Introducing A New Language To Your Life

No matter how you look at it, learning a new language will be a great advantage for anyone. With how much  I travel, it’s actually going to be very beneficial to me. Whether you are considering a career in translation, or simply want to enrich your life, introducing a new language to your life can be very rewarding and profitable. Not only can you enjoy travels to the country of your dreams, you may even be able to pay your own way by acting as a translator.

I.Q.

For years, scientists said that you could not do anything to increase your own IQ. The classic wisdom concerning IQ was that each person is born with a set IQ, and nothing will increase that number.

However, studies done over the last two decades have shown that there are 2 ways to increase your IQ. Those two ways are to learn to play an instrument and to learn a new language. This actually seems to make sense, because music is, itself, a separate language, with its own unique symbols.

Babies that learn sign language, according to a study done in 1989, have an IQ about 12 points higher than their peers.

School children who study a foreign language in elementary school also score higher on IQ tests. They also score higher on other types of academic testing, such as the Ross test which calculates cognitive functioning.

Bloom’s taxonomy, which is the gradation of abilities in relation to mastery of information, ranks the most advanced cognitive skill as that of being able to evaluate information. Students who have had the longest training in foreign languages rank higher, more consistently, than students who have not learned a foreign language.

Adults and Language

Even adults can increase their IQ through learning a foreign language. For many years, it was believed that only children could improve with the exposure to other languages. While it may be easier at younger ages, adults, too, can actually gain IQ points by learning an instrument or a language.

While most studies have focused on the benefits of language studies at an early age, studies done in the last decade have proven that adults, too, can benefit from these studies.

In studies done on people who have evidenced onset of Alzheimer’s, those who engage their brains actively in complex linguistic tasks such as learning a new language fare better than their counterparts who do not. Learning a new language can keep your brain healthier and slow down the progress of dementia.

Employment in Translation

In fact, many adults have found a whole new career in the field of translation. Newly developed skills with a foreign language are very marketable in today’s global economy. Many companies want someone who can translate website information or prepare newsletters and emails in another language. In addition, most police departments, hospitals, court systems, and school systems have intense need for translators in various languages.

When you combine the benefits to your brain with the added employment opportunities, learning a new language makes a lot of sense. You can be smarter, healthier, and richer – what could be wrong with that?

Tragic News From Cornwall

I’d just heard that unfortunately 3 people have lost their lives to a riptide in Cornwall. England has been having some heavy winds and rain over the past week or two and I guess they just picked the wrong day to go surfing.

It seems the 3 deceased were caught in a riptide, after multiple 999 calls, emergency services came and recovered them from the water. CPR was conducted but unfortunately they were pronounced dead at the hospital.

Plant Spotting On Holiday

We’ve all heard of going on holiday for the expressed purpose of bird watching. Aficionados travel all over the world just to see a particular bird that lives only on one continent. But, have you ever heard of “plant spotters”? Indeed, there are people who travel all over the world to see unusual plants that are not found at the local nursery.

Giant Redwood Trees

2825601824_c1c9227cb7_b

Located in the Western United States is the tallest tree in the world. The amazing thing about this? It was only discovered in 2006! The Hyperion is a giant redwood tree, and is 115.72 metres tall. Helios is only 1 metre shorter, followed by Icarus at 113.4 metres and Daedalus at 110.76 metres. These unbelievable natural wonders. The Hyperion is only about 600 years old, and is growing quite well at this time. While you are in California visiting the Greek giants, don’t miss the giant sequoias in the Sequoia National Park. At a puny 83 metres high, it is 24 metres around and is a youthful 2000 years old.

Socotra Island

If you have always wondered what it would be like to visit an alien landscape, visit Socotra Island. This hot, dry location in the Indian Ocean may not be your idea of a beach comber’s paradise, but the white sands lead you to 700 rare species of plants and animals. Over 250 of these species are found on the island. The Dragon’s Blood tree, for instance, which appears to be a pine tree with a distinctive “flying saucer” shape – a dome of green on top, and an intricate network of branches beneath.

 

10941931846_590ce2a1a3_b

Also on Socotra Island you can see the – um, beautiful – Desert Rose. This plant looks for all the world like an elephant went belly-up and started growing cherry trees out of its feet. Add to that the fact that the ballooned appendages grow straight out of bare rock, and you definitely feel like you are on a weird, 1970s “trip”.

