For many, January is a month to hunker down and practice the Danish art of hygge, letting the cold, dark winter weather swirl around outside the windows.
But not for this Petite Adventurer, at least not this year!
While in past years, I’ve been known to spend more time inside than out during the winter, I’ve decided that 2017 will be different! This will be the year I get up and out, no matter the weather. And I’m happy to say that the first month of 2017 was filled with a few adventures, both big and small, despite some colder temperatures!
Dave and I kicked off the year in Toronto, spending time with friends and family, and watching an outdoor hockey game (seriously, could we be any more Canadian?!) After a long journey (and battle with jet lag) we were back in Leeds and back to reality.
We eased ourselves back into the real world, one that included chores, working and alarm clocks. But instead of following our usual routine of hermiting when the temperatures plunged (okay, for the record, temperatures in Leeds are not plunging, despite what the papers would have you believe, but they are cold for Leeds, just not cold relative to what we were used to in Ottawa…) we decided to change it up this year.
Instead of spending our weekends on the couch or watching winter through the window, we’ve been getting up early-ish, bundling up, and heading out to explore the moors, meadows and valleys that surround us.
January saw us taking our first local adventure out to the beautiful village of Ilkley, about 45 minutes north of Leeds. We hiked from the train station up to the Cow and Calf Rocks and spent a few hours walking the rolling hills and taking in the landscape around us. It was a peaceful afternoon that led to a pretty epic pre-dinner nap and has only inspired us to look for similar day trips we can take in the next few months.
The very next weekend, we were off again taking our first city break of the year. This time it was planes, trains and automobiles taking us over to the town of Gdansk, Poland.
I was first introduced to Gdansk, Poland by the boys of the Hand Luggage Only blog, and immediately fell in love. Since that fateful day, I’ve waited oh-so-patiently for the chance to visit (and a decently priced flight), and I did just that this past January.
Jetting off to northern Poland in the dead of winter might not appeal to everyone, but Gdansk was the perfect city break to kick off 2017. We spent a wonderful weekend wandering the cobblestone streets, admiring the architecture, and celebrating Dave’s birthday by eating our weight in pierogies and beer.
- Toronto, Canada
- Leeds, UK
- Ilkley, UK
- Gdansk, Poland
Distance Travelled: 8669.54 km.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH
Visiting Gdansk! Not only was it an amazing weekend of food, drink and more, but it was so nice to get back to travelling. Having the chance to explore a new city and place makes my heart so happy; I came home feeling inspired, rejuvenated and ready to make the most of February!
The other highlight of the month was buying our Two Together Railcard. Seriously, it’s amazing – I can’t believe we waited so long to buy this card! It’s saved us so much money in the past month and has only encouraged us to get out and explore more of Yorkshire (and beyond!).
*Please note, I’m in no way affiliated nor am I shilling for the Two Together Railcard (although, maybe I should be) I’m just a huge, huge fan of saving money and exploring!
LOWLIGHT OF THE MONTH
Maybe it’s age, or I’m in denial, but I honestly can’t think of any lowlights at the moment. So, let’s say there were none and count that as a win!
- Let’s Go On An Adventure: Expat & Travel Goals For 2017
- Petite Adventures Year in Review: 2016
- Living Abroad Interview Series: Megan Thudium
- Staying Healthy & Sane on Long Haul Flights
- Book Review: Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery
Top Instagram Posts
Follow my adventures in real time on Instagram: @PetiteAdventures.
What I Read
Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery is the story of Steph Jagger learning to raise the restraining bar, learning to jump in with both feet and learning to move in the direction of the life she’s meant to lead.
I wrote a pretty robust review of it at the beginning of the month, which you can read here so I won’t repeat myself. All I’ll say is, this book gave me serious wanderlust and has had me planning and plotting a great adventure ever since.
After 20 years of living in England, Bill Bryson has decided to move his family back to his native homeland, the USA. But first, he decides to go on an epic journey, exploring one last time all the little towns and villages that make up this island that’s he’s called home for so long. Notes from a Small Island is, in a way, Bryson’s farewell letter to Great Britain (although, it wasn’t a goodbye forever as he and his family eventually moved back).
Throughout the book, he shares memories and stories from the places he’s visited, as well as his impressions of living as a foreigner in England. The book was both touching and hilarious and inspired me in so many ways: to be a better writer, to be a better explorer, and to savour all the little moments.
Helen Russell was a successful magazine editor living in London when her husband announced that he’d been offered his dream job and he wanted to move to rural Jutland in Denmark. Ready for a change and a break from being “busy”, Russell jumped at the opportunity and spent the next twelve months uncovering what it is that make’s Danes the happiest people in the world.
I loved this book, and probably much to Dave’s chagrin, have spent the last few weeks talking about it incessantly. Not only was it interesting to learn about so many different facets of Danish life (from hygge to healthcare), but I so enjoyed being a fly on the wall as Russell tried to settled in and assimilate into a new culture. I found myself relating to so many of the struggles she had, and found it so inspiring to see how she overcame them.
Early in February, we’ll be hoping on the train and heading north to visit the Scottish capital of Edinburgh for our second city break of the year! I’m so excited to see the architecture, explore the city and visit the birthplace of Harry Potter. And, to sample some haggis! I’m curious but cautious about this divisive food, but I’m determined to jump in with both feet and give it a try.
That’s it for me. Tell me, what does February have in store for you?
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