12 Autumnal Goals

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Earlier this year, I did a post entitled “20 Summer Goals” where I listed, you guessed it, 20 goals that I wanted to complete over the summer. I didn’t make it through all the goals, but I made it through some of them, and I honestly had a really good time doing it. Making that list gave me something to look forward to over the summer that helped me look past the burning heat and the long days. After the summer, I wasn’t planning to make any more goals for myself or anything like that, but this morning I felt really inspired to do it. I think it may just become a habit for me, to give myself inspiration to get out and do things throughout each part of the year rather than getting stuck in a rut and letting the year pass me by without taking advantage of all of it. All of the photos throughout this post were taken in or around Grand Marais, Minnesota. Grand Marais is my favorite place to be in the Autumn. Just looking at these pictures brings back so many wonderful memories that I’ve made there over the years, and it felt quite fitting to put a few of them in this post filled with inspiration for myself.
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1. Go to a pumpkin patch.

2. Go apple picking.

3. Bake something new.

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4. Carve pumpkins.

5. Go on a walk/hike in 3 new places.

6. Watch 5 scary movies.

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7. Read 6 new books, in at least 3 different genres.

8. Go on an adventure.

9. Work on more photography.

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10. Write at least 1 blog post each week, if not more.

11. Put myself out there more, let more people in.

12. Explore the city, and document it.

As you can see, some of these goals are ones that I can (and hopefully will!) blog, and others aren’t, but the ones that are blogable, are the ones I’m most excited about. Some of these goals are the most standard of things. Things that people say they want to do every time Fall rolls around. Cliches. But that fact aside, they are all things that I haven’t done since I was a little kid, and I really want to try and do them again. I want to make memories, because when it comes down to it, memories are all that matter. And if there ever comes a time when I can’t remember these things anymore, I like to think I’ll be able to come back to this blog, and relive these moments.

So here is me, wishing myself good luck in completing each one of these goals. I hope you will enjoy sharing these moments with me, and if you yourself decide to create your own goals this Fall, please let me know or tag me in them so I can follow along with you! I hope it can give you inspiration and help you create memories of your own.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

30 Day Writing Challenge | Introduction and Day 1!

Here we go, my first 30 Day Challenge on this blog.Will I completely fail at posting every single day for 30 days? Probably. Will I have fun giving it a go? Absolutely. So here I am, sitting in my bed watching Across the Universe, and setting myself up for quite the month. Writing 30 thoughtful and personal posts, all while *hopefully* maintaining my regular schedule of random personal posts, Take Me Away posts, Summer Goals posts, and Sleepy Sunday posts. I’m excited, a little nervous, and all around just interested to see how it all plays out. I love a good challenge, especially one that makes me think, and as writing is a passion of mine, this one seemed completely and utterly perfect. I also feel like this challenge will help me connect with myself a bit more, and may help me to stay inspired throughout this next month. So, without further ado, here is the start of my 30 Day Writing Challenge!
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Day 1: List 10 things that make you really happy.

1. Life.
2. Writing.
3. The wind blowing on my face and the leaves crunching beneath my feet on a blustery autumn afternoon.
4. Learning, about anything and everything I can.
5. Adventures.
6. Love.
7. The smell of freshly mowed grass.
8. The seaside.
9. Talking to people with Irish accents, or any accent really
10. Baby animals.

