What I’ve Learned From Guest Blogging

Guest Blogging

As I sit here responding to comments on Natalie’s post, I am reminded why I love Guest Blogging and Guest Hosting. For me, there is no better way to build community.

It all began with Jill Weatherholt’s blog. This past Spring, Jill extended an invitation for writers and artists to Guest Host on her site. Knowing absolutely nothing about Guest Posting, I raised my hand, took a leap…and wrote my first piece as a Guest Author. Shortly afterward, I received a request to write a Guest Post for ‘The Month of Happiness Series’ at Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond.

In both cases, Guest Blogging strengthened my relationship with the Host Author, brought out different writing than I would have written on my own site and gave my posts a broader reach. Hanging out in the comment section on Jill’s and Sue’s blogs was like being at a party with both new and familiar faces with whom to mingle. A light went off and my missing piece of blogging was found.

Two years prior to leaving my career, I began searching for information on the non-financial aspects of retirement. It was difficult to find what I was looking for. When I did finally stumble upon a couple of retirement bloggers who appeared to address what I was seeking, it took me a long while to find a community of bloggers with whom I could find inspiration, motivation and challenge. As soon as I found this, I wanted to extend it, and to share.

I’ve since gone on to write eight additional Guest Posts (two not yet published) as well as to host twenty-four Guest Authors. Some experts would argue that this equation should be in reverse. Ultimately, each host needs to determine what balance works for his/her site.

Those twenty-four bloggers helped to create a much richer and varied picture of retirement/lifestyle than I could have provided on my own. I am grateful that they have so generously offered their time and voices to share their different retirement experiences as a guest.

Why Should You Consider Writing a Guest Post?

• Networking.
• New audience.
• Challenge – writing outside of your comfort zone.
• Deepen your relationships with fellow bloggers.

What Should You Look for when Selecting Guest Bloggers?

• Bloggers whose writing fits well within your niche.
• Those who have a track record of writing quality content that benefits readers.
• Writers who engage fully and meaningfully with comments.
• People who enjoy collaboration and working as part of a team.

Should you Consider Hosting Guest Bloggers?

Ultimately, it all depends on what you want to create for your blog. There isn’t a right or wrong. For me, I want my site to be like my favourite coffee shop where regulars and newcomers alike can browse, share, discuss, inspire, encourage and challenge. I want it to be a place where frequent commenters are recognized and missed in their absence. I also want it to be a dependable place that offers quality, thought-provoking content… which continues even when I am away without internet (another very helpful aspect of Guest Blogging).

What is your experience with Guest Blogging and/or Guest Hosting?

Featured Guest Bloggers for Round Two: Sundays at Six will include: Cresting the Hill, Deb’s World, Wagemadness, Adventures of the New Old Farts, Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond, The Glasgow Gallivanter, Second Wind Leisure Perspectives, Boots Shoes & Fashion, Snakes in the Grass, Retirementally Challenged, So What? Now What?, Travels with Fran, Easing Along, Encore Voyage, Hugh’s Views and News, Roaming About and Lisa Dorenfest: One Ocean at a Time. If you would like to submit a first or second Guest Post for this series, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Sunday Guest Post Series: Living A Car-Free Lifestyle

car-free

Greetings everyone! I’m Natalie from ‘Natalie the Explorer.’ I wrote my first guest post on Donna’s blog at the end of October. That was such an enjoyable Guest-Hosting experience that I wanted to contribute to the extension of Donna’s fantastic Sunday Guest Post Series. So here I am writing my second guest post to share my thoughts on living car-free. I think it’s an atypical lifestyle, especially in North America. Do you agree?

My primary mode of transportation is walking. I maintain a valid driver’s license, and occasionally we rent a car when we go on a road trip somewhere. I had a hand-me-down bicycle at one point, but it was not a good one for regular cycling, so I got rid of it. I plan to research and eventually buy a new bicycle as I also enjoy cycling.

After living car-free for about twenty-five years now (yes, it’s a quarter of a century!), I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to reflect on the Top 5 tremendous benefits that I’ve gained from this lifestyle.

