Far Flung Adventures With Breath-Taking Scenery- Bucket List Part 3

Australia  australiaBeautiful beach in Australia (Lucky Bay)

Australia is  captivating and  possibly the best country in the world for a road trip. World class beaches, ancient rainforests, safe roads, well maintained walking paths, friendly people in the most remote places (Australia is actually recognized as having the most remote city in the world: Perth.), incredible wildlife, ancient wonders and a historic fascinating indigenous culture. I lived here for around two years and really can’t praise the place enough. I didn’t know what to expect when I first embarked on the long flight to this huge island/continent nation, although the culture is similar to mine the country is different in unimaginable ways. The sheer size of this place is mesmerizing, the vast majority of it expanses of nothingness, desert and wilderness. . I spent time working in an aboriginal community, learning about the history and way of life as well as their vicious mistreatment is an enlightening experience.

There are some many unique places and species of wildlife here it would be impossible to name them all, you could spend years in this country and only scratch the surface. Naturally pink lakes, the opportunity to swim with great whites and dolphins in the wild, underground cave dwelling communities, and 20 foot crocodiles, the weird and wonderful is present and plenty in Australia.

Lastly of all I’ll say is don’t be afraid, yes there are deadly animals native to Australia but the danger is massively exaggerated. The last person to die from a spider bite was in the 70’s! The world’s most deadly animal here is actually the cow (road traffic accidents). In two years of camping in the wilderness, hiking out in the bush and going to the most remote places possible the only deadly animal I saw was an octopus that someone snagged on a fishing line out at sea.

New Zealand 10857156_10203512395350974_8529118397825822705_oHikes displaying stunning scenery like this

For me this place may be unrivalled in natural beauty. So accessible and traversable as well! The home of Lord of the Rings boasts jaw dropping scenery and some of the friendliest people. A great family holiday for lovers of the outdoors. My personal highlights would be a light aircraft flight over snow-capped peaks, bungee jumping, sky diving, hang gliding and the numerous hikes amongst raw nature. New Zealand is another perfect country for marine wildlife and swimming with dolphins. (In the wild, not in some horror show like sea world!)

There are plenty of tour options and bus travel options, alternatively it’s the perfect self-drive camping holiday, you can see the whole country more or less in 3-6 weeks. The mix of glaciers, mountains, lakes, islands, volcanos, thermals, beaches and rolling British-like countryside in such a compact country make this a really striking and memorable place.  

Unique Sights

The Northern Lights

Now, the Northern lights are really unpredictable. I would suggest visiting a destination such as Norway, Finland or Iceland for what they have to offer besides the lights and then if you get to see them it’s just a bonus! Anyway those 3 countries really are beautiful and worth a visit at any time of year in their own right.

The lights are best seen on a dark, clear night so visit between April and September check with locals and weather forecasts (also aurora forecasts) prior to and during your visit. Your best chance at seeing them is in perfect conditions and looking to the north but nothing is guaranteed so in the meantime enjoy these snow covered landscapes with your family and indulge in some activities! There are multiple snow sports plus trekking in search of polar bears! (With a guide of course.)

There are companies with experts who can help search for the lights and although your best chance to spot them may be out in the country side they can be seen from main cities like Reykjavik (Iceland) and Tromso (Norway) as well.

Belgium- Charming fairy tale backdrops, architecture and chocolate

Bruges (Belgium) is like stepping into a fairy tale. Home to charming architecture and arresting scenery, plus most importantly chocolate! Dad will be happy with the ancient brewery tours and unlimited beer options (up to 300 different types of beer in some bars!) plus the children will enjoy the parks and shops full of handmade chocolate treats. It’s a great little town to just wander around admiring the buildings and waterways; it’s a great place to spend a few days as part of a longer European trip.

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Machu Picchu- Peru

Incan history is enthralling and Machu Picchu is the number one attraction in South America for a reason. After seeing ruins throughout South America I wasn’t expecting to be blown away in quite the fashion that I was when I visited here in 2016. The scale and remoteness of the site offers a dimension and experience that is unmatched. When gazing down at this ancient and wondrous structure from above, you get a feeling that can’t really be duplicated. Machu Picchu, due to its location, wasn’t re-discovered until 1911. However the human race is making up for lost time and there are now limits on tickets due to the sheer volume of people travelling to visit this unique place.

Book your tickets in advance and I’d seriously recommend getting the exclusive tickets to hike Huaynu/Wayynu Picchu (only 400 people allowed up each day) to witness the best view of Machu Picchu. It’s a steep hike but definitely doable (I reached top second, a 60 year old Chilean man beat me to it!) not to mention worth it for the 360 breath-taking panoramic. Something to keep in mind is that this historical site involves a lot of walking and gets very busy it’s better to take the earliest bus possible to arrive at dawn. Whilst not a typical family holiday hotspot I saw plenty of children and adults of all ages enjoying this lost Incan city and world wonder.

thumbnail_IMG_0488A beautiful and peaceful view over Machu Picchu

That concludes my series on family bucket list destinations, hopefully you will have some ideas for the future and make some memories in an interesting country!

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources.


