Author Archives: Chris
Author Archives: Chris
For experienced outdoorsmen, there’s nothing quite like taking a relaxing hike on your favorite nature trail.
Depending on the time of year, hiking has many advantages. From beautiful natural scenery to physical exercise to socializing with other hikers, outdoor hiking offers a perfect escape from the stresses of the weekly work grind.
However, hiking is not necessarily the easiest of fitness hobbies.
Specifically, make sure to fit in three to four sessions of 30-80 minutes of cardio into your weekly routine.
These sessions should be relatively low-impact cardio, such as taking a light jog or, even better, setting the treadmill at a sharp incline and walking at approximately four miles per hour. You can also begin taking shorter hikes in your area.
The purpose of low-impact cardio conditioning is to build endurance, rather than speed.
Most hiking sessions can take anywhere from two to eight hours; more advanced hikers will even enjoy day-long hikes. To ensure that you make it to the top of your chosen trail, begin conditioning your body for cardio endurance in advance.
One mistake that beginning hikers make is to assume that because they can run for long-distances, or are cardio-fit, they are sufficiently prepared for a hike.
However, there is a significant difference between a flat running surface and a steeply inclined hiking trail, which may also include periods of walking up steps or rock climbing.
For this reason, it is necessary to include lower-body training sessions, focusing on the muscles that will propel you towards your hiking goal.
You may also like: Best Trekking & Hiking Poles: Ultimate Guide with Detailed Reviews
Include 30-40 minute weight-training sessions at least two times per week that emphasize your leg muscles, with a focus on quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles.
If you prefer to avoid using machines, there are a number of functional body weight movements you can use, including weighted squats and weighted lunges.
Your calves are both typically underdeveloped and extremely important to your hiking success.
To improve them, you can try standing on the edge of a stair or other raised surface so that your heels are hanging off the edge and you are supporting yourself only with the ball of your foot and toes. Raise and lower your body 15 times for three sets to complete the exercise and feel those calves burn.
These can be due to the unstable terrain of a hiking trail, or even just due to over-working the muscles.
One way to avoid these injuries is to add flexibility training to your workout. It is important to stretch in general after working out to reduce soreness and prevent injuries from stiff muscles.
To improve your hiking flexibility, focus on leg muscle and core stretches, such as a wide leg, sitting stretch or a toe-touch stretch. For ankle flexibility, lie flat on your back, extend one leg, and use your foot to “write” the letters of the alphabet in the air. Repeat the stretch with your other leg.
By working on your cardio endurance, lower body strength, and flexibility, you can ensure that your hiking experience is both fun and relaxing.
In addition to improving your hiking abilities, these training methods have the added benefit of improving general health, not to mention the mental benefits of hiking.
By getting started on these steps at the gym or at home, you will be able to reach the top of your favorite nature trail in no time at all.
Remote working was virtually unheard of only a few decades ago. Having a full-time job usually meant working in the same place every day, with a fixed schedule and the same group of colleagues.
With the internet having become more widespread, it is now much easier for people to work remotely.
Over the past few years, a whole movement based on working remotely while traveling the globe has emerged. “Digital nomads,” as they are commonly known, typically have jobs which allow them to be fully remote, such as translation, computer programming or writing.
You can base yourself anywhere that’s equipped with electricity and a reliable internet connection. There are even websites that rate top digital nomad destinations, for example Nomadlist, you can see it here.
Looking for something more fantastic, if you’ve always wanted to live by the ocean, or in the shadow of a mountain, now you can.
There’s no need to live in an overcrowded, polluted city just because that’s where all the jobs are.
Also read: Top 5 Cities to Live as a Digital Nomad
Some digital nomads are lucky enough to be able to set their own schedules and work whenever it suits them.
Others need to work fixed hours, especially if they need to be available to take calls or participate in video conferences.
However, even if you fall into the second group, you can make the time difference work for you.
When you’re a night owl, try living somewhere which is 10-plus hours ahead or behind your home country, so that you can work until the early hours while still being able to take calls and contact your team.
When we asked Richard McGirr the founder of Visichain.io, a Hong Kong based Digital Transformation consultancy that specializes in supply chain and procurement digitization, his views on employing digital nomads, he said:
“Our company utilizes a few digital nomads some based in Eastern Europe, and a few in the Philippines, while we also tend to hire the best contractors for specific projects no matter where they are….the top reasons we hire both task based and full time digital nomads are to 1) leverage time shifts, so we can service our clients 24/7; 2) leverage lower cost countries with equivalent or better cost for value; and, 3) loyalty, our remote workers that have flexibility in their location tend to stay with us longer”
One of the biggest problems you might have at work is dealing with annoying colleagues, whether they won’t stop talking when you’re trying to concentrate, or they have a taste for stinky egg sandwiches which they eat at their desk.