1. Increased Health-Benefits:

I walk thousands of steps daily. My body becomes well conditioned for walking, and I have become a faster walker over time. While walking, my mind is free to wonder or reflect. I can do walking meditation if I want to. I notice the sights, sounds, and smells of my surroundings and appreciate what nature offers to us. This morning, for example, I saw flurries for the first time this season, and they made me smile. I doubt that many drivers where I live would smile at first sight of snow. I have no commuting stress and gain the health benefits of regular walking which Donna had written about in her excellent A Walk In The Woods post.

2. Huge Financial Savings:

I spend about CAD$15 per month on public transit, mainly to visit my relatives who live in the suburbs. Aside from the similarly low cost to renew my driver’s license, I do not have to pay for car insurance, license plate, gas, car maintenance, parking fees, etc. The low transportation cost enables me to save, invest, and reach financial independence sooner than I could if needing to use and maintain a car.

3. Intentional Living:

I’m exempt from the responsibilities, chores, and sometimes headaches associated with car ownership. This includes car bill payments, car cleaning, seasonal maintenance, clearing of the driveway and the car windshield, parking, fender benders…or even road rage from other stressed driver. I’m free to experience the journey, and not just to get from A to B as quickly as possible. At the same time, my ‘trips’ are more intentional. For example, when grocery shopping I buy only what we need and that I’m able to carry home. This eliminates impulse buying and naturally saves cash.

4. Connection with my neighbourhood and local businesses:

I have time to see what’s new in my surroundings and become a regular contributor to the local economy in my neighbourhood. As I walk daily, I recognize the people who arrive or leave the area and vice versa. I recognize the local store employees, managers, or owners and they recognize me as one of their regular customers. It’s like having a ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ program and the feelings of safety, comfort, and connectedness are priceless.

5. Fun ‘survival science’…as well as confidence-boosting:

Living in a cold climate with four seasons and walking to get around means I need to be aware of weather-related data such as daily high or low temperatures, wind speed, rain/ snow precipitation, humidity, wind chill factors, UV indexes, as well as sunrise and sunset times for visibility reasons. I need to dress accordingly! I’ve become pretty good at directions, time and distance estimates. This has also served me well when I travel abroad and land in a new city. What I’ve learned in geography, math, and science classes become real and relevant on a daily basis. It’s fascinating 🙂

I feel very fortunate that I live close to a walkable city centre with a well-used public transit system and an increasing number of dedicated bike paths. For trips that require a vehicle, I can access services such as car rentals (a new car every time!), car shares, taxis, or online delivery.

No lifestyle is perfect. For me, the pros of living car-free outweigh the cons significantly.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Natalie

From Retirement Reflections:I love reading and writing Guests Posts and hosting Guest Bloggers. I have learned so much this way that I otherwise would never have known. It also reinforces that blogging is all about community. Thank you to Natalie for suggesting and kicking off Round Two. I love her provocative post on embracing an ‘atypical lifestyle’. I look forward to reading your comments on this. Up next Sunday will be…me…sharing in more details what I’ve learned from Guest Blogging and Guest Hosting. Please join me then.

Flying Hugh’s Music Time Machine

Music Time Machine

Thank you to Hugh at Hugh’s News and Views for giving me the distinct privilege of flying his Music Time Machine. After revving up the engine, I initially headed out with gusto to a time far, far away. Being a novice pilot, I tragically lost control and crashed straight into 2016! Want to see where I landed? Please check out Hugh’s site. If you could leave a comment there, that would be hugely appreciated!

Check it out here.

Sunday Guest Post Series: An Encore Voyage

Encore

As my mother-in-law used to say, “I could just bust my buttons!”  I am both humbled and delighted to have been asked by Donna to slip on over here and put up a post in her Sunday Guest-Post Series.  I had been absent from the blogging scene for the better part of a year, but returned to my blog because I missed the relationships I had developed with my “blogging buds.”  And, just like friends in real life, the minute I was back on-line, Donna was there – picking up as if no time had passed.  If we were closer, I’d be buying that girl a pumpkin spiced chai tea latte!

Allow me to introduce myself.  I’m Lynn from ‘An Encore Voyage.’

And here’s how it all started…

A few years back, I decided to give up my 30-year teaching career.  A difficult decision, yes, but as hubs said, “Honey, you don’t have to have a job that makes you cry.”  Isn’t he an awesome guy?  Yes, I agree! Everything was just dandy until hubs came home to tell me that his position at an engineering firm was being terminated!

