Creating Your Camping Checklist

You are looking forward to going on your camping trip! You need to bring several important items. Where can you find a checklist of things you need to take?

Internet Ideas

There are many websites on the Internet that are devoted to enriching your camping experience.

They will have many suggestions for you of places to camp, rules of camping (such as “Leave No Trace”, meaning anything you take into the site, you will take out of the site) and information about required permits and expected weather.

These sites can give you great general information, whether you’re going for a quick overnight trip locally or an extended backpacking expedition many miles from home.

Individual campsites also often have websites. If the campsite you want to go to has one, by all means check it out! Not only will the site give you specific rules for that campsite, but the site also might tell you the expected weather at the time you will be there.

You can often make reservations on the website ahead of time, if you’d rather make your arrangements online than call the campsite directly.

Books And Other Printed Materials

There are a lot of books about local campsites. They’ll tell you the pros and cons of each campsite, and include checklists of what things you should take camping with you. The campsite checklist can also tell you whether there is electricity, running water, or toilet facilities at the campground.

If you’ve been to that campsite before, there’s a good chance you already have a pamphlet from the site on hand. The pamphlet will have a map of the campsite, directions to get there, and often a checklist of things you should know, like their amenities and offered activities, if there are any.

Camper Friends And Acquaintances

If you’re a less-experienced camper and want input and suggestions from those who have much more experience, you can just ask around.

Chances are, a friend or neighbour has a favourite campground they’d be willing to share with you. They can tell you their checklist of things they always pack when they go camping, along with things that might not be on any “official” checklist.

These might include an air mattress, or a zip-lock bag for toiletries or leftover food. They might give you encouragement to get a hydration-system backpack (like a CamelBak) or even lend you theirs.

And they may have suggestions about boots to get for the hike away from camp. You may be surprised how many good ideas they may have for you!

Everyday Adventures in Wonderland

My intent in this article is to provide a perspective that can help identify the subtle guidance signals the heart sends to us, and encourage a greater awareness of them.

The number one signal is that life stops working.

This happened to me, in spite of my best efforts to do what I was supposed to as a principled respectable person. From the outside I looked (and was) relatively successful – so I had to be happy, right? My heart should be singing. But on the inside I was finding it more and more difficult to function.

The more I struggled to figure it out, the worse it seemed to get. Frustration, disappointment; confusion and emotional chaos were my constant companions. And the burning question was, “Why, if I was doing what I was supposed to – being reliable, responsible and reasonably well behaved – was I feeling so miserable?” It took me many years to understand that this was a signal from my heart.

My heart was singing alright, but it wasn’t the kind of song I expected to hear.

The exact circumstances of this kind of experience, when it happens, are irrelevant – although they don’t seem so at the time. But it’s a common enough event and it’s scary when it happens. For me it surfaced as a realisation that nothing made sense any more – and the possibility that just about everything I believed about the world was mistaken. What used to have meaning and purpose became empty – lip service to convention. I found myself just going through the motions.

Noticing this is actually a great place to arrive at. It’s a great place because the heart’s energy is in compression and is bursting to put us on the path of real joy. Paradoxically the measure of that joy is the depth of the misery that brings us to the realisation that nothing’s working.

Just to be clear, misery comes from resisting the path that the heart is urging us down. So the heart signals to us through both joy and its absence.

But to take the path of the heart we have to let go of (or be prepared to let go of) many of the ideas and beliefs that we’ve embraced in creating our sense of who we are. Those beliefs are simply decisions we’ve made about what something means, and that includes ourselves.

This is a matter of consequence, because we’ve been making up that meaning since we’ve been conscious physical entities. It gets built up into an identity and we inhabit that identity as if it’s who we really are. But it isn’t; it’s an invention.

When life stops working it’s an opportunity to re-invent ourselves.

