Category Archives: Detroit

Why More People Should Visit the Midwest in the United States


What is the Midwest? “There’s no place like home” is one of the most famous expressions from Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz who resided in Kansas, one of the states in the Midwest. The Midwest is one of four regions in the United States, including 12 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

View of Lake Michigan from Traverse City, Michigan

View of Lake Michigan from Traverse City, Michigan

Most known for its farmland, family-oriented nature, and football spirit, the Midwest has great charm, unlike any other place in the world. Why should you visit the Midwest?

  • For those of you who are learning to speak English, the Midwest is the home of the traditional American accent. News broadcasters in the United States are generally trained to have accents like Midwesterners. You will gain great exposure to the American accent as you are completing your English studies and traveling through the states in the Midwest.
  • Drive through the origin of the automobile assembly line (Ford Motor Company) and the Motor City (name based on the large automotive influence) in Detroit, Michigan. You can learn more about Detroit’s automotive heritage at the Greenfield Village Henry Ford Museum. Your ears will be delighted to hear favorite tunes from the past, as Detroit is also known as Motown for being the home of Motown Records, with famous musicians such as Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Diana Ross & The Supremes, the Jackson 5, and Marvin Gaye.
  • Swim in the largest source of freshwater in the world, the five Great Lakes! Surrounding Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Illinois, the great lakes host several fun beach towns. Given my Michigan roots, I am biased towards the beautiful beaches of Lake Michigan, particularly in western and Northern Michigan. As a new Clevelander, I have also become fond of Lake Erie, and especially the Cedar Point amusement park, which has some of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth in the Cherry Capital of the world in Traverse City, Michigan. Also climb and explore the Sleeping Bear Dunes, which were recently called “The Most Beautiful Place in America” by ABC News. The lakeside soil also caters to beautiful wineries, comparable to Napa Valley, California in scenery with sweeter flavors. While you are there, go back in time with a visit Mackinac Island, a charming island with bicycles and horse carriages replacing automobiles, delicious fudge, and nineteenth century history including forts from the War in 1812.
  • Rock and roll throughout Cleveland, Ohio, the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Cleveland is experiencing a revolution, with young professionals (like me) moving downtown to explore the diverse restaurants, trendy bars, and breweries. Cleveland is the home of Great Lakes Brewery and offers free brewery tours.
  • Stroll through the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois, which is known for much more than its strong wind. Great shopping, restaurants, and site seeing make it one of the best cities to visit in the United States. Some highlights include the reflective bean in Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and the Magnificent Mile.
  • Shop in one of the world’s largest shopping malls at Mall of America in Minnesota. While you are there, make sure to stop in Minneapolis, which is considered a global economic city. Minneapolis is famous for its seven miles of glass-enclosed skyways, perfect for walking around in the winter.
  • Try cheese in Wisconsin, the largest cheese producer in the United States, making over 600 cheese varieties.
  • Wonder why American children get excited that they can spell Mississippi? Besides that it is a long word to spell, the name is significant for the Mississippi River, which is the chief river of the largest drainage system in North America. It rises in Northern Minnesota and passes through 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces. You can learn more about the river’s significance at the National Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque, Iowa.
  • Explore the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, which was named after President Theodore Roosevelt. According to the National Park Website:

“When Theodore Roosevelt came to Dakota Territory to hunt bison in 1883, he was a skinny, young, spectacled dude from New York. He could not have imagined how his adventure in this remote and unfamiliar place would forever alter the course of the nation. The rugged landscape and strenuous life that TR experienced here would help shape a conservation policy that we still benefit from today.”

  • Learn American history at one of the nation’s most famous memorials: Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. As the memorial website says:

“Symbolizing the ideals of freedom and democracy, it is a tribute to four presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln and their invaluable contributions to the United States.”

  • Cheer loud at a Big Ten college football game (originally rooted in the Midwest) for a taste of American football. The nation’s first college football league was founded in 1895 in the Midwest, first known as the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives, and later called the Big Ten Conference. I cannot give this recommendation without a shout out to my alma mater and a member of the Big Ten Conference, the University of Michigan. GO BLUE!

If you have any questions about visiting the Midwest, feel free reach out to me in the comment section below, on Facebook or Twitter (@brittanyvb). I have proudly lived in the Midwest for my entire life and traveling the world has made me proud to call the Midwest my home.

Also view this post on One World 365.


Bloom Where You Are Planted


It is crazy to think that the last three weekends I have been out of town – I guess that is what the beginning of the holiday seasons brings! From Wytheville, Virginia (where my boyfriend’s family lives) to the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan (where my family lives), over the past few weeks I have noticed a recurring theme and reminder: bloom where you are planted.

The message to “bloom where you are planted” has been engrained in me since I first interned in Cleveland and was concerned by the fact that I was not living and working in a so-called exciting or flashy place. I took this message to heart and decided I would make the most of my internship in Cleveland.

My Facebook cover photo during my Cleveland internship in 2012

Two and a half years later, I now live and work full-time in Cleveland and am proud to call it my new hometown. I have explored neighborhoods throughout the city and suburbs, experienced cultural and sporting events, tried new hobbies, and met new friends. This is the premise of the inspirNational mindset, which inspires me to make the most of where I am in everyday life.

I was reminded of the inspirNational mindset when driving back to Cleveland from Virginia and stopped at a gas station in West Virginia. I met a teenager who was working at the checkout counter. When I asked him where exactly in West Virginia we were, he said “no where. It’s no big deal here.” I was surprised by his response and asked him for more details. He said it was a simple farm town with not much to do. With my blog in mind, I responded that “every place has its charm, and I’m sure there’s something special about your hometown.” He smiled and laughed, but I am sure he knew there was some truth to what I said.

Traveling to Detroit and now living in Cleveland, I constantly hear jokes about how the two cities are terrible places to live, the weather is bad, and no one wants to visit, unless they have family there. Now having lived in or near both cities, I have learned that the truth is the exact opposite. Detroit and Cleveland have rich histories, four great seasons, welcoming cultures, and vibrant futures with all the redevelopment efforts, new innovations and industries, and young professionals returning to the city centers. I have learned that a place is what you make of it; it is up to you to make it fun and exciting, or however you want it to be in order to be happy. So whether you live in New York City, Paris, Buenos Aires, a small town in Australia, or a village in Mexico, you can blossom.

With my passion for travel, I consider blossoming as living like a traveler no matter where I am. You may consider another lifestyle in order to bloom where you are planted. Either way, Dr. Smita Malhotra provides great insights on Huffington Post to teach us all how to bloom where we are planted. She reminds us of the following:

1. Every step in life prepares you for the next one.

2. Stop complaining.

3. Be a blessing.

4. Bloom through the concrete.


Source: Pamela Joe McFarlane via Getty Images

As we close 2014 and return home or travel for the holidays, I hope that we can all remember to make the most of wherever we are and bloom as we enter the new year!