What the Heck Just Happened…

We went from a six-digit household income, to zip, nada, zilch – overnight.  I hyperventilated.  We panicked a bit.  We drank wine. We freaked out. We drank a little more wine…

We became “retired” overnight…

I guess that’s what you might call it.  We were not old enough to officially “retire,” and we hadn’t been taking specific steps to do so.  While we had spent a lifetime saving for retirement, and we knew we would be okay financially, we were unprepared for about a zillion changes that happen when you suddenly become retired. We had no time to consider how we would function living together 24/7.  Or how our identities would be impacted.  Or what steps we would take next.

We took some deep breaths and decided we needed an Encore

Neither of us was ready to completely hang it up, and neither of us wanted to start over or repeat what we had already been doing.  And we both wanted to start living with a bit more intention and mindfulness. In other words, we also wanted to have more FUN!  So, we decided to treat this as “an opportunity to reinvent ourselves.”  And reinvent we have – A little bit of career, a little bit of travel, and a whole lot of self-discovery of our values and of how to make our daily lives align with those values.

An Encore Voyage is about our journey

I try to include posts about what we learned by being thrown into retired / work / travel togetherness. (Yep, I am, and always will be a teacher.)  Once a week, I try to create some awesome quote that I’ve stumbled across so that I can keep fresh in my mind those aspects of our Voyage which are important to us. Sometimes I might just ramble on about some random nonsense that happens to occur to me.  And because “soul-enhancing relationships” is one of our core values, I love connecting with fellow bloggers.  If I could meet you, I’d buy you a latte, too!

So, click on over and check us out. We’re sort of flying by the seats of our pants, making it up as we go along, part retirees, part adventurers, part minimalists, always loving the journey and committed to our Encore Voyage. We invite you to voyage with us!

Encore

 

 

 

Lynn An Encore Voyage

From Retirement Reflections: Thank you, Lynn, for joining us here and sharing more about yourself. I am thrilled that you have returned to this corner of the blogosphere.
For those who haven’t yet had the chance  to check out Lynn’s blog, I highly encourage you to do so.
Up next week is a return visit from ‘Natalie the Explorer.’ Natalie will be addressing a topic that was frequently commented upon in her last Guest Post.
If you are a blogger and would like to Guest Host on this site, for a first or second time, please do not hesitate to let me know. I’d love to feature (more of) your writing here.

Sunday Guest Post Series: Global Housesitter x2

housesitter

How would I describe myself?

Creative, quirky and passionate.  Those three words sum me up in a rather quick fashion.  Though I am sure many people who have known me over the years could add a few more words to that list!

I have done many things in my life, made some fantastic decisions and some incredibly stupid ones.  Many have taken me down roads I never wanted to venture down, and it took me a while to get back on track.  Once on track, there was no stopping me. This was when I meet an amazing man who is my best friend and husband (aka ‘The Squire’).

A jack of many trades master of none sums up my ‘career.’   I started traveling in my late teens. Years later I bought a one-way ticket to London — what was I thinking?  I worked on a cruise liner as a stewardess and worked in many hotels as a bartender/waitress.  In between those jobs, it was office work, with a stint learning to be an Occupational Therapy Assistant [hospital] and a Manager of a home for people with disabilities.  My last job was as a Qualified Preschool teacher, which I left quite a few years ago to manage our small orchard that the Squire and I created from bare land.

housesitter

A few more facts!

  • I am an early starter in a few of life’s challenges and a late starter in many.  One example of my lateness is completing ten half marathons [competitive walker] and one triathlon in my fifties.
  • I have the most incredibly patient, caring and intelligent husband, and the best travel buddy any girl could want.
  • My first trip overseas was to Melbourne in the 1970’s when passports were not required.  I have been traveling on and off since then.
  • I love to garden and have this strange affliction of enjoying mowing lawns.  NO matter what shape, I love them all.
  • Don’t stand in the way of me and a good cup of coffee in the morning.
  • I sometimes capture excellent photos; many get deleted as I am my harshest critic.
  • I have a very contagious laugh, and I love to make people smile. You can find me at Global Housesitter x2. Why not drop by for a virtual cup of coffee?

