Everybody loves nature, there is no question about that, so why do we not make more of it and enjoy time in the great outdoors? Laziness is the only answer. However, due to the Coronavirus, we all have that opportunity just waiting for us. Foreign travel has all but come to a halt and hotels are not yet open in our home countries, so what better opportunity to discover the delights that nature can bring to us?!
Sadly, many of us would not know where to start when thinking about spending a day in the countryside, let alone turning it into a weekend trip, so thankfully we have drawn up this easy guide to give you all the tips you need to spend a fantastic weekend away indulging in all that nature has to offer.
When planning your ideal weekend away the first question that you need to answer is where you will sleep. The more adventurous among us might consider building their own bivouac, which is great fun in its own right, but to keep things simple we are going to suggest a humble tent. Tents come in all different shapes and sizes and are suitable for all weather conditions so it is important that you research the climate where you are going and buy a tent accordingly. If you are going to be trekking to your destination then something lightweight is recommended but if you are staying local and there are many of you, you could look into hiring a second-hand tent that Scouts or the Armed Forces might use as these can sleep a huge number of people and are incredibly reliable.
Learn to Make a Fire
What do we need to survive? Water, obviously, but food and shelter come a close second. We have already discussed where you will sleep, but how are you going to cook your food? Bringing a gas stove is cheating if you really want to get back to nature, so your only bet is to make your own fire. What, make your own fire?! Yes, I really mean it, and you need nothing that cannot be found in nature in order to cook your food and provide warmth throughout the evening. Head into the undergrowth to find dry, dead wood, and you have the base for your fire. Next, you need some smaller branches for kindling and then some bark or very fine straw to ignite, to start your fire. I'll allow you to bring some matches or use a lighter for the initial aflame, but if you really want to get in tune with nature you should rub sticks and use friction to create that first spark. Give it a go, I promise you that nothing is more rewarding than making your own fire.
A Water Bottle
Being out in the wilderness is challenging enough at the best of times, but doing so without the right equipment can literally be deadly. As we touched upon earlier, water is the most important thing when it comes to survival, so ensuring you have a plentiful supply and a decent water bottle is paramount. You need something practical so one of these cool tumblers can make the difference between life and death as it will safely store your water and keep it fresh. Do not ever be in a position where you are left without easy access to water, or your trip back to nature could end in disaster.
The Correct Clothing
Whether you are venturing out in the middle of winter or the height of summer, your apparel is highly important. You don't want to be too hot or too cold and, more importantly, you need to be protected from the elements. Check the local forecast before you head out and make sure you plan accordingly. It is better to be safe than sorry, so if in doubt carry too much, it's much safer to gain some extra muscle by carrying a heavier load than it is to travel light and find yourself at the mercy of the wind and rain.
As we have learned it is not difficult to spend a weekend away in nature, but it is important to be prepared or you could suffer the consequences. You need to think about where you will sleep, so a good tent is essential, and making a fire is paramount if you want to eat cooked food and provide yourself with some warmth. Water is the key to all life, so make sure you have an adequate water bottle and don't leave yourself to the mercy of mother nature herself by heading out without the correct clothing. "Be prepared" is the Scout motto, and it is a phrase that every one of us should have on our lips when we head out to nature, so, if you follow these simple tips you'll have a wonderful weekend away to take your mind of the current pandemic.
It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.
Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.
Read with a Purpose
Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.
Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.
When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.
Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.
You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.
Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.
Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.
If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.
Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.