In America we work hard. Really hard. We’re proud of our productivity and work ethic, and for good reason. Inventiveness and an ability to get things done have put us where we are today.
But there’s such a thing as working too much, and you probably know what I’m talking about. This can be a problem. According to Healthline.com, compared to the other wealthy nations we have the shortest life expectancy because of overwork. We work more than any other nation—about 40 percent of us clock in more than 50 hours a week.
Overworking can result in sleep issues, obesity, low immunity, depression, and heart disease. Need I say more? Take a break. A vacation is a great way to de-stress and balance out your life. Here are some fantastic places to go and ways to let loose—because you need it.
1. Have a Hangi Feast in New Zealand
The film setting for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, New Zealand is well known for its gorgeous scenery. It also has great food and drink. The Maori are New Zealand’s indigenous people. On the North Island, in Rotorua—which sits at the centre of the island—enjoy a traditional Hangi feast. The Maori cook chicken, pork, lamb, kumara, and various vegetables underground for hours, giving the meal a smoky, delicious flavour.
Wash it down with famous Sauvignon Blanc from Hawke’s Bay. While you’re at it, soak your feet in one of the many hot pools, which are heated by geothermal activity.
2. Hunt for Gold in Africa
Africa is the hugest and wildest continent there is. With the first use of a gold detector, a treasure hunter found a 13 gram gold nugget.
There’s got to be more where that came from. Treasure hunting might seem harebrained, but it puts you in touch with the land. And imagine the stories you’ll have of combing the beaches and jungles, delving into an activity few can claim to have experienced. Just make sure you bring plenty of mosquito repellant.
3. Go Cliff Diving in Hawaii
Why Hawaii? Well, for one thing the water’s warm. For another, when it comes to the best places to go cliff diving in the world, the cliffs at Kaunolu, Lanai are the where this activity was born. If you’re daring enough, try Kahekili’s Leap. It’s an 80-foot jump into an 18-foot pool, and expertise is required.
If insanity isn’t so much your thing, there are other jumps of varying heights where you can get your sea legs. Cliff diving is pure thrill. Doing it in Hawaii is pure thrill in paradise.
4. Mountain Bike Going-To-The-Sun Road in Montana
Have you ever crossed North America’s Continental Divide on a twenty-speed as you conquer the entire width of the Crown of the Continent? I take it your answer is no. Glacier National Park is the Crown, and Going-to-the-Sun Road is its most famous string of jewels. You’ll hit the divide at Logan Pass, from where you can stop and survey one of the park’s many glaciers. Along the way you’ll glimpse waterfalls, fields of wildflowers, pristine valleys, and the occasional mountain goat. Just make sure the road’s been plowed and is open, and bring your backpacking gear because the road runs 50 miles.
5. Hike the Lost Coast Trail in California
Total distance on the Lost Coast Trail is 25 miles, so be prepared for a multi-day event. It’s epic. From Mattole Trailhead in Northern California, you’ll encounter historic Punta Gorda Lighthouse. Then, you’ll follow the coastline on soft sand and rock beaches, private beaches where you can camp, redwood groves, fern grottoes, and rugged overlooks of the Pacific. Before you reach the southern Usal trailhead, a bluff with a vista over one-thousand feet above the ocean will afford you some whale-spotting opportunities—and will take your breath away.