Tag Archives: South Carolina

Day 1, Chapter 1

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Please excuse me as I dust a few cobwebs off my blog page. It has been my longest time in 3 years without writing and boy do I miss it. But that also means I have had one of my busiest, fun-filled summers where I have spent all of my time soaking in every moment with family and friends.

I am writing at the end of day 1 of my new career journey, overlooking my pool from my new Downtown Greenville apartment and drinking my first glass of bubbly in celebration. To think that the last time I wrote a post was the beginning of my summer vacation is unbelievable. It has been a whirlwind – two months of living out of a suitcase between Traverse City and Metro Detroit, Michigan, Seattle, and Utah.

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Image Source: YouTube

Over the past week, I have driven across the country to move and get settled before starting my job today. The moving process (and may I add, all by myself), has been a great time for reflection. I drove from Traverse City, Michigan all the way to Greenville, South Carolina with stops in Detroit and Knoxville in between. The best indication of my incredible summer vacation was how jam-packed my car was. My little-Ford-Escape-that-could fit all of my clothes, geodes and gemstones from Utah, coffee accessories from Seattle, succulents and cacti, linens and dishes for my new apartment, and even a huge wine barrel! Some people thought I had enough things stuffed in my car to open a boutique, a home goods store, a floral shop, or all of the above. While all of these are physical things, what I felt most while driving was all the love I was carrying with me as represented by the trinkets. I am so grateful for all the love that many of you have shared with me over the past two months. I did my best to see as many loved ones as possible before moving, and all of you welcomed me with open arms, reminiscing about the past, sharing in new experiences, and dreaming about the future. The love I felt is what is propelling me forward as I embark on one of my most exciting adventures, and I thank many of you for your amazing support!

Now begins my role in Michelin’s Global Leadership Program, where I will have the opportunity to rotate in various departments and locations throughout the company, focusing on marketing, supply chain, and sustainability, and preparing for management in the near future. I am also going to continue the 1SC2Sustain partnership I started last year with the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, and Michelin. I am eager to share my recent trips and my reflections as I start this next chapter, which will be full of introspection and personal growth. I can’t wait to continue pausing to reflect, write, and interact with the inspirNational community. Thank you for following along, and as always, please share any comments or thoughts you have along the way!

Insights from Moving

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Relieved to say that I am finally all settled in my new home in Columbia, South Carolina! The past two weeks have been very busy preparing to move, saying goodbye to loved ones in Cleveland, traveling to South Carolina, unpacking, and preparing for international business school.

The moving process has brought mixed emotions, sweat and tears, and hopeful anticipation of my new journey in the southern United States. In the stress of moving, I was reminded to find joy (inspired by my friends, and family) in order to make the transition as pleasant as possible. Below are some of the great insights I have gained from completing my first cross-country move:

1. Moving helps us declutter, organize, and prioritize our belongings. We may not be able to bring that favorite stuffed animal or antique vase we have had with us for years. While we may feel sad to leave it behind, we can donate it and provide joy to others.

Source: Avro Moving

Source: Avro Moving

2. Moving provides us with the opportunity to revisit our travel trinkets and favorite clothes and accessories, reminding us of our favorite memories from our adventures. We can think of packing as a time to reflect on all of our past experiences, providing us with closure as we transition to the next step in our journey.

3. Moving teaches us how to turn any place from “house” to “home.” By adding our own personal touches, decorations, and photos, any place can feel like “home.” We can seek the familiar to make us comfortable like we are at home. For example, in the United States, I have learned that it is comforting to see similar stores across states. My favorite superstore, Target, and my favorite pharmacy, CVS, are everywhere,  which makes moving across the country less intimidating.

4. Moving enables us to refresh who we are and who we want to be. We can adjust our daily routines to improve our health and happiness, seek out new hobbies, and learn new cultures from our local surroundings. We can take a deep breath of new fresh air and start the day remembering “carpe diem.” We can make a place what we want it to be.

