8 Reasons Why You Should Donate/Help The Devastation In Gatlinburg, TN, Caused By The Wildfires

8 Reasons Why You Should Donate/Help The Devastation In Gatlinburg, TN, Caused By The Wildfires

The wildfires in Gatlinburg, TN have caused such tragedy and devastation, that it is our duty to help in any way we can.

Hopefully you have all heard about the devastating tragedies going on around the Southeastern part of the United States, particularly Gatlinburg, TN, regarding the out of control wildfires. Here are a few reason why anyone not affected should find a way to help. At the bottom of this list I will provide a link to a website with a list of ways to donate, so please read on.

1. Gatlinburg, TN, is a beloved winter vacation spot for people from all around the world. This small, yet beautiful town is filled with family oriented attractions and amazing scenery. This one little town has enough Christmas spirit to compete with the big NYC. However, because of the wildfires, much of the beautiful scenery, attractions, and uniqueness in this town have been damaged greatly or are completely destroyed. We should all try to donate so that this beautiful place continues to be everyone's top pick for their annual winter vacations.

2. Because this town harbors so much Christmas spirit, the holidays are one of the biggest financial seasons for them. Think of all the business owners and employees who will suffer because their place of business has burned to the ground. We should all try to donate so we can bring back the businesses that have been lost or damaged.

3. Christmas is just around the corner, and because of these wildfires, countless families have lost their homes and everything they own, including their newly bought Christmas presents. Imagine the suffering these families are enduring through these next few months, through the holidays, which is supposed to be the best time of the year. Let's all try to contribute to making their Christmas a little more enjoyable in this time of tragedy.

4. For all you animal lovers out there, let's consider the wildlife lost in these fires. Thankfully, the Ripley's Aquarium was safe and no animals were harmed, but what about the animals with no place to go? The countless trees that burned to the ground served as habitats for dozens of animals. More than just people have lost lives and homes. Wildlife will be greatly affected by these wildfires and have no voice. Let's not forget our furry friends when we decide to help.

5. Christmas is the season of giving. What better cause to give to? These people, animals and town have lost everything. Let's help make their season merry and bright, like most of ours will be.

6. Most people are already online this time of year shopping, and most stay on their phones 24/7. That is how easy it is to donate. You can donate to the American Red Cross simply by getting online or sending a text message.

7. Think about if this happened to you. What would you hope for from other people? I am a true believer in "you get back what you put into this world." You put good into the world, you get good back out of the world.

8. We can't forget the people currently helping the situation. The firefighters, National Guard, police officers, EMT, volunteers, American Red Cross, etc., that have valiantly risked their lives and sacrificed their time and safety to help the cause. They deserve so much thanks, gratitude, and most importantly, help from those that can!

So that's just a few of the many reasons why you should help/donate to help Gatlinburg in this time of crisis. Please look below to see how you can donate/help, and please consider this. Oh, and thank God for all your many blessings, your safety, and your family, because this can happen to any of us, at any moment.


Cover Image Credit: The Tennessean News: Kim Hester

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Sorry Not Sorry, My Parents Paid For My Coachella Trip

No haters are going to bring me down.

With Coachella officially over, lives can go back to normal and we can all relive Beyonce’s performance online for years to come. Or, if you were like me and actually there, you can replay the experience in your mind for the rest of your life, holding dear to the memories of an epic weekend and a cultural experience like no other on the planet.

And I want to be clear about the Beyonce show: it really was that good.

But with any big event beloved by many, there will always be the haters on the other side. The #nochella’s, the haters of all things ‘Chella fashion. And let me just say this, the flower headbands aren’t cultural appropriation, they’re simply items of clothing used to express the stylistic tendency of a fashion-forward event.

Because yes, the music, and sure, the art, but so much of what Coachella is, really, is about the fashion and what you and your friends are wearing. It's supposed to be fun, not political! Anyway, back to the main point of this.

One of the biggest things people love to hate on about Coachella is the fact that many of the attendees have their tickets bought for them by their parents.

Sorry? It’s not my fault that my parents have enough money to buy their daughter and her friends the gift of going to one of the most amazing melting pots of all things weird and beautiful. It’s not my fault about your life, and it’s none of your business about mine.

All my life, I’ve dealt with people commenting on me, mostly liking, but there are always a few that seem upset about the way I live my life.

One time, I was riding my dolphin out in Turks and Cacaos, (“riding” is the act of holding onto their fin as they swim and you sort of glide next to them. It’s a beautiful, transformative experience between human and animal and I really think, when I looked in my dolphin’s eye, that we made a connection that will last forever) and someone I knew threw shade my way for getting to do it.

