Marie Nieves

Marie Nieves

Marie Nieves is a travel blogger who loves unusual trips, active holidays, gadgets and creative ideas. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag.

Most of her free time at home she spends walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences.

 

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New Zealand - Hiking Adventure

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The mesmerizing scenery you’ve seen in The Lord of the Rings is no less breathtaking in real life. On the contrary, it’s even more of all those Middle Earthen adjectives that cross your mind when you think of New Zealand, and they come alive as soon as you step on the endless meadows and intact natural reserves that dominate the landscape.

It’s no wonder that most first-time, as well as return visitors choose to trek all over New Zealand, because there’s no better way to soak in all the beauty it hides in its emerald nooks. To make the most of your hiking trip, the following are the essentials of what you need to know for your journey there and back again!

 

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Choose your track

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” And for starters, you should learn as much as possible about all available hikes in order to choose the one that best suits your endurance levels, available time, and of course, love for the outdoors.

For instance, the North Island is a mystifying blend of the Maori culture, dramatic volcano craters, kayaking via the streams of Whanganui, and rainforest-laden scenery beyond your wildest dreams. On the other hand, the South Island also abounds in stunning landscape – Abel Tasman National Park alone is enough to keep you occupied, while the famous Milford track will take you through valleys overshadowed by misty mountain peaks, rivers, fjords with glaciers and the tallest New Zealand waterfalls.

 

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Are you quite ready for another adventure?

As tempting as it is to pack your backpack and head to the airport instantly, despite the remoteness of the country, these walking tours are often fully booked for a few months in advance. Make sure to visit the website of the Department of Conservation as soon as reservations are open in the first days of July, to book your spot and then prepare all the gear you need for the hike of your choice.

Beyond that, New Zealand has enabled its hikers to join well-organized branches of huts, cottages and campsites, which allow different levels of comfort. You can stay the night in a dreamy cottage; you have the option to share accommodation with other hikers, or you can go up close and personal with the wilderness and sleep in your own tent on a campsite! Also, you can choose between self-guided and guided tours, and the latter is always the best choice for a tramping newbie.

 

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What about second breakfast?

First-timers will be tempted to focus solely on the experience, finding the right outfits based on the weather conditions, and possibly hanging on to your photography equipment for dear life. However, hiking can be strenuous even on the fittest among you, as it will take a few days of continuous walking through rough terrain, and possibly in difficult conditions such as pouring rain or passing over snowy mountain ranges. With that said – what will your menu consist of?

You’ll need plenty of sustenance in the form of protein-packed meals that will give you energy and the feeling of fullness won’t fade away all that quickly like with sugary foods. There are practical, but pricey options such as ziplocked meals, paired with some hot water, and you can also pack dried fruits for regular snacks, oatmeal packs and sandwiches to mix it up. Your main goal is to keep it light, unable to spoil and easy to prepare!

 


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New Zealand is a dream-come-true destination for the lovers of untamed nature, and as such, it deserves to be experienced first-hand, by hiking over its gorgeous plains and peaks. Put on a pair of your most durable boots, get ready to fall in love with the landscapes of the country, and fire up your wanderlust because as J.R.R. Tolkien put it – not all those who wander are lost.

 

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New Caledonia - Pacific Paradise

New Caledonia Image 1

 

As with all the islands in the warm and welcoming waters of the Pacific, New Caledonia is equally immersed in turquoise waves, mountain peaks and emerald bushland. Yet, it remains a unique gem of the ocean – a cultural blend of the indigenous people and European communities all sharing the same sandy shores create an idyllic vacation spot for those seeking an experience genuinely off the beaten track and still imbued with versatile cultural heritage.

 

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Where France meets Melanesia

This tropical Eden is as diverse as its people, so understanding the essence of New Caledonia begins with traveling to the various corners of the islands to meet and greet the locals. They will be more than happy to communicate with you in French, while their native tongues are so numerous and different that tribes cannot use them to talk amongst themselves.

