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Santorini Named Best Island to Visit in the World

Posted on: August 11th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Sataroni Island

Every year, the magazine Travel & Leisure conducts a reader survey to discover the best travel destinations around the world. There are different designations for the awards, including hotels, islands, and more. This year, the top overall island in the world, as selected by Travel & Leisure readers, was Santorini, in Greece. The island moved up three places from fourth place in 2013. It had an overall score of 89.98 out of 100. On the top overall island list, it was followed by three Hawaiian islands: Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island, with Bali rounding out the top five.

How the Rankings Work

The rankings come from the readers of the magazine, not from travel experts or people in the industry, making them truly based on the traveler’s experience. The Travel & Leisure survey was available for readers to fill out for four months, from December 2013 to March 2014. Any responses that were from an identified travel-industry professional were eliminated to keep the results strictly from the readers. Each area had characteristics in which respondents ranked the areas. For islands, there were five characteristics. There were also optional characteristics, although those were not included in the final score. The ratings were averaged and totaled to create an overall score, which then allowed the locations to be compared and a list to be formed . The categories for islands included natural attractions/beaches, activities/sights, restaurants/food, people, and value, along with an optional category for romance.

Not just Travel & Leisure Readers

It is not just Travel & Leisure Readers that rank Santorini as the best island in the world. The U.S. News and World Report ranks Santorini as number one, a ranking based on experts and readers voting. The top five for this list include Bora Bora, St. Kitts & Nevis, Maldives and St. Martin in St. Maartin. Many other lists likewise rank Santorini as the top, or one of the top, islands to visit in the world.

Historically Beautiful

Santorini, one of the Greek islands, is located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is famous for its white buildings and stunning sunsets. It has long drawn visitors to its white, red and black sand beaches. The island is just as famous for its nightlife as it is for its beautiful vistas. As with many areas of Greece, remnants remain of the ancient empire. Visitors enjoy seeing the archeological findings in the preserved Ancient Akrotiri, or climbing the ancient stairs to the city of Manolas in Thirassia. The myth of the lost island of Atlantis is associated with Santorini. A volcanic eruption in 1650 B.C.E. caused a single island, Strongyli, to succumb to the sea and form the archipelago of today, which is made up of two inhabited islands and several islets. Many people believe that Atlantis was on Strongyli. The volcano remains active, and it last erupted in the 1950s and ruined many of the towns on the island. 

Things to Do on the Island

Like many Mediterranean islands, Santorini’s top attractions typically revolve around beach or ocean activities. The best beach to visit is Kamari Beach, located about 4 miles southeast of Fira. It features powdery black sand, which can get hot. Because this beach is so popular, it can get crowded. A quieter beach is the Red Beach, located in Akrotiri. Visitors should also look at the many beautiful views of the caldera, especially from Amoudi Bay. To get to this spot, there is a 300-step hike that can be taxing. This little port town also features beautiful sunsets, along with quaint taverns offering fresh fish of the day. For those looking to learn more about ancient Greece, Ancient Thira and Ancient Akrotiri offer beautiful ruins from various eras to explore.

photo credit: Kostas Trovas via photopin cc

Make Your Next Family Reunion Memorable With These 5 Recipes

Posted on: July 23rd, 2014 by Quik Shade

memorable family reunion

No matter the size of your family coming to your reunion, you can make the experience memorable with these five recipes. These are perfect whether you are having a picnic, potluck, or another style of gathering.

Deviled Eggs

There are several different recipes you can use for deviled eggs, but this recipe from deepsouthdish.com provides the classic deviled egg recipe and makes 24 halves:

Ingredients:

  • 12 boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard (Creole, Dijon or yellow)
  • 1 tablespoon relish (dill or sweet)
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cajon seasoning
  • Paprika (for garnish, optional)

Directions:

1. Peel the eggs and split in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks from the white.

2. Mash the yolks together with a form or pastry blender. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, relish, salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning until they are creamy. Add more seasoning to taste if necessary. Use a pastry bag or a plastic storage bag with a cut corner to pip the yolk mixture into the egg whites. You can serve them immediately, or refrigerate in a covered bowl until time to eat.