This list goes a bit all over the place, but I suppose that’s a good thing. So many different things in the world make me endlessly happy, some are the simplest of moments, and some are complex and magical things. Life makes me happy for the obvious reason that it means I’m alive. No matter what could be going wrong in my life, at least I’m here living it. So many people don’t get that chance anymore, and I intend to make the most of this beautiful thing that is life. I have always loved writing. It is my outlet. My key to unlocking new worlds with the tip of a pen or the stroke of a key on my keyboard. Writing is the way that I can escape from the world around me and create my own. Autumn is my happy season, the wind, the rain, the beautiful colors, the mild temperatures; there is no season that makes me happier. Learning is something that I’ve talked about on more than one occasion on this blog. I believe that there is never a time in your life when there is nothing left for you to learn or understand. I live to learn. Learning about science, people. cultures, music, film, everything; that’s what makes my life meaningful to me. This blog isn’t called “Adventures of Lexie” for nothing. I believe that everyday is an adventure if you let it be. I hope to have the chance to have adventures all over the world, all my life, collecting friendships and memories along the way. Love is one of the most important things in the world. We are all made to love one another. Not just the mushy gushy romantic kind of love, because lets be honest, not everyone has that. But everyone loves someone or something. I love my family and friends, I love books, I love music, I love the ocean, I love chocolate… the list could go on forever. All too often people just talk about the things they hate, or the things that are wrong with the world, but just for this moment, I’d like you to think about all the things that you love, all the people that you love. I promise that it will brighten your mood, even if it’s just for a second. It’s the small things in life that make me the happiest, like a smile from someone walking down the street, or the smell of freshly mowed grass. There’s not a scent memory in life that holds more memories for me than the smell of freshly mowed grass. Just the smell of it brings back memories of skinned knees, sidewalk battle scars, smiles, the sun shining down on me, forcing my hair into an even lighter shade of blonde than you’d think is possible; it brings back memories of childhood, a simpler time, and that’s a beautiful thing. Nearly all of the moments in life when I’ve felt the most comfortable, and the most “myself” was when I was standing by the seaside. There is one moment that I remember most vividly; I was sitting on the hood of my rental car in Northern Ireland, on the Antrim Coast near Glenarm, watching the waves rolling into the rocky shoreline, thinking about everything going on in my life. I was in a relationship that I hated, had a major in college that wasn’t right for me, and wanted nothing more than to stay in that spot watching the ocean forever. That moment was the one when I decided to end that horrible relationship, change my major to something different, and work as hard as possible in life to be able to come back to that spot someday, build a home, and never leave. This is also where I discovered my love for Irish accents. I’ve always loved accents of any kind, as I think most Americans do, and I’ve heard my fair share after working at a bed and breakfast with a nice flow of international guests, but after the day I sat talking to a variety of people in a pub in Ireland, I can safely say that the Irish accent makes me happiest. There’s just something about it that makes me happy when I hear it, I don’t know how to explain it. Lastly, one thing that can always make me smile when I’m having a rough go of things is baby animals. Any sort of adorable little animal photo is amazing. When you’re having a down day just google baby animals, and I am 95% sure that it will make you a little happier.

With that, my 30 Day Challenge has officially begun. I am excited to give you all a bigger glimpse into what goes on in this odd mind of mine, and to give myself a bit of inspiration through the month. I think it will be something that I really enjoy trying to do everyday, and I hope there are a few of you out there that will enjoy reading it.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Take Me Away | Kyoto

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Kyoto, Japan is somewhere that I’ve always wanted to explore. Through photographs and travel videos, it seems like such a beautiful place. I’d love the chance to walk through the streets with my own two feet, staring at all the colors around me and the shapes of the buildings through the lens of my camera, taking in all the sounds and the scents as I go. The hues of reds, greens, and golds look so vibrant and happy through the photographs I’ve seen. I’ve never been anywhere in Asia, and I feel as though Kyoto may be the first place that I go to begin all my plans of travel through the beautiful continent.

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The first place on my list that I think most everyone visiting Kyoto hopes to explore is the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Fushimi Inari is said to be the most important shrine honoring Inari, the Shinto god of rice, and is located in southern Kyoto. With the thousands of brilliant red colored arch ways, known as torii gates, it is instantly recognizable in photos and in person as you approach. The torii gates are perched over a maze of trails behind the main buildings, and all the trails lead into an absolutely amazing wooded area, known as the forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at nearly 765 feet tall (233 meters) and is an important part of the shrine grounds. The grounds are scattered with many small fox statues, which I recently learned is because foxes are considered to be Inari’s messengers. If you’re in it for the long haul with this visit, prepare for a trek lasting roughly 2-3 hours to make it to the summit of the mountain and back, but there are a lot of smaller sites and shrines to see along the way, and you are completely free to go up to whatever point you choose and head back down at any time. It is a truly beautiful and important place in Kyoto, and I will be more than grateful for the opportunity when I get the chance to see it myself. It is such an old and spiritual place, and we all know how much I love walking around and thinking about the history of a place, thinking of how many people set foot exactly where I’m standing, and how long ago they did so, its all just so incredible and mind boggling to me.

