Places that Prove Mother Nature is Magical

Places that Prove Mother Nature is Magical

 

It is human nature to seek out beauty, and there are many beautiful places around the world to discover. Many popular and iconic landmarks like the Colosseum in Rome and the Eiffel Tower in Paris are stunning, but with the pandemic still going on, they are rather challenging to visit. They also happen to be manmade, and for those of us who admire the natural beauty of the earth and the great outdoors, there are a plethora of natural attractions right under our noses. Here a few worth checking out.

 

Keahiakawelo – Garden of The Gods (Lanai, Hawaii)

Okay, yes, it’s basically common knowledge that all of Hawaii is magical and the islands were created by volcanoes, but the island of Lanai continues to be shaped by volcanic activity still today. Lanai’s wahi pana, or sacred storied landscape, used to be part of a native dryland forest, but due to grazing animals and erosion, the current topography is now dry and clay-like populated with innumerable boulders, rock towers, spires, and other formations. Various stages of sunlight on the landscape will illuminate the rocks and surrounding earth in brilliant reds, oranges, and purples. Even scientists are puzzled by how the large colored boulders seem to be scattered and stacked in such a natural yet artistic way.

 

Barry Arm, Black Sand Beach (Alaska, USA)

The Barry Arm, Black Sand Beach in Prince William Sound was created by lava flows years ago, but what makes this place unique from other black sand beaches are the stunning scenic views filled with glaciers, mountain peaks, crystal-blue waters, and waterfalls. Just imagine being on the beach and seeing mini icebergs floating by or stranded on the sand next to you. Although the black sand will retain the sun’s warmth and can sometimes be uncomfortably hot to walk on barefoot, it is still recommended to wear warmer clothing than you’d usually wear to a beach. Depending on the time of year you visit, the waters may be too cold to swim in directly, but you can opt for other water activities such as kayaking or canoeing. If you’re lucky you may even experience a few wildlife sightings as well.

 

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park (Utah, USA)

Did you know that Zion National Park was the first national park in the USA? The notable rock formation known as Angel’s Landing is renowned for its thin red mesa which towers almost 1,500 feet tall in the middle of the canyon. Standing at the summit, it’s natural to feel small as you witness 360° views of breathtaking cliffs, arches, and canyons spanning across hundreds of square miles. 275 million years ago, a combination of gravel, mud, and sand eroded down from nearby mountains and was deposited into the Zion basin creating the unique and mesmerizing landscape formation. The awe-inspiring view we enjoy today was enhanced by floodwaters that left behind carbonate deposits which eventually turned into limestone, and the residual mud and clay became mudstone and shale. Persistent and prolonged erosion occurring over thousands of years ultimately left a sight that can definitively be described as breath-taking.  

 

Sequoia National Park (California, USA)

If you enjoy standing among massive natural objects that will tower over you and leave you speechless, then this is the right destination for you. With over 400,000 acres of forested mountainous terrain and encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet, California's Sequoia National Park contains some of the largest trees you will ever see in your lifetime. The giant sequoias here grow up to an astonishing 250 feet, and redwoods can grow to over 350 feet! This is about the height of 8 city buses stacked vertically bumper to bumper, or as long as a football field from end zone to end zone. The largest tree in Sequoia National Park is the General Sherman Tree which dominates the sequoias at 275 feet tall, with a base circumference over 100 feet, and is estimated to be around 2,500 years old. Just in case those statistics aren’t impressive enough, General Sherman is not just the largest living Giant Sequoia in Sequoia National Park, but it holds the record for the largest living organism (by volume) on the planet! The sequoias in this area are able to grow so large and vast due to the structure within their leaves and the subalpine climate where the dry mountain air and elevation provides a comfortable environment for the cones to open and release seeds. If you are an outdoor enthusiast and nature lover, then this is one place you should definitely add to your bucket list.

 

Bisti Badlands (New Mexico, USA)

Entering into the Bisti Badlands will have you thinking you took a wrong turn and landed on Mars. Part of the desolate 45,000-acre Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, the 4,000-acre Badlands area was formed by erosion occurring millions of years ago and Mother Nature leaving us with a magnificent landscape of colorful mounds and eroded rocks composed of sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt. Resting 200-400 feet below the surrounding plains of traditional orange-and-brown sands and sage-green desert grasses, the Badlands exude mysterious alien qualities among a variety of gray, black, red, and purple sands and rock. Although a small variety of wildlife can be found here like rabbits, coyotes, quails, falcons, lizards, and scorpions, don’t expect to see them in the Badlands as they can camouflage themselves quite well. On the other hand, fossils can often be found amongst the layers of shale. Inspiring archeologists will be happy to know that several teeth and bones of various large dinosaur species have been discovered in the Badlands. The nearby abandoned and derelict ruins of the old Bisti Trading Post north of the Badlands emphasize the harsh loneliness and mystery of this strangely wind-swept desert wilderness.

