being home feels like…

Being home feels like I should be somewhere else. I don’t settle here. Between jobs, back for a few errands. I don’t really like the sleepy little suburb I grew up in, there’s not much nostalgia left here. 

The crunch as we flung ourselves into leaf piles, cider mills, running trails and soccer games, late nights studying for all those classes I thought were so important, that’s what home reminds me of. Neat little houses and gardens. I’m only still in touch with one person from high school, and she doesn’t live here. 

I still call it home though, so that must mean something. And I’m happy to have such a big warm family to come home to. 

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We got in way over our heads on this one. Fucked up, big time, almost with really bad consequences. We had a great first ten days, then the temperature dropped and a series of small bad judgement calls paired with vastly overestimating ourselves and underestimating the lake, applying summer weather rules to fall conditions, and wildly inaccurate marine forecasts completely clocked us. We made it from Grand Portage to Windigo, most of the way around the island to Point Houghton, specifically Fisherman’s Cove. But we didn’t finish the island or the crossing back, and we’re lucky, very fucking lucky, to leave with some hard learned lessons. // The last two days, especially day 12, had me legitimately questioning if I’m even going to want to sea kayak again after this and if I’ll ever want to go back to isle royale. I the answer is yes; I love sea kayaking, and hard lesson learned, but I’ll be able to take that and do it differently next time. (WAY differently!) And it’s not the island or the lake’s fault things went the way they did. We were underprepared, and ultimately, the lake is the boss. // All things considered it was a beautiful 12 days on Isle Royale, and we were lucky to be there, and met some of the nicest fishermen (thank you for the hot dogs and the ride!) and best park rangers. You all will be getting thank you cards. // Big takeaways? Always have an exit plan or several, and don’t be afraid to use it. Shit hits the fan ~quickly~ . Trust your eyes and your gut, and speak up. And sure, were we more experienced we might’ve been able to safely finish, but if we were less experienced at all we’d have been way screwed. Know what you’re getting into. And October? That’s drysuit weather. // 150 miles paddled, about 40 abandoned probably

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I left Bayfield in late September at the end of the sea kayaking season for an ultimately ill-fated circumnavigation of Isle Royale that I haven’t yet written extensively about. Don’t worry, I will. It’s quite the story and I want to do it justice. 

The short version is we spent 12 days on Isle Royale, the isolated island National Park off the coast of Ontario, Canada, that by some glitch in the system is technically Michigan. We paddled the 18 mile open water crossing from Minnesota, most of the way around the island, but aborted the last 22 miles due to some unforgiving and unexpected weather conditions. Bummer. Try again in any month but October. Long version forthcoming. 

And now I’m back home for a little while I try and figure out the next thing, which could be anything. Like I’m throwing darts blindfolded. 

While here, I got to do a neighbor’s senior pictures. I haven’t done a lot of portrait photography, but I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. Helps that I was working with such a natural model. 

Senior photos, Hannah

I’ve been keeping busy with grad school applications, and trying to make the logistics on a job in Northern Minnesota work.

But ultimately being home and job searching in a global pandemic feels… a little bleak. Maybe you can relate to bleak. I think everyone can relate to bleak right now. 

For me, it’s still that I had a plan, and now I don’t. I was still supposed to be in Armenia, but I’m not. And now, with the ongoing aggression from Azerbaijan, I’m watching my friends there get thrown into a war, fear for their country and culture, and feel very, very alone. 

For more information and resources on the conflict with Azerbaijan, click here.

Summer has ended, I’m in a pandemic US, two years out of university, at home, and still trying to “figure my life out”. I guess that’s what being home feels like a little too; like I’m falling behind. Like the version of me that used to live here doesn’t, and the me who I am today doesn’t quite fit, and doesn’t want to. 

I think it’s probably true that I’ll always feel a little like I’m still “figuring my life out”. Ultimately, I’m lucky to have a safe home to come back to, with a supportive and fun family. In the meantime, while I work on all those things that need to be figured, I’m happy to be back in Michigan, just in time to watch the leaves turn.

Fall at Sleeping Bear

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