Don’t make me be the bad guy.

I felt shame for years after my 16th birthday, where my parents got me an Escalade. People at school made fun of me (especially after I drove into a ditch...oops!) and said I didn’t deserve the things I got in life.

I can think of a lot of people who probably don't deserve the things in life that they get, but you don't hear me hating on them (that's why we vote, people). Well, I’m sick of being made to feel guilty about the luxuries I’m given, because they’ve made me who I am, and I love me.

I’m a good person.

I’m not going to let the Coachella haters bring me down anymore. Did my parents buy my ticket and VIP housing? Yes. Am I sorry about that? Absolutely not.

Sorry, not sorry!

Cover Image Credit: Kaycie Allen

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Five Breathtakingly Abandoned Places

Here's a short list of five places that have been left to decay yet somehow still retain a haunting type of beauty, and the best part is you can visit them anytime you want!

Throughout history many lively and grand places have been built with seemingly endless purposes; theaters, museums, train stations, prisons, etc. They were the most innovative buildings of their time, however, as our knowledge and technology continue to advance these grandiose places become obsolete. Thus they are dealt with the way most outdated things are; they are left to wither and crumble as the Earth returns them to dust. The thing about abandoned places though, is that they somehow retain their former beauty but now with an undertone of danger and decrepitness they never had before. Nothing is more breathtaking, yet eerie than visiting an entirely discarded piece of time, so here are fifteen absolutely beautiful but terrifying abandoned places you can visit.

1. Salto Hotel, Colombia

There isn’t much information about this gorgeous mansion, but we do know that it was initially built in 1923 by an architect as a symbol of joy and eliteness that he felt the citizens displayed. The mansion stood for five years before being converted to a hotel in 1928; however, the plan to increase the estate to an eighteen-floor building fell through and eventually, the building was abandoned due to river contamination. In 2013, the structure was revisited and opened up as a museum which it still is to this day however no work has been on the original building so it can be seen in all its haunting glory. The appeal of this building is its location along the Bogota River, its beautiful architecture, and the train ride that you have to take in order to reach the building.

2. Hashima Island, Japan

In 1810, it was discovered that this island had access to undersea coal beds and this was a huge breakthrough at the time. Over the next 150 years coal was strategically mined from the island, and with the increase of workers on the mining, project buildings began to pop up to hold the workers and their families. As time went on, there was a very well established community living on the island of over 5,000 people. However, in the 1960’s the need for petroleum began to overpower the demand for coal and in 1974 the coal mine was officially close leaving the island full of empty buildings. For 35 years the island was entirely foreclosed, and no one was allowed to visit, but in 2009 the government approved the island to be opened for touring purposes. The primary appeal is all of the mostly intact buildings being reclaimed by nature.

3. Pripyat, Ukraine

This town was founded in 1970, as one out of nine nuclear cities surrounding Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The town was officially proclaimed a city a few years late with a population of almost 50,000. In 1986, however, a significant meltdown occurred at the nuclear plant, and the whole city had to be evacuated. The area was officially put on lockdown due to the extreme amounts of radiation given off from Chernobyl. Today, short guided tours are given into Pripyat, which gives those who are curious a glimpse of the entirely abandoned city complete with a theme park. However, a word of caution about the surrounding forests and river as there have been many reports and speculations that the radiation has caused some gruesome animal mutations you may not want to encounter.

4. Michigan Central Station, USA

In 1913 this station was built to replace the previous station that had burned down. This was one of the busiest places in the area as it acted as the Grand Central Station of Michigan. Through the Great Depression and both the world wars, the station began to lose its charm and eventually ended up closing in 1988. Since then there have been several plans to renovate and several plans to demolish the building, but its fate has yet to be decided, so it stands slowly deteriorating. The main appeal of this site is the eeriness of walking through a vast train station that should be bustling, but there isn’t another soul in sight. The quietness can be deafening, but the pictures you can capture will be breathtaking.

5. Floating Forest, Australia

Located in Homebush Bay, this particular place used to be a ship breaking location used to dismantle old warships that served in World War II. One ship, in particular, the SS Ayrfield was created in 1911 and used to perform coal runs until it was converted to a transport ship during World War II. After the War, the ship was decommissioned and sent to Homebush Bay to be entirely dismantled. However, the ship was only partially stripped of parts and left, stuck in the mud. Over the years, plants began to sprout out

Cover Image Credit: James Kerwin

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