I grew up in the small town of Eastport, Michigan, nestled somewhere between the Middle of Nowhere and The Sticks. Situated along the shores of Lake Michigan, our area attracted people from all over the world and I loved learning about where they came from and what they have seen. I had always wondered as a kid why so many people came to visit our little part of the country. I took for granted how beautiful and serene northern Michigan is as it was always just “home” to me. I had very little experience outside our little bubble and it wasn’t until I was older that I realized how incredibly fortunate we were to have the freedom of playing in the woods and riding our bikes to the beach without a care in the world.
As the youngest of 5 kids I often found myself on my own exploring the woods surrounding our home. I loved to walk along the long stretches of beaches looking for cool little caves or cliffs to climb. Other times it was me and my brother, Joe. My brother was the closest to me in age and since our friends and neighbors were miles away we mostly only had each other to play with. We would entertain ourselves in our small town solitude by camping on the beach, morel mushroom hunting or creating cool clubs (or so we thought) like our baseball team, The Eastport Express:
With Joe and our one and only neighbor nearby, Dean. Clearly I was not committed to lettering but…
I did win awards, and…
I had my own baseball card. Complete with stats. Now THAT is cool
Playing in the clay cliffs on our beach
Mushroom hunting in our back woods
Still having fun exploring together-Tom’s Thumb, AZ 2016
During my explorations I would dream of traveling around the world and imagined all the interesting people I would meet and places I would go. I would take the images I found while searching through our Encyclopedia Britannica and picture myself walking through the streets of Italy or India; so many exotic places that seemed so far away from where I was, but so beautiful and full of adventure. I could not wait to graduate high school so I could go out into the world and find my own adventure.
Well, that didn’t happen right away. It took me some time to figure out how to navigate my life outside of the safety and comfort of home. That college thing took me a long time to figure out, as well as what I really wanted to do with my life. Eventually, I figured some things out, and I began to learn who I really was and what kind of person I wanted to be. Best of all… I figured out what I was really passionate about.
During my trial and error of becoming an adult, I was able to see some of the world. I moved to Chicago on a whim and was scared to death! I had no job, no connections, no place to live, but I figured it out and settled into my new home in the big city. I took road trips with my new friends and drove across the country several times, not without incident…
Chris our mechanical replacing my radiator. He was so friendly!
Needles, CA 2007
I don’t know what to tell ya. It came out of nowhere!
Questionable diner choice. People Under The Stairs Diner, somewhere in Arizona
I laughed from San Francisco to Chicago with my dear friend Anne, and I still feel to this day that road trip is one of my most favorite memories.
Grand Canyon, AZ 2007 with Anne
I visited Paris and London. I Walked the streets and explored by myself and with my BFF Rebecca.
I went to Venezuela and ate fresh oysters on the beach after snorkeling in the Caribbean. I learned how to scuba dive off of the Cozumel beaches, I ate fresh chocolate crepes from a cart on the street in Paris and I watched the changing of the guard in front of Buckingham Palace in London.
Paris, France. 2007
Eating a chocolate crepe on a street in Paris
Cozumel, MX 2003
My wanderlust grew with each new experience and I grasped at every opportunity that came my way. I camped, hiked and explored through Michigan, the Upper Peninsula, Montana, Arizona, California, Utah, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Hawaii, Mexico, South America, France, England and South Africa. I learned about nature and wildlife conservation. I learned that if I walked outside of a trail, my footprints could forever change natures course. My love for wildlife and photography grew into my passion while in South Africa. I continue to learn and share my education through conservation and preservation efforts for elephants, rhinos, and lions. I am the proud foster mom of 3 orphaned elephants and an abused jaguar, and I continue to add my voice with the millions of others to bring awareness and put a stop to atrocities that are happening to our wildlife. Through my photography, I share the beauty of wildlife and the landscapes I am so blessed to witness.
Tshukudu Private Game Reserve, SA 2014
My journeys have led me to my current job as an independent Travel Director. I travel all over the world coordinating onsite logistics for meetings and events for companies large and small. I met my husband Logan on-site at one of those meetings. When I am not traveling for work we travel together exploring and photographing the world together.
Heading out to SA 2014
Fully loaded and ready to go!
A couple of years ago I took Logan “Up North” to where I grew up and showed him around to all the places that are so special to me. I was so excited for him to see the home where I was raised and walk the beaches where I spent most of my childhood. He was able to experience what an amazing place Eastport is and where my love for the outdoors came from.
The beach was much bigger back then. Eastport, 2014
The experiences I have had throughout my life have made me who I am today. I have a job I love that allows me to meet incredible people and experience things that make me laugh and learn every day. I have been journaling my travels and I thought I would start this blog to share some of those experiences and my photography as I continue on this incredible path I feel very blessed to be on. I am calling it my Photographic Travel Journal and my hope is it will inspire others to find their own adventure, or just brighten their day. So welcome and enjoy! Feel free to leave some feedback, I am always looking to learn something new. Happy travels my friends!
Sunrise at the Grand Canyon, 2016