Colonial architecture interspersed with tribal totems, and all of that colorful cultural richness in the embrace of palm trees, crisp white beaches and olive coves, creates the essence of what makes these islands so irresistible. Do your best to take a ride along the coastal roads, explore all the corners of the mainland and visit the neighboring tribes and you’ll be greeted with smiles and waving wherever you go. And don’t be surprised if you find some of the Kanak women playing cricket, it’s one of their favorite pastime activities!

 

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Taste the spirit of New Caledonia

You can only imagine the culinary wonders and the cultural wealth of a place that is, in its essence, so accepting of variety and nurtures its vast spectrum of different origins. A perfect example of where modern meets the ancient is the Tjibaou Cultural Centre in the capital city of Nouméa, where you can see original Kanak artifacts. There are other galleries and colonial buildings worth a visit, and the sandy beaches are more than enough to keep you occupied in restful meditation for hours on end.

As soon as you find your perfect Noumea accommodation, such as a dreamy overwater bungalow or a luxurious suite, treat yourself to a dinner at some of the city’s finest French restaurants such as La Chaumière or Le Roof. Taste the local mixture of seafood and veggies called Bougna, and fill your days with activities such as sunbathing, snorkeling, and windsurfing.  Finally, join an aerial tour over the islands to soak in the perfect bird’s eye view of this little piece of paradise, including the famous Heart of Voh.

 

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Get to know the flora and fauna

The animal kingdom as well as the plant life are as unusual and authentic as the island's’ people, so don’t forget to stop by the New Caledonia zoo and botanical gardens, where you can enjoy an exotic stroll among their native wildlife and even feed some of their famous Kagu birds. Thanks to the mountain range that spans across the center of Grande Terre, certain species unique to this region still survive and create an incredible diversity seen only in few other places in the world.

In addition to its dramatic mountain peaks, the underwater world is as mesmerizing and exotic as the shores. Grand Terre as well as Isle of Pines and a handful of other smaller islands are in the embrace of the second largest coral reef in the world, where you can swim in the serene blue lagoon and enjoy the company of the local turtles and tropical fish.

 

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Visiting this remote collectivity of tropical islands will offer you a glimpse into an intact universe of peace, diversity and beauty unlike any other. Even if you choose to spend your precious time just lounging on the many dream-like beaches, or completely abandon your holiday spirit and visit every gallery and gathering in town, New Caledonia will not fail to give you a memorable experience you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.

 

Image 1, Author Sébastien Jermer, Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/K99UVDRFc_4

As with all the islands in the warm and welcoming waters of the Pacific, New Caledonia is equally immersed in turquoise waves, mountain peaks and emerald bushland. Yet, it remains a unique gem of the ocean – a cultural blend of the indigenous people and European communities all sharing the same sandy shores create an idyllic vacation spot for those seeking an experience genuinely off the beaten track and still imbued with versatile cultural heritage.

Image 2, Author Sébastien Jermer, Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/oEpWTKYpdw4


Where France meets Melanesia

This tropical Eden is as diverse as its people, so understanding the essence of New Caledonia begins with traveling to the various corners of the islands to meet and greet the locals. They will be more than happy to communicate with you in French, while their native tongues are so numerous and different that tribes cannot use them to talk amongst themselves.

Colonial architecture interspersed with tribal totems, and all of that colorful cultural richness in the embrace of palm trees, crisp white beaches and olive coves, creates the essence of what makes these islands so irresistible. Do your best to take a ride along the coastal roads, explore all the corners of the mainland and visit the neighboring tribes and you’ll be greeted with smiles and waving wherever you go. And don’t be surprised if you find some of the Kanak women playing cricket, it’s one of their favorite pastime activities!

Image 3, Author Sébastien Jermer, Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/u_04SWW7ghA


Taste the spirit of New Caledonia

You can only imagine the culinary wonders and the cultural wealth of a place that is, in its essence, so accepting of variety and nurtures its vast spectrum of different origins. A perfect example of where modern meets the ancient is the Tjibaou Cultural Centre in the capital city of Nouméa, where you can see original Kanak artifacts. There are other galleries and colonial buildings worth a visit, and the sandy beaches are more than enough to keep you occupied in restful meditation for hours on end.

