A life update and a list of places in North America I want to visit in the coming months.
I enjoy reading updates on people’s personal lives, so here’s a little bit about me.
The past three weeks, I’ve been cooped up inside with a foot fracture and crutches. My housemates are all out of town this week, so it’s been challenging to be unable to go much of anywhere, even to work, or see anyone. There are a few silver linings: I have a job I’m super grateful for that’s very flexible and is letting me work at home while I’m recovering; my mom comes over to help me with things like getting groceries and taking out the trash that are hard to do on crutches; and I have great friends who are keeping me occupied, even if it’s just over text or Snapchat most days. I’m glad that this happened in the rainy, cold month of March. Once the weather gets nicer in April, hopefully I’ll be able to be active outside again.
I feel myself sliding back into college habits: staying up extremely late, sleeping in, not working out, and not getting much done until the heat is turned up. Those are habits I’ve been working hard to break the past few months. It will help once my housemates come home and I get back on a normal sleep and eating schedule.
I keep reminding myself that even though the crutches are a pain, it’s important to take care of myself so I can heal and go out and have adventures again soon. I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want to go next. No solid plans yet, just some ideas. Here are some of my top travel priorities over the next few months and years:
After visiting Chicago, I’m super excited to begin seeing more of the Midwest. I hope to get started on that sometime this summer.
All my trips in the US have been with other people. This is good because the US is massive, and it’s hard to do that much driving all by yourself. But Wisconsin is Minnesota’s next-door neighbor, so I’m hoping that some of these trips are ones I can take on my own. I tend to be kind of a grumpy travel buddy; I like solo traveling because I can plan my own activities, and if a frustration arises, I can go back to my hotel without disrupting anyone else’s day.
Since Wisconsin is so close, I’m also hoping I can see it over weekends so I don’t have to take time off of work.
I’ve wanted to visit Madison, Wisconsin’s capital, for a while now. I had a few Bible study leaders in college who went to school in Madison and told stories about their time there. Last spring, a company in Madison contacted me to let me know they were hiring for the field I would soon be graduating in, and I realized that if there was potential for me to move there someday, I should know a little more about the city. Lastly, Madison is the hometown of Peter from Rachel’s season of The Bachelorette! It was fun to see a Midwest city featured on the show last year. Currently I have no plans for moving there, but I would still like to visit the city and see the capitol.
I loved seeing beautiful Lake Michigan in Chicago, so I’m eager to visit Wisconsin’s big lakeside city, Milwaukee. One of my aunts is from there and so is a good friend. I’ve heard it’s a bit like Minneapolis and that it has a really cool art museum, which is right up my alley. I also love the long (five or six hour) drive through rural Wisconsin to get to the urban areas on the other side of the state.
Leaving the city behind, I would like to visit Door County on the way far side of Wisconsin. I don’t know very much about it other than that it pops up on a lot of lists of places to visit in Wisconsin and that it has a lot of really nice shoreline. Kind of a vacation-y spot, I think. Bayfield, north of Duluth, is a town where my parents spent a few days this summer, and they highly recommended it to me. It’s near Madeline Island, so I’m sure it has a lot of stunning north woods and lake scenery.
This one might have to wait until I’m twenty-five because Alaska seems vast enough that I would need to rent a car, but I’m very intrigued by our most northern state. I like the mountains in Europe better than the mountains in America, but I think doing some hiking in the state parks in Alaska would be worthwhile. I would love to see the arctic tundra, a vague interest of mine since a unit on ecosystems in elementary school. (Preferably no camping, though. A cozy lodge or cabin with a roaring fire would be ideal.)
I also LOVE the weirdness of being way up north (it was most noticeable when I was in Sweden, but the timezone differences between England and Minnesota had a similar effect) and having daylight at 4am or waking up and knowing everyone else back home was still in darkness and would be asleep for hours. Take me north!
When I went over to England, so many of the people I met really wanted to visit Canada. I was baffled. Why?? I wondered. Minnesota is just south of Canada, and I was always under the impression that there was NOTHING up there besides forest and probably some moose. Pretty much identical to northern Minnesota. Canada is where you go when you feel like driving for a full day and fishing miles and miles away from civilization.
Then I remembered that, actually, I love northern Minnesota, and an entire country of it sounds awesome. As it turns out, there are some pretty cool cities in Canada. I would like to explore Toronto, which is north of New York and will require a plane ride.
After a while, big cities all start to look the same to me, so I would like to find some smaller woodsy or coastal towns to visit too. It looks like Vancouver has some nice hiking nearby, and St. John’s on the tip of the island of Newfoundland also caught my eye.
Prince Edward Island would also be fun, since it’s the beautiful site of the Anne of Green Gables series.
So “the South” is a pretty massive region, but there’s so much of it that I haven’t seen! I have a few specific places I want to hit.
Texas. Just somewhere in Texas, so I can say I’ve been there. Houston?
New Orleans, Louisiana. This one will definitely be a road trip with my sister, who currently lives in Florida. I’ve heard it’s a little dodgy but also that it’s unlike other cities (kind of like Venice in that it makes you go, “I’ve never been somewhere like this before”?). It looks beautiful and full of culture. I’ve wanted to go there since we watched their New Year celebration on TV a couple years ago. Also, it’s warm down there, a big contrast to the weather in Minnesota September through March, and it’s close to one of my study abroad friends! (Hi, Elizabeth!)
Charleston, South Carolina. It looks clean and posh, and pictures of it remind me of the colonial Liberty Square section of Disney World. There are some Civil War historical sites near Charleston, such as Fort Sumter.
That’s my list at the moment! What are the top places you’ve been or want to visit in North America?