I hope these insights provide you with an inspirNational mindset to help you as you move now or in the future. I am reminded of one of my previous posts, Bloom Where You Are Planted, which I will remember as I get established in Columbia. With moving season upon us, good luck as many of you make the exciting life transition!

A Yankee Perspective on Southern Livin’

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Are you interested in learning what is like to live in the Southern United States? My boyfriend, a native Michigander, turned into a southerner last summer when he entered law school at the University of South Carolina. Below you will learn more about the Southern lifestyle, particularly from a Yankee (Northern American’s) point of view. Thank you, Hunter, for sharing your thoughts!


Moving can be one of the most frustrating and stressful things one can do. I have moved several times in my life, but none more drastic nor more important that my move down to South Carolina for Law School. I have now been located in Columbia, South Carolina for almost 6 months. This post aims to share my perceptions of the south from a northern viewpoint, and to give insight to anyone who is considering moving down here as well!

Coming from Michigan, my experiences with the southern half of the United States were extremely few and far between. Besides a couple trips to Florida and driving through the south, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Luckily for me, it has been mostly a great experience and a definite perspective changer.

What I have noticed about living south of the Mason-Dixon line:

Goodbye snow, hello sun. One very positive experience I have enjoyed down south is the weather! While I will admit that the last few weeks of August and first few weeks of September were HOT, from mid-September on, the weather has been absolutely gorgeous. Just today on January 25th, I was one of many who went for a run on this beautiful “winter” day in the upper 50s and sun. While I enjoy skiing and the snow around the holidays, the never-ending winter of Michigan would often wear me down and bring about seasonal depression. South Carolina weather has been wonderful for being outside and has definitely been an upgrade from Michigan weather. I have spent more time running outdoors, riding my bike, and swimming in these six months than I would in two years up north. And for that, an A+ for positive weather experience.

Columbia State House

Columbia State House

Vineyard vine, sperrys, and sundresses. There is also a distinct difference in style. Down south, the prevailing culture is traditional and very preppy. The men wear pastel colors, boat shoes, and chubbies (short shorts). The women wear sundresses and very traditional southern clothing. It is almost as if I was transported back to the 1960s. This style change has been both a positive and somewhat of a negative experience. The one negative about southern style is that there is a strong culture of conformity. Because there is such an overwhelming popular style, if one does not conform to the group, it is easy to feel left out. Having said that, the style has also been a positive because it results in everyone looking good and caring about their appearance. The ambiance of well-dressed people enriches the environment and has been an overall a positive experience.

Robert E. Lee and John C. Calhoun are Gods among men. In South Carolina, there is a great sense of pride and culture with the state and the south as a whole. Along with that, there is a strong sense of identity with Southern history. This past weekend, Brittany and I visited the Confederate museum and realized the differences in historical perspective. The Confederate museum was very sympathetic towards the succession of the Southern States and it treated the north as an oppressive imperial force. There was even a comparison between General Sherman’s army and the Nazis. It was fascinating to see the differences in perspective between the north and south. In Michigan, there was a sense of state pride. However it pales in comparison to the southern pride I have seen in South Carolina. When you are in South Carolina, you will know that you are in South Carolina! I have grown to love this southern culture and historical pride.

Confederate Flag from Columbia, South Carolina curing the Civil War

Confederate Flag from Columbia, South Carolina curing the Civil War

Nice and easy. The stereotypes are true: Life down south moves at a slower pace and southern hospitality is alive and well. The folks down south have been very nice, very welcoming, and easy to get along with. Compared with the north, life seems to move just a bit slower and people do not appear to be as rushed. If you’d like to slow down, I’d say the south is the place for you.

Hope you’re hungry! I love southern food. Collard greens, fried Okra, and BBQ with the vinegar-based sauce are foods that everyone should try. Additionally, the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean means that the seafood here is also absolutely delicious. With some Sweet Tea to wash it all down, you will not go home hungry. I have found that I can enjoy all of the food I have grown to love up north, while also getting a taste of some fine Southern culinary dishes. It is the best of both worlds and definitely a positive experience.

