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.






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!

55 Replies to “Sunday Guest Post Series: Natalie the Explorer”

  1. Happy to meet you, Natalie. Life without a car, eh? Sounds fascinating to me, an accidental suburbanite. It also sounds like a lifestyle that I could easily get to love. Looking forward to reading about your adventures.

    1. Hi, Ally – Thank you for stopping by to read Natalie’s post here. I agree that life without a car sounds fascinating. Actually, since I love walking and hate traffic, life without a car sounds ideal!

  2. Hi Natalie,
    Thanks for the excellent post. I popped over and checked out your site as well and have subscribed to future posts. I appreciate the clear, concise way you share your goals and the progress you are making in achieving them. And, like Donna, I am in awe of your travel frequency. Some blog names are overdone, but “Natalie the Explorer” fits you perfectly!
    I’m looking forward to reading more.

    1. Hi, Karen – I agree that ‘Natalie the Explorer’ is a perfect blog name. It’s fun, catchy and is what drew me to Natalie’s blog in the first place. Once I began reading, the blog name was a perfect snippet of the content that I found inside. I guess in some cases you can judge the blog by its name! 🙂

  3. Hi Karen,
    Thank you so much for your kind words and subscription. I think I like to explore and travel because I have a huge appetite to learn in tangible ways. I also strive for simplicity in whatever I do so I’m glad you noticed that in my blog name and my goals.

  4. Nice to meet you, Natalie. Toronto sounds like a fascinating city. I have yet to hear anything negative about it. Looking forward to a visit there in the not too far future! Life without a car is awesome and liberating!

    Like you, I aim for a healthy lifestyle and I have traveled extensively and in many different ways. I never counted the countries I explored. I once did one of those online quizzes about it and I think the number was around sixty. Maybe I should make a list one day. Or get one of those “scratch it” maps. 🙂 Unlike you, I don’t really live anywhere, so can’t explore local places too deeply.

    Enjoy your upcoming trips!!
    Liesbet recently posted…Completed House Sits: Rollinsville, Colorado – September 16th to October 14th, 2017My Profile

        1. From start to finish, the whole process takes less than five minutes (honest).
          BTW – Can you tell that I would really like to know all of the countries that you have traveled to so far?

    1. Nice to meet you, Liesbet. I hope your visit to Toronto is long enough to enjoy what the city has to offer. Give me a shout if you’d like to meet up. Sixty or so countries is impressive. I’m making an effort to visit at least one new country every year, to enjoy this beautiful planet.

    1. Hi, Thrifty Campers – Great to hear from you again. I loved following your adventures this past summer. I look forward to reading more.

  5. Hi Natalie!
    Nice to meet you! Hubs and I are on the Encore Voyage, but so far, our voyages have taken us pretty much to areas in and near the US. I’d love to explore Toronto – Well, pretty much any part of Canada! I’m going to pop on over to your blog next. I’m pretty certain I can learn a lot from your experiences!

    1. Hi, Lynn – I definitely recommend a visit (or two) to Canada. If you make it out to Vancouver or Vancouver Island, please give me a shout. I’d love to meet up!

    2. Hi and nice to meet you, Lynn. The US is a big and beautiful country. If you make it out to Toronto, feel free to give me a shout. My blog just turned one year old so most of the travels I did before Oct. 2016 are not on it but I have a few posts on Argentina, Peru, Greece, Costa Rica, Spain, Gibraltar, and Ireland.

    1. Hi, Jill – Thank YOU for being so supportive both to me, and my Guest Bloggers. I greatly appreciate your ongoing support. I stand in complete admiration of how you fit all of this blogging in when you work full-time. Your time management skills must be first-rate!

    1. Hi Kate, I usually say to my friends “do more of what makes you happy”. Whether it’s staying close to home, or traveling, or a mix of both, it’s all good. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

    2. Hi, Kate – I feel the same way about your cats. Richard and I are not yet ready to be pet owners again. Mollie, Hazel, Morgan, and Gracie help fill that void. Don’t tell them though — they may want an increase in tuna and mousies!

    1. Hello Christie! It’s a big world out there for sure. It’s my pleasure to share my experiences. I’m conscious of not putting people to sleep with my travel talk, LOL. I’ve been thinking of doing a round-the-world trip, mixing new destinations with places where I have family or friends or have been to before. I need to map it out and do a lot of reading in advance.

      1. Hi, Christie – I agree that it is a big, wonderful world. There is so much to explore both near and far. The choices are endless!

    1. Hi, Anabel – Before moving to British Columbia (then to Beijing…and then back to British Columbia), I lived just outside of Toronto. I still miss that city greatly. I try to get back to visit as often as I can. Natalie’s ‘Toronto posts’ always make me homesick!

  6. A nice introduction to yourself, Natalie. My admiration to you and your husband for the traveling bug. I have many fond memories of visiting Toronto with Yonge Street as my absolute favorite place. I once lived in Washington, DC and got rid of our car — it was the most liberating feeling! I’m jealous of anyone who uses public transportation and cabs. – Marty

    1. Hi Marty, I’m so glad you enjoyed Toronto, and have previous experience with a car-free lifestyle. When we travel, we prefer destinations where we can walk or use public transit, too. Thanks for reading my post and leaving a comment.

