comes to office fashion, it’s fairly straightforward and simple. Keep it classy and when in doubt, leave it out.

 

Things to consider before buying a Second Home

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Whether you’re a first time homeowner or you’ve owned your own for awhile, it’s always nice to think about that possibility of owning a second home for yourself. These days it seems more people than ever are jumping on the second home bandwagon, and for good reason. Depending on where you buy your home and when, you can save a bundle on getting a second home. For example, back during the start of the 2008 recession, home prices plummeted in some hard hit regions and were prime real estate for people looking for a deal. Of course while it wasn’t the perfect time to buy then, prices never really fully recovered over the next few years, leaving prices lower than before. Thinking about a second home? Here are some top things to consider.

Reasons For  A Second Home

There are dozens of reasons you might want to entertain the idea of a second home. Some people want to do it up for their eventual move themselves or even just to have a second place to call their spot. The thing with second homes is they aren’t often located in the same city – that is to say, the same city that you already live in. What’s the point, right? So where do people buy their second homes? Why should you consider buying in a different city?

Location, Location, Location

When we talk about owning in another city, we don’t mean necessarily having your main home in NYC and getting a second place somewhere in Australia, unless you want to and can afford it of course! Second places are often bought in a location that you and your family frequent often and take holidays to. Popular options for Canadians for example include American cities like Phoenix where it’s relatively warm to Canucks year round, making it the ideal spot for a second pad.

Flip And Sell Versus Rent

Not keen on keeping the house long and you’re getting one to flip? Why not? This popular concept sees people just like you buying second or sometimes third homes, investing money to do them up to a higher standard (or even just bring them into the 21st century) and then selling them for a profit. Doing up a home doesn’t have to cost a lot, especially if you do a lot of the work yourself or get friends to help and buy things like tiles, toilets, sinks and more at local hardware stores in bulk for sometimes decent discounts. Once the house is finished, or near finished, you can then advertise and either sell it on for a profit or rent it out long term for a more length guaranteed income.

So whatever your reasons for wanting to buy a second home, whether for yourself or for potential selling later on or even just to have a vacation home you can always jet off to if the weather in your home city isn’t to your liking, these ideas should help you consider if you should buy a second home, why you should and where you should.

5 Tips For Having A Perfect Business Meeting

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Inevitably in the world of business there will come a time that you either have to attend or help prepare a business meeting for yourself, your bosses, your team, colleagues and more. Sometimes you may be called on to prepare meetings that you won’t be involved in, and sometimes you will have to attend as well. Whatever the meeting, for whatever reason and whoever it’s for, here are five tips for having the perfect business meeting.

The Location And Time

Number one consideration when it comes to preparing business meetings of any kind is thinking about where to host it and when. Of course you wouldn’t host a business meeting at the weekend or even before a long weekend necessarily, but after weekends is sometimes a good idea. Generally people seem more alert on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, following the Monday doldrums they get into the groove and are more likely to be in the jive of the week by Wednesday and are more likely to participate and get the most out of a meeting then. When it comes to location, using the most convenient place for all members of the team is always the best plan – whether it’s in your office or a local hotel conference room etc will be determined by the amount of attendees. In some cases consider a video conference to help save money, gas  and more.

Prep Before

Presenting at the meeting? Get your stuff together beforehand in order to prepare and be on your best form. Prepping might include making sure all the things you and others will need are available such as projectors, whiteboards, pads of paper, writing tools and more. You don’t want to get to the meeting to find out that you or someone else needs something that has been borrowed out from the company’s repository of meeting materials and you’re out of luck!

Food – Even For The Finicky

One of the things that can make or break a business meeting is the food. Don’t serve anything too heavy and be sure to provide options for vegetarians and even vegans as both lifestyles are becoming more and more common in today’s world. Things like egg sandwiches, vegetables with hummus and various picky bits will help people maintain their sugar levels and therefore their focus but not put them to sleep after lunch. Consider platters of cut up fruit as well, something that’s always popular.

Schedule

Consider scheduling speakers, presentations, breaks and lunch in advance so everyone knows what’s happening and nothing is left as a surprise. This can help alleviate worry in some speakers or presenters and will help things flow well, keeping everyone on track. Schedules mean that everyone can be sure of specific start and end times and work their other tasks and responsibilities around the meeting accordingly.

It’s The Little Things

When it comes to the little things, they can go a long way. Consider providing small bottles of water for attendees, pads of paper for notes and pre-prepared packages of talking points, schedules and the like. This can help provide quick reference points to all meeting attendees and help them follow along to get the most out of any meeting.

So whether you’re planning a meeting for yourself and your colleagues or you’re doing it for others, these tips should help you plan a great meeting with lots of potential for great conversation, learning in an environment that provides a lot of value. Good luck!

Epic Summer Day Trips From Toronto

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Thinking about Canada for your holiday next summer? You aren’t alone! Who doesn’t want to go and check out Canada with its majestic wilderness, wildlife and more? With so many things to see and do in this huge, vast country, it’s easy to get carried away making list after list of things you want to experience, often finding that they’re on entirely opposite ends of the second largest country in the world, throwing a bit of a wrench in the mix. Never fear! We’ve put together some of the best summer day trips you can do from the popular city destination, Toronto!