Easy Raspberry Lemonade

What is a family reunion without drinks? With this easy raspberry lemonade recipe from allrecipes.com, you can have a drink that everyone will enjoy. The receipt yields 72 ounces.

Ingredients:

  • 1 12 fluid ounce can of frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 12 fluid ounce can of lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 18 mint leaves

Directions:

Combine the water, lime juice and raspberry lemonade concentrate in a large punch bowl. Add the ice. Use the fresh raspberries and mint leaves as garnish, either in the individual glasses or the bowl.

Honey Chicken Kabobs with Veggies

This recipe from allrecipes.com creates a delicious and healthy twist on the classic barbeque fare. The recipe makes 12 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 small onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers cut into 2 inch pieces
  • skewers

Directions:

1. Whisk together the oil, honey, soy sauce and pepper fro the marinade. Reserve a small amount for cooking. Then, place the chicken, garlic, onions and peppers in the bowl to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

2. Preheat the grill.

3. Drain the marinade and place the chicken and vegetables on the skewers.

4. Lightly oil the grill, place the skewers on the grill. Cook fro 12 to 15 minutes while frequently turning and brushing with the reserved marinade.

Parsley Corn on the Cob

This recipe from realsimple.com adds just a little twist to the standard corn on the cob fare. The recipe serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • 6 ears of corn, shucked and halved
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions:

1. Boil the corn in a large pot of water, letting it simmer until tender. Drain and then transfer to a serving dish.

2. Pour the butter over the cooked corn, followed by sprinkling with parsley, salt and pepper.

Strawberry Trifle

Every party needs a dessert, and this light and easy recipe from allrecipes.com is a delicious way to end the meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 5 ounce package of instance vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 1 9 inch angel food cake cut into cubes
  • 4 bananas, sliced
  • 16 ounces of thawed frozen strawberries
  • 1 12 ounce container of frozen whipped topping

Directions:

Simply prepare the pudding as directed on the package. Then, in a trifle bowl or large glass serving dish, layer half the cake pieces with half the pudding, half the bananas, half the strawberries, and half the whipped topping. Repeat. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours before serving. 

photo credit: Nigel Jones

Summertime Outdoor Dining Activities

Posted on: July 11th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Summertime Dining Activities

Summertime offers the perfect atmosphere to dine outdoors with your friends and family. You can have a backyard barbeque or a picnic at the local park or beach. During these outdoor gatherings, you do not have to rely on just eating and conversing for entertainment. Summertime is also the perfect opportunity to get active and enjoy fun, outdoor activities perfect for all ages. By including these outdoor dining activities, your party or romantic evening for two will be a huge hit.

Classic Outdoor Games

When you have an outdoor picnic, barbeque or other party, you can have fun playing some of the classic outdoor games. These include horseshoes, washers, croquet, and bocce. These games are simple, require minimal skill level and materials, and are fun for all ages to play. Smaller children may need to have some modifications or extra help, but they can still enjoy playing the games. Additionally, these games require minimal physical activity, so your guests can still enjoy them even after filling up on the delicious food. They also can be played with just a few people, so they are perfect even for small parties and family dinners outside.

Play Sports

If you want to get more active at your outdoor dining party, you can engage your guests in sports. Traditional outdoor games include volleyball and badminton. You can set up a net in your backyard, the local park, or on the beach. Both volleyball and badminton only require the net and the ball (and the rackets for badminton) and are also fun games for all skill level and age level to play. If you have a larger area, you can play baseball, football, or Frisbee.

Have an Old Fashioned Competition

When you plan your outdoor dining experience, you can also set up a multi-game competition. You can have three-legged races, potato-sack races, egg or water balloon tosses, and more. You could also set up a fun relay race that includes stunts, such as having to carry an egg. You can create teams as small as two people and as large as you like to compete.

