Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas

Little Jerusalem Badlands
Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas USA

The newest State Park in Kansas, USA is truly unique. The Niobara Chalk formation is a hidden treasure in a valley not far from the Smoky Hill River. It is located between Oakley (Logan County) and Scott City (Scott County), Kansas. Go South on US Highway 83 from I-70 at the Oakley exit. Drive South until you pass the Smoky Hill River. Then turn West on to a gravel road to Fairleigh Ranch. You will see signs that will direct you to Little Jerusalem.
The hiking trails will take you around the park. Most of the trails have been improved with gravel. The final trail is a regular natural trail that leads you to the best view of the park and the valley from the top. You will need a guided tour to get down into the valley.
Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas USA
Little Jerusalem Hiking Trails with grasses and wildflowers

It is a peaceful walk through this park while enjoying the spectacular views. There are rock formations, canyons, grasslands, wild flowers and birds to enjoy. You will see beautiful grasses such wild buckwheat and bluestem blowing in the Kansas wind. If you come at the right time of the year, you can see Kansas wildflowers such as Sunflowers growing right along the gravel path. The photos were taken in the Fall just after the Park opened in October 2019. The flowers were done blooming and turned into seeds which is a source of food for the birds.
The rocks and canyons are spectacular. You are staring at what used to be an inland sea. The colors vary with the seasons and light at different times of the day.

Little Jerusalem Badlands
Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas
Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas USA
Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas USA

5 Health Benefits of Travel

If you’ve been looking for a good excuse to book your next vacation, your search is over! There is actual scientific evidence that taking vacations improves your health.

Time Zone Globe Schiphol Airport Netherlands

Here are 5 reasons why you should travel for better health:

  • 1. Even just planning a trip will make you feel happier, and mental health matters!

A 2002 study by researchers at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom found that people are at their happiest when they are anticipating an upcoming trip. People who were planning a trip experienced more joy and even felt better about both their health and their economic situation.

People perceive their overall quality of life to be better when they are looking forward to the next adventure.  And as if that were not enough evidence to get you started in planning a trip, a 2014 Cornell University study found that looking forward to a travel experience caused more joy than anticipating the purchase of something special.  We are happier when we have new experiences than when we acquire more “stuff”, according to another Cornell study in 2010.

Sunway Resort Pool Malaysia

And how often should you plan a trip?  Diamond Resorts International did a study in 2014 and found that over 75% of people reported feeling happier when they planned a trip at least once every year. 

What if you actually go on a trip after all that planning? 

  • 2. Traveling helps your mental health

Women who go on vacations more often experience less depression than women who stay home.  A 2005 study by the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin found that women who vacation less often than once every two years are more likely to be depressed and stressed than women who vacation at least twice a year.  This benefit would undoubtedly be similar for men. 

The American Psychological Association conducted a survey in 2013 about stress in America and found that vacations help reduce stress and negative emotions because they take us away from the usual sources of our stress, such as the activities and environments that trigger us the most.  So it’s not always about where we go, but more about the escape that helps. 

At any rate, our health is better when our stress is lower.  One study found that even three days after a vacation, people who had traveled were in a better mood, felt more well-rested, and had less anxiety.  These effects even lasted to some extent for weeks after they returned home. 

Myrtle Beach South Carolina USA
Myrtle Beach South Carolina USA

The vacation doesn’t even have to be very long.  One study showed that a four-day long weekend helped people feel better for as long as 45 days.  Those who traveled somewhere on that break reported more well-being and less perceived stress, and they scored better on recovery and strain.

Clearly, we have established that travel helps your mental well-being.  But what about your physical health?

  • 3. Traveling decreases your risk of heart disease

The Framingham Heart Study is a long-running study which found that both men and women who traveled at least once a year were less likely to suffer a heart attack or develop heart disease.  The theory is that regular travelers are less stress or anxious, or that at least taking a break from the usual stress has great benefits. 