Niagara Falls

One of the most desired tourist hot spots in the entire nation, Niagara Falls in the southern tip of Ontario on the border with New York is not just a tourist hot spot, but also one of the most beautiful and impressive waterfalls in the world. Millions of cubic feet of water pour over these mighty falls each second, resulting in a soaking spray. Best seen from the Canadian side, the falls are also famous for occasionally freezing in the winter, creating a true piece of natural art that has to be seen to believe, While it doesn’t happen every winter, when it does it’s impressive enough to even get the locals out to see it. Come in summer and enjoy a boat tour close to the main falls themselves – but definitely take the tour operators up on their rain jacket offer. You will need it.

Montreal

This beautiful, French inspired city is the capital of the province of Quebec and is only a mere three hour drive from Toronto. While to some that doesn’t constitute a day trip, to Canadians, it’s got all the makings of a great one! Just be sure to add three hours either side of your outing for the trip back. Or extend your stay. You might want to anyway. Be sure to check out the old town of Montreal, especially the island in the St Lawrence. Home to many a historical Canadian event, you won’t want to miss this gorgeous, almost European city. Come for the history, stay for the food .

Ottawa

The capital of Canada, Ottawa is a much smaller city than Montreal or Toronto and is also about a three hour drive. Home to the beautiful Canadian Parliament building as well as its own smaller old town quarter, Ottawa is a great place to learn about Canada as a whole as well as to get out of the craziness of Toronto but still be in a city. Stroll the Parliament grounds and take a load off in one of the city’s many parks with a picnic.

The Lakes

Probably one of the main reasons you’d come to this part of Canada, the Great Lakes offer no end to summer activities. With watersports galore and thousands of cabin accommodations to choose from up and down each of the lakes, there’s no better way to truly unwind and wind down after any trip to Toronto. The Great Lakes hold the most collective freshwater on the planet, so they aren’t just enjoyable for the fun reasons listed above, but they’re also seriously impressive!

So there you have a couple of great summer day trip ideas that anyone can take from Toronto. While having a car is recommended, it’s not always a necessity as this part of the country does have fairly good inter-city transportation, but it does make things easier. Enjoy!

 

5 Destinations Around the World Where Hippies Will Feel At Home

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Are you a hippie, or do you feel like you really dig the subculture and want to experience a bit of the hippie life for yourself? Maybe you’ve always dreamt of hitting the road to those awesome, famous hippie hangouts of yore but something stopped you. But what are you waiting for? Some of the best hippie spots are still out there, just waiting for you to come and explore them! Check out our top five hippie haven destinations!

Dharmasala, India

A small mountain town in northern India, Dharmasala is a hippie haven due in part to its chilled out vibe, copious access to marijuana (although that isn’t a necessity to be a hippie) and huge amounts of spiritual things to do. From Vinyasa or Hatha yoga all the way up to Vipassana meditation retreats, the spirit seeker will find no end of delightful things to see and do here, often allowing them to get ‘stuck’ here for months. Ayurvedic courses are available as are yoga retreats that can turn into teacher training and the possibility of staying in ashrams – a monastery where spiritual schooling is available long term. Despite being the wettest place in India due to its location, it nonetheless is beautiful and deeply spiritual, attracting people from all walks of life who come to experience the vibe for themselves.

Dahab, Egypt

Dahab means ‘Gold’ in Arabic, and when you arrive in this quaint town on the coast of the Red Sea on the Sinai peninsula, it’s easy to see why it’s been given such an important moniker. With Saudi Arabia visible most days just over the water, kitesurfing, windsurfing, diving, yoga, meditation and other spiritual healing classes or events all set amid a back drop of a truly mutlicultural and environmentally conscious population and you have all the makings for a hippie mecca. People who come to Dahab say there’s something in the air, and with it being right near the throat chakra of the planet, Mount Sinai, many report their intuition is heightened and they have strange synchronistic events occur once they accept Dahab with open arms. Be warned though – many a traveller who has claimed to come for a two or three week holiday often end up becoming part of the background and stay for months or even years.

Slab City, California

Touted as ‘The Last Free Place In America’, Slab City is located just near the Salton Sea, near Niland, California, placed on and around some old concrete slabs that used to house various military hardware and buildings, earning it its name ‘Slab City’. The settlement is effectively a huge artists squat, with people from all walks of life being able to walk along and claim a bit of land for themselves and set up a camp. Artists come from around the world to add to the backdrop of trash art and recycling is huge here – but not in the usual big city way. You will find almost everything made of trash, and used exceptionally well. If you want a real experience of living, breathing art, come to Slab City.

Don Det, Laos

Way down in south Laos is a place known as the 4000 islands and in this small area is an island region known as Don Det. Don Det has always attracted hippies for its laid back lifestyle, chilled vibes, easy going locals and travellers and the large host of things to do. From river kayaking to dolphin spotting to fishing and motorbiking around the island, there’s enough to do to keep you entertained without being overwhelming. Want to just veg in a hammock? There’s always that too.

Salt Spring Island, Canada

Located off the coast of British Columbia, there is tell of a small community of hippies and artists who live side by side and create art and love all year round. With forest music parties, experimental art installations like huge netted hammocks where everyone can dog pile on top of each other and other strange but fun things to do, it’s no wonder a lot of hippie minded folk find their way to the island. People are super environmentally conscious here and many grow their own food, catch their own rain water and more, so you’re in for a real hippie treat!

There you have some truly cool hippie spots that will make you consider throwing off your dress clothes and donning your Dad’s ancient Levi’s that haven’t seen the light of day since 1974. With the hippie movement making a comeback, there’s never been a better time to check out how today’s hippies are making a go of things in some of the world’s most beautiful places.