Working remotely usually means working alone, from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
If you do get lonely, you can always use a co-working space to meet other digital nomads; unlike traditional working environments, it’s totally up to you.
As the name implies, digital nomads are free to move around as much as they want to.
Many stay put in one place for several months, or even years, but others choose to relocate more often.
As soon as you feel the need for a change of scenery, you can book your next flight and go.
Lots of nomads even travel with carry-on luggage only, to make it even cheaper and easier to work while on the move.
Also read: Getting Ready For the Backpacking Season
People with regular 9-to-5 jobs usually have to commute. That means a lot of wasted time, whether they’re waiting for delayed trains or crawling along the freeway in rush-hour traffic.
When you’re a digital nomad, going to work can be as easy as walking downstairs and setting up your laptop on the kitchen table, which can save many of you up to two or three hours per day.
You can use that extra time to catch up with friends, pick up some new skills–like hiking or Mandarin–or just wake up later in the morning.
Also read: Essentials for a Safe, Enjoyable Hiking Trip
The digital nomad lifestyle is definitely not for everyone; it wouldn’t suit those who have time-management issues or need to be close to family and friends.
However, it can be an eye-opening experience for those who struggle to fit into traditional workplaces or who want to see more of the world without being limited to a few weeks of vacation time per year.
Why not give it a try?
Tokyo is one of the world's largest and most vibrant cities. The Japanese capital has something to offer visitors in all seasons. Japan's rich history and unique popular culture attracts tourists year round.
Depending on the season, a trip to Tokyo is sure to coincide with events or festivals both old and new, ranging from centuries-old ceremonies to modern Japanese takes on western-influenced festivals such as Christmas and Halloween.
Whenever you're planning to visit, this guide to Tokyo's best monthly events should help you add some unique flavor and culture to your trip.
During Golden Week, Tokyo’s famously intense work culture grinds to a halt to celebrate New Year. Japan celebrates New Year on December 31, rather than celebrating the Lunar New Year later in January or February like China and South Korea.
Tokyo’s busy streets feel relatively deserted during Golden Week, as many office workers return to their hometowns to spend the festival with their families.
There is still plenty to keep tourists busy, however, with nightlife districts Shibuya, Shinjuku and Roppongi offering tons of bars and clubs with booming countdown parties on December 31. You could also join the crowds counting down to the New Year in Shibuya’s Central Gai street.
For a more traditional New Year experience, head to a Buddhist temple to hear 108 bells ring in the New Year. The temples ring their bells 108 times to symbolize the 108 Earthly desires Buddhists consider responsible for leading humans astray.
From January 8 to 22, fights begin with rookies early each morning and climax with championship fighters in the afternoon.
Cheap tickets are available for about 2000 Yen. These tickets sell out fast, so a good tip is to buy your ticket at Ryogoku Kokugikan at 8 a.m., then spend the rest of the morning exploring Tokyo, before returning late in the afternoon to watch the main event fights.
February marks the official transition from winter to spring, with Buddhist temples holding the Setsubun event on February 3 to celebrate.
The prime spots in Tokyo are again Zozoji Temple near Tokyo Tower and Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, where celebrities throw beans to crowds decked in traditional Japanese kimonos.
Japan has unique takes on many Western holidays, with Valentine’s Day on February 14 being no exception. Expect to see huge displays in stores promoting Valentine’s gifts.
The biggest difference between Valentine’s Day in Japan and the West is that women are expected to shower their boyfriends with chocolate-based gifts on Valentine’s Day, with the men returning the favor a month later on White Day.
The transition from winter to spring reaches its climax in March, with Tokyo’s residents flocking to the city’s many parks to see the beautiful and short-lived cherry blossom.
Trees across Tokyo sprout deep-pink leaves which fall away within weeks. Cherry blossom festivals celebrate this transition. The best place to enjoy the scenery are the gardens surrounding the Imperial Palace and at Shinjuku Gyoen, while the liveliest flower viewing Hanami parties can be found in Ueno and Yoyogi park.
Another unique Japanese festival is Doll’s Day on March 3, which celebrates young girls transition into womanhood.