  • 4. Your immune system is stronger if you travel

Travelers are exposed to different environments (and therefore different viruses, dirt, gut bacteria, etc.) which cause your body to create stronger antibodies.  Research shows that this gives your immune system a boost.  So travel more, and get sick less! 

  • 5.  Traveling helps you live longer

It doesn’t matter whether you travel short distances or trek the globe, research shows that life expectancy is longer for travelers.  Research indicates that the stress reduction from travel actually helps increase brain health.  That in turn leads to living both better and longer.  Part of the brain health benefit comes from the fact that your brain makes new pathways and connections as you see and experience new things.  That’s great for the added benefit of increased creativity as well as brain health. 

So you see, there’s no need to feel that your desire to travel is frivolous.  It’s actually great way to take care of yourself.  Travelers experience a better quality of life and even live longer.  Clearly, most of these benefits are related to lowering your stress, which we know is a good idea for so many reasons.  There you have it, our permission to take a break.  Now, get started planning your next vacation – remember, even the dreaming and planning will help you feel better! 

Kuala Lumpur Tower Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Tower Malaysia

Flowers for your English Cottage Gardens

The neat thing about travelling is you get to see, explore and learn more than one way of doing things, for an example gardening. I love the English way of gardening and their romantic herbaceous gardens. So here are some flower ideas you can add to your garden here in North America. Start with the Spring Flowers like Tulips, Crocus and Daffodils. It will sure cheer your mood from the Winter blahs and welcome Spring! Plant flowers like Iris, Roses, Peonies so they will bloom after your Spring flowers are done. So there is always some beautiful flower blooming throughout the year. Add Yarrow, Daisies, Cone Flowers, Echinacea, Sunflowers, Foxglove, Columbines, Hardy Geraniums, Hollyhocks and Rambling Roses to the mix. Heirloom Roses produce the most heavenly fragrance. Plant herbs like Lavender, Thyme, Oregano, Mint, Sage and Rosemary along the curvy paths you create with gravel or stepping stones. Consider adding flowers like Asters, Oxeye Sunflowers (blooming late Summer) that will flower till the last Frost. These flowers will attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators to your garden. Don’t forge the Evergreens! This will give structure to your garden so it will look pretty when in snows in Winter. Bring a little bit of English Cottage Garden feel to your back yard!

  • Allium
  • Kansas Peony
  • Iris
  • Miniature Roses

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English Cottage Gardens for Americans

West Yorkshire England
West Yorkshire England

It is amazing how many of our New World American flowers made it into the English Cottage Gardens. Everything from the Yarrow to the Echinacea grace English Cottage Gardens.

Flowers of the United Kingdom
Flowers of the United Kingdom

It is always nice to bring home some of the ideas you pickup while you travel. The English Cottage Garden concept can be applied right here at home in the USA. Instead of just manicured green lawns you can create “garden rooms” with the English Cottage Garden theme, quite romantic really. It can bring the Old World charm right into your backyard. Curvy herbaceous pathways leading you to keep exploring, trying to find what is around the corner. You may not be in the Cotswolds or West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, but it may sure bring back the sweet memories.

Here are a few flowers that would look good in a English Cottage Garden. More flower ideas for English Cottage Gardens.

Foxglove flowers for English Cottage Gardens

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US Wildflowers

It is amazing that when you visit a place, certain things in nature will grab your attention. Beautiful waterfalls like the ones in Yellowstone National Park will definitely be on the top of the list. But sometimes just a simple delicate flower growing above the tree line (Tundra in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado) or by the side of the road (Pacific Coast Highway California) or wildflowers (in the foreground of the Grand Tetons, Wyoming) will mesmerize you. You just have to stop and take photos and post it on Instagram or Facebook. You just cannot help yourself! It is truly something worth sharing with your friends.

Pacific Coast
Wildflowers Pacific Coast Highway California

Wildflowers Grand Tetons
Wildflowers Grand Tetons

Rocky Mountain National Park Tundra
Tundra Wildflowers Rocky Mountain National Park