Feb 12, 2014

Posted by in 52 Challenges, Alberta, Blog, British Columbia, Canada, Destinations, Kate's Luscious Life, Nova Scotia, Ontario, US | 3 Comments

Finding something good in every day: Gratitude for January

Gratitude - what we focus on growsWhat we focus on, grows. It makes so much sense, doesn’t it? You want more positivity in your life?

Be positive more often; forget the crap that you don’t want. So simple.

Inspired Action

For a long time, I’ve sat back and watched others express their gratitude for everything beautiful in their lives, and devoured the positivity delivered in their posts.

Some of the influential examples in my life have been Caz of Mojito Mother & yTravelBlog – she posts weekly Gratitude & Happiness posts reflecting on the good in her week, but also shares her open & upfront perspective on gratitude and how to show it; and my friend Lindsay Umlah, who’s Facebook feed is always flowing with expressing how grateful she is for everything going on in her world. These two ladies came to mind first,  but if asked I’m sure I could reel off more.

I’ve been a long time believer in surrounding yourself with people who inspire you and build you up and now I’m following suit.

My own take on Gratitude

This year I decided I’ve sat back and watched long enough. I don’t live my life from the sidelines, so it’s time to step outside my comfort zone and start shouting my gratitude from the rooftops! Or, WordPress…

As I began travelling at the end of the year, I started recording in the back of my journal the highlight of each day. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not fabulous at keeping up with something routinely every day, but I did it often enough that I could come up with one great thing out of each day. No matter how big or small, there is always at least one thing that will put a smile on my face during the day.

Do you go a day without smiling or something awesome  – no matter how big or small – happening?

Then I decided, I might as well tell the world. No sense keeping all that gratitude to myself; that’s something which is meant to be shared, so that it can multiply and grow. Perhaps others will start expressing their experiences of finding something good in every day, too?

It’s not one of my 52 challenges, but something that I really want to keep up with. Finding the best part of each day, so that when I look back on the day, month, or year and the hard times and the struggles rush to mind, the goodness will outshine it all.

To keep it realistic and simple, and decided that once a month would be frequent enough to summarise. I didn’t want to get bogged down with a daily or weekly posting schedule, but still wanted to make sure every day was accounted for.

So listed below, you will find a brief description of the best part of each day for the month of January (and a few days in December, because I could). There will more detail to come with many of these stories, as I write and post about our Cross-Canada Train Adventure, and our week long stopovers in Hawaii and Fiji, so please stay tuned for that soon.
gratitude - finding something good in every day

Finding something Good in every day

December 29th: Thom and I left Halifax on the train and my heart was overflowing with emotion as I said “see ya later” again to my parents and grandmother. It’s never easy leaving them, but having their love and support means the world to me.

leaving home again at the train station

Saying ‘see ya later’ to my family again in Halifax

December 30th: With only 24 hours in Ottawa, we gladly took a recommendation from Vanessa of Turnipseeds Travel, we went to the Highlander Pub in Ottawa. Thom ordered Haggis, and I had a flight of Scottish beers and a vegetarian samosa. Not thinking about what I was actually eating, I tried a bit of his Haggis, and it surprisingly wasn’t too bad!

December 31st: I got to ring in the New Year with a few old friends who’d organised a pot luck dinner in Toronto. It was a classic “Brock Family” gathering, on a much smaller scale of what we used to do in university, but completely perfect.

January 1st: Even though we just missed the bus, we didn’t have a long wait for the next one, as Thom and I headed out to the suburbs to watch the Winter Classic at the pub with my bestie Melissa and Thom’s Melissa’s boyfriend, Kris.

January 2nd: Cooking dinner for Mel and Chris at their condo, I tried a new recipe for Chickpea and Mint Salad, which I found on MindBodyGreen.com. I loved it, and can’t wait to try it again!

January 3rd: A quiet day in, I spent the afternoon reflecting on 2013 and filling a page in my journal with all that I was grateful for from the previous year, before having a inspiring chat on the phone with my friend and mentor, Christa Realba.