Suzanne

Housesitter
Suzanne [the blogger] and her Squire. One couple, one globe, no regrets. Walks dogs, cuddles cats, pats the odd donkey, life learner and photographer.

From Retirement Reflections: Thank you, Suzanne, for dropping by this week to share a bit about yourself and your blog.

You can connect with Suzanne on the following social media sites.
Blog
Instagram
Facebook

I am confident that you will find Suzanne’s travels, adventures, writing and photography as interesting as I do.

Please join us next Sunday with Guest Host Lynn from  Encore Voyage — A Journey of Reinvention and Discovery. We hope to see you then!

If you would like to join in on the fun and submit your own Guest Post, I would love to have you share with us.  Simply leave a comment, send an email or use this site’s Contact Form.

Would You Take Fashion Advice From This Woman?

fashion

I am a huge fan of ‘Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond.’ It offers women over fifty excellent information that encourages and inspires them to live their lives to the fullest. It provides a balanced view of the highs and lows of retirement. It also gives tips on health, fitness, and positive aging. The author, Sue, regularly invites Guest Hosts to share their thoughts in specific areas.

Two months ago, I received a message from Sue asking if I would be interested in serving as one of her guests on a collaborative post on ‘Fashion Tips for the Holiday Season.’ Laurie from ‘Vanity and Me,’ and Linda from ‘Boots, Shoes, and Fashion‘ had also been invited to participate. Both Laurie and Linda have blogs dedicated to fashion and are respected experts in the ‘fashion over fifty’ field.

I double checked the message. Had Sue really planned to include me as a contributor to this post, or had there been a mix up in the message sending? Since retiring, my ‘daily uniform’ has consisted of yoga pants and long-sleeved t-shirts. What could I possibly contribute?

I checked with Sue. Yes, she had meant to include me. She is one brave woman!! But you know, as soon as I began writing (and I confess, researching) I was delighted to participate in this challenge.

I would love it if you could pop over to Sue’s site and read the full post. I look forward to seeing you there!

Favorite Fashion tips for the Festive Season from three fashionistas over 50!

Sunday Guest Post Series: Shallow Reflections

Shallow Reflections

I made plans to retire on September 1, but after I submitted my resignation, I felt restless and unsettled. My friends and family were excited for me, but I wasn’t happy and wondered what was wrong with me. After crying while I wrote a tearful goodbye to my thirty-eight-year nursing career, I admitted I wasn’t ready for full-time retirement. I pitched to my company that I could job share with another experienced nurse who also wanted to work part-time, and they agreed. My new schedule consists of working two days, with five days off. I go to work Thursday morning with enthusiasm, saying, “I can’t wait until Friday!” I get to stay in touch with coworkers, keep up to date in my profession, and bring home a paycheck which keeps my hand out of the retirement funds cookie jar. My husband still works full-time and our next step is to transition him into a part-time schedule.

I appreciate Donna’s blog and how she presents not only the joyful side of retirement but the challenges of transitioning from a full-time career to full-time retirement. As much as I’ve looked forward to this stage of my life, I discovered that for me it is a process, not an event. I’m honored to share my perspective on semi-retirement in her Sunday Guest Post series.  Below is a recent post where I grapple with how to best spend my ‘new found’ time. All suggestions and comments will be warmly welcomed!

My Falliable Plans for Semi-Retirement

Patrick says I romanticize life events, like my semi-retirement, but I don’t agree. I think he’s negative and sprinkles acid raindrops of reality on my rose colored progressives.

My theory is he’s jealous he had to postpone reducing his work schedule because apparently, he romanticized about our finances.

Anyway, I’ve read that you need to make plans when you experience more unstructured days of freedom to ensure you don’t grovel in the corner drooling. Or worse, start looking for a full-time job.

Here is a list of my plans with foreshadowing of how some pesky nettles could give the shaft to my Garden of Eden.

I’ll cook healthy meals during the day so we can eat before 8:00 p.m.

Patrick splashes cold water on this fantasy when he says, “I can see what is going to happen. You’ll get an invitation to meet a girlfriend for dinner and leave a box of Captain Crunch on the table with a note that says, “Pour your own damn milk!’”