What we believe about ourselves, and the world we live in, is largely a story we’ve made up to explain ourselves to ourselves. It’s nothing more than an interpretation of our experience of events and an anchoring of that interpretation through our emotions and feelings. The context of that story is the culture that we’re born into, and into which we contrive to fit ourselves. That culture itself is nothing more than a pre-established collective interpretation – a convenient fabrication that society subscribes to.

Most of our story gets made up before we’ve developed much in the way of intellectual, analytical or critical ability that would enable us to see its arbitrary nature. If the narrative we concocted seemed to fit the circumstances we’ll have embraced it and moved on. By the time we acquire sufficient analytical skills to de-construct our story it’s too late. The story is recognised as fact and we’re too busy making it work to question it – until we can’t make it work any more.

Understanding the arbitrary and subjective nature of our early interpretations and our intensely personal identification with them is a secret key to self-empowerment. One that lies buried in the depths of the unconscious.

We are not victims of life but of our interpretations of life.

This understanding is vital because without it there’s little likelihood of real transformation. We simply won’t give ourselves permission to break the rules we’ve defined ourselves by, even if we can see the need to, unless we’re clear on this fundamental principle.

The point to remember is that the entire process of self-invention is experiential. That’s to say although we might have thought it up, we didn’t plan it. It was a reactive response to the perception that something had happened, or been done, to me – and that’s important to the perception of being a victim and feeling powerless.

Our interpretations are anchored in the physical and emotional responses of the time of a particular experience. This sets up unconscious triggers, rather like the uncharacteristic behaviour triggers induced by a stage hypnotist. Because of this the approach to making a sustainable shift – transforming ourselves – cannot simply be intellectual. There has to be another component that reaches beyond the intellect.

This is why although deciding to change is important, it’s not enough on its own. It’s just the first step.

If we made the story up then it should be ours to revise and edit. And so it is, but we can’t change what’s happened. What we can change is our interpretation of the people and events concerned – how we see them. This is a second step.

A third step is to allow our feelings to surface and be present with them as a conscious compassionate adult. No-one knows how they will emerge from this, except that it will be a different version of the person that began the process – and that’s the adventure.

Just in case you’re wondering where Wonderland is, I have to tell you it’s right here and now. It’s the world we inhabit as conscious human beings.

“Dear, dear! How queer everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual, I wonder if I have changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”

Lewis Carroll: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Three Hardgainer Muscle Building Tips

There are many tips out there to help you learn how to build muscle. However not all the tips out there on the internet will be the right tips for you, so you need to make sure the tips are geared for the hardgainer body style. The knowledge of these muscle building tips are worthless unless you begin to put them into practice. I will go through three of these muscle building tips that I think are significant when it comes to your muscle building goals.

Muscle Building Tip #1

If you are a hardgainer you should make certain that you are working out properly for your somatotype. This entails not listening to the suggestions from the professional bodybuilders, unless of course you have a mesomorphic body type and are on the juice. If you have an ectomorphic body type then you should seek to learn from people that used to be skinny but have learned how to pack on muscle to their skinny frames. If you are taking the advise of the muscle magazines this will most likely take you down the wrong path to injury and little to no gains in muscle mass.

You own a unique body composition, yet there are individuals that have ones similar to yours, but most likely no one has the same exact composition as you. When it comes down to achieving your goals to build muscle, you have to realize that your unique body makeup does make you your own best teacher. A thing that works for someone else may not have the same results when you try it. That doesn’t mean their advise was wrong, it just means your body did not respond the same as theirs did. However, each classification of the body types have some similar aspects to each one that you should understand. Whether it is dealing with training or nutrition, you should first figure out which body style you most likely fit into and then take it from there.

Muscle Building Tip #2

If you want to gain the most muscle in the shortest amount of time, I recommend using mainly compound exercises with heavy weight. In order to get your muscles to grow you have to give them a reason to want to grow. Compound exercises are more natural movements using multiple joints and muscle groups. This combined with using heavy weights and high intensity will send signals to your body that it needs to grow in order to handle all this stress you keep putting upon it.

