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Camping in The Mitten

camping1It is my belief that Michigan is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.  I’ve been around the world and traveled to more than half of our great states, and still Michigan makes my heart sing like no other.  Being here makes me want to climb tress, lay in the grass and get out on a boat.  Now that it’s spring and we’ve had a few good rains the world around us has exploded to a vibrant green, filling in the gaps of winter.

Of course I’m biased in thinking that Michigan is a true gem in this world — it’s my home.  I grew up playing in my front yard making a “salad” with the grass and twigs on a frisbee plate.  I explored forests with neighbor kids, picked wild berries, climbed trees and made forts.  We played with roly poly bugs and garter snakes in the creek, and sometimes we found a turtle to watch and follow around for the afternoon.  Now that I’m back here for the spring and summer I’m definitely feeling nostalgic, walking around the yard with my mom as she shows me all the different plants that will soon flower.

Renee and I couldn’t wait any longer to go camping, so we bought a tent, borrowed some camping gear from my moms and headed to Newaygo Sate Park with our friend, Emily.  The drive was sunny with big cumulus clouds set in the sky, and every ten minutes or so one of us would comment on how green or how beautiful the landscape was.

After setting up our tent we dug through the surrounding woods collecting dry logs and sticks to keep a fire going for the afternoon and evening.  We decided on easy meals and reminisced as we poked cheese-filled hot dogs through roasting forks and watched them cook over the fire, washing them down with a homemade beer (courtesy of my brother) and a good ol’ fashion s’more.  To pass the time we played War (the Monopoly of card games), napped, read, knit, ate junk food and played with the campfire.  The air turned cool when the sun finally set and stayed that way into the next morning, but we were all happy snuggling into our sweats and scooting closer to the fire.

Being surrounded by nature for twenty-four hours with no WiFi was a welcome break in the transition of moving back to America.  I absolutely love being home, but I’m faced with reverse culture shock a little each day, and I’m trying to find a balance in my life again.  For example, when I went to Meijer my mom asked me if I wanted any yogurt.  I stepped back and looked at the entire aisle of yogurt: there were different brands, textures, flavors, fruit, no fruit, live and active culture, Greek style, low cal… the choices were endless and I immediately felt overwhelmed.  In Korea there were maybe five types of yogurt to choose from and that was about it.  Now that I’m back in the United States I’m getting used to the endless choices of products, but I’m also really questioning how much of everything we actually need and use.  I’m seeing how wasteful and irresponsible we’re being with our food, packaging and major lack of recycling, and I’m trying to figure out what I can do as an individual to help correct those issues.

I’m also trying to find the right balance of time spent between family, friends, my significant other, myself and my work.  Naturally I want everyone to be happy, but as many of you know it’s not easy to juggle it all, especially if you’ve been out of practice.

Needless to say, the serenity of the woods this weekend did my soul some good.  It was great to show Renee more of why I love my home, and it was a great reminder to myself as well.

What do you love about your state/country/city, and why does it feel like home to you?



I have circumnavigated the globe, I have lived overseas, and now I'm back in America about to marry my beautiful fiance, Renee. Follow our adventures in travel, getting healthier with Plexus and starting a brand new life.

7 thoughts on “Camping in The Mitten

  1. Could not agree with you more, Codi. Michigan has such a variety of environments although my Colorado kids would laugh at our “mountains” . The Great Lakes are just that…Great Lakes! Add some woods, some seasonal changes and its plenty exciting for me.

  2. I went camping all the time as a kid and young adult—so the Mitten is also my happy place (and Canada, actually, since I have a lot of family there and we went camping on the Canadian side of the great lakes a lot). Glad to hear you got some time away from the hecticness! Also, we’re pretty wasteful here. It even shocked me moving from MI to SC and seeing the difference (the recycling just being one).

    Welcome back to the states, anyway! 🙂

    1. Yeah, the Midwest has some beautiful landscape for sure — it’s just hidden behind hundreds of miles plains. Great for food and farming, but makes for super boring drive generally. Lol.
      Thanks for the welcome back! How’s life for you?

      1. I drove through Ohio a few times and it was SO BORING. Mountains are way more fun to drive through (Tennessee was great!).

        Life is good! Working, writing, and trying to maintain a semblance of a social life. 🙂

      2. Driving down south or out west is definitely more beautiful, that’s for sure. Kentucky and Tennessee are definitely some of my favorites.
        Glad all is well! I’m the opposite of you — continuously social and trying to work, but finding it extremely hard to be productive when there’s so much to catch up on after 4 years or not living in the country! Lol.

      3. I can only reply to so many comments, so I had to come up here and reply to this one haha. 4 years of not living in the country is a long time, so some culture shock makes sense! You’ll get the hang of it soon I’m sure. 🙂 Good luck with juggling (I always struggle with balance).

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