Most Japanese mark Doll’s Day with small family gatherings, but there are some special events to mark the occasion that can add local flavor to a Tokyo trip.
Chiba, which lies to the east of Tokyo and is part of the capital’s sprawling subway network, hosts an huge display of dolls on the steps of Tomisaki Shrine.
The cherry blossom festivals continue well into April, so visitors can still enjoy the view at Tokyo’s many parks.
April also features perhaps the Tokyo metropolitan region’s most bizarre festival: Kawasaki’s Festival of the Steel Phallus.
The Festival of the Steel Phallus commemorates a legendary sharp-toothed demon which resided in women’s nether regions and devoured male appendages.
This risqué legend has today transformed into a festival which raises awareness and funds for the fight against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Crowds flock to Kawasaki’s Kanayama Shrine for a bizarre event featuring a wide array of phallic party pieces.
May’s Mikoshi festival at Asakusa’s Sensoji temple is a unique event in which teams from across Japan compete in wild synchronized displays.
The teams throw huge mikoshi statues in the air as they run around the temple in elaborate displays. This high-energy festival begins on the third Sunday in May and lasts for three days, with up to two million tourists visiting Sensoji temple to watch the action.
May also gives visitors to Tokyo their second chance at watching sumo wrestling at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
June isn’t an ideal time to visit Tokyo, as two-thirds of days are typically subject to heavy rainfall. The bad weather doesn’t mean a trip to Tokyo in June is a complete washout though.
The Sanno festival is a quieter and more somber affair than most Japanese festivals, but it is nevertheless an immense spectacle.
The highlight is a nine-hour parade through Tokyo’s busiest streets, beginning and ending at Hie Shrine in Chiyoda.
Huge crowds gather in Chiyoda to witness the Japanese emperor visiting the temple at the parade’s 5 p.m. climax.
A good spot to watch the parade’s progress is the garden in front of the Imperial Palace, which the procession typically passes at midday.
Like June, much of July falls in the rainy season, though this gives way to sweltering summertime by the end of the month.
From mid-July onwards, visitors flock to Japan’s beaches.
This is a perfect time to visit Kamakura, situated to the south of Tokyo and connected to the capital’s subway network. Kamakura combines some of Japan’s most beautiful and historic Buddhist temples with long stretches of beach, making it a perfect short trip for visitors to Tokyo.
While Okinawa is a four-hour flight from Tokyo, the island’s culture comes to the capital with late July’s Eisa festival in Shinjuku. This vibrant summer festival features Okinawan dancers showcasing a local culture which is a unique blend of Japanese and Pacific island traditions.
Asakusa is a must-see at any time of year, but late July may be the best time of year to visit Tokyo’s historic temple district, as the month ends with a huge fireworks display. The Sumidagawa fireworks display usually falls on the same day as the Shinjuku Eisa festival, giving energetic visitors an action-packed day.
August is sweltering hot, with the end of the rainy season bringing temperatures above 35°C/95°C.
August is the height of summer and peak tourist season, with both overseas visitors and Japanese tourists flocking to all Japan’s main travel destinations. August is also peak festival season, with a diverse selection of events taking place across the capital.
Teams from across Japan gather in Tokyo’s hip Harajuku and Omotesando districts in late August for Tokyo’s largest Yosakoi festival. The elaborate routines are a must-see for anyone visiting Tokyo in August.
Edogawa Hanabi sees Tokyo compete with neighboring Chiba with dueling fireworks displays on opposite banks of the Edogawa river.
An even larger display takes place at the Kanagawa Shinbun festival in the picturesque Minato Mirai area of Yokohama, which is easily accessible via the Tokyo subway network. Kanagawa Shinbun is Japan’s largest fireworks festival, attracting around one million visitors each year.
September is one of the best months to visit Tokyo, as the weather is hot without being as oppressively humid as August.
Fukuro Matsuri could be considered a ‘best of’ or ‘taster’ version of the August festivals, as it features synchronized mikoshi displays and a wide variety of traditional and modern dance competitions.
The biggest companies in the video game industry converge in Tokyo for a huge conference where they show off many of the new titles that will be released in the year ahead.
The good weather also makes September a perfect time for video game fans to go Mario Karting on Tokyo’s streets.
This wacky activity lets visitors dress up as Mario Kart characters and ride go-karts through Tokyo’s busiest streets.
