Greetings! While I'm traveling in Europe, I've scheduled this post to share how my blog started and some highlights about my blog. I actually wrote it as a guest post on Donna's Retirement Reflections blog in October 2017 and added some small updates in May 2018. I highly encourage you to visit Donna's wonderful blog where she shares her reflections, new chapters, new discoveries, and new adventures. Tell her I send you!
Here's what I wrote:
Natalie the Explorer is my first personal blog that I started on October 10, 2016. Prior to creating it, I've been keeping a paper journal and various electronic files documenting my personal plans, explorations, and experiences for many years. I've also been an international pen pal, and now email pal, with friends in Asia, Europe, and America. I had some pen pals in Africa and Oceania as well, but we lost touch. Blogging seems to be a good fit for me to continue writing and sharing my activities with friends.
Format-wise, I use one of the free templates on Blogger so what I can do with the layout is limited. Content-wise, my blog currently reflects my explorations and experiences in the following three areas:
1) Exploring my city: I live in Toronto, Canada. My hubby and I choose to live close to the city centre and without a car. Toronto is a dynamic, multicultural, and relatively young city, compared to other cities in the world. It’s one of the fastest growing cities in North America with a walkable centre and a well-used public transit system. We are far from an ocean or a mountain but are right by Lake Ontario, one of the five Great Lakes, so I go to the waterfront frequently to enjoy one of our city's best natural resources.
One of my friends once told me "walking down a block of Yonge Street in Toronto, you meet half of the United Nations." I enjoy exploring the various neighbourhoods, either by walking, or taking public transit, and experiencing the diversity of the people, culinary scenes, and cultural events. From May to October, the city hosts many outdoor public arts and entertainment programs and festivals, more than I have time to attend. Even as a long-time resident, I still discover hidden gems, and have yet to run out of things to explore in the city.
2) Exploring the world: I started traveling when I was a teenager and have happily continued since. I like reading about a new destination, planning a trip to go there, exploring to learn more about it, and hopefully gaining positive and memorable experiences at the end of the adventure. Conveniently, Toronto is also an international travel hub, offering non-stop flights to many world cities.
I've actually met some of my close friends from my travels. At the beginning we shared the common interest of travel, however, as time progressed and our friendship deepened, we shared our life's ups and downs, as well as in-person visits.
My travel style has been eclectic, from backpacking, staying at youth hostels, university residences, to all-inclusive resorts, to vacation rentals, and everything else in between. I aim to have a mix of trips with family and/ or friends, and a solo trip to a new destination each year. At the time of writing in 2018, I've been to Chile and currently traveling in the Baltics before reaching Poland.
3) Practicing healthy living: I must confess that I’ve been having so much fun attending local events and traveling abroad since May that “healthy living” mentions on my blog have been mostly about my learning Spanish [and French] for brain plasticity and my physical exercise goals. As I grow older, I’ve been more disciplined with practicing healthy living. I hope to write more posts about this topic in the winter when I’m at home longer.
Aside from the usual exercising and eating a balanced diet, I work on other components that make my life healthier, such as positive relationships with family, friends, social connections with my community, fewer materials, more fun experiences, and self-initiated changes. I like to intentionally add variety and moderate challenges to prevent myself from plateauing or declining. Most of my fitness, social, and fun activities are free or low-cost as I try to optimize the resources that I have.
In summary, on my blog, at this time you can expect to see posts with pictures on:
- Local events and places that I've explored
- Foreign places that I've visited
- My personal plans, quarterly fun lists, and monthly updates
- People, places, things, and life events that inspire me to write
- Tips to share
Thank you for your time. I look forward to receiving your comments.