Tag Archives: Detroit

Connections

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One hour to go before everything as I know it changes. Sitting here at my friend’s apartment with a piece of almond butter toast and a cup of coffee, I am pausing to reflect and enjoy the calm before the storm.

The “storm” is one of my exciting life updates that I have been waiting to share with you. Starting tomorrow, I will be Detroit’s newest resident! For the next few days I will be unpacking boxes and settling into my new home, an apartment in a historic building in Detroit’s city center.

For those who know me well, it has been my dream to live in Michigan over the past few years. I am passionate about the revitalization of Detroit and the beauty of Pure Michigan, and I couldn’t be more excited to give back to the place that raised me for 22 years. My move is an example of the power of visualization, as I have carried a purse with a Michigan-shaped Petoskey stone as a daily reminder of home. It is amazing how five years away from my home state has created a strong desire and dream for me to go back to my roots – and it is now coming true! Over the years, I have learned the significance of home and have realized it is who surrounds me that matters to me more than where I am. In a word, what I value most is “connections” – specifically the ability to connect with others. My connections with family, friends, colleagues, and the community are what energize me and inspire me to make a difference in the world.

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Image Source: SBI

The value of connections has become especially apparent to me during my last year in Greenville. I have met more interesting people and new friends than ever before in my life. For the first time, I have prioritized my time with the people I love over the tasks I have to do. What I have realized is that people are what motivate me and are what make tasks happen, so by working, connecting, and spend quality time with them, anything can become possible.

Connections are what have drawn me to my life decisions and passions – I am a language enthusiast because it opens the opportunity to communicate, understand, and connect with twice as many people and cultures. I am an experience collector – making the most of any place I visit or live by trying local foods, attending local events, trying new activities, and meeting local people to connect with the community (and be inspirNational!). I am a design thinker – listening to the people around me (customers, employees, stakeholders, etc). to understand their core needs and to create innovative approaches to meet their needs at work. I am an artist – drawn to any opportunity to create something new – whether that means a painting, a piece of jewelry, a candle, a blog post, or a new food dish. All of these forms of art are an example of instant gratification, connecting with the simple objects in front of us to make something beautiful. Check out the book, Creative Confidence, to learn more about how we are all artists. I have practiced all of these forms of connecting over the past year, which makes it difficult for me to leave such a wonderful place that has allowed these connections to happen. However, I feel grateful that I have another place to call home, which I will often visit through work. I feel a calling for my connections to Detroit, where I look forward to reconnecting with loved ones and meeting new people who are equally passionate about the revitalization of Detroit and all that Michigan offers.

Months have gone by since I have last written a post, but many reflections such as this one have been on my mind. I have mainly captured my daily inspirNational thoughts through stories and photos on Instagram (for the latest updates follow me @inspirnationallife!). Since I last shared an update with you, I have had an adventurous summer with trips to Las Vegas, Montreal, Huntsville, Traverse City, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, Asheville, Charleston and more. What ties all of these trips together, again, is connections….ranging from connections to lifelong friends who are now getting married to new connections with professionals passionate about sustainable mobility. Most importantly, the trips have prepared me to say “see you later” to my Greenville chapter and “hello” to my new Detroit chapter. I look forward to sharing the new connections with you along the inspirNational journey that now begins in Detroit.

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Bloom Where You Are Planted

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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.

RESILIENT

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!