Wear your Sunday finest! Religion has a larger place in everyday society down south. I received a first taste of religion in the south in my first law class. Midway through the class, a girl sneezed and at least half of the class (including the professor mid-sentence), said “God bless you”. A large procession of “bless you’s” is now an everyday occurrence after a sneeze and that is a clear distinction from my educational experiences in Michigan. And while religion clearly is important, I have not been pressured or coerced in any way to join a particular church or follow a particular denomination. From what I have encountered so far, religion is widely practiced and good morals are preached, but not in an offensive way. So that has been another positive experience!

The south may not be for everyone, but it has been a great experience for me so far. While I can see myself returning to Michigan one day, the different culture and perspective I have experienced in the South has been invaluable. As a wise woman once told me, “bloom where you are planted.” The South has been a wonderful place to bloom and I would encourage anyone to come down south and experience this new perspective on life!

My First Airbnb Experience

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Airbnb is an accommodation option where you stay at a local’s home during your travels. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I first learned about Airbnb in the fall and couldn’t be happier that I did. I have stayed in hostels and homestays while studying abroad, but have never experienced booking a reservation in someone’s home during my regular travels. Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I planned an impromptu trip to Charleston, South Carolina and decided to book our first Airbnb experience. For those of you who are looking to book a trip on a budget and experience your destination like a local, I recommend that you try Airbnb. I have answered questions below about my first Airbnb experience.

Airbnb in West Ashley, a neighborhood near downtown Charleston, South Carolina

Airbnb in West Ashley, a neighborhood near downtown Charleston, South Carolina

1. How does Airbnb work? First, you will need to download the Airbnb app on your smart phone or create an account online. You will need to create a profile with basic details about yourself, including a photo. Then, you can search Airbnb lodging options in your travel destination. You can filter your search by price range, number of guests, arrival date, and listing type (private room, shared room, or entire home). Most lodging options include photos and a profile of the host. You can see reviews of the lodging option and the host, and verify the host’s credibility through links to other credible sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Once you find the option that meets your needs, you can either instant book the reservation or message the host with any questions. The Airbnb app disguises all personal information and has a chat function enabling you to keep in touch with your host and book your travel virtually. Once you book your reservation, you will arrange your arrival time with your host and he/she will greet you, explain house rules, and share insights about your travel destination. I’m sure that the host experience varies per host and per location, but my experience was wonderful to learn more about the whereabouts of Charleston.

2. How safe did you feel during your Airbnb experience? Given the identity verification required by the Airbnb app, I felt very comfortable with my host. There is an element of mutual trust, as your host can be equally worried about you as a guest. Since the app included reviews of both the host and the host location (and the host could see reviews of me), I felt secure that I would be safe. The private room also had a lock for additional security.

3. How often do you see the Airbnb host? My understanding is that this varies from host to host and from location to location. During my experience, the host was there to greet us when we arrived. She gave us a tour of her apartment and spent time sharing her recommendations for restaurants and sightseeing around Charleston. In the morning, she offered a continental breakfast and was even willing to make grits. I was intrigued by the Quaker grits she had in her kitchen (I know I looked like a typical Yankee as I have never had Quaker instant grits, and only had grits in general at Southern restaurants). She was very welcoming and chatted with us about life in Charleston. She even invited us to stay a second night if we wanted to extend our visit to Charleston.

4. What do you wish you would have known before booking your Airbnb reservation? I wish I knew that the Airbnb is truly a homestay and includes amenities as if you were a guest staying at your friend’s home, unlike a hostel. For example, my Airbnb home included shampoo and conditioner, towels, bedding, and breakfast. Most Airbnb options list the amenities that are included, so be sure to check what is offered and available before you pack your bags!

Our Airbnb host had several inspirational quotes throughout her apartment. I loved this one: "Attract the life you want. You get what you expect and ask for."

Our Airbnb host had several inspirational quotes throughout her apartment. I loved this one: “Attract the life you want. You get what you expect and ask for.”

I hope that these insights help you as you consider creating an Airbnb profile and booking your next trip! Feel free to comment here or on Facebook with any questions.