As soon as you find your perfect Noumea accommodation, such as a dreamy overwater bungalow or a luxurious suite, treat yourself to a dinner at some of the city’s finest French restaurants such as La Chaumière or Le Roof. Taste the local mixture of seafood and veggies called Bougna, and fill your days with activities such as sunbathing, snorkeling, and windsurfing.  Finally, join an aerial tour over the islands to soak in the perfect bird’s eye view of this little piece of paradise, including the famous Heart of Voh.

Image 4, Author Sébastien Jermer, Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/EwZ2fjFrjpk


Get to know the flora and fauna

The animal kingdom as well as the plant life are as unusual and authentic as the island's’ people, so don’t forget to stop by the New Caledonia zoo and botanical gardens, where you can enjoy an exotic stroll among their native wildlife and even feed some of their famous Kagu birds. Thanks to the mountain range that spans across the center of Grande Terre, certain species unique to this region still survive and create an incredible diversity seen only in few other places in the world.

In addition to its dramatic mountain peaks, the underwater world is as mesmerizing and exotic as the shores. Grand Terre as well as Isle of Pines and a handful of other smaller islands are in the embrace of the second largest coral reef in the world, where you can swim in the serene blue lagoon and enjoy the company of the local turtles and tropical fish.

Image 5, Author Sébastien Jermer, Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/JI0l4nz3yqk


Visiting this remote collectivity of tropical islands will offer you a glimpse into an intact universe of peace, diversity and beauty unlike any other. Even if you choose to spend your precious time just lounging on the many dream-like beaches, or completely abandon your holiday spirit and visit every gallery and gathering in town, New Caledonia will not fail to give you a memorable experience you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.

Read more...

How To Stop Being Afraid Of The Gym

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It’s that feeling of self-consciousness, anxiety and hesitation all blended into one lovely mixture that overwhelms you when you start packing your gym bag, and increases ever so slightly as the moment of your workout approaches. Then ensues the dreaded walk across the gym as you soak in the random glances of familiar and unfamiliar faces and wonder just how badly you will end up embarrassing yourself today.

We’ve all been there and we’ve all struggled to get the hell out of that mindset. Well, except for the very few kids who’ve been athletic all their lives and made the rest of us feel like a bunch of pansies. But all the better for you, because once you overcome this dread, and you will, you will be all the stronger for the challenge fear has put you through.

Tune up and tune out

Headphones. That’s all you need to keep those annoying repetitive techno beats of bland gym music out, not to flinch when a massive guy drops a 500lb deadlift, and stay in the zone. Make sure to throw in a playlist of your favorite, upbeat, powerful tunes because wearing just the headphones would be plain silly.

 

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According to Costas Karageorghis, an expert on the topic, music is such a powerful motivator that he described it as a legal performance-enhancing drug. It will create a safe zone where you can focus on your breathing, movement patterns and unleash your potential without paying attention to those around you.

Plan your workout

Simply deciding you’ll go is far from enough, and your anxiety will likely persist throughout the entire time you’re there, turning it into an aimless ordeal you’ll never put yourself through again. The great thing is that there is a slew of instructional YouTube channels with fitness advice you can peruse, as well as ready-to-use meal and workout plans waiting for you to try them out.

 

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Even if none of them seem appealing, with a little effort and research, you can create your own and figure out how to perform each movement before you put on your glorious tank top and hit the treadmill to warm up. Knowing every step of your workout will do wonders for your confidence!

Baby steps

If the playlist and the planning aren’t really doing their bit for you, taking a step back is not something you should perceive as failure. On the contrary, that one step can lead to several steps forward when the time is right. So why not start by ditching the gym completely and exercising at home?

 

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Then you can work up the nerve to move your workouts outside, and you can even keep them versatile, and test your courage by trying different sports and not just stick to jogging. As long as you’re active and working up a sweat, soon enough you’ll join the gym ranks when you boost your confidence.

Pump your own tires

If you’re an introvert by nature or simply need a confidence kick, use all the ammo you can find, and that includes everything from what you wear to what you munch on! Watch motivational videos, make an awesome after-training snack, turn it into a ritual with as many enjoyable details as possible.

