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Your Star Sign Can Lead You to a Dream Vacation

Your Star Sign Can Lead You to a Dream Vacation

By Horoscope.com

On May 11, 2017

In Sign, Sun, Travel

Your Star Sign Can Lead You to a Dream Vacation

How many of us have chosen our next vacation spot based solely on an Instagram photo? [Raises hand.] Guilty as charged. These days, we draw our vacation inspiration from a variety of sources: pictures shared on social media, dreamy full-page spreads in travel magazines, hotel recommendations from a close friend. So why not draw inspiration from your sign as well? After all, your sign guides your day-to-day—why shouldn’t it steer you to your fantasy destination? 

EARTH SIGNS (Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo)
Your sign is earthy, grounded, and chilled-out, so your destination should reflect that. Nature-filled locations work best: think national parks, wind-swept beaches, and camping (or glamping if that’s more your style!) on the edge of the desert. As a Virgo, my top pick has to be Monument Valley, the famous national park found on the Arizona/Utah border. When I went last year, I popped the top of my rented white Mustang convertible (the ultimate road trip vehicle!) and watched the sun set on the red rock formations that make up the site. It was the definition of serenity.

All about natural beauty, Earth signs adore places that let them experience awe.

AIR SIGNS (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius)
Air signs are all about flow. Select destinations with busy rhythms that will not only excite, but challenge you—places where you’ll flex your navigational skills, feel your senses awakened, and have your patience tested. New Delhi and Beijing are two cities that immediately spring to mind for air signs. Pushing through the densely packed streets, haggling in the markets, and having the senses bombarded by new sights, sounds, and smells can be overwhelming for some… but not you—you’re energized! Of course, you don’t need to travel to Asia for this: A night out in Barcelona’s entertainment district will have a similar impact!

Air signs are aching for 24/7 action. One way to capture it? In the bustle—and the beauty—of New Delhi.

FIRE SIGNS (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius)
These intense signs need a destination to match. Bucket list experiences are the name of the game: Think a three-day hike up Machu Picchu, a seven-day climb up Kilimanjaro, or a snowshoeing adventure through the Swiss Alps. Grueling? Maybe! But that’s the sign of a good vacation for up-for-anything Fire signs.

Climb to the top of the world—Fire signs feed off adrenaline surges.

WATER SIGNS (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces)
Intuitive and emotional, water signs run deep. No packaged cruises for you! Instead, seek out destinations rich with art, culture, and romance. Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is perfect for a creative creature like you. From the grandeur of Brunelleschi’s red cathedral to Michelangelo’s breathtaking David to the little moments of beauty that greet you around every corner, Florence will fill your soul to the brim. Too busy or touristy for your liking? Try a culture-rich city more off the beaten path, like Brussels or Quebec City.

The Gothic cathedrals are awesome, but equally as enchanting to Water signs are the details.

Wherever you go, Buon viaggio!

Want more spirituality, mysticism, and advice for bringing your spirit to the next level of awesome? Follow us on Instagram.

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Travel Is an Aphrodisiac … Especially When You Do It This Way

Travel Is an Aphrodisiac … Especially When You Do It This Way

By Horoscope.com

On May 4, 2017

In Marriage, Sun, Travel

Travel Is an Aphrodisiac … Especially When You Do It This Way

I’d love to travel more, but I can’t. I hear this all the time from people who are in relationships with homebodies.

So what? Hit the open road, regardless of whether your partner comes with you. And to those who wonder if that might have a negative affect on their relationships, I can say firsthand that it does not (at least until you have kids)! I’m happily married and I travel solo all the time—heck, I’m off to Europe for a three-week solo trip next month. I’d counter that leaving your boo behind can actually make your union stronger. Here’s why:

Longing is a powerful aphrodisiac. “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” Joni Mitchell, you get it! Time and distance make me treasure my man way more than I do when we’re under the same roof—when we’re apart, I even miss the annoying stuff! If you’re in a healthy, loving relationship, this will happen to you as well. In my case, whenever I hear a German accent abroad I think of my Berlin-born husband. Panoramic views also make me miss him—he’s a sucker for a good rooftop vista. But it’s a good kind of missing that brings forth the warm and fuzzy feelings that are the cornerstone of a loving partnership. Oh, and the reunion after time gapart? Epic.


