Local Explorer

I just returned from a local adventure with my daughter. We live on Vancouver Island and we spent a week on the road, stopping in three different destinations along the way. All of the locations were within a few hours of our home. During our journey, we enjoyed music, hopped ferries, savoured good meals, hiked, paddle boarded, swam in the ocean and played in the sun. The best part was visiting with friends and family at each stop; and there was a lot of laughter along the way.

It was wonderful to discover all kinds of local treasures, as shared by our hosts. There were lake trails, mountain views, hidden beaches and ocean spits to be explored. Our friends shared their favourite places, which we would never have discovered without their local knowledge and insight. My daughter and I came home feeling full, refreshed and happy. All of this took place within a few hours of home, which proves that you do not have to travel very far to discover adventure.

In recent years, I have also tried out a “staycation”, which entails staying home for your break. There is something really nice about exploring familiar surroundings. The key is not to let chores around the house take over your time. Staying close to home can be quite relaxing, as it offers you the opportunity to be a tourist in your own town, and spend quality time in your community. There is an additional element of mindfulness and intention that is required to ensure you maximize the experience; but it is well worth the effort.

I am always grateful for the opportunity to travel to other countries, explore other cultures and experience the world but a local experience can often be as equally fun and fulfilling. It is wonderful to have an economical option for spending time with your friends and family in a unique and meaningful way. There is so much to discover close to home. It just requires a little curiosity, openness and effort.

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Making Memories


I love fall; the hues of red, orange and yellow leaves: the crisp air and re-emergence of warm jackets and woolen hats. I enjoy the playfulness of Halloween and the quick ball change into holiday sparkle: colourful lights illuminating dark neighborhoods and parkways.

I look forward to the month of December: making cookies and crafts; festive gatherings; meals shared with friends and family; the winter fair at school; decorating the tree; and singing carols. I deeply value the opportunity to spend quality time with the people I love and with my community: making memories together. For me, it is a season to foster connection and friendship, and to express gratitude.

To keep closer to this intention, I made the decision to move away from gift giving for the adults in my life a few years ago. I now choose two causes close to my heart and I donate the money that I would normally spend on gifts, in their names. I ask them to do the same for me. This year I chose the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Environmental Working Group.



For the kids in my family, I like to buy hand-made gifts created close to home. We are really lucky to have some fantastic local fairs that run at this time of year in Victoria. One of my favourites is the Owl Fair. It is a carefully curated gathering of Etsy artisans who make beautiful and unique things. When I pick up each piece, I can feel the love and care that has gone into its making. I had a great time exploring the tables today; and I came away with a bag full of treasures for all of the little ones in my life. Each gift makes me smile and I am excited to give them.


Another highlight for me at this time of year is the celebration the Winter Solstice. This is the shortest day and longest night of the year. It also officially marks the beginning of winter. I like to spend some time reflecting on the year that has passed and the seeds of intention that I would like to plant for the year ahead. It helps to create clarity and focus; and I like the idea of acknowledging the changing of the seasons with this small tradition.

What are your traditions at this time of year? How do you like to make memories with those you love?