Dancing

Just because you are outside does not mean you cannot set up a dance floor. As long as you have music, you can have dancing. You can create a playlist before you party that features a variety of music perfect for dancing, both slow and fast songs. If you are having the party in your backyard, you can decorate a section with lights to set the tone.

Kite Flying

If you are having a smaller outdoor dining experience, such as a romantic picnic for two, you can still enjoy some fun activities, such as kite flying. People of all ages enjoy flying kites, and there are many different varieties on the market. Additionally, you can also have fun playing with remote controlled planes and helicopters.

Board Games

Even though you are outside, you can still have fun playing board games. If you are in a wind area or on the beach, you should be careful of using any games with a lot of pieces and cards that you can lose. However, old classics such as chess and checkers can easily be played outdoors as well as inside. Other board games can make for an enjoyable evening, regardless of your location.

An outdoor dining experience can be complemented by a variety of activities. When you plan your afternoon or evening, you can choose your activity based on the intended feel for the party, as well as the guest list. Whether you are just enjoying a romantic evening for two, or you have invited the entire office for a party, you can find an activity that will engage everyone for a memorable event.

photo credit: Sergio Piumatti

5 Outdoor Games that are Fun No Matter your Age

Posted on: July 9th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Outdoor Games Are Fun No Matter Your Age

When it is beautiful outside, everyone wants to go outside and play. With these five games, it is not just the children who can enjoy playing outside. They are perfect options for amusement during a backyard barbeque, a family reunion, a birthday party, a picnic, a day at the beach, or any other excuse for being outside and enjoying the sunshine. These games are suitable for children of all ages. Even if the party is an adult-only engagement, you can still have fun playing these games.

Horseshoes

Horseshoes may be an old classic, but that does not change the level of amusement it provides. It is a simple game to play, and does not require many tools. All you need are two poles and two horseshoes, with plenty of room between the two. The standard length between the two is 40 feet, although you can adjust that depending on who is playing and how much space you have. You can purchase plastic varieties that are safer than the metal horseshoes. There are also other variations of this game, such as washers. Horseshoes can be played in grassy or sandy areas.

Bocce

Bocce is another classic outdoor game that anyone can enjoy. Like horseshoes, it can be played in grass or sand. For this game, you just need some bocce balls. They weight about two pounds, so smaller children sometimes have trouble playing. There are eight large balls and one small ball that is the target. Each team gets four balls and you try to get them close to the small ball. There are variations that are more family friendly, such as Boochie that has lighter bean balls and rings for tossing instead.

Frisbee Golf

Instead of just throwing a Frisbee back and forth, you can enhance the fun by playing a round of Frisbee golf. Some parks have official Frisbee or disc golf “holes.” However, you can make your own just by selecting a particular landmark as the goal. Then, everyone tries to get the Frisbee to that location. Similar to regular golf, you see who can do it in the least amount of tries. If you have a large park or beach area, you can have multiple “holes.”

Water Balloon Toss

When it is really hot outside, a water balloon toss can provide some relief, as well as amusement. For this game, you just need filled water balloons. Everyone partners up and tosses the water balloons, trying not to pop them. To make the game more difficult, begin with each partner standing close to one another. Each time they successfully catch the balloon, each partner has to take a step back. Whoever lasts the longest wins the game.

Tag

Another classic, tag is fun no matter your age. Playing a game of tag brings the kid out in everyone, and kids enjoy it as well. The basic tag game has one person as “it,” who has to chase everyone else to try to tag someone else, who is now “it.” Over the years, numerous variations have been created, such as freeze tag, TV tag, and more. You can create any version of rules you want for tag and have a great time playing it.

Many classic outdoor games you play as a child remain fun as an adult. These five classics provide activity and amusement for any outdoor party, regardless of the age of the guests. Additionally, they do not require many supplies, so you can easily bring them along if you are having a picnic or family reunion at the local park, or are planning a beach day. 

photo credit: Michael Desir

Getting Romantic with an Outdoor Picnic

Posted on: July 3rd, 2014 by Quik Shade

Romantic Outdoor Picnicphoto credit: Royce Bair

Beautiful, sunny days provide an opportunity to plan a romantic picnic date with your partner. A simple picnic can be an ideal date, whether you have just started dated or have been together for years. It does not take much time or money to execute the perfect picnic. However, you do need to plan carefully to ensure that you and your partner have a very romantic evening that will create, or reignite, sparks.