Your communication skills get a tune-up. Being miles and time zones away from my hubs actually compels me to keep in better touch with him. Because we have to make an effort to interact, we both make sure that our messages are meaningful. What works for us: I’ll Whatsapp notes, pictures, and videos, and then we schedule a Skype call every few days. We may not be in the same physical space, but this varied, frequent, and meaningful communication helps us to feel closer than ever.

You have whole new worlds to explore—literally! Being attached at the hip with your partner is not only boring, but can trigger a cycle of dependency and insecurity. But when you have your own solo interests, you become more self confident and self sufficient. Not only that, but talking about what makes you tick—why you couldn’t get enough of Egypt or how the coffee in Prague is superior to the coffee you’ve had anywhere else—allows your conversations to meander into uncharted waters where you both learn something about each other. Bottom line: Travel allows you to discover more of yourself, which you can then share with your love. Win-win!


Want more spirituality, mysticism, and advice for bringing your spirit to the next level of awesome? Follow us on Instagram.

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A Ticket For One Will Take You Exactly Where You Need to Go

A Ticket For One Will Take You Exactly Where You Need to Go

By Horoscope.com

On April 27, 2017

In Happiness, Sun, Travel

A Ticket For One Will Take You Exactly Where You Need to Go

The Taj Mahal sparkled in the half-light of dawn. My eyes widened. The sight was more than marvelous. It was mystical. The cells in my body pulsed with a feeling I couldn’t name.
 
I inhaled. Exhaled. Smiled, my face turned up to the rising sun. Beside me were couples, tour groups, smatterings of conversations in different languages. But it was just me, the Taj Mahal, and a tiny feeling of pride trickling through my veins.
 
Before I had come to Agra, I had heard the concerned warnings of friends and family: You’ll be bored. You’ll be lonely. Will you be safe?  
 
But here I was—safe, content, and feeling perfectly in tune with the Universe—and myself.
 
Since then, I’ve traveled solo a lot, despite the fact that I have plenty of family and friends who are more than willing to come along. I’m also lucky to have a loving partner who shares my passion for travel and is always willing to board a plane, train, automobile, or camel’s back at the drop of a dime. Still, I thoroughly enjoy traveling alone (I’m doing a massive solo trip through Europe in May, and I’d love for you to follow along on Instagram!). I believe that everyone should take a big solo trip at least once. Here’s why:
 
Solo Travel Cranks Up Your Confidence
When you travel by yourself, the planning and decision making are all up to you. While the responsibility can be intimidating (in India, where chaos reigns supreme, it was intense), it’s also rewarding.  For example, when I traveled around the world last summer (hitting eight countries on four continents), I took great pride in the fact that I had planned my own itinerary, all by myself, even though it was super complicated.  Being the sole engineer of your travel experiences can bolster the spirit and boost the confidence like nothing else.

 

 

Solo Travel Lets You Be Selfish
A solo vacation means you can do what you want, when you want, without having to consider the wants or needs of a travel companion, and this can be empowering in and of itself. In Agra, I was super indulgent—I splurged on a nice hotel, spent hours stuffing my face at the city’s best restaurants, and luxuriated in the sights, sounds, and smells of one of India’s most historic cities. I could spend an afternoon on a single block, I never had to check in to see if anyone else was enjoying the experience as much as me. Not only was it amazing in the moment, but it was superb practice for self-care back home. After all, when life is overwhelming, there’s nothing better than tuning into what you need.


 

The Solo Traveler Makes Incredible, Life-Changing Connections
It’s a travel fact: When you’re by yourself, you make way more connections than you do when you have a partner. At least that’s what I’ve found. Solo, I’m much more willing to start up conversations with locals and travelers in markets, temples, and everywhere in between. Even though I will never forget the sight of the Taj Mahal in the sunrise, the memories that come back to me most from that trip are the small, impromptu conversations I had with total strangers.

 



 

Have you ever traveled solo? Where? Come share your story on Facebook!