The Secret To Caring For Pets While Going Through Divorce


One of the most common reasons people relinquish or rehome their pets is because of divorce. Due to couples calling it quits, there are millions of animals entering the shelters every year. You are not a terrible person for wanting to find a better home for your pet when going through tough times, but there are some factors you should consider for your pet.

The Impact of Divorce on Pets

A stable, loving home and a regular routine are what is best for our furry friends. This has been proven time and again by research. However, your pet will not be in good shape if you give them up to an uncertain future in a shelter or a new home. Your pet may also act out or experience anxiety when there is stressful domestic discord. Many pets, especially dogs, are used to habits. They go through a major disruption in their routine and can demonstrate symptoms of separation anxiety during divorce. Therefore, a perfectly trained dog may start to bark a lot or have a few accidents. This does not make them “bad.” It’s just their natural, short-term reaction.

How Pets Are Treated Legally

Those of us who love pets know they are part of the family. But, they are treated like property according to the law. Therefore, the judge probably will not care whose side of the bed your pet slept on or who took care of the cat when your divorce battle goes to court and custody is disputed. A recent study found that there has been a 22 percent increase in the number of custody hearings for pets. Custody battles almost always end in heartache so if you can, try to put together a notarized agreement.

Consider Splitting Custody

After a divorce, different people will prefer different pet care arrangements. For some people, a one month on, one month off split custody arrangement would work well. Others might find it works better to have one primary caregiver, and the other partner can serve as a kind of “petsitter.” One surprising finding is that with split custody, divorced individuals learn to become friends with their exes over time as they are forced to cooperate in a fairly easy-to-manage situation.

Divorce is a painful process, but it almost always leads to a better situation for everyone involved. By keeping your pet’s best interests in mind, you are sure to have a more positive outcome for everyone involved.

 Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.  


What To Consider Before Getting A Divorce

Deciding whether or not to divorce is a difficult decision to make. Think carefully before uttering the phrase, “I want a divorce.” Once those words are out of your mouth – you cannot call them back. That statement will affect the rest of your life, so be sure you really mean it and are not issuing a hollow threat. When hearing distressing news, such as your spouse had an affair, it can be tempting to shout out those words. That action can slam the door shut on the possibility of saving the marriage if the errant spouse walks out of the door for good.

We often react right away instead of thinking things through. The sympathetic nervous system floods the body with stress hormones, such as cortisol, to act quickly in a volatile situation. This is the fight or fight phase, where one can say hurtful things in anger. Responding instead of reacting, involves analysing the problem to form a response. There are ways to be more rational in the heat of the moment. Take a pause or a time-out. Decisions do not have to be made on the spot. Remove yourself and say that you require time to think, when hearing something upsetting.

Acknowledge to yourself, that you are in shock or in rage. This is the time to work through intense emotions, instead of exploding. Consider talking over the situation with a life coach to get a handle on these feelings. Together you can explore different options to see if you want to stay in the marriage or not. Getting in a calmer state will help one to gain clarity and be in a better place before approaching the spouse.

In other cases, it can be many little issues that are the tipping point instead of one major event. An individual may be unhappy or no longer want to continue to live life as they have been. They may feel unfulfilled or that something is missing. The person may think this is due to their marriage or spouse, when in reality it is inside of them. Having individual therapy can help pinpoint a problem area, such as suffering through Empty Nest. Therapy is beneficial when a person is at a crossroad at this point in life. In some cases, following a passion, changing careers or becoming an entrepreneur was what was needed and not a divorce.

A frank discussion with your spouse can help in deciding whether to stay or to bail. Take turns actively listening without interrupting. Reflect back what you think you heard, to give the other a chance to correct a misconception. Expressing annoyances and needs might be just the ticket to avoid divorce. Day- to-day communication can be superficial and a couple can drift away from each other. Communicating on a deeper level can boost marital satisfaction.

There may be non-negotiable areas where there are no second chances. This could be infidelity, a porn addiction, or abuse. Deceit with lies and a cover up has led people to divorce. Know what your boundaries are. When my spouse was going on a dark path, I had to leave. In a lesser circumstance, marital counselling may have been an option.

There are many resources for helping to fix a marriage or forming an exit plan if that is not going to happen. Relate is UK’s “largest provider of relationship support” and helps couples to communicate in a more effective way. This is just one example of what is available for troubled relationships. Going to a marriage therapist can save a marriage or help one see if it is worth saving. The therapist works with the couple and may also see them individually. This is a safe environment to air grievances and to start repairing the relationship. Retrouvaille is a program to help couples heal and renew their hurting marriages. The couple learns how to communicate and reconnect with each other. This program is sometimes considered the last resort to save a marriage. It is a weekend retreat, followed up by sessions.

When considering divorce, it is the couple’s decision and not one done on the opinions of family or friends. Others may not be neutral or care for the spouse. If feeling undecided, talk to a person you trust or have a session with a life coach. Take advantage of the many divorce resources available, including what the divorce process entails. Divorce is emotionally draining and can be expensive. Explore all avenues first before choosing to end your marriage. Whatever path you decide, have a support system in place.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine   thedivorcemagazine.co.uk