We Need More Travelers

Why do we travel so much? This is a question that I’ve answered numerous times.  People have this urge to put down roots and stay put.  This isn’t an urge that I have gotten yet in my life.  I’m young, adventurous, and have a job that makes traveling easy.  So why are we always defending our need to move out of the nest and travel the world?  Shouldn’t we consider ourselves  lucky to have this opportunity? I know that I do.

Waimea Falls, Hawaii.

Waimea Falls, Hawaii.

Some people see it as this incredible opportunity, while others see it as restlessness and poor decision-making skills.  Either way, travel makes me, and many others, quite happy.  As a twenty-something woman I feel the need to move, run, explore, and just be free.  Travel means having the life experiences to make our own choices and mistakes.  This is one of the many reasons why I think that more young people should travel.

I can’t tell you how many of my friends (men and women) graduated from college and moved immediately back home.  Practically, I can understand this standpoint.  You are saving money, spending time with family, and possibly securing a career.  What happens when the place you move home to has no job growth or potential though?  This was the case that I was faced with when graduating.  So I started looking.  Far, far away.

Juneau, Alaska.

Juneau, Alaska.

Many false leads later…one thing lead to another and eventually I found myself teaching in Alaska.  Was it an adventure? Yes. Did I learn something about myself? Yes.  Did I make infinite amounts of mistakes?  Naturally.  But, guess what? I loved every minute of it.  It was absolutely amazing.

Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin.

Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin.

Young people need to be spending their years after college traveling and exploring.  Twenty-somethings everywhere need to focus on finding themselves instead of chasing the American dream of debt.  I’ve been out of school for a few years now and the main thing that I’ve learned from traveling is who I am as a person. If nothing else, I hope to inspire a few more people to pursue a life of leisurely travel and self-discovery.  The world needs more of us, right?

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First Impressions of Beaver Island, MI

So, We’ve been calling Beaver Island home for almost a month now and I am slowly noticing the little island-isms.  It is by far the most isolated place I have ever lived long-term.  I say long-term because I did live in the Alaskan bush for three months, this relocation is essentially a guaranteed year. The teaching contract has been signed so my life is pledged to the island until at least September 1, 2015.  If we like the island though and things go smoothly, we may decide to stay longer.

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The Island-isms.  I don’t know how to accurately describe this place to outsiders. It’s so different than anywhere else in the United States.  I suppose parts of rural Alaska are comparable…but the island is more cosmopolitan than the northern villages.  I put emphasis on cosmopolitan because I use it…uh, loosely.  Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice town. Things are well taken care of and the people feel overwhelming pride for their home.  It’s just unique.

Anyways, the top five things island-isms I’ve been learning to adapt to are…

1. Waving: Everyone waves at everyone! I am developing a case of carpal tunnel much younger than expected because of this.  It’s exceptionally nice though.  It makes me feel welcomed into my new community.

2. Roads:  Er…this should probably be titled trails.  The roads aren’t paved, they’re gravel or sand.  My poor car has gone from bright green to pale gray. The speed limit is 25mph everywhere on the island.

3. Island Time: Things are open for the most bizarre hours. Our ONLY store in town is only open from 11am-1pm on Sundays. My planning skills are going to be at an all-time high after traversing this issue.

4. Kindness: There is a sense of overwhelming kindness on the island.  People are trustworthy.  You leave your keys in your car, your doors unlocked, and many of the stores operate on the “honor system.” This basically means you can take stuff and come pay for it later. This blows my mind.

5. Wildlife:  I always felt oppressed by the dangerous and abundant wildlife in Alaska.  Here, the wildlife is just as abundant but not as dangerous.  Wild turkeys cause traffic jams and playground riots.

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So, those are my current “top 5.”  I am sure my opinions and observations will change over time.  These are just my first impressions of this very little island.

Embracing The Island Lifestyle

Over the last month Cody, Specks, and myself have moved over 3,500miles to our new home in Michigan.  Previously, we were living it up in our home in Juneau, AK. We loved living in Alaska but we were ready for a change for a variety of reasons.  You’re welcome to read about our Alaskan adventure on my previous blog, Tales From The Last Frontier.

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Now we are just busy settling into our slow-paced, island life.  Some people might not believe that living in the northern part of Lake Michigan would lend itself to “island living.”  To those people, I say, “You’ve never been to Beaver Island.”  The island that I live on is pretty much the epitome of the island lifestyle.  Life is incredibly slow.  The people are incredibly kind.  Basically, it’s a pretty nice and relaxing place. I think we made the right decision on where to call home for now.

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We’ve been doing a fair amount of exploring since we arrived at our new house.  There are miles of pristine, unspoiled beaches on the island.  There are also a ton of hiking and biking trails to satisfy our outdoorsy habits.  I plan to make the most of them during the winter too.  Looks like I’ll be needing a new pair of snowshoes in a couple of months! In the meantime, I plan to spend all of my time taking in the beauty of our new home.

Introducing…

The Middle(tons) of Nowhere!

Thanks for stumbling upon my blog about our life in the middle of nowhere.  Today I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to introduce you to my little family.  First up, me!

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My name is Hannah and I will be the author of this blog.  I grew up in the Midwest and after a couple of years of traveling and living in Alaska I found my way back to the Midwest. I’m a Midwestern girl at heart I suppose.  I work for a teeny school, which allows me the pleasure of teaching 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade all at the same time! There are only 60 students (PreK-12) in our entire school. In my free time I like to embrace my inner outdoors-woman and go hiking, biking, kayaking, and camping.  Some of my other passions are cooking, photography, DIY projects, minimalist living, and sustainability.  Expect to hear about all of those things on my blog 🙂

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This is Cody, aka the other half of my little family.  Cody is a writer and adventurer.  Currently, he is the Music Editor for this magazine.  He is extremely passionate about music and happens to be a very talented drummer.  Cody took some time off from college to tour with his band and now is getting ready to re-start his journey to higher education.  Other than music, Cody is a serious outdoorsman.  He hunts, fishes, hikes, boats, and all sorts of other outdoorsy activities.  He is passionate about hunting and fishing because he likes to be able to provide his own meat for the winter months. You’ll be hearing lots about this guy!

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Finally, this is Specks!! Specks is my five-year-old pup/child.  Cody and I are completely obsessed with him.  We adopted Specks from a training center almost three years ago.  He was formerly a service animal for military veterans.  Unfortunately, his hyperactive and love-y nature didn’t bode well for long-term service.  Well, unfortunately for the training center.  It worked out great for us! He is a complete doll and we baby him a ridiculous amount.  He loves hiking, eating grass (he may be part cow), sleeping under the covers, and doing tricks. Expect to see lots of pictures of this cutie!

There you have it! This is my little family.  We are just living our lives on a teeny island in the middle of Lake Michigan.  We spend our days working and our nights and weekends playing.  It’s a pretty simple life, but we sure love it.