 

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And never underestimate the power of your fitness clothes – prep your gear, from your trusty lifting gloves to your new gym shoes, because they will put you in a different mindset and boost your performance. Ultimately, all of these puzzle pieces will come together to help you build up your courage even when you’re on your own.

Find a pack

Or at least a partner in crime, so that you can both have an accountability partner, a gym buddy that lifts your spirits, and someone to laugh with throughout those awkward situations that arise, especially if you have no clue how to work the smith machine for your mighty glutes. You might prefer to start out in a group setting, such as a spinning or Zumba class, just to get your fitness jitters in order.

Then you can test your own workout with a single partner or a pack of your best buds to cheer you on as you master your first barbell squat and lunge across the gym. Whichever tempo works best for you, just stay consistent, and your results will soon be all you need to pack up and look forward to that next challenge.

 

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Outdoor Fitness For Adrenaline Junkies

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Summer is here, and although iron-addicts everywhere still swear by their trusty routines, there is no better time to mix up your workout plan with a few hardcore outdoor challenges. Designed only for the brave and the bold, the true adrenaline junkies among you will instantly feel their hearts race at the very mention of some of these activities.
Inspired by the four elements of life, each and every one of these trends have been ruling the fitness world for quite some time, but now some have a modern twist to them, while others remain in their original form. Dust off your outdoor gear and pick your fitness poison because it’s time to shake things up with some good old-fashioned excitement!

 

Test your street stamina

You’ve heard about it, you’ve seen intimidating videos and photos of it, and now it’s high time you gave it a go. Based on military obstacle courses, parkour has become the urban equivalent of training for the army nose-deep in mud. This is a perfect solution for those who cannot get away to nature, or simply prefer the city hustle and bustle.

 

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Hit the Central Park in NYC with your parkour gang or solo, or you can join one of many parkour associations such as Steel City Parkour where you can learn tricks and stunts on several levels and based on your preferences.

 

Winter amidst the summer heat

Remember the brave and the bold? This is the quintessence of an adventurous endeavor, exclusively for those who dare head to the mountains for more than a leisurely hike. Book the Great Himalaya Trail based on your experience, ability and desire to push your limits, because this will be one lengthy training session.

 

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Pass through the villages of Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal and India (or just some of the offered), see some of their highest mountain peaks over the measly distance of no less than a few thousand kilometers and help some of their poorest regions recover. After this one, every other workout will seem like a breeze.

 

Experience the real big blue

The exotic paradise of the Cayman Islands needs no special introduction, but for those visiting the region for more than soaking up the beach sun, there is an entire world of underwater life waiting for you to discover. Explore the depths of the Caribbean Sea in several exciting locations with the crew of Cayman Turtle Divers and you’ll visit shipwrecks, hang out with stingrays and hundreds of other curious underwater creatures inhabiting the area.

 

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The breathtaking reefs alone will be more than enough to get your adventure-juices flowing, but it’s highly recommended to prep thoroughly before you take the leap. Diving is no joke – master the skills and you’ll be hooked for life (pun intended).

 

Awaken your inner Marvel hero

Another one not designed for those faint of heart, the Ironman race encompasses the holy trinity of physical challenges – running, biking and swimming. You can choose to prep for the spectacular Ironman 70.3, or a smaller event that takes place in several spots across the world, but each as taxing and terrifying as the other.

 

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If you’re a novice, fear not, as you can find a level that suits your abilities and work towards the race that fits your category. Then again, even advanced athletes will find the longest, most strenuous routes challenging despite their endurance levels, so there’s something for every appetite.

 

Trailblazing at its best

One of the latest trends that counts both as a fitness challenge and a passion among nature-enthusiasts all over the world, canyoning has become the new outdoor craze. It involves a blend of various skills such as climbing, hiking, abseiling and swimming among others, in order to trail through canyons of various complexity.

 

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From the tropical gems in Bali to the rugged cliffs of Scotland, there’s a whole spectrum of options out there, providing you with a thrill of a lifetime. Head to the mecca of adventure sport, Switzerland, and you can join an Outdoor Interlaken team for a tailor-made adventure.

 

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