 

Ready to visit Mother Nature’s glory? Galactic can help get you there!

 

 

The power of group travel is unique and unlike anything you can find when traveling alone. We believe that every traveler should have a group travel experience with friends, family, or with a company at least once in their lifetime. Here are five top reasons why group incentive travel is beneficial.

Financial Savings

Group travel can be expensive if you don’t know what you are doing, but if you leave it to the professionals you can get great deals that are usually unavailable to the general public. Utilizing a company that specializes in group travel lets you focus on the excitement of the trip ahead and not the nitty-gritty details of booking hotels, transportation, experiences, and activities. Travel experts have resources and relationships with various professionals and companies all over the world in all sorts of destinations so you can rest assured you will get the best bang for your buck. Not only will letting the pros do the hard work save you time and money, but you will also save on the stress and hassle of dealing with any potential necessary changes.

Extra-ordinary Experiences

Of course you can see and do things when you travel on your own, but traveling with a group provides opportunities to explore places with professional tour guides. These guides are usually locals, meaning you’ll learn more about the area and gain insider knowledge. A professional will also be able to show you the best places, with a mixture of touristy “must see” destinations and local hidden gems – places you simply cannot find on your own, or you need an insider tip to find as they are not well-known to the general public. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 55% of Americas travel in order to learn something new about a place, culture, or history. A great group tour guide is a passionate and knowledgeable expert of the places they are showing you, and an experienced travel company will offer curated itineraries designed to help you maximize your time and find the best spots, often allowing you to see and do things that are normally not available.

Fortified Bonding

Traveling in a group with acquaintances, friends, and/or family is an opportunity to create shared experiences which will lead to stronger relationships and even some inside jokes you are likely to remember forever. Not only will you have physical pictures and intangible memories, but you will gain so much more insight about your travel companions such as what foods they prefer to eat and how energetic they are at 6am. For relationships that maybe haven’t been so great, this is a wonderful chance to start fresh and rebuild. There’s no greater bonding experience than traveling with others. Everything is accelerated and enhanced when you’re traveling and spending 24/7 with someone, so it’s natural to build deep and meaningful relationships fast, and you will be reminiscing on those memories for years to come. Being in a group will also push you to try new things whether it’s hiking, surfing, or kayaking in the outdoors, or meandering through art galleries, markets, or shopping malls indoors. These experiences shape each of us as a person and tough experiences especially will strengthen a group bond. Solo travel’s biggest shortcoming is having amazing experiences, but only you being there to witness them. Sharing experiences, and the memories of them with others later, is far better.

Gain New Perspectives

Group travel allows you to expand the views and opinions you may have of others and of the world by going to places you may not have known existed and interacting with people that you normally would not have met. By connecting with individuals of different backgrounds, cultures, and languages that differ from your own, group travel offers you eye-opening experiences, opportunities, and adventures to learn more about the world and the people in it. Group trips allow you to gain new perspectives through the trip itself and your interactions with other travelers.

Safety in Numbers

Travelling alone can be a little daunting. Many people feel the pull of wanting to travel, but don’t really feel safe going on a trip alone – especially abroad. Even if you are ready to set out and see the world, you may not always have a trusted friend available to take along. In cases like these, group travel is ideal as it allows you to enjoy the safety of numbers while you journey. Wherever in the world you go, safety is important. Two main advantages of group travel is being out in large numbers rather than alone during evening hours or at night, and your guide, being familiar with the area, can give you the low down on places to avoid, what valuables to leave behind, and how much money you need to carry with you. This information is priceless. As beneficial as being in a group may be, it is also important to note that there may be times when you need a break from the group, so make sure you plan for that time. Whether you want to sneak off to take some photos, journal about your travel experiences, or explore a new neighborhood on your own, taking time for yourself every now and then can make the group experience even better. If you do decide to leave the group, however, be sure to let someone know your plans! Come up with a way the group will communicate to ensure everyone stays safe and secure.

Traveling should be more than just visiting a new place and sightseeing. It should be extraordinarily memorable and bring you a satisfying sense of self-actualization. Group travel has the potential to change your life and provide a lifetime of fantastic memories. 

 

Ready to explore and see new places? Galactic can get you there.

