Tag Archives: West Virginia

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!

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Why Everyone Should Go Camping

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Last weekend I went camping at the Kanawha State Forest in Charleston, West Virginia. At first thought it may seem crazy to leave modern conveniences and sleep outside in the wilderness for a weekend, but my trip reminded me why camping is one of the best travel experiences.

Kanawha State Forest

Kanawha State Forest

Camping reminds us to:

  • Live in the moment. Without technology, we are able to avoid distractions and notice our surroundings with all of our senses: the color of every tree leaf, the smell of crisp air, the taste of warm s’mores from the bonfire, the sound of crickets and squirrels, and the feeling of a cool breeze.
  • Appreciate the small things. Without modern conveniences such as running water or television, we begin to appreciate the things that we do have. We can be entertained by playing Frisbee or talking with our loved ones instead of having to watch television.
  • Play like a kid again. While camping, it is perfectly acceptable (even for adults!) to run around the woods, play on swing sets, skip rocks, jump in puddles, and get muddy. We become nostalgic of our childhood and are reminded that we are always kids at heart and can still have fun and play.
  • Recharge. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of daily life. We may forget to go outside as often as we should or we may not get enough sleep. Camping helps us get more fresh air and have a natural sleep cycle; we may actually want to go to bed when the sun sets and wake up when the sun rises!
  • Be humble. As we walk and sleep amongst giant trees, bugs, and wildlife, we are reminded that there is more to the world than us.  The world does not center around us as people, we are just one small part of the circle of life.
  • Care about the planet. When we actually have to live in nature, we begin to understand why it is important to take care of the environment. We need clean air, clean water, and healthy landscapes in order to survive and thrive.

My camping trip could not have come at a better time, as this week marks the United Nations Climate Summit, which unites leaders from UN Member States and local leaders from the public and private sectors. The summit promotes  “action and solutions that are focused on accelerating progress in areas that can significantly contribute to reducing emissions and strengthening resilience – such as agriculture, cities, energy, financing, forests, pollutants, resilience and transportation.” Politics aside, the summit inspires us to think about how we are impacting the planet and what we can do to reduce our impact. Morgan Freeman narrated a powerful video to open the summit: What’s Possible: UN Climate Summit Opening Film. Camping brings these thoughts and discussions to life. I am inspired to think of how I can live sustainably and remember to be grateful for the nature that surrounds me.

Why do you like to go camping and how does it help you have an inspirNational mindset?