Some places make you happy. Some even make you downright giddy. Bali is such a place. It refuses to be anything less than an annoyingly cliché travel brochure of sunshine pictures that make you smile.
Although I claimed to have no expectation for visiting Bali, I secretly did. In fact, it was the number one place I wanted to see when I moved to Asia. Bali is just so…Balinese. It always looked like it had it all – volcanoes, rice terraces, jungle, gorgeous water, culture and that infamous architecture I’d seen glimpses of in every yoga studio ever designed. So while I didn’t quite know where we’d we go or what we’d do in Bali, I figured it’d be good.
It was. In fact, it was incredible.
Boundary Waters is the world’s most welcoming and laid back border crossing. Instead of guards and guns are seemingly endless, slow lapping lakes, rivers and bays decorated in the wonderful rarity of complete isolation. Here you are among only a handful of adventurers allowed in each day. You pack out your own rubbish, make plans only when the weather tells you that you can, and do whatever you need to do right in the bushes. Here showers are freezing swims and all food becomes property of the surrounding co-op, cheeky chipmunks welcome.
Michigan has more coastline than the entire eastern seaboard of the USA. I’ll say it again, this time in all caps, MICHIGAN HAS MORE…you get the idea. But really, think about that for just a sec. That’s a whole lot of moody rocky shore, white sand stretches and Normandy-esq coastal towns that seem to specialize in strange art and microbrew beer. It’s intense.
Nestled within the world’s largest fresh water source, that just happens cozy up next to Michigan, are countless islands blessed with even more coast and pines.
Michigan has so much forest that we rebuilt Chicago. All of it. Trees are in no short supply, which creates nearly unlimited opportunities to camp everywhere, all the where and roast marshmallows a-plenty.
We have had have cars but have learned from recent events to diversify. Alongside hubcaps and mufflers we also have home-grown wine, home brewed coffee, co-op produced clothes and Petoskey jewelry. We have a force–to-be-reckoned with Revive Detroit movement that’s producing the coolest designs, bicycles and dog tag inspired necklaces. Who knew? We have authors, musicians, corrupt politicians and education reformers. We’re so good at sports that we’ve even managed to make ridiculous camp counselor-style necklaces cool in our take-me-out-to-the-ball-game passion.
Here’s where to visit along the west side of the state.
Living overseas finds sneaky ways of making regular distance relationships into long distance, even if only temporarily. Travel for work, to visit family, to be in friends’ weddings is that much farther and, therefore, warrants time apart for that much longer. With JD gone for a few weeks I am once again in Vietnam by myself. My sad, little self. All by lonesome, just like when I first arrived.
Only not. Unlike when I first moved to Vietnam by myself, this time I am not alone.