    2. Congratulations, Marty! For once you did not end up in my Spam Folder. You must have been behaving yourself recently! Thank you for stopping by to read Natalie’s post.

  7. Hi Natalie – lovely to meet you and I could relate to hand writing in a journal before starting a blog. BTW I use Blogger and there is an amazing amount of stuff you can do with it (including some fantastic themes you can get on Etsy – I updated mine a few months ago and just love it!) I’ve learned that Blogger gives you just about everything you can ask for and it’s free – what’s not to love about that? Leanne |
    Leanne | crestingthehill recently posted…IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEEMy Profile

    1. Hi Leanne, I should spend more time exploring Blogger themes and functions. Adding this to my “to explore” list 🙂 Thank you for reading my post and leaving a comment.

  8. Hi, Leanne – Thanks for sharing this information about Blogger. I love the updates that you have made to your site – they are very effective. I currently self-host with WordPress/Bluehost and pay an annual fee for my site. Why? I have no idea!

    1. Hi, Terri – Thanks so much for stopping by. Toronto is a wonderful place. You should definitely add it to your travel list…and Vancouver Island too!

    1. Hi, Debbie – Thank you for stopping by to read Natalie’s post here. I look forward to following your current series. Enjoy your upcoming travels.

  9. Hi Natalie – I’m late to the party, but it’s nice to meet you via this Guest Post series.
    We share a city in common, although I’m in the suburbs and REALLY need a car 😉
    I agree with everything you said about our wonderful city, however it took me a long time to come to that realization before I started to play tourist in my own home city. I’m always amazed at the new things I discover.
    Joanne Sisco recently posted…October LifeMy Profile

    1. Hi, Joanne – I agree that you and Natalie have many things in common. I also agree that a car is necessary for the Toronto suburbs. Lived there….and greatly miss that! Thanks so much for stopping by.

    2. Hi Joanne, Nice to meet you, too, and another Canadian blogger, yeah! I lived in the suburb for about two years and the commuting made up my mind about moving closer to the city centre. Toronto has been growing at a fast pace so I think we’re in a very exciting time to explore and discover what this city is becoming. Thank you for reading my post and leaving a comment.

  10. Wow. I am so impressed that you live without a car and yet get to meet and see so many different kinds of people in your wonderful city. I’ve never been to Toronto (live near Boston) and your blog is going to make me want to put it on my bucket list. To healthy living, traveling, and enjoying ever day!

    1. Thanks, Pamela, for reading my post and leaving a comment. I visited Boston a couple of times and enjoyed the city. I hope you add Toronto to your list. It’s not too far from where you live so a long weekend get-away is do-able.

  11. Hi, Pam – Thank you for stopping by. I also found Natalie’s post to be very inspiring. If you do get a chance to visit Toronto, I am sure that you will love it. (And while in Canada, please add Vancouver Island to your list of places to visit…I am sure that you would love it there too)!

  12. Hi Natalie! I’m late making my comment but I really enjoyed reading about your adventures. I visited Toronto last year and had a great time. My husband and I were on a long road trip so we had a car, but, once it was parked in a downtown garage, we never needed it again until we (sadly) had to go. During our five-week stay in Oaxaca, Mexico, we didn’t bother with a car either. It really is the best way to travel. Now I’m off to visit your blog…
    Janis recently posted…Thursday Doors: Spirited OpeningsMy Profile

    1. Hi Janis! Thank you for reading my post and leaving a comment. I’m happy to hear you had a great time in Toronto. Living and traveling without a car are very liberating, and I get to see things at ground level 🙂

  13. Hi, Janis – Many of my best vacations have been in walkable cities where we didn’t need a car to get around. Toronto (at least the interior core) is definitely one of those cities! I look forward to seeing you soon (unfortunately we will need to take a car to most places here). 🙂

  14. I am a HUGE fan of Toronto. Originally from Chicago, Toronto feels like home to me. How lucky are you to live in such an awesome place? And the list of your travel destinations had me green with envy – you have many gems on your list that I long to visit. Enjoy your Central European excursion in November! Lovely to meet you here.

    1. Glad you like my home city, Lisa. I visited Chicago and enjoyed the Architecture boat tour, Millennial Park, and the museums. I do feel lucky to live in Toronto. Thanks for stopping by.

  15. I have visited Toronto several times, and I agree —I is a lovely city. Having finally retired, I am eager to do more travelling. However my DH is equally eager to settle down and stick close to home. My solution? I’m planning a trip to Europe with my daughter this month.

    Dr Sock recently posted…Family, Small Towns, and Fall FairsMy Profile

    1. Hi, Jude – Congratulations on your upcoming trip to Europe with your daughter. I look forward to catching up with you on your return!

    2. Yeah, another positive vote for Toronto, and Great problem-solving skills, Jude 🙂 I’m leaving for Central Europe with my sister this weekend. Look forward to reading about your trip with your daughter.

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