 

 

 

Marketing Trends in 2021

Marketing Trends in 2021

 

The events of 2020 forced brands to think long and hard about how they connect with their customers. As more people stayed home, e-Commerce sales went through the roof and according to GlobalWebIndex, “49% of all internet users plan to shop online more frequently once the pandemic is over.” People now spend even more time on social media, tend to use digital platforms more readily, and video conferencing has become the norm. These changes have led to a major shift in the way brands need to connect with their consumers. In this article, I will share some key marketing trends you can incorporate into your business today.  

 

Increase Live Streams

The majority of events last year were canceled and people were unable to connect in-person with friends and family, so as a whole, we turned to live-streams. Facebook live viewings spiked by 50% during lockdown periods, while viewings on Instagram surged up 70%. (MH Media Strategies, 2020) To stay profitable, companies had to come up with smart solutions like Zachary’s Jewelers, who developed weekly QVC-like shows and aired via Facebook Live to keep the store’s friends and customers feeling current and connected with the brand. 

 

Implement Purpose-Driven Brand Missions


To an unprecedented degree, companies are having to dig deep to discover how to best thrive in turbulent times. Why does any company need a brand purpose? As the bridge between your brand and your customers, your brand purpose adds value to the lives of your customers and to society as a whole, which helps boost sales and loyalty over time. As an example, the Dove beauty care brand embodies their brand purpose within their marketing campaigns. Dove’s advertisements and commercials are known for representing diversity and featuring unretouched photographs of real women from all backgrounds, all races, all colors, and all ages. Having a brand purpose also sets you apart from your competition. Dove’s mission is to not create a single standard for what defines beauty in women, but to redefine what beauty is altogether.

 

Invest in Video Content

According to The State of Content Marketing 2020 Global Marketing report, “Posts that don’t contain a video get 92% less traffic compared to posts with at least one video.” Why does this matter? Today’s social mentality of “go-go-go”, “keep moving forward”, and “don’t waste my time” means that we must provide content that is interesting and captivating enough to keep someone’s attention long enough to get our message across. Short revelatory videos are a great way to engage with your audience and ignite emotions. When things are difficult to explain via text or live video, animated videos can bring those concepts to life. Also, good quality videos that quickly and efficiently provide valuable information will ultimately build trust between your brand and your audience. Utilizing video content for your brand is especially advantageous if you are launching a new product or service. By providing enlightening and useful information to your current and potential customers in a proficient and convenient way, they will naturally come back to you again and again.

 

Galactic can help with your marketing efforts today!

 

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring Cleaning Tips

Hello, Spring! The flowers are blooming, birds are chirping and as Leo Tolstoy once said, “Spring is the time of plans and projects,” so in the spirit of the spring-cleaning tradition, here are some DIY tips to get your home in tip-top shape with items you may already have at home.

Lemon Power

•            Did you know you can remove water stains from your faucets with a lemon for a natural fix? Cut a lemon in half and firmly rub the water-stained faucet with the inside of one of the halves. The citric acid helps remove hard water marks and is guaranteed to make your faucets clean and sparkly.

•            Since we don’t want to be wasteful, squeeze the juice from the other half of the lemon into a microwave-safe bowl, add 1/2 cup of water and the spent rinds, then place the bowl in the center of the microwave and heat on high for two to three minutes. Let it sit in the closed microwave for an additional five minutes and do not open the microwave door until the five minutes is up as the steam will work to help loosen any built-up grime. After the five minutes have passed, open the door, remove the bowl, and simply wipe down the microwave’s interior. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!

•            You can also use lemon juice to sanitize and freshen your garbage disposal. Mix a half-cup of lemon juice into a gallon of very hot water and carefully pour down the drain. In addition, instead of throwing away lemon rinds after juicing or other uses, toss them down the drain and grind them up in the disposal. Not only will they clean the disposal interior for you as they go, but the natural oils released from the ground-up rinds will leave your whole kitchen smelling oh-so-pleasantly fresh!

•            If your fridge smells a little funky and you have no baking soda, no problem! An uncovered lemon half placed face-up in a saucer will absorb unpleasant refrigerator smells. Replace with a new lemon half weekly to keep your fridge un-funkified and fresh.

Vinegar Power

•            Vinegar has been known to dissolve the mineral deposits that build up in showerheads over time. Fill a plastic bag with white vinegar, submerge the showerhead into the bagged liquid, and secure the bag over the showerhead with a rubber band. Leave it on for at least eight hours, then remove the bag, dispose of the liquid, and make sure to run the shower with hot water for at least two minutes before you jump in.