 
 

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The Rocky Road to Loving Yourself Is So Worth Taking

The Rocky Road to Loving Yourself Is So Worth Taking

By Horoscope.com

On April 20, 2017

In Beauty, Sun, Travel

The Rocky Road to Loving Yourself Is So Worth Taking

Two years ago, my besties and I planned an epic girls’ adventure in Brazil. The itinerary was perfection: eight days of relaxation and recklessness (the best combo!) in Rio and Salvador de Bahia. But instead of perfecting my Samba moves, researching the best Caipirinhas on Instagram, or practicing my Portuguese, my mind fixated on how I’d look in my bikini on Copacabana Beach.
 
The feelings had taken root in a Manhattan boutique. Swimsuits surrounding me, I glared at my reflection in the mirror of the changing room. Self-defeating statements swirled through my mind: My stomach was bloated. My thighs were too wide. I didn’t have enough definition in my biceps. I dug my fingers into my hips, pinching my love handles and wrinkling my nose in disgust.
 
When I left the boutique, I had a plan: I banned carbs and ran five miles every single day for the next fourteen days. By the time I boarded the plane to Rio, I had lost seven pounds and you could grate cheese on my collarbone. I was also physically and mentally drained. And, oh yeah, I still didn’t like the way I looked.
 
I know. This is madness. What is it with the relationship so many of us have with our bodies? We’re pressured by mass media, and then we pile on self-critique to the point of abuse. If the lack of thigh gap isn’t getting us down, we’re obsessing over the size of our posterior or the cinch of our waist. Minimizing ourselves has become a mantra; comparing ourselves to unrealistic body ideals a way of life.
 
Awareness helps, but it’s not a cure. After all, I think we can all agree that the concept of being “bikini ready” for a trip, or anything else, is just silly. But knowing that doesn’t change the way we feel when we’re confronted with a mirror and two tiny pieces of fabric. While I’d like to say I’ve realized the error of my ways since the Brazilian trip, I still struggle with body image on a semi-regular basis.
 

I worked myself sick for this body—and no, this picture wasn’t worth it.

I’ve also realized that loving your body is a process. Here are the steps I’m taking to get there:
 
I’m healing my heart
I’ve gone batty over the cellulite on the back of my thighs while barely paying attention to the healthiness of the heart beating blood to the area of my body I’m fixating on. How we nurture the internal matters. For me, that means eating more whole foods and drinking more water to help my body glow from the inside out.
 
I’m loving the textures of me
Instead of obsessing over my body’s size and shape, I’m focusing on the texture. This gal has been investing on expensive creams and luxurious bubble baths—the emollients make my skin supple and oh-so-touchable. Yep, I’m treasuring my shell and appreciating all its dimples!
 
I’m hanging out in my undies
Easier said than done, sure, but proclaiming it is the first step to owning it. How, you may ask? Here’s what I’ve been doing: Whenever I’m home, I’m hanging out in underwear only. Being able to actually see the lines and curves of my body—instead of covering them up—has helped me understand, accept, and love them.

Yep, the road to loving yourself is a rocky one. But it’s so worth the journey.
 

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Need a Little Hope? Start With Wonder.

Need a Little Hope? Start With Wonder.

By Horoscope.com

On April 13, 2017

In Happiness, Sun, Zen

Need a Little Hope? Start With Wonder.

Can I let you in on a little secret? Sometimes I forget to stop and feel the awe when I globetrot. There are forever things to plan, places to be, things to do, people to meet, and things to go eat!
 
My trips are often hectic because I’m simultaneously working. But it’s a common phenomenon: Even on vacation, you’ve likely felt “switched on.” You’re mired in logistical details. You’re caught up in chronicling the experience for social media. Your mind is working a mile a minute as you breathlessly bound from one location to another. But it doesn’t have to be that way! In these times of conflict and uncertainty, travel should be an opportunity to nurture the soul, not another opportunity to stress out!
 
So how do we step back from the hustle, bustle, and minutiae of traveling and turn it into a journey that fills us with peace, purpose, and a sense of hope? Here’s what I’m trying, more and more, to do:

 
Relinquish control
Your itinerary doesn’t need to be on lock—once you’ve got a trip planned, it’s okay to let go and let the journey unfold. In Gift From The Sea (a great book for any seeker!) Anne Morrow Lindbergh said, “If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.” In other words, instead of micromanaging every aspect of your journey, leave yourself open to unexpected experiences, like the conversation with a stranger in a cafe or an afternoon wandering city streets. My visit to Cairo bloomed into Technicolor when I decided to trust and let Fathi, a local, lead me around the city after he found me on a busy street corner looking lost. It’s often the unexpected encounters that grow us the most.

