Life & Love Pack the Suitcase & Go

Oh My Darlings, Let’s Explore!


Why hello my little kitten sweet hearts, and welcome to your mid-week moment with you and I. I hope so far your week has been lovely, and you’ve had plenty of good moments. Myself?  I’ve had moments of melancholy and anxiety swirling in my head the past few days, which will need to be onto a post itself in the near future. But that post isn’t today. Today I want to talk about a simple word, with so many ideas and possibilities: explore.

Many times when we think of the idea of exploring, we think of Christopher Columbus setting off into the horizon, sailing into the great unknown.  Or traveling and exploring to a far location, needing travel guides or language translators in the process. Sure, that is exploration, in every definition of the idea.  But many times, in real life, those big far flung trips seem impossible (or difficult). There is never enough vacation time, or spare cash lying around….and exploring goes to the side.  Or does it? What if we explored right in front of us, our backyard, our neighbourhood or town? What if we only travelled 30 minutes to explore somewhere new, and then appreciate it with wonderful hearts upon arrival.  Doesn’t that sounds divine?

My inspiration for this new look at exploring, came from a mini-adventure we took last weekend. We were feeling a bit restless, wanting to do something but not really want to drive that far or spend that much cash.  I remembered reading about a woodland walk at Erddig, a nearby estate home, and we decided to hop into the car for a bit of fresh air. Five minutes, yes five minutes later…we arrived.  Instead of heading into the estate home, we turned left and headed into the woodlands.

From the beautiful autumn colors to the peace and quiet, I was in a very happy place. I found my restlessness melting away, my smile being a bit brighter and exploring heart was filled with joy. All a mere five minutes away.


I felt wonderful exploring excitement, and perfect quiet in the same moment…


And Freddy was a happy pup, of course…


Strolling through medieval forests…


Of course, I had to include pictures of the gorgeous ivy on Erddig itself. I was in sheer delight!



Now, I know what you are thinking, “Geesh Belinda, living in Wales makes for your exploring so cool. I am not in a faraway spot like you.” Maybe.  But, respectfully, I have to disagree.  Think of the coffee shops, bakeries or small independent shops in your town or city that are lovely and perfect for exploring. Before I moved to Wales, I had bookstores and coffee shops on my list of places to become a regular at, and I never did….and now, I sort of wish I had.  Do you pass the cutest cupcake shop on your way to Target, thinking you need to stop at somepoint? Maybe try them out this weekend. Or local wine bar or coffee shop, or perfect park with lovely autumn trees?

I guess my thought here is adventure and exploration is a wonderful thing.  And I believe that it comes in many different forms: grand like a world trip to small as a walk through the woodlands. Seeing a new place, opens eyes and allows to experience something new…which always puts a big smile to my face.

I loved our journey through the autumn forest, and I am excited for our next local exploration! Of course, this makes me wonder… where do you go and explore in your neighbourhood or town? Where can you go and explore?  If you explore a local spot, I’d love to hear about it! Make sure to link in the comments, or give a little shout on Twitter.

Enjoy the rest of your week kittens, tonight is our second week of being unplugged. Movie and game night, here we come!



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  • La Maman Heureuse

    Love the post, we always seek far destinations and exotic new spots, but there is so much beauty next door if you’re willing to see. I’m totally on this with you. Btw, you have the most adorable pup and your smile is just contagious, so much happiness radiating from you 🙂 Always good to see!

    • I loved writing this post, and sharing this little adventure. Such a perfect break from being inside. Freddy is happiest when he is exploring too… and I think my smile has a lot to do with the nice husband taking the picture on the other side of the camera! 🙂

  • beautiful! I think you known my opinions on traveling and exploring locally. This is wonderful!

    • Thanks Nicole! I need to open my eyes and appreciate what is right here in front of us. Sometimes we can get discouraged when adventure isn’t big or fancy, but that shouldn’t bring us down. Seeing new spots is a wonderful part of life! 🙂

  • Lovely place for a walk. Walking always helps me if I’m anxious or stressed. Your sister will be here before you know it and you’ll have such a wonderful time. She will probably make you see your expat life in a new light, fresh eyes always do.

    • I think so too! She will be so excited about everything here in Wales that the charm will return. She will be here in 13 days, and the excitement is building for sure!