What to Eat on a Picnic

Picnic fair can be anything from simple sandwiches to an elaborate meal. However, traditionally picnic food focuses on simple food. Sandwiches, salads, finger food, veggies and hummus, and fruit are always enjoyable foods for a picnic. You can also choose romantically inspired foods when packing your picnic, such as strawberries and chocolate or any type of finger food. Don’t forget to pack some champagne or wine as well, if you enjoy alcoholic beverages. When choosing the menu, keep in mind that location of the picnic, especially how long the food will be outside of the refrigerator. You do not want the food to get too cold or hot. You also want to stay from any messy foods. You should also ensure to bring any applicable dishes or silverware to eat and serve, including a wine opener if you are having wine.

Where to Have a Picnic

Any outdoor location can be an ideal picnic location, even your backyard if you are unable to leave home for a variety of reasons, such as not finding a babysitter. For the most romantic outdoor picnics, try to find a more isolated location surrounded by greenery or nature. Local parks, the beach, a lakeside or river, or anywhere quiet and serene provide a romantic atmosphere. You can also consider places that have been special to your relationship in the past and revisit to add to the romance of the evening.

How to Decorate for your Picnic

If you can, consider adding some additional accessories to your picnic basket, including some fresh cut flowers and a nice blanket on which to sit. This will create a more intimate and romantic mood. The location you have your picnic will determine how much you can decorate the area. You can also bring some romantic music to play in the background to help set the mood. Depending on the situation, you can even bring some candles with you, but you want to be sure not to create a fire hazard.

What Time Should you Have your Picnic

You can have a picnic anytime of day, but the most romantic time of day is around sunset. You can sit and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, eat your meal, and then watch the sunset. However, you can still have a romantic afternoon picnic or even enjoy a breakfast outdoors. Just as watching the sunset is romantic, so is watching the sunrise. If you and your partner are early risers, you can always pack a picnic breakfast and enjoy the sunrise.

Make it more than just a Picnic

A picnic does not have to be the only activity you do on your date night. You can find an activity that you both enjoy that also takes advantage of the beautiful day and surroundings to go along with your picnic. For example, you can bring your picnic meal with you while you and your partner go on a hike. Then, when you get to a beautiful location, you can sit and enjoy your meal. You can do the same with kayaking, horseback riding, boating, and bike riding. Alternatively, you can bring some activities to play during your picnic, such as throwing a Frisbee or flying a kite. If you plan everything carefully, you can have a delicious and enjoyable picnic that combines relaxation with fun for a really romantic date.

Three Great BBQ Recipes For Ribs

Posted on: June 16th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Great BBQ Recipesphoto credit: FSetterberg via photopin cc

Sweet Cola Ribs

The preparation time for this recipe is 15 hours, but it’s worth it. Get started in the morning so when dinner rolls around you’re ready. It should serve about 4 people. First, for the sauce, In a saucepan, over medium heat, add in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add in these ingredients:

  • – 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • – 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • – 2 cups of ketchup
  • – 1 can of cola
  • – ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • – 2 Tablespoon (TBSP) of brown sugar
  • – ½ TBSP of fresh ground black pepper
  • – ½ TBSP of onion powder
  • – ½ TBSP ground mustard
  • – ½ TBSP of lemon juice
  • – 1 TBSP of Worcestershire sauce

After you have added all of those ingredients, bring it to a boil. Reduce the head to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

To make the dry rub, whisk all these ingredients together in a small bowl:

  • – 2 TBSP of salt
  • – 2 TBSP of brown sugar
  • – 2 TBSP of garlic powder
  • – 2 TBSP of onion powder
  • – 1 TBSP of ground cumin
  • – 1 TBSP of chili powder
  • – 1 TBSP of black pepper
  • – 2 racks pork spare ribs (about 3 pounds each)

Rinse and dry the ribs you are going to use and then place them on a clean cutting board. Pull off the membrane and trim off the excess fat. Liberally seasons both sides of the ribs with the rub you just made. Wrap them with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for about 12 hours so that the rub gets into the meat as much as possible.