“Crunch berries or plain?”

“I hate crunch berries!”

“So plain.” (Adds to grocery list).

I’ll grocery shop on weekdays saving Patrick the trouble of going with me.

Patrick is balancing the checkbook and shrieks, “Four hundred dollars for groceries this week! Are we eating caviar and filet mignon morning, noon and night? I better start going with you so you’ll stick to the list.”

“If you think you must.”

 

I’ll keep the house spotless now that I have time to clean and declutter.

After about a week of drudgery, a sliver of resentment jams into my psyche causing significant pain. I thought I was going to work less, not sign on as a chambermaid.

“Patrick, can we squeeze in a budget item for a cleaning service?”

I’m sure his response includes some boring details about making hard choices with my reduced income, but this is what I hear, “No.”

Undaunted I move to Plan B.

Dangling a wine glass in front of Patrick, I promise to pop the cork on some love nectar as soon as we spend quality time cleaning the house together. I remind him of how much it excites me to see him wearing Playtex gloves while scrubbing the shower.

I won’t need to buy as many clothes.

Who am I kidding? I’m still going to need cute and comfortable clothes for special occasions, i.e., days I wear clothes. And since I’m not going to join a nudist colony that would mean every day.

I’ll shop for sales.

Since I feel nauseated imagining myself traipsing through stores, pawing racks of drab items to find a single gem, I have to confess something. Having more free time is not likely to transform me into someone who loves to shop any more than it will turn me into a gardener or a camping enthusiast. Alternating between J. Jill mail order and Stitch Fix ought to keep me from wearing sweatpants every day.

I’ll save money on gas.

Patrick’s daily inquiry, “Where are you going today? Will it be under or over a four-hour drive? Just curious.”

I’ll get in shape.

The only drawback to this plan is how much time lies before me to exercise later, after I’ve attended to social media, writing, meeting friends for lunch, napping, etc.

I won’t procrastinate.

See above.

I feel so much better now that I’ve become more realistic about planning my time. Now, if I could just find a way to improve Patrick’s spirits, I think things would be perfect.

How do you think retirees or part-time workers should spend their newfound extra time? I need some achievable suggestions.

Meet Molly:

Molly Stevens believes humor is the emollient that soothes life’s rough patches and promotes these convictions in her blog: Shallow Reflections. She is the author of an adult picture book called, Boomer on the Ledge™, released in October 2017, published by Humor Outcasts Press. She won third place in the 2017 National Society of Newspaper Columnists writing contest and is a contributing author for These Summer Months: Stories from the Late Orphan Project, edited by Anne Born. She is a featured contributor for Humor Outcasts and part of the Bangor Daily News blogging network. Her guest posts have appeared on: Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, Better after 50, Sizzling Towards 60, Mostly Blogging, and Sixty and Me. Molly grew up on a potato farm in northern Maine, where she wore a snowsuit over both her Halloween costume and her Easter dress. She lives in central Maine, and when she’s not writing, working or watching the New England Patriots win super bowls, she and her husband, Patrick, love to spend time with their son, daughter-in-law and two perfect grandsons.

Links:

http://www.shallowreflections.com

https://www.facebook.com/shallowreflections/

https://www.facebook.com/BoomerOTL/

https://twitter.com/ShallRef

https://www.pinterest.com/mstevens1953/shallow-reflections/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MollyStevensPerham/posts

https://www.instagram.com/mstevens1983/

From Retirement Reflections:  I can never sneakily read Molly’s posts when I am supposed to be doing something else. Her writing always makes me snort with laughter (not pretty, I know)! If you are new to Molly’s writing, I highly recommend her site to you. I double-dare you not to laugh-out-loud. Up next week is Suz from Global Housesitters X2. Suz is another blogger who brilliantly models creative lifestyle, extensive travel and thinking outside of the box. See you Sunday!

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Please Stop By and Visit Me at Deb’s World

Thank you to Debbie for inviting me to Guest Host on her site while she is away. It is an honour to be filling in for her today. I enjoyed the thought-provoking questions that Debbie gave to me as a framework for this post.

While at Deb’s World, please have a look around. You will find travel, adventure, fitness, photography, great reads, new challenges and so much more (even poetry)!

I look forward to meeting you there!

