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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

August 2014

Aug 04, 2014 08:34PM ● By Ana Rincon

I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful summer to the fullest. I certainly am.

One of our feature articles, “Summer Mini-Getaways,” has me reminiscing about some of the best vacations I’ve taken. I’m fortunate to have traveled to many beautiful cities and five-star beach resorts. But the trips that stand out in my mind were not the most luxurious or expensive. Instead, they were the ones filled with simpler pleasures, and were always connected to nature.

A favorite was horseback riding and camping in the Colorado Rockies, where I saw the West for the first time. The memory of sky and mountains will never leave me. Another was a ferryboat trip down the Orinoco River in Venezuela. It sounds exotic, but was actually very simple: A good friend and I floated down the river for three days, looked at wildlife, listened to music and simply shared the experience.

As a child I remember hiking in a West Virginia state park with my grandparents, simply loving the trees and the silence of the woods. A picnic or cookout would usually follow with some outdoor games and storytelling. A simple, inexpensive daytrip like this can create lasting family memories and instill a love of nature in your children.

This week I was able to spend time with family on the east end of Long Island. An hour on the bay paddle boarding with my brother was the highlight. Simple, outdoors, and with someone I care about. Perfect.

“Be Happy Now: Simple Ways to Quickly Lift Your Spirits” on page 38 suggests that we can create happiness in a moment by smiling, singing, or counting blessings. Research cited in the article shows that 40 percent of our happiness is self-generated, i.e., not caused by genetics or the environment. So whether you are able to get away on a holiday or not, you have the power to make your summer a happy one by making your moments count!

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