Preheat your grill to 250 degrees F. Use hickory and charcoal, and set up the grill for indirect heat. Place the ribs, meatier side down away from the coals. Cook them for 1 hour and 15 minutes for an even cook. Then coat the ribs in the Cola Sauce and cook for another 20 minutes. Be sure to save some of the sauce for dipping!

Backyard Baby Back Ribs

This takes about 2 and a half hours to cook with an overnight prep, and it serves about 8. First off, you’re going to need about 4 ½ pounds of baby back pork ribs, or 2 full racks. Start by placing each rib rack on an extra-wide, heavy duty sheet of aluminum foil. The sheet should be 4-inches wider than the racks at each end. Season the racks thoroughly with kosher salt.

You’re going to need a rub, of course:

  • – 1 ¼ cup of dark brown sugar
  • – ¾ cup of chili powder
  • – ¼ cup of garlic powder
  • – 2 TBSP of ground thyme
  • – 1 TBSP of cayenne pepper
  • – 1 TBSP of allspice

Take 3 tablespoons of the rub and sprinkle it on the racks. Turn the ribs meat side down and tightly seal each foil pouch, then put them in the fridge overnight on a half sheet pan.

The next day, when you’re ready to go, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Combine ½ cup of orange juice, not fresh squeezed, and margarita mix in a measuring cup. Open an end of each pouch and divide that mixture between them evenly. Reseal and place them with the sheet pan in the oven for 2 hours.

After that is up, remove the pouches from the oven and open them on one end, pouring the remaining liquid in a heatproof measuring cup. Reseal them and put them in the fridge for about 8 hours along with the cup. Once this is done, the fat from the liquid would have solidified at the top of the cup so you can remove it. Transfer the remaining liquid to a saucepan and add ⅓ cup of honey, ⅓ cup of ketchup, 1 TBSP of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon of espresso powder, and ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Whisk it all to mix it up. Set over a medium high heat and reduce to a glaze for 10 minutes.

Set a gas grill to medium high heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Cut each slab in half and place them on the grill, flesh side down. Close the lid and reduce the heat to medium. Let them cook for 3 minutes, then flip them. Do this two more times. After this is done, cut them up, add them and the liquid you made into a bowl and toss them to get them covered, then serve.

Tyler’s Ultimate Barbecued Ribs

You’re going to need kitchen twine and a broiler for this one.

Ingredients:

  • – 2 slabs of baby back ribs, or about 3 pounds.
  • – Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • – Extra-virgin olive oil
  • – 2 slices of bacon
  • – 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • – ½ an onion
  • – 3 smashed garlic cloves
  • – 2 cups of ketchup
  • – 2 TBSP of Dijon mustard OR 1 TBSP of dry mustard
  • – 1 cup of peach preserves
  • – 2 TBSP of brown sugar
  • – ¼ cup of molasses
  • – 2 TBSP of red or white wine vinegar
  • – 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • – 1 teaspoon of ground paprika

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Put the ribs on a baking sheet and season them with the salt and pepper, and drizzle them with the olive oil. Stick them in the oven and let them bake for 1 ½ hours, low and slow.

Meanwhile, we make the sauce. Wrap the bacon around the middle of the thyme sprigs and tie with the kitchen twine so you have a bundle. Heat a 2-count of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the thyme bundle and cook for 3-4 minutes to render the bacon fat and give the sauce a nice smoky taste.

Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly without coloring for 5 minutes. Add all of the rest of the sauce ingredients and give it a good stir, then cook it on low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to get the flavors mixed together. Put some sauce into a separate bowl for basting, and save the rest for serving.