Although real-life Mario Karting is possible all-year round, combining it with the Tokyo Game Show makes September the perfect time to make a gamer’s pilgrimage to the Japanese capital.
September is your third and final chance to catch sumo wrestling at Tokyo’s famous Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Japan’s affinity with cosplay reaches its apex on October 31, with huge crowds gathering to party on the streets of Shibuya. There are also family-friendly parades throughout the Tokyo metropolitan area, with the biggest taking place in Kawasaki.
Halloween is also the perfect time to visit Tokyo Disney Land, with visitors flocking to its Halloween parade. Tourists who would rather avoid the crowds and visit Disney Land at a less busy time should definitely keep away during Halloween weekend though!
The Tokyo Motor Show is held once every two years and attracts huge numbers of car lovers with the world’s latest automobile innovations.
Tokyo’s neighboring city Chiba hosts CEATEC each year, which is Japan’s largest consumer electronics show. CEATEC is the best place to check out Japan’s latest technological innovations, including cutting-edge robotics.
Finally, October provides the yang to the ying of the spring’s cherry blossom festivals, with huge crowds flocking to Tokyo’s parks to see the leaves’ autumnal color change.
As with the cherry blossom festivals, the best places for leaf viewing are the parks at the Imperial Palace, Shinjuku Gyoen, Ueno and Yoyogi.
The fall leaf viewing season continues throughout November, so visitors to Tokyo should visit one of the city’s main parks.
Icho Namiki Avenue is another popular place for leaf viewing. This long street runs between the upmarket areas of Gaienmae and Aoyama Ichome and is lined with ginko trees, the leaves of which are particularly striking in the fall.
Tokyo’s Design Festa takes place in early November. This event features 10,000 artists of all stripes, from painters to musicians. Design Festa runs for three days and offers a perfect chance to sample Japan’s unique and diverse arts scenes.
A more traditional festival takes place in early November at the Meiji Shrine beside Yoyogi park and Harajuku.
Traditional activities such as archery and sumo wrestling are showcased at this three-day event that provides visitors with a taste of Japan’s rich cultural history.
Christmas is another Western festival which has been embraced in Japan, with many parks and businesses throughout the city adorned with Christmas lights throughout December.
Elaborate Christmas lights can be found throughout the city, but the displays at the Tokyo Dome, Tokyo Midtown and Yebisu garden place are among the most popular.
December 23 is the Emperor’s birthday, which is a public holiday throughout Japan. The Emperor marks the occasion by addressing crowds at the Imperial Palace.
Tokyo is a huge city with much to offer visitors at any time of year. Whenever you visit, there are sure to be unique events which can make a visit to Tokyo an unforgettable experience.
The 45+ minute talk is a critique of what some call ‘New Age Plastic Shamans‘, and the interaction of different cultures and how they influence each other — taking focus is the interaction of gringo tourist seeking authentic shamans — the somewhat misguided imagination many gringos have of what a true medicine man should be: the idealized buddha-like delusions many seekers believe-in are highlighted.
Jerónimo M. Muñoz begins the talk about his journey making a documentary film focused on entheogens:
First, Muñoz began his filmmaking about entheogens in Mexico in the village where Maria Sabina was from — Maria was a Mazatec shaman women who was found by R. Gordon Wasson(former J.P. Morgan banker) who found her while he was searching for a mushroom cult. He wrote an article in Life magazine called ‘The Magic Mushroom’. Due to this article, Timothy Leary encountered mushrooms in Mexico inspired from the article in Life magazine.
Mr. Muñoz, a Spanish filmmaker with a deep interest in entheogens, follows in Wasson’s footstep and becomes down due to the commercialization and change in ambiance due to what he seems to associate with the fame of Maria Sabina.
He even visited her family and discovers how the influx of visitors destabilized the village of Maria Sabina….
Then Muñoz takes ololiuqui (a species of morning glory that has LSD-like properties) and has a terrible night and realized how far out he was and felt stupid…and how one’s interest can turn destructive.
“This general interest can be very destructive of certain places…even the arrival of money…it destabilizes the place…it creates frictions…it creates envy…it was good intentions all around…”
Talk is about gringos not ayahuasca. Muñoz was forced to look at himself again and again and again — he had tunnel vision and seeking the substances, or plants, and not paying attention to the rest of the life, the culture.