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This next place is actually a large touristy district in in the western part of Kyoto called Arashiyama, and though tourist traps aren’t always worth it, I would personally say that this one is. There is so much beauty to be seen here that I had to stop myself from adding dozens of photos above in an attempt to show it to you. Arashiyama is most visited in the cherry blossom and fall color seasons respectively, and there’s no wonder why. Just looking at photos of the trees and the colors online gives me such wanderlust. Along with the sheer beauty of the area, there are a variety of different places to see and experience in Arashiyama, and one of those places is one that appeals to me quite a bit; Iwatayama or Monkey Park. Once you arrive at the gorgeous overlook you’ll be greeted by a large number of monkeys hoping for a little snack from you, just waiting to have their photos taken, and once you’ve gotten over the shock and excitement of all the monkeys, you may want to take a minute to look at the incredible panoramic views you have before you of Kyoto down below. It is truly an incredible place that I hope to see, and it also seems like a nice bit of fun to have in between viewing the temples and shrines that you’ll see along the way. Another thing in Arashiyama that I’d love to experience is the Saga Scenic Railway that runs alongside the beautiful Hozu River. Although it only runs for a few miles, it only travels at a maximum speed of about 15 mph, so you have a lovely and relaxing 25 minute trip from Arashiyama to Kameoka to see the serene landscapes around you passing by slowly along the river. There are an abundance of temples throughout the area of Arashiyama, and Kyoto as a whole really, for you to visit and enjoy, some of the ones in this area include Tenryuji, Daikakuji, Jojakkoji, Nisonin, Goji, Adashino Nenbutsuji, and the Otagi Nanbutsuji Temple, just to name a few. The Otagi Nanbutsuji Temple is one that strikes my interests quite a bit in particular. After viewing the Adashino Nenbutsuji temple, you can walk another 10 minutes or so north to view this one, famous for the 1,200 stone statues of Rakan, the devoted followers of Buddhism, that each have a unique and different facial expression carved into them. My desire to see this particular temple is a bit out of character for me, as I usually go for the oldest things in the areas I visit, and these statues are relatively new, having been created in the 1980’s or so, but I think it is such an interesting and different thing and I just have to see it. There is so much more to see and do in Arashiyama that I haven’t even touched on here like boat tours along the river, the Saga-Toriimoto preserved street, the Bamboo Groves, and the Togetsukyo Bridge to list a few, and I strongly urge you to research this area to see so many more absolutely incredible things that you can visit before you book your trip.

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Next up is Nishiki Market. This market is in central Kyoto and is one long and narrow street spanning five blocks with over a hundred shops and restaurants for you to browse. As I’ve mentioned before in other posts, the main purpose of traveling and exploring for me is to learn. I want to learn about the culture, lives, language, and customs of every place I go, and there’s no better way to do it than to jump straight in head first, and a market as bustling and busy as this one is perfect for that. Nishiki Market is known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen” and encompasses all things food related that Kyoto has to offer like fresh seafood, produce, knives and other cookwares, and I’ve read that it is the best place in the city to find Japanese sweets, pickles, odd snacks, and sushi. I’m more than excited by the prospect of taking some time to walk down the lane, sampling the various foods and treats that Kyoto has to offer, and interacting with all the people wandering through each store along the way.

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Before I add too much and turn this post into a much longer one than I intended, I’ll get on to the last thing on my list to share with you; the Eikando Temple, formally known as the Zenrinji Temple. Eikando is famous for it’s absoultuely breathtaking colors and lights in the fall months. I am someone that finds Japanese architecture to be stunning. The shapes and details added to each piece with such care; its all just so beautiful, and there are a variety of buildings on these grounds for you to admire when you visit, along with ponds, bridges, and a neverending supply of trees and landscaping. It truly is a beautiful place, as is the theme here with the temples and sites within Kyoto. There is a never ending list of places and sights that I hope to explore within Kyoto, and when I am finally able to get there on my own, I plan to share every last one of them with you all.

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When I was young I didn’t have as big of an appreciation of the Asian countries as I do now. I never took the time to see the beauty and the culture there, I was always very Eurocentric. But as I’ve grown, I’ve become increasingly interested and enamored with everything that they have to offer in Asia. The Japanese culture is infinitely different from my own, and that is something that always intrigues me. How amazing is it that we have the ability to travel places in a matter of hours and be immersed in almost a completely different world, where the people, the language, the buildings, the weather, and everything really, is completely different from what you live through day to day. What an incredible time we live in.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx