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By Roberta B. Turner

                     

I love summer. I am not sure why because I am not a fan of the hot weather but to me summer seems a bit more relaxed and it tends to have a slower pace than the rest of the year. It seems like the perfect time to make changes. Summer is the right time to spend a little more time fulfilling your bucket list. How to make the most of your summer all depends on what you like and don’t like. But most of us have many things in common. Here are some of our suggestions for you to consider this summer.

Take a Vacation

Americans take the least amount of vacation of any civilized nation. We have so many excuses. I am too busy, I need to work to get ahead, I really can’t afford it right now, and I plan to go next year. Those are excuses. Vacations are important and research actually shows that people who take vacations will live twenty percent longer. Other important benefits of a vacation include increasing your energy on a daily basis and most people come up with their best ideas when they are on a break. A vacation doesn’t have to be super expensive. There are many places to see and enjoy and many travel deals worth looking into. Remember you only live once and you are not young forever.

Plan Weekend Getaways

Maybe your life is too hectic to take a traditional vacation so plan staycations instead. We are so fortunate to live in Florida and have so many places to visit in and around the state. You can experience a lot in just a few days. If you have never been to Africa, then plan a trip to Zoo Miami, Disney’s Animal Kingdom or Busch Gardens. You will see magnificent creatures in natural settings. You can do this in one day but why not plan an overnight stay and enjoy the international culture of this exciting city. Love the Caribbean? Grand Bahama is only 55 miles away and this island still has its local culture along with beautiful beaches and relaxing resorts. There are many places perfect for a one or two night stay.

Try One New Thing

Do something you have always wanted to do but never found the time or courage to do. It can be a new sport, a new look, a new hobby, a new place to live or making a career change. It should be the one new thing you want to do. When contemplating what the one new thing is you will do this summer make sure it is realistic. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Some new things to consider are taking an art class, buying seasonal theatre tickets, changing your hair color, playing golf, taking two weeks in a row off from work, or spending a weekend with an old friend. Doing one new thing should be fun and adventuresome.

Grow Your Own Vegetables

Summer is the perfect time for planting certain types of vegetables. You can do this in the ground or in outdoor pots. When determining what you would like to plant make sure you consult with a knowledgeable pro. Tomatoes are one of the more popular and easy to grow vegetables during the summer. There is a large variety of tomatoes; however, if you are a novice like me I would recommend you start with cherry tomatoes because they are easier to grow and take less time to ripen. Other vegetables to consider include beets, bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, squash and zucchini.

Create An Adventure

Adventures come in all shapes and sizes. You can do something as simple as camping or maybe something with a bit of a challenge like rafting down a river. Have you ever visited Peace River? It is located in Arcadia in Southwest Florida. Peace River is truly a unique experience as you weave your way through a glimpse of old Florida with the landscape covered with huge cypress trees and water oaks draped with Spanish moss. There are over 400 species of animals that include fresh and salt water fish, birds, reptiles, whitetail deer, bald eagles and the Florida alligator. You can camp overnight in the Peace River camp grounds, book an airboat ride to enjoy all the scenery, take a canoe or kayak down the river, hike and even go fossil hunting. This is certainly something different and so close to home. The Peace River is approximately three hours away from South Florida.

Spend Time Enjoying Nature

In Florida we have many beautiful parks and places to visit. When is the last time you visited Everglades National Park? The Everglades is a World Heritage Site and the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. The park sits on over 1.5 million acres and this international treasure is home to many endangered species including the American Crocodile and the Florida Panther. Another option is to get out of town and go to the mountains. There isn’t anything better during the summer months than a visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The air is so fresh and the views so breathtaking it will be a refreshing change for you to enjoy. We live in a beautiful world and within twelve hours you can experience some of the best of it.

Give Something Back

Find the right charity and volunteer. There are so many worthwhile organizations in today’s world. It is important to use your passion to benefit something important to you like animal welfare, helping the homeless, building homes for the poor, assisting with healthcare issues, local children’s clubs, and other important causes. The best part of giving something back is the fact that doing good will make you feel good. Get involved, voice your opinion, volunteer and get involved. Giving back is more than writing a check; it is about making the world a better place for everyone.

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