Baobab Trees

8153284516_c47712b87a_b

No list of unusual plant sightings is complete without reference to the Baobab tree. Western Australia is home to some of the most incredible baobab trees, including the Prison tree. The trunk is so massive that it was hollowed out and – yes – used to hold prisoners overnight before being delivered to their prison.

Jabuticaba

 

Well, that a bit hard to pronounce, but Brazilians love the fruit that grows – get this – on the TRUNK! They look like little tears being extruded through the bark. The fruit is used much like grapes are used, either eaten or made into wine or juice. The tree will get hairy, white blooms and produce black fruit several times a year.

Rainbow Eucalyptus

The rainbow eucalyptus grows naturally in the Philippines. As it sheds its bark, bright green bark beneath is revealed. As the bark is exposed to oxygen and sunlight, it ages to blue, then purple, then orange and brown. All of these colours are displayed at the same time, considering that the trees shed irregularly.

For you plant spotters out there like  myself, you’ll be tempted to take some of these home with you, but these aren’t indoor plants! Either way, you could spend a lifetime simply pursuing amazing trees!

The Wonders of Bude

Bude, located in north Cornwall, England, is a seaside gem. Its shore is on the Celtic Sea, which is adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. While Bude, historically, was a safe harbor for ocean-going vessels, it has also been a popular tourist spot since the Victorian Era.

The Bude Formation

If you walk the South West Coast Path, you’ll pass through Bude itself, and on to the cliffs that gave the town its name. These cliffs are made of a unique strata that is only found in Bude. All other coasts in Cornwall are made of granite or slate, or even of metamorphic rock. However, in Bude, the coasts and cliffs are made of sandstone that is categorized as carboniferous. This sand, and the cliffs themselves, were mined by area farmers for the inherent fertilizer. The Bude Formation is a result of natural erosion and mining, and are quite a spectacular sight for locals and tourists alike.

Ship Wrecks

Have you ever seen a shipwreck? There is one in Bude. At the base of the cliffs, many ships have met their doom. The Bencoolen is one of many ships that wrecked in that dangerous surf, and the figurehead from this 1862 wreck is still on display in the town museum.

Beaches

 

You’ll find several different beaches in Bude. Each of them is open to the public, and offer surfing for all skills levels. Right in town, you’ll find the Summerleaze beach and the Crooklets beach. These, of course, offer enjoyable ocean activities within reach of the conveniences of the city. How wonderful it is to leave your comfortable hotel room, or bed and breakfast, stroll down to the beach for the afternoon, and return to a hot tub and well-prepared meal!

Another beach you will enjoy is the Sandymouth Beach. This one is owned and maintained by the National Trust, and offers amazing views of the dramatic cliffs and amazing rock formations. At low tide, there are miles of sand to enjoy as you search for sand dollars and starfish.

Widemouth Bay also has long beaches of nice, clean sand and easy access to the ocean. You can also explore the area all around, because there are many coves and beaches that are not even on the maps.

 

Outdoor Activities

Bude is well known for its outdoor activities, from surf schools to golfing, fishing, and hiking. In addition, the town of Bude is big enough to provide great shopping opportunities, as well as fine dining. You can also enjoy the Cornish Furry Dance, held every week. There is also a Jazz Festival and the Carnival Week.

Accommodations

Accommodations in Cornwall will fill any traveler’s tastes. You can find Bed and Breakfasts that offer seclusion and even a select menu. These B&Bs each have their own themes and amenities, from private gardens to whirlpool tubs. You can enjoy Victorian elegance, modern living, and anything in between with your selection of your B&B.

The Barns, at Higher Widemouth farm, will give you a peaceful retreat in a rural area. It is only 10 minutes away from the beach, and the great Coastal Footpath is a short drive away. There, you’ll find even more beaches, along with a golf course, shopping, and dining in cafes, restaurants, and bars. Or, if you prefer, you can dine in, because the Barns is self-catering.

The Popup hotel are actually doing their special Barefoot Resort in Cornwall again this year too, so if you fancy taking the plunge and going glamping in the beautiful furnished tents that the pop-up hotel provide, why not head down to Cornwall to have some fun.

There are also very nice cottages available for rental. These will place you in the neighborhood of your choice, with easy access to particular festivals or beaches. You’ll have all the comforts of home, without the housework!

Don’t let Bude fall off of the radar. Enjoy your holiday in this great place.