Lots to be grateful for!

January 4th: My darling n0t-so-baby sister, Jenna, turned 23 years old today! And as a personal win, I not only successfully navigated the Toronto Subway system by myself, but managed to survive a detour around the station that I was supposed to meet my friend Bianca at! We found each other at St. George station, after a few lost texts. Quite an improvement from the girl who was terrified by the TTC back in 2004…

January 5th: The entire day (and then some) was spent on the train from Toronto to Winnipeg. I was grateful for the awesome company of those sitting around me to make the time pass a little more interestingly.

January 6th: Wayne and Linda hospitably welcomed us into their home in Winnipeg, picking us up from the train station (5 hours later than than we were originally scheduled to arrive).


Racing was heaps of fun, and the win was a bonus

January 7th: We went Go-Kart racing with Wayne and Linda’s daughter, Robyn… and I came in First Place in the first race!

January 8th: Not only did we get to meet Wayne and Linda’s other daughter and her husband and their baby, but we were introduced to Ticket to Ride.

January 9th: We stoked up on train food at Safeway for the trip to Edmonton, and Thom bought a ridiculous sized Hoagie! He also bought Ticket To Ride for his iPad, juuuuuust before the train arrived, using VIA’s free wifi, and it provided endless hours of entertainment for the next 16+ hours.

January 10th: Arriving in Edmonton (5 hours later than scheduled), we used the free wifi at the Via Rail Station, and booked a hotel using hotwire. Knowing only that it was a three-star hotel downtown, but having no idea of what or where it was, we gave the address to the cab driver and were pleasantly surprised when we were dropped off at the Sutton Place Hotel.

January 11th: Caught up with one of the first friends I’d made when I moved to Bridgwater in 1995, Johanne! She and her husband Ryan live in Edmonton, and we met them at the Brewhouse downtown for dinner and some beers. It was great to hang out again after so many years.

January 12th: Jo and Ryan picked us from the hotel, and we all spent the afternoon climbing a billon stairs and sliding down some of the most awesome water slides at the biggest indoor water park in North America, at the West Edmonton Mall.


Waterslides at West Edmonton Mall Indoor Water Park

January 13th: We loved Jimmy the Greek so much, we went back for a second dinner there. Ah, “fresh” veggies – the best ‘fast food’ option I could’ve asked for.

January 14th: Arriving in Jasper, the lady at the rental car place in the train station was so helpful and we weren’t even customers. It didn’t take us long to work out that renting a car would be well worth the investment to get the most out of Jasper – with out any sales-y pressure from her.

January 15th: I learned to ski at Marmot Basin, in the Rocky Mountains… dream! First complete tick for my 52 challenges for 52 weeks.

gratitude learning to ski

Learning to ski in the Canadian Rockies

January 16th: We returned to Maligne Canyon, one of our favourite day hikes in Jasper when we were there in May, and this walked along the canyon floor. It was so cool!

January 17th: The service manager on board the train from Jasper to Vancouver was such a personable guy; he spent a lot of time hanging out and chatting to a bunch of us up in the Dome Car we took photos of the cascading mountains above us. He offered another guy a chance to get photos from a unique perspective on the train, and I tagged along too.

January 18th: From a list of recommended restaurants nearby from our AirBnB host, Thom randomly selected the Peaceful Restaurant because it had “homemade Chinese noodles” scribbled next to it and we were delighted with our choice! We turned up about 5pm, and the whole place was packed out by 6, and we could certainly see why.

January 19th: We met up with fellow blogger Henry of Fotoeins Fotopress, a proud Vancouver native, who kindly showed us around Granville Island. We spent most of the day exploring as Henry shared so much of his own knowledge of Vancouver with us.
gratitude at the granville island marketJanuary 20th: Thom’s hockey bag, which was transporting the majority of his bike, got broken on the train in Jasper, and he was a bit worried about whether it would make it on all the many journeys yet to come. Somehow, the receipt for the bag which we’d purchased back in August in Nova Scotia – was still hiding the depths of my wallet. That made for smooth return transaction at Canadian Tire, where they exchanged the broken one for a new one.