Once he left the study of entheogens, he started to read anthropology but this was more the perspective of the gringo then it led him to colonialism…
Insidious process that is a slow eroding,we take more & more & more & more, we take the resources then their souls…
Take away, argument: today colonialism continues but today it is a cultural colonialism— it’s just a process that continues regardless of the fact that we are good but our very presence is an imposition. Some would argue that the phenomena of the ayahuasca retreat in South America is a continuation of this process.
“I want to talk a little bit about this process…the pastoral idea the idea that somewhere else people live in complete harmony with nature — even the Greeks believed this 3,000 years ago and somehow we lost contact with nature.
The idea of idealizing native people is not true — they are human beings, idealizing them is saying, ‘they are not like us’ but they are… they are a person.
This idea is very powerful. They are people, living in a particularly fucked-up situation in the world.”
People were disappointed who went deep in the jungle and thought they were ripped-off. They were seeking an old wise-man, a buddha, an ideal that doesn’t exist and they were very disappointed and they feel let down, ripped off (Similar to the myth of the cowboy in the West).
“I’d been a fucking idiot with a head full of bullshit ideas that weren’t true— and it’s totally disrespectful…”
The problem is we feel empty and we want to fill the lack… “I will play the indian that I want the indians to be”.
Take a picture… trying to grab things that can’t be grabbed and we end up with empty forms… (being a basketball player is not in your sneakers).
“By looking at these things you destroy them”. “….please, please, please be very careful. If you’re gonna enter other peoples culture, try and walk on your tip toes. Try to be a fly on the wall. Try to shut your mouth and open your eyes. Try to be careful…we are German cowboys.”
The above text are notes created while watching the above video lecture — Ayahuasca Tourism vs Tradition: The Clash Between Western Psychonauts & Traditional Practitioners (Jerónimo M. Muñoz)
Did you know that ayahuasca can be effective for detox, including THC detox?
Extreme camping certainly isn’t for everyone, but this type of camping is becoming more common among those who love experiences that test their strength and endurance.
They thrive on that feeling of pure ecstasy. Imagine yourself spending the night in pitch black, sleeping in a hammock high in the treetops.
How about setting up camp on a sheer cliff far above the ground?
Tree camping is gaining popularity in places around the world. Within the United States, one well-known spot is in The Willamette National Forest in Oregon near Blue River with the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute.
Get ready for the thrill of a life-time. The “campsites” are at least 200 feet up a 500 year- old Douglas Fir.
Guides will outfit you with all needed equipment. This extreme experience will cost you about $600 per person.
You will be issued harnesses and helmets. Now the work begins. It’s time to pull yourself up with attached ropes and cables to your campsite. If you get queasy with heights, don’t look down!
When you reach your destination, you will no doubt be exhausted. Your ‘tree boat” should be ready for you to climb in. This device is a sturdy hammock attached between the tree trunk and a large branch. As you dangle high above the ground, enjoy the gorgeous view.
Soon daylight will be gone and it will be pitch black. Fatigue from the climb as well as the swaying of your hammock, should put you right to sleep.
Morning arrives and you are wondering what you’re doing up in a tree. Room service responds by bringing a cup of hot coffee and a warm face wash.
Your extreme tree camping is over and preparation for the descent is next. You may be contemplating whether this is a once in a lifetime event or an annual event.
If you get an adrenaline rush thinking about “hanging out” against a sheer cliff at a dizzying height, extreme cliff camping may be just what you’re looking for.
For a number of years, rock climbers have used ledges and hanging tents to sleep and eat on climbs of more than one day. Now it’s becoming a popular extreme experience to climb a sheer cliff and set up camp for the fabulous views and just for the thrill of it all.
For ordinary ground-level campers, it’s enough of a challenge to securely set up a tent on the ground, but imagine attaching a portaledge (tent structure) to a sheer cliff many feet up.
The portaledge tents of the 1950s were fairly rustic and not too comfortable. More modern styles today have a stable ground support with a metal frame attached to straps that hang from the campsite at one single place.
The campers have a feeling of security and can comfortably relax and sleep after their tiring climbs. You can use single or double tents. With these stable tents you can move around a bit – do some cooking, read, play games and enjoy other life pleasures.
What is the big draw of this kind of outdoor experience? Some extreme campers explain that cliff camping gets the adrenaline going so strong that you feel like you’re literally “on the edge” of living life to the utmost.
More and more people, who have only dreamed of experiencing life on the edge and up high, are living out their dream as extreme camping is becoming more common in places around the world.
Equipment is becoming safer and more comfortable.
The adrenaline rush is on for the extreme risk-takers of the world.