•            You can also kill unwanted flora with vinegar. Spray or pour white distilled vinegar once a day on unwanted grass, weeds, or other vegetation until they’re gone.

•            There’s no need to throw out old dishes and glassware that have lost their brand-new shine. For that extra-clean sparkling finish, add white distilled vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher before starting it up. Depending on how much help your dishes may need, you can add as little as ½ cup, or as much as 2 whole cups. Run a regular wash cycle with the same amount of dishwasher soap you would usually use, then enjoy using your shiny-as-new dishes once again!

•            If you like having fresh flowers indoors during the springtime, keep them fresher for longer by adding 2 tablespoons each of white vinegar and white sugar for every 1 quart of water.  Trim stems and change the water every few days or when the water starts to look cloudy. This will keep your flowers enjoyable for several more days.

Dryer Sheets

•            We all know dryer sheets are used to help reduce static and keep our clothes smelling fresh, but did you know you can also clean your pans with them?  To help remove annoying stuck-on food residue, place a dryer sheet in the middle of the pan, add warm water and a drop or two of dish soap, then just let it soak. After an hour or two, remove and dispose of the dryer sheet, drain the water, and simply wipe away the leftover residue with a sponge. When you rinse off everything, you will be pleasantly surprised to see all the yucky messiness go down the drain.

•            If you have pets, this tip could come in very handy! For those stubborn little pet hairs on sofas, chairs, and clothing, use a dryer sheet instead of a lint roller. Rubbing a fresh sheet against your clothes and furniture does the trick every time and leaves you and your house smelling fresh and clean.

•            Lastly, use dryer sheets to clean and shine various viewscreens. Since television and computer screens are electrically charged, they tend to attract dust particles. Dryer sheets are designed to reduce static cling, which means they can remove the dust and prevent it from resettling, keeping the displayed colors vibrant and the lighting more accurate so you can enjoy your favorite shows even more.

Now that you’re done cleaning house, go outside and enjoy the sunshine. You’ve earned it!

Happy Spring Cleaning!

 

 


 

 

Corporate Incentives Ideas

Corporate Incentives Ideas

 

Keeping your workforce engaged and motivated in the first quarter can be challenging. Like most employers, you are probably looking for ways to create and capitalize on opportunities for your team members. Bonuses and sales commission structure tend to be primary motivation tools for most companies, but there are other types of incentives you can use to encourage all your departmental teams. Here are four incentives options to help drive your entire staff towards success:

 

Wellness incentive program

Employee wellness programs are designed to help enhance employees’ health via overall improved physical and mental well-being. Some simple ways companies can incentivize employees in this manner are:

·       Provide an extended lunch break

·       Provide a relaxation room

·       Provide additional paid time off for employee’s birthday or work anniversary

·       Offer a discount on gym memberships

·       Contribute to an HSA or HRA account

·       Offer employees a discount on their insurance premium or deductible

 

Make sure you look into your company’s existing insurance provider to see what types of wellness program you can offer your employees. Many have built in plans already in place.

 

Point-based incentives

Give everyone in your organization an opportunity to achieve their goals. Allowing employees to earn points as they work towards their objectives not only will empower them to increase their efforts, but will also allow them to choose their own reward upon completion of the set task. Permitting the employee to redeem their earned points for an item of their choosing means the prize they receive will then forever be a reminder of their hard work and dedication.  

 

Training programs

Professional and personal training opportunities can be powerful motivators for those who are eager to improve themselves. According to the American Psychological Association, “only 44% of US employees are satisfied with the development opportunities they’re offered at work.” Offer each of your departmental teams opportunities to develop their professional skills with specialized workshops, seminars, and certified courses. Also consider offering additional “fun” classes such as cooking, painting, or other special interest courses for employees looking to improve their personal goals. Employees tend to be more motivated when they know their employer is interested in helping them achieve both professional and personal goals.

 

Experience incentives

Chances are there are a number of experiences your employees would love to have but are unable or unwilling to spend the necessary time, money, and resources. This is why companies should invest in providing “experience incentives” such as destination travel opportunities, luxurious weekend getaways, or upscale spa retreats. These incentives should be saved for top performers due to cost and resources for the company, but when executed properly the outcome is priceless. According to the Incentive Research Foundation, “travel incentives have a much higher ROI than other non-cash rewards since they produce a high level of motivation.” How much harder will your employees work if they knew their efforts could potentially result in an unforgettable experience of a lifetime?

 

Need help motivating your team? Galactic can help!

 

 

 

 

 

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