The Wonders Of China and It’s History

I’ve done some travelling in my time, but i’ve always wanted to go to China. I was actually just reading about an ancient bridge that recently got “rediscovered”. It was a granite bridge built during the Ming Dynasty and it reappeared in China’s Lake Poyang. As the lake’s waters receded, they revealed this long-forgotten structure.

The 2,930 meter bridge is said to be the longest built across any lake in the entire country. This is quite fitting, since Lake Poyang is the largest freshwater lake in China.
The bridge is said to have over 1000 spans, or holes in its body, prompting the nickname “Thousand Eye Bridge”. Four hundred years ago, it served as a major commerce and traffic route for those living around this enormous body of water, crucial to daily life in ancient China.

The bridge has, of course, collapsed, but the basic structure is still evident. It is made of granite “planks” that measure about 30 cm wide, by 15 cm thick, by 182 cm long. These heavy planks formed the deck of the bridge, and were placed on solidly set piers, also made of granite.


Poyang Lake, which as covered as much as 4,500 square kilometers of land in the past, has receded over the last few years. Experts say this is due, in part, to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. This, and lower than average rainfall, have reduced the lake to fewer than 1,500 square kilometers. This is also the dry season, so the combination of the three factors has revealed the ancient bridge.
The lake is fed by three rivers that merge into the Yangtze. When the Yangtze changed course in the 400s, it caused the Gan River to back up, forming Lake Poyang.
The Three Gorges Dam holds water in reservoirs for the surrounding populace. However, with the decreased water of the Yangtze, water has been siphoned out of Lake Poyang, making the situation worse.
The falling water levels have proven devastating to the locals, 70% of whom make their livings as fishermen. A fishing ban, enacted in 2002, is still in place.


Not only are fish threatened, but plankton and other organisms have also suffered. This has produced a major threat to migratory birds, as this lake is a major stop on long migratory routs for many species.
The finless porpoise, native to Lake Poyang, is also threatened, and it is feared that it may become extinct as the Yangtze river dolphin before it.

In 2012, the Chinese government ordered a massive drop of shrimp, maize, and millet to feed both the dolphins and the migratory birds.
In the 1300s, Lake Poyang was the site of what is said to be one of the largest battles in naval history. It also has a reputation for being the Chinese version of the Bermuda Triangle, with many ship disappearances reported. The latest disappearance was in 1945, when a Japanese troop ship carrying 20 sailors vanished.
The Ming Dynasty lasted from 1368 to 1644, when it fell to the Mongols. By the end of that time period, known as the Chongzhen period, the Ming Dynasty had built about 1,000 such bridges, according to the Beijing News.

 

There’s a lot of history to China, and I think it would be a great place to visit. There are few places with such a rich and interesting culture. I think I would like to learn some of the language before I go though, I wouldn’t want to have to rely on translation services on my phone or something similar.  Although that could be helpful to translate the interesting food and other  stuff that you find at the street vendors. You have to be careful what you eat, it’s not uncommon for street vendors and some of the cheaper restaurants to use something called gutter oil.

Gutter oil is probably one of the nastiest things I have seen, where they scrape the remnants of food waste and animal fat from the sewers, and use it to cook food!

The Wonders Of Devon: Countryside and Coastline

You don’t have to fly abroad to have yourself a good time do you? A lot of people that I know don’t think that holidaying in the UK is the same, but you can most definitely have as much fun. The wondrous areas of the UK can be as different as night and day.

From the woodlands to the beautiful beaches of Cornwall, The Lake District to The Highlands, every area of the UK has a different landscape that is both scenic and beautiful. So why not take advantage of that and holiday in a completely different area of the country? One fantastic place I suggest you visit is Devon. The infinite countryside rolling into the distance is breathtakingly beautiful, as you will see from some of the photos that I post here.

6104474656_4d5a94cbd8_b

Devon is a county that has the bonus of not only having beautiful countryside and greenery, but also for having amazing beaches and coastline. In some places the coastline and countryside meet, to make some amazing imagery.

7234494524_c0130f1116_b

So who says England doesn’t have any sights to see? Not only do you have these great areas to explore, there are lots more things to do! When I last went on holiday in the UK, I actually decided on taking on some adventure activities in Devon, I had a fantastic time coasteering and surfing. One of my favourite activities was actually surf rafting. I took on the waves and the rocks in a dingy full of people!

