Category: travel

Mental Health Days and Why I Craft

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I recently came across a link to an article that got me to thinking about why I craft.  The article:  When A Woman Needed A Mental Health Day Off Work, Her Boss’ Response Shocked Everyone.

There is an old saying that if you do what you love, it isn’t work.  To a point, I would agree.  I’m like several of my friends and acquaintances, I enjoy the day to day processes of running an office.  That doesn’t mean that any of those projects, or jobs, is not work.

I have a passion for food and I love to cook.  Sometimes the act of cooking is more job than hobby, but not always.

I love reading, listening to music and watching film and television.  While I have a better than average knowledge of the behind the scenes functions of most of those activities, I have never had the pleasure of being employed in those industries.

Quilting is a new-ish addition to my life that encompasses my fondness for color, pattern and (believe it or not) geometry.  🙂

I do these things in varying degrees because it relieves stress, allows me to create something out of my own imagination and gives me an outlet to not think about the 9 to 5 day to day grind.

I think it can be looked at as mini-mental health days.

I know people who look at hobbies as stress replacements.  They are not so much into a hobby as a way to relax as a way to do something until they can do something else.  I don’t understand that, either.  🙂

I also know people who have no real understanding of, or use for, hobbies.  There’s work to be done, why waste your time?

I had a parent who worked hard most of his life.  He also spent a good amount of that time doing things he actually liked doing (hence the reminder of doing things you love not being work…)  But there came a time when he was no longer physically able to do the projects he loved.

As he had no hobbies, he was left with nothing to fill his time with.  And he ended up having a lot of time to fill.

My suggestion to you is the lesson I learned watching this parent deal with life.  It is all well and good to have things you love to do, but diversify a bit.  You never know when it will be in your best interest to spend time doing things you never thought you would.

If you are a hiker, what would you do if you broke a leg and couldn’t do that for a while?  If you had issues with your sight, how would you deal with not being able to read printed text?

You get the idea.  Work is a wonderful and productive way to spend time and earn a living.  It provides a great sense of self worth.  But work is not the end all or be all of a life.  It should be a part of the whole.  Find something that you are interested in and give it a try.  Doesn’t matter what.  Once you find a passion for something, you will notice that the world is a bit lighter, perspective a bit brighter and work is less, well, work.

Armchair Traveler

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When I was growing up television (all three networks of it) embraced the idea of entertaining everyone, not just a target audience.  As a result, we had a variety of shows that pretty much everyone could enjoy.  True, there was the usual glut of one genre over others, but overall there was some balance in what you could find on the schedule.

Unfortunately, as time went on and the Powers That Be decided that folks didn’t watch such-and-such programming, the audience found itself pretty much stranded unless it invested in expensive cable or satellite networks.

PBS does an amazing job of providing a plethora of programming that covers that wide array of genres that the regular stations have decided that no one wants to watch.  Funny, but I’ve never seen PBS shows among the ratings lists that come out daily or weekly.  I have a feeling that the numbers just might prove the Powers That Be wrong.

Recently I discovered some gems that allow armchair travelers like myself the opportunity to explore new places with beautiful vistas and pleasant travel companions.

Explore The English Countryside

Recently I discovered a wonderful four episode documentary on Acorn TV that was hosted by the wonderful and funny Julie Walters.  You might know her as Mrs. Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter films.

Said documentary, Coastal Railways with Julie Walters, is available through Amazon Prime, Acorn TV and YouTube.  It is a wonderful travelog of Britain that takes the viewer across the country and into nooks and crannies that the average traveler might miss.

The premise is based on Ms. Walters love of the coast.  Each of the four episodes covers a five day journey in which she experiences the landscape and the people.

Now, For Something A Little Different

Also found on Amazon, Acorn TV and YouTube, Penelope Keith’s Hidden Villages takes us on journeys into the English country where we experience life in small country villages.  There are three seasons available of this great series.

If you want a slightly different taste of English life, Ms. Keith has also done an excellent series, At Her Majesty’s Service, which takes viewers behind the scenes at Her Majesty’s royal residences.  We get a chance to meet the people who keep the traditions alive.

Out and About

Another rather unusual discovery were Escape to the Country and Escape to the Continent, which were found on Netflix and YouTube.  The former documents one couple’s search for a new home in the English countryside.  Each episode takes us to a different part of the U.K. providing not only spectacular vistas, but some great local history and a chance to get to know some of the locals.

Escape to the Continent takes the escaping British couple to a country on the Continent.  While the search for a new home is interesting (the homes themselves run the gamut from ordinary to OMG), the ability to see the country and meet the residents is the best part of the show. 

I admit I enjoyed each show for a different reason.  The Escape to the Country series allowed me to see various parts of the U.K. and get a feel for what I preferred and what I didn’t.  I also discovered some interesting aspects of life in that country (cast iron cook stoves) that I had not know about.

Escape to the Continent allowed me to look back and ponder what life might have been like for the moving couple in light of evolving political states. 

The trains, villages and such that were provided by Ms. Walters and Ms. Keith introduced me to some beautiful vistas, but more importantly, some amazing and wonderful people.  At the end of the day, it is their stories that make the travel so much more than a ride on a train or in a car.

Last year I stumbled across Better Homes and Gardens from Australia on YouTube.  While the home improvement projects caught my eye, it was the ability to see the country that kept me coming back for more. 

Even if you are not inclined to travel, sampling these shows provides an amazing opportunity to learn more about an area or a country than can ever be gleaned from a book or magazine.  And you don’t even need to pack a bag to have an adventure!

Categories: travel TV

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