January 21st: We met up Henry again so that I could buy his 18-55mm lens that he no longer used, as the auto-focus on mine had stopped working, leaving me to shoot only in manual focus. While I like the challenge by times, sometimes it was just incredibly frustrating, so I was amazed at the mysterious ways in which the universe works when he offered his.

January 22nd: One more trip to the Peaceful Restaurant with Henry, and it was equally as delicious as the last time.

January 23rd: On our flight from Vancouver to Honolulu, we were assigned seats 1A and 1B with WestJet, not realising that these were in the “Plus” section, and gave us free drinks/food on board!

January 24th: Woke up at the airport hotel with no plans at all for our time in Honolulu. Decided a rental car would probably be the best idea in order to be able to see the island, and we found a decent deal online.

January 25th: We met up with my friend Chantal, who I studied with at university, and met her husband and beautiful baby girl. We had dinner in Kailua, and the place had the absolute most fantastic Peanut Butter Gelato.

gratitude the climb was worth the view

The climb was so worth it for the view and the memories

January 26th: Thom convinced me to do an absolutely intense and ridiculous hike… and it was one of the most epically memorable experiences of our entire trip. I’ll share more details soon, because the story behind the hike was crazy awesome as the views!

January 27th: We were at the airport so early for our 6am flight to Hilo, that we actually got to hop on the 5am flight because they had room and offered anyone flying carry on only – that was us! Worked out well for the couple that missed their flight because the lady was in the washroom as they made the final call. Hopefully they were able to take our seats, because otherwise the flight was completely sold out.

January 28th: We saw a sea turtle on the black sand beach.

January 29th: Spent the day exploring Volcano National Park – in complete awe of the earth and how it works!


The Kilauea Caldera glowing at 7pm

January 30th: Took a dip in the ocean, in a thermally heated rock pool, and it was completely perfect for a rainy afternoon.

January 31st: Technically we skipped this day, since we crossed the international date line, but the kind folks at Fiji Airways did help out by printing off our exit itinerary and proof of our flight home to New Zealand. I also learned they did this because they’ll be the ones to get the fine if I didn’t have it, and although I’d never needed it or been asked for it before, it’s pretty important to have a printed copy of your itinerary. An email on the phone won’t cut it.
These are just brief snippets of so many stories I can’t wait to share. And you will be reading about them all once I get my two ear infections cleared up so that I can think straight & focus again.  Next up, finding something good in every day in February, so make sure you come back next month, too!

In the mean time, I’d love to hear from you. Do you note the small the things? What’s been the highlight of your day, week, or month so far in 2014?

Share in the comments below, or hop over to my Facebook Page, and let us know there!



  1. This is such a great idea Kate and thank you so much for mentioning me. I loved reading through your highlights, it’s such a fantastic way to stay centred and a point of reflection for those moments when gratitude is hard to find.

    We always have something to be grateful for and it’s such a powerful emotion to feel, to give back with and have many blessings return.

    I often struggle to routinely do things as well, but the gratitude habit is there for me now after doing similar things like this. Now it’s just a normal part of my day!

    Isn’t Henry just adorable? We loved catching up with him when he was in OZ.

    • Thanks Caz. Working on building a few solid routines, and all I can do is start 🙂

      Yes, Henry is fantastic! I was blown away with his knowledge of Vancouver that he eagerly shared with us.

  2. Oh how you ladies make a grown man blush: you’re both very sweet. 🙂

    Kate, this is a fantastic idea for an ongoing series. Speaking of the lens, I’d been wondering if my 18-55 lens was simply going to collect dust, and when you came along mentioning how the auto-focus mechanism died on your kit-lens, it was amazing to see how the circumstances worked out that way. I’m very glad you got a working lens again! 🙂

    Thank you for mentioning me; it was great to have met and spent time with you both.

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