2349805218_ec397f03a8_b

There’s more to do than just that though, you can explore caves along the Devon coastline, jump off cliffs into the sea (not too high of course, but high enough to be scary!) and have a whole lot of fun. There are also chances to go kayaking, surfing and more, this is just with Active Escapes.

If you fancy going further afield there are other companies that do Jet ski’s, speedboats and even pedalos! There’s nothing like drifting through the baby blue sea.

Aswell as activities there are lots of sights to see in Devon, the Valley Of The Rocks being one of them aswell as many nature reserves and historical areas.  There are some old railways such as the South Devon Railway, that still has and operating steam train! Have a look online at the different places and activities you can do in Devon, I think you’ll be surprised.

Just make sure if you’re doing sea activities that you go in the late summer, those Atlantic waters can be very cold and take a long time to warm up through the summertime.

Decisions For Your Holiday

Holiday decisions can always be difficult, especially if you have children. Most parents may find themselves asking “where are we going this year?” and the answer is usually “who knows?”. So why not try something a bit different this year?

There are many interesting things that have spawned up over the last decade, hybrids of activities we used to do regulally. Camping has always been a good fun holiday for the family, but now we have all kinds of different variants. Camping is fun, but there is a new cat in town.. Glamping.

I came across glamping recently when I discovered The Popup Hotel who are renound for their luxury retreat accommodation. The website pretty much says it all and it looks like a fantastic treat. Maybe not a family orientated holiday, but luxury camping looks fantastic. The tents are huge, with wicker flooring and 4 poster beds, how can you go wrong? Apparently they also serve beautiful food and their venue is at many locations.

The popup hotel usually erects its tents at many famous festivals, Glastonbury, Reading and they even do racing events. So if you’re looking for something a bit special, why not try a bit of Glamping,

Getting The Right Equipment For The Outdoors

Camping can be a great way to have fun, but it can also be a terrible experience if you don’t take the right equipment with you! Making sure you are well prepared and have a list of items that you need to take you should be ok. But what if you don’t have those items? Well, you’re going to have to find out in advance so that you can go out and purchase the necessary Camping, Hiking & Mountaineering gear.

The way that I make sure I have everything I need is I play out a day in my head, I note down what items I am using in my “imaginary day” and then I pop onto Mac Eoin and purchase what I need. Making sure you go through a day will at least get you remembering the vitals. It’s very rare not to forget at least one thing so keep your eyes peeled!

Camping can be really fun, but if you do forget something that you depend upon, it can be a real nightmare. If you have a vehicle, you can always go out and grab what you need I suppose, but if it’s left at home, it’s a waste of money!

Going Away On Holiday? Make Sure Your Home Is Protected

If you’re going away soon on a long holiday, it might be worth your while making sure that everything is protected at home. I’m not talking about security protection (although that is important) I’m talking about weather protection! Who knows what the weather might be like at home when you go away, so it might be a good idea to slap some varnish on those bespoke gates and garage doors!

If you haven’t already, it’s fairly important to make sure that all of the woodwork in your garden is completely covered. If you don’t then you’re going to end up with damp rotting wood, and that’s no good if you’ve spent a fortune on having custom work done.

There are many products on the market you can use, and different ways to apply said products. You have the standard wood stain in a tin, this will generally be applied through a standard paintbrush, depending on how much fencing or gating you have, this could be quite tiresome.

Next you have thinner wood stain that can be delivered in a different method. You have a hand pressure sprayer that can spray the wood stain onto the fence in an easier and much quicker fashion.

It’s important to not leave your garden unprotected, especially when you go away. So don’t forget!

Going Away For A Family Event

Although I wouldn’t really call it a holiday, weddings are something that you just have to make time for. Whether you are travelling abroad for your family members wedding, or if it’s somewhere in the same country you’re still going away and you need to make the best of the time that your spending right? Weddings are for relaxing and having fun too, so try to think of it as a holiday aswell, nobody likes to see a grumpy so-and-so at a wedding, so get yourself in the right frame of mind!

Weddings don’t have to be a chore, you can enjoy the environment, the Old manor house, The Church or the Wedding Marquee. You should be able to have a great time, with all of the professionals around, and if the’re a free bar you’re in for even more of a treat.

To be honest, every wedding is different. I can’t say that they are all great, but I can’t say that they are all bad either. It’s just a matter of going where you have to go!