The key is to track your progress and constantly strive to beat the amount of reps or weight you achieved the previous workout, the last time you performed that exercise. Over time as you consistently go up in reps and weight, your body will began to consistently grow in strength and muscle mass.

Muscle Building Tip #3

Get plenty of rest, sleep and practice recovery methods. Weight lifting puts massive amounts of stress on the body and muscles. Sleep is then required for the actual growth and repairing of the muscles. Unless you are getting enough sleep, the amount of progress in building muscle are going to be very small.

Practicing proper recovery methods are also crucial. Bodybuilding has a tendency to cause your muscles to constrict. This can contribute to problems, unless you focus on performing the correct recovery techniques to neutralize this tightening of the muscles. The best ways to go about this is to either get a deep tissue massage, or buy a foam roller. Deep tissue massages and foam rollers make your muscles more pliable and help loosen them up. Following the massage or foam rolling sessions, you then need to focus on doing some stretching. Stretching supports in lengthening the muscles back to where they should be. You should be doing at least as much stretching as you are doing lifting, if not more.

Wrap Up

Hope these 3 muscle building tips helped you out. Trust me there are many more tips for helping you achieve muscle, but I felt that these 3 are pretty high up on the scale of importance. The best thing to do is read as much as you can about nutrition and muscle building so you can have a complete picture of what needs to be done in order for you to achieve those massive gains that you are aiming to reach.

Where to Go Off Island – A Sanibel Day Trip Guide

There are dozens of side trips that can be made from Sanibel, if, indeed, you are willing to leave Paradise.

For most travellers who come to Sanibel Island for a week or two, a trip off island is of no interest. As mentioned in an earlier blog post there are many things to do on island and many boating excursions to other islands right from Sanibel. Why leave Sanibel at all, and especially by automobile?

But for renters who spend a month or more on island, there may come a time when they just have to explore.

And there are several nice destinations that one can drive to in relatively short time that really offer something different.

Very near and off island on stunning McGregor Boulevard, an avenue of Royal Palms, are the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. These are not lavish homes, but the homes and the grounds are beautifully maintained and give the visitor a good sense of the area in the times when Thomas Edison and Henry Ford frequented. Most definitely deserving of the 30 minute or less drive from Sanibel.

Heading south, it is worth a drive into Naples to visit the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Although it is unlikely you will see any animals or birds you can not see on Sanibel, the environment at Corkscrew Swamp is very unique. The perfect eco balance of the swamp keeps it mosquito free….or at least seemingly so. It’s a nice micro environment of the whole of Florida , only 1.5 hours, from Sanibel, and one which the visitor can experience in a comfortable and quick trip.

And, if you really want a special treat, drive north up to Sarasota to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. This truly is worth the 2 hour drive, though you may want to consider staying overnight near by to better see all the exhibits. The Ringling’s home on beautiful Sarasota Bay, Ca d’Zan Mansion, is a lavish estate filled with art and decorative pieces purchased by the Ringlings. In addition to the art and decorative pieces in Ca d’Zan, there is a separate museum of fine art on the grounds which features some splendid work by Titian, Veronese, Rubens, Hals, and Velazquez. But perhaps the most charming aspect of the Ringling Museum is the miniature circus on the gounds.

The Howard Brothers Circus model is a replica of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1919 – 1938. Complete with eight main tents, 152 wagons, 1,300 circus performers and workers, more than 800 animals and a 59-car train, the model is built in ¾-inch-to-the-foot scale replica and occupies 3,800 square feet. The “world’s largest miniature circus” was created over a period of more than 50-years by master model builder and philanthropist Howard Tibbals. It is absolutely amazing and if you really wanted to pay attention to all the details, it could absorb hours of your time.

Of course, you can always forgo any trip off island and plant yourself into the sand on Bowman’s Beach. And who would blame you?