Ever go somewhere on vacation and wonder how the locals are not in a constant state of giddiness about their surroundings? That recently happened to me and I was here at home, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula! I was on a boat tour of Pictured Rocks in Munising. The deckhands were more interested in chatting and looking at their phones than taking in the incredible view. I wondered, “Could they actually be bored with this?”
From Grand Haven to Torch Lake to Traverse City to Mackinac Island to Tahquamenon Falls to name a few, Michigan is a mitten-shaped wonderland. I am here every day and somehow, I manage to forget that one simple fact. I live a quick car ride away from some of the most picturesque spots in the country.
My home is on the Linden Millpond. A lot of people pay to rent kayaks and trek through my backyard on a regular basis, spring through fall. When was the last time I went out on my kayak? I do not remember; a couple of months ago, maybe. There was a time before we lived on the water when I swore that if we ever did, I would be out there every day that it was meteorologically possible to do so.
Look for me on an average Saturday and I am dusting my baseboards or binge-watching HGTV, wishing I had something better to do. The funny thing is, I literally always have something better to do. I can get in my car and drive in any direction and find something better to do just an hour or two away. Better yet, I can walk out my back door and find it.
Why is it that human beings take their own surroundings for granted? I am no expert, but I think we get so caught up in the stress and monotony of everyday life that we forget what is right in front of us, even if what is in front of us is a spectacular view that people travel from other states to enjoy.
According to Tourism Economics, nearly 125 million tourists traveled to The Mitten in 2018. If you live in Michigan, that means your home is a destination for millions of people who could easily have visited one of the 49 other states.
Some of the credit for the state’s ever-expanding tourism goes to Pure Michigan advertisements that now run in other parts of the country. The organization cites research linking millions of annual visits directly to its catchy commercials featuring numerous attractions located on both peninsulas.
Hello!? Those commercials run here, too. Tim Allen is expending his breath to make sure you know that you don’t have to go very far to take a life-enriching vacation. All you have to do is visit PureMichigan.org to plan your next trip. If nothing else, search “Michigan tourist attractions” and you will be amazed by the results.
Maybe you look out your window every day and figure what you see is always going to be there; but the truth is, you won’t be. Life is short. Why spend it traveling far away to buy postcards when you are already practically living in one?