Baste the ribs with the sauce and let them continue cooking, basting twice more over the span of 30 minutes. When they are done cooking, take them out of the oven and let them cool. When you’re ready to eat, preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and broil the ribs, basting them with sauce. They should become crisp and charred. Pick the onions and the garlic out of the sauce and serve with the ribs. 

10 Ways To Make Use Of Your Summer Vacation Time

Posted on: June 10th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Go to the Beach
The summertime is the best time to go ahead and take a trip to the beach, with the sun and the cool offshore breeze to make one feel relaxed. Don’t forget your sunscreen, because we all know what a bad sunburn feels like. Pack up the family and invite some friends, bring the chairs, a good book, some food, maybe the boogie board… and don’t forget to bring a canopy or two to keep the sun off of you and provide a nice shady space for people to come back to.

Go For a Hike
Who doesn’t like to take a day and get away from the craziness of the city life? Going out into nature can be extremely therapeutic for you, and provide some good memories to go back to when a day at the office gets to be a tad too stressful.

Visit Some Museums
With the way the year seems to fly by and we use the weekends to relax, things like going to a good museum and seeing art or learning about something important in history seem to go by the wayside. Take some time to go out and see a local museum, learn about local history or see some good pieces of art that may affect you in a positive way.

Go Camping
When going for a hike just doesn’t cut it, try taking a trip out into the wilderness for a few days and really unwind from a busy schedule. Going out into the wilderness and experiencing the quiet, the wind through the trees, more stars in the sky than you’ve ever seen before at night, campfires, so on and so forth… all that will help one to really get back down to the ground, Make sure to pack accordingly- do some research on this if you’re inexperienced. The elements can be brutal out in the wild, especially the sun, so make sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and maybe that canopy you’ve been meaning to make use of.

Visit a Resort
Although expensive, going to a resort and taking some time to really relax and have yourself be provided for is a great way to feel like you’re on top of things. Take the family to a remote or expotic location and kick back, enjoying the good food, the spa, extracurricular activities and the quiet.

Attend a Music Festival
Summer is when all the great music festivals come out and rock the town for a few days. Not only is there music, but food, things to buy and entertainment are abound. Music festivals are springing up everywhere across the country and you can easily find one that fits your tastes.

Visit Family
The years fly by and people get older. Family is important and if yours is scattered across the country or the world, make sure to take some time and go see them. The work year is busy and people seem to have less and less time for family. Make sure to take a week or two and go see them while you still can.

Visit Friends
Same with visiting family, friends can be some of the most important people in your life. Make sure to take time to see them and keep the friendship alive. Wherever they may be, go there and not only will you get to see your friends but experience a new place as well.

See The Country
On the same coin, going out and visiting places in the country where you live is something everyone should do. Too many people stay confined to their local areas and never branch out, trying and experiencing new places. Our country specifically, the United States is massive and has so many good places to go out and see. Try it out!

Try Something Daring!
Do you have a bucket list? Ever wanted to try something like hang-gliding, rock climbing, bungee-jumping, sky-diving… any of those? The summertime is a great time to get out there and try those things out. You only live once and what a story you’d be able to tell your friends if you went out there and did such adventurous things.

How To Survive In The Outdoors For 24 Hours

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014 by Quik Shade

Going out into the wilderness for fun and adventure is something that many of us very much enjoy doing. It is a relaxing and meditative way to get away from the hustle and craziness that is the life in civilization. But sometimes, going into the outdoors for an extended period of time or for something like a very long hike can have hazards to it.

There have been many cases throughout history of people heading out into the wilderness and getting lost, some of them unfortunately never coming back. If only they knew a few things about living in the wilderness for a short amount of time, just a few different skills one can pick up and prepare for easily, then they may have been able to make it out alive.

The Outdoors

        https://flic.kr/p/fnQD27

Be Prepared!

Being prepared is the key to survival in the wilderness. Ask any Boy Scout about this and they will surely give you an ear full. When preparing to leave on a trip, take into account all that you might come across, including an extended, unexpected, stay.

For the purposes of this article, it would be difficult to put into detail every single thing one should take in order to be fully prepared. But here we will outline the most essential pieces and ideas that one might need in order to be fully prepared.