  • Being a tourist in your own town is always fun. I find that making a list of places you’d take a visitor is a good place to start. In Jo’burg, we’ve started scheduling dinners and plans weeks in advance so that we don’t forget what there is on offer.

    • I love the idea of scheduling dinners and plans in advance, that is a great idea. And I have been thinking where would I take a tourist on the weekend, which typically guides our mini-adventures. 🙂

  • This is so true! Sometimes just seeing what’s down a street or on the other side of a building can turn into something wonderful 🙂

    • And typically such a wonderful surprise… like this little walk! Perfection for sure.

  • So true, we have found awesome things to do within an hour of where we live, making for the perfect day trip. I consider anything three hours away or less as a good day trip and we’ve definitely seen some cool places 🙂

    • I have to agree with you! 2-3 hours makes the perfect day trip, especially during the long days of summer. It’s fun just getting in the car and heading somewhere new. It breaks up the day-to-day routine, and adds some fun.

  • I can not get enough of ivy on houses, it’s so pretty! I completely agree with you, a lot of people never think to go to the nice places around them, or might not even know they are there.

    • The ivy only sticks around for a little bit, and when it is here… oh my goodness! My jaw is literally dropping whenever I see it, but especially on the estate homes! Dreamy!

  • Also loving the ivy on that house! Gives it even more of a lovely old-timey feel. I’ve also trying to explore locally more – in my case, my hometown after being away for four years. Need to get out of the mentality of associating excitement with far-flung places. Thanks for sharing!

  • A week or two ago my husband and I drove to a random neighborhood to just walk around on the sidewalks for an hours (no sidewalks by our house)….it was so much fun to just explore and look at houses….my grandpa randomly drove by and saw us and thought we were stranded or something because he couldn’t figure out why we were walking there!

  • I love that peachy orange on you, really lets your coloring shine through! Fredrik and I are big fans of doing things like this, we call it adventuring and I think you are right that no matter where you live there are adventures to be had close to you!

  • The red ivy on that building is beautiful. It makes sense to explore and feature your own town, considering you prbly know best. Plus there is beauty that can be found in every city. I’ve featured pics from my little town in Germany and I think it’s so beautiful here.

  • I love getting lost in London and just exploring!

  • Exploring is one of the best things about life! I think my desire and ability to explore wherever I am is one of the traits I take for granted in myself. I love finding myself with an extra 10 minutes of time before an appointment and using it to explore my surroundings. Sometimes I simply waste time by exploring a different route through a neighborhood. Of course, when I lived in France, exploring had a special exoticness about it, but even here in Portland, there is always something new to discover, be it a new bakery, a new tree, a new road.

  • Rachel Murphree

    I love exploring my own town; it’s always fun to play like I am a tourist. The pink flowers on that building are ridiculously gorgeous!

  • I’ve never been able to look at my town from a traveler’s viewpoint, no matter how hard I tried; I think I have a few too many hangups still. I’ve been able to take some nice photos here and there, but they’re mostly of flowers and things, ha. But I really get what you’re saying. And I love the picture of your dog and the one of the berries!

  • i think this is so true. so often we let excuses of it not being ‘exotic’ enough get in the way of us truly exploring where we live. there are so many places that are yet to be discovered in even the smallest town!

  • this is such a great concept. even though I live in what most consider to be an exotic location [Taiwan] I sometimes take it for granted. I think no matter where you are, after a while things can feel “normal” and we forget to look at everything with wonder. thanks for the reminder 🙂 oh, and that ivy is gorgeous!

  • that red ivy is so gorgeous!

  • This is so awesome and absolutely beautiful photos! I do stuff like this with the boys all the time! I’ve nominated you for a sunshine blogger award! You can find it on my blog!

  • How pretty! And what a wonderful piece of encouragement! I always dream of far-off lands, but I know that there are beautiful places that aren’t too far from where I live! There may be a whole world that’s waiting to be explored, but there’s a backyard, too! 🙂

  • Casey

    This place is seriously gorgeous!!!! And you’re so right, there are so many places right near us that we should count in our “exploring!”

  • THIS times a million: “And I believe that it comes in many different forms: grand like a world trip to small as a walk through the woodlands.”

    it’s one of the reasons it’s great to have people come visit – they make you explore your local area and they help you see new things and find new adventures 🙂