Me, in an Egyptian temple.

Quiet your mind
Spiritual wellbeing and meditative practice go hand in hand, so be sure to make time in your travel schedule for some quiet contemplation. This could be as simple as taking a twenty minute break during the day to do some focused breathing, or as structured as signing up for a yoga class in the city you’re visiting. I did my first yoga class EVER in India, and I loved it so much that I signed up for another when I was vacationing in Oman.

The awesome Sagrada Família.

 
Visit destinations that ooze spirituality
The Catholic priest Henri J.M. Nouwen said, “The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it.” For this reason, I’ve been trying to cultivate greater spiritual mindfulness as I explore this beautiful, dissonant earth. And what better way than to visit the world’s sacred sites? While you may not be a believer, I dare you to walk through Barcelona’s cavernous Sagrada Família church without feeling awash with peace, wonder, and optimism. Machu Picchu, the Incan citadel found high in the Andes mountain range, will also dazzle you with its energy. So, that’s my suggestion, fellow travelers: Seek out and soak in the restorative powers of such magical places—then bring that magic home and spread it around. 

Machu Picchu in Peru.

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You Grow Through What You Go Through

You Grow Through What You Go Through

By Horoscope.com

On April 6, 2017

In Sun, Travel

You Grow Through What You Go Through

I often say that I didn’t choose travel, travel chose me. When I signed up for that year-long study abroad program in France my junior year of college, I had no idea it would lead to a lifelong love affair with globetrotting.

Now, nearly 15 years after I crossed the Atlantic for the first time, I’ve set foot in nearly 100 countries, made a career in travel (first through international teaching, currently as a travel writer), and I can’t imagine life any other way.

Travel has been a guiding force in my existence—wholly transformational and absolutely educational. People often ask about the most powerful things I’ve learned in my around-the-world explorations. This is what I tell them….

1. People are inherently good. Despite the scary anecdotes from news outlets, movies, and well-meaning, but uninformed friends, the world isn’t as dangerous as it seems. Let’s get real: The likelihood is that you won’t get kidnapped and tortured as you backpack across Europe à la the poor souls in the movie Hostel! On the contrary, local people in the places I’ve travelled to have accorded me a stunning amount of respect, kindness, and care; strangers from Mexico to Mongolia have opened up their homes to me and have welcomed me to their countries with open arms. The bottom line, as Mahatma Gandhi himself once said: “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

2. You grow through what you go through. From the planning stages to actually being on the road, I’m a firm believer that travel makes you stronger on all levels. Trekking through the foothills of the Nepali Himalayas with a bum leg and an upset tummy tested my physical and emotional mettle; going to the Old City of Jerusalem and wandering through the Muslim, Christian, Armenian, and Jewish Quarters challenged my spiritual beliefs; and bargaining in Beijing’s market (with limited Chinese!) made me flex my mental muscles. Travelling has forced me to think more quickly on my feet, become more knowledgeable, resourceful, and empathetic. If these experiences haven’t made me a stronger person, I don’t know what possibly could!

3. Gratitude is the sign of noble souls. The Greek storyteller Aesop said that, and any good traveller should never forget it. Exploring the world, as well as seeing how other people live, has made me recognize how hugely privileged I am. I have travelled to countries where poverty is rife, where the infrastructure and political situation have made day-to-day life difficult, and where freedom of speech and movement are nearly impossible. I’ve met children who will never have the opportunity to continue their education beyond high school because they have to go work in order to support their families; I’ve met women who will forever be seen and not heard because that’s the expectation in the communities they inhabit. By contrast, I am free, well-fed, well-educated. I am more than my gender, I am from a country that is politically stable, and I have a voice. All of these things make me more privileged than the vast majority of the world’s population—and for that I will be eternally grateful!

As your new Sun Goddess here at Horoscope.com, I look forward to sharing more life lessons from my life as a digital nomad: from the best vacation destinations and deals for spirit-minded travelers; to on-the-road self-care tips; to insights on how you can harness the power of travel to gain clarity, get empowered, and become your very best self. I’m thrilled that we’ll be discovering some of the world’s most beautiful places, traditions and spiritual practices, together!