Nourishment

Taking enough water for at least two days is a good idea. Yes, it’s heavy, but if you consider the idea of being sparing, only drinking a small amount when thirsty as opposed to large gulps, then you can make your water last a long time. Taking a water purifier is also a good idea just in case you run out. They are not really that big, nor heavy, and the water that comes from them is at least safe to drink. It may not taste great, but it will work. Taking small bits of food in a good quantity, like trail mix, energy bars, and other small things like that will help you be able to stay nourished for a good time, although starving to death in 24 hours has probably never happened.

The Elements

Keeping away from the elements is one of the most important factors when it comes to staying alive in the wilderness for 24 hours, because that is what will do the most damage. If it is hot and sunny, be sure to take sunscreen with you and know where to find shade during the day.

Take two plastic trash bags with you as well. They are compact enough to be stored in the bottom of a daypack, and will either keep the rain off of you when it starts to get wet, keep the sun off of you if utilized properly (like in a scenario where one is in the desert) and keep you warm at night.

Taking a flashlight and glow sticks are a good idea for illumination at night and possibly signaling down someone else for help. The last thing someone wants to have happen is twisting an ankle or falling down an unseen slope when moving around at night.

Be Smart!

Speaking of, when people get lost, their first instinct is to start looking for the way back, which usually gets someone more lost. If you are lost and it is getting dark, then just stay put and wait for the light to come back before trying to figure out where you are.

Some people may think that climbing a tree and trying to look around is a good idea, and in some cases it can be, but one, it is dangerous. If you fall out and break something, this is only going to make things worse. Second, most of the time if you get to the top of a tree and look around, all you see is other trees. The best way to “get up high” and see where you might be is to find a tall hill or ridge where you can get a vantage point.

Hopefully these few tips and pointers will give you an idea of how to be able to survive in the wild for at least 24 hours. Be prepared, take the elements of where you are going into consideration and don’t make things worse for yourself. If someone would like to be able to know more about this, there is a plethora of information on the web, as well as classes and books designed to help people know more about this very subject.

5 Ways To Enjoy The Outdoors For Free

Posted on: May 23rd, 2014 by Quik Shade

 enjoy-the-outdoors

Getting out of the house or the apartment and enjoying the outdoors is a great way to unwind from the stresses of everyday living in society. It’s healthy for the body and the soul to free yourself from the stress that work and the life in the city can bring on. Most people think that this requires a financial commitment, big or small, what with the fees to go camping or fishing, or sometimes just having to pay to get into somewhere like a national park.

But there are ways out there that one can enjoy the great outdoors for free that are not as far off as one might think. Here is a simple list of activities that one can partake in for free that will get you out and enjoying nature.

Go for a Hike

This is the most obvious one, and someone does not necessarily have to have the right equipment to do this. All you need is a pair of sturdy shoes, a backpack with lunch and some water in itm and off you go. There are countless places to find out and go for a hike all across the country, even for those who live in major metropolitan areas. All it takes is some research and usually a short drive to find a good place to get out and go for a hike. Make sure to bring some food and stay hydrated, and take some pictures while you are out to remind yourself later how nice it was.

Go for a Bike Ride

When someone thinks of The Outdoors, it is usually taken to mean nature, away from society, far out somewhere that is removed from the everyday living of civilization. But this does not necessarily have to be the case. Nature is all around us, and the outdoors are, well, out the front door. Get on your bike (assuming you have one, of course) and take a ride somewhere, enjoying the sun, trees, birds and so on. The exercise and leisure of it will definitely help your mental and emotional state tremendously, and hopefully it will help you get out and do it more.

But if you are really looking to get away somewhere remote, there is always heading out for a good mountain bike ride somewhere in nature. Again, there are plenty of places that one can head out and find a trail to make some tracks on, getting out into the thick on nature and flying along on two wheels. Just make sure to bring some food for energy and plenty of water, and, of course, be safe and wear a helmet. Watch out for those rocks!