Deb's World

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Sunday Guest Post Series: Lisa Dorenfest – One Ocean At A Time

One Ocean at a Time

I mull over the contents of this post as I soak in a traditional Red Zao herbal bath while overlooking the resplendent mountains of Northwest Vietnam. My entire being is filled with gratitude for every moment in my life that got me to this one; both the good and the bad for they are what shaped me and made this moment possible.

One Ocean at a Time
Herbal Bath – Ta Phin Village, SaPa, Vietnam

I begin to recount how I got to this place since shutting my office door for my first ‘Sailbatical’ in April 2011, and my gratitude increases exponentially.

I’ve had the good fortune to live my dream of circumnavigating the globe under sail. I’ve traveled nautical miles to SE Asia across two oceans and into a third, sailing from The Netherlands to Malaysia with a yearlong stopover in New York between oceans to replenish the cruising kitty and treat a bout of breast cancer.

One Ocean at a Time
Amandla In Paradise – Taveuni, Fiji

I joined my partner, Captain Fabio Mucchi aboard his sailboat Amandla at the beginning of my second ‘Sailbatical’ in February 2013. I had planned to return to work after sailing to New Zealand, but here I am, almost five years later, still traveling and loving it.

One Ocean at a Time
The Captain Provides – Pacific Ocean En Route to French Polynesia

With Amandla safely dry-docked in Malaysia, The Captain and I began a bit of land traveling SE Asia by bus, train, boat, and on foot, visiting Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. The Captain returned home to Italy in September to promote his new book on his early travels, and I continued onward to Vietnam.

One Ocean at a Time
With My Guide Man Mây – Lao Cai Province, Vietnam

Here, I added motorbikes to my list of transportation modes, riding as a passenger along the streets of Hanoi and through Northwest Vietnam from Mai Chau to Pù Luông, and over the past 36 hours, from Lao Cai to Lai Châu and back.

The Captain and I will meet back aboard Amandla at the end of October to start preparing for our Indian Ocean transit in 2018.

One Ocean at a Time

Some might call this retirement. I call it living life to the maximum! You can read more about the journey here.

Thank you, Donna, for giving me the opportunity to share my story on your blog. I find your wonderful posts as well as the stories shared by others here in your ‘Sunday Series’ to be an incredible source of inspiration for anyone contemplating a lifestyle change whether it is retirement or a trip along the road less traveled.


From Retirement Reflections

Don’t you want to drop what you are doing and immediately join Lisa and The Captain aboard the Amandla for a sailing adventure? I know that I do! This is an incredibly inspiring example of ‘living life to the max.’
While Lisa has us primed to think ‘outside of the box’, please join me next week when Molly takes charge and (humorously) revises her retirement plan!
Do you also have a ‘retirement’ or ‘lifestyle’ story to share? Just leave a comment and I would be happy to include you as an upcoming Guest Host.

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Sunday Guest Post Series: Natalie the Explorer

Greetings! I’m Natalie, the blogger behind Natalie the Explorer.

First, I’d like to thank Donna for inviting me to write a short guest post that highlights my blog. I’ve enjoyed Donna’s writing, and other guest bloggers’ writing in her Sunday Guest Post series. I’m happy to participate today.

Second, I’d like to thank you for being here. I hope my post is entertaining enough to keep you reading to the end, and leave a comment. Together we can make this a fun experience on a Sunday.

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. So far this year I’ve been to Costa Rica, Spain, and Gibraltar. At the time of writing, I’ve planned two additional trips to Ireland in October, and Central Europe in November.

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 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.

 What did you find most interesting in the post? What would you like to read more about? Please share your thoughts.

 Natalie
natalietheexplorer

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Natalie for Guest Hosting this week. If you love travel and exploration or are simply looking for some ‘healthy living’ motivation,  I highly encourage you to check out her blog. I previously thought that I had traveled extensively, and was committed to a healthy lifestyle.  Natalie has raised the bar (high) on both accounts! While remaining on the theme of travel, adventure and ‘thinking outside of the box’, please come back next Sunday when we will be joined by the author behind “Lisa Dorenfest — Once Ocean at a Time.” If you have not yet discovered Lisa’s blog, I know that you will find it as inspiring as I do. See you there!