Head to the Beach

One of the most relaxing places that one can get out and enjoy the outdoors in is at the beach. This is, again, assuming that you might live near a beach or a large lake, but that’s nothing that a good drive won’t fix. Make sure to bring some food for lunch and sunscreen so you don’t get burned. Even better, bring that canopy you have and set up some chairs underneath of it, sitting back and relaxing with some drinks and that book you’ve been meaning to start reading.

Closer Than You Think!

There is always getting out and enjoying nature right in your own backyard, literally. Being in the outdoors does not mean one has to take a long drive and head to somewhere remote  in order to enjoy the fruits of nature. Just set up that canopy and those chairs right on the back lawn on a nice day, get that book mentioned earlier, and relax, enjoying the sounds of the birds and the wind through the trees.

Go Fishing

Assuming you have all the necessary gear and know-how, head for a fishing trip somewhere nearby. Fishing is one of the most leisurely things you can do, with the added bonus of possibly catching something. Bring along a lunch, a cooler, and those chairs and set up right next to the river or lake and have at it. And good luck, too!

photo credit: Colby Stopa via photopin cc

10 Activities To Add To Your Bucket List

Posted on: May 21st, 2014 by Quik Shade

bucket-list

Everyone has a list of things that need to be tried before passing away from this world. For everyone it’s different, depending on what has already been done and what someone’s interests and desires are. But if you find yourself lacking in this list, not really too sure what to think when it comes to doing things before you die, then here is a brief list that should help you out.

Traveling

There is a big world out there, full of fascinating people and places for one to experience. And traveling somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to drop a lot of money to do so. It all depends on your comfort level. There are cheap flights and deals on airline tickets that you can keep an eye out for, as well as inexpensive hotels and even hostels all across the world that afford comfortable living.

Go To A Resort

Who doesn’t like to be pampered a bit? Going to an all-inclusive resort is something that is definitely worth the money, and it is something that you will remember for the rest of your life. There are numerous places to go all over the world that offer things like massages, horseback riding, tennis lessons, nature hikes, so on and so forth.

Go Skydiving

The rush of skydiving is something that no one forgets. Who likes to jump out of a perfectly good plane and fall at terminal velocity? Someone who has a bucket list might. Despite what most think, the safety involved in skydiving is extremely thorough, so much to the point that people usually take a few day classes beforehand just to make sure everything is down pat.

See a Concert

Going out to see your favorite band perform live on stage is something that you will cherish as a memory for a long time. With the crowd and the showmanship, the noise and the electric vibes, going to see a concert (or two? or three?) is as awesome experience that leaves your ears ringing and your heart thumping.

Attend a Music Festival

Instead of seeing one concert, why not go to a place where you can see several all in a row? Music festivals are great places to see and meet a variety of interesting people. And not only is there music, but food and activities and dancing as well. Here are some tips to stay cool while you’re there.

Scuba Diving

The beauty of the ocean is one of the most wondrous things that one can experience in nature. This is also something that you will not soon forget. Make sure to take along one of those underwater cameras to capture sights and moments that you will love to remind yourself of later.

Take a Cruise

Again with the pampering! Cruises are one of the most leisurely and adventurous things that somebody can do for themselves. There are a variety of places that one can take a cruise to. And with the offshore traveling and on-boat activities, going for a cruise is something that will be worth remembering.

Rekindle Old Friendships

Using the internet, a very rewarding thing you can do is reach out and find old friends to get back into contact with. Sharing old memories and making new ones is a special thing that we should all do while we still have time in this life.

Go Back To School

Have you ever wished that you knew how to draw or play the guitar? Have you wanted to know the full history of this culture or that country? Colleges are a great place to pick up knowledge on things you always wish you had known. Go back to school to pick up some knowledge on things that you would like to get to know before you die.

Pick Up A Hobby

One thing that tends to shorten the lifespan of people, especially those who are retired, is boredom. Make sure to stave it off by doing a hobby, something that you think you might enjoy or have in the past. This is a great way to keep yourself active and stimulated by doing something creative. 

photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery via photopin cc