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On social media, 'The Wandering Michigander' brings followers on trips around state

view of someone from the back in a kayak about to paddle through the Pictured Ricks
Courtesy
/
Taylor Dustin
Dustin recommends viewing the Pictured Rocks cliffs in the Upper Peninsula by kayak.

Despite the weather, spring is officially here in Mid-Michigan, but you might be already looking ahead to planning your summer vacations.

Taylor Dustin runs The Wandering Michigander blog on social media where she documents her travels around the state.

Dustin joined WKAR's Sophia Saliby to talk about some of her recommendations for your next trip in the Mitten or the Upper Peninsula.

Interview Highlights

On why she started posting about her travels across the state

I really wanted to learn more about TikTok and the platform itself because I work in corporate social media.So, I decided to get on TikTok because everyone else was, even though everyone thought it was like teenagers dancing. It turns out it's not just that. So, I started thinking about how I could build a brand on TikTok that's different than anyone else. And I didn't see anyone posting anything about Michigan or traveling as much as I saw other random stuff. So, I was like, "Okay, maybe I have a chance at growing something here." And so I kind of started experimenting.

On her favorite places to visit

My all-time favorite place is a Sleeping Bear Dunes in the Traverse City area, Leland, all of that Northern Michigan really pretty water area. But I also always want to tell people that they should go to the Upper Peninsula somewhere, anywhere. There's so much to do there. So, it's hard to pick just one, so it's either Lower Peninsula would be Sleeping Bear Dunes. Upper Peninsula, anywhere, Pictured Rocks, I guess I would pick for a summertime adventure in the U.P.

On some of the places she wants to take trips to this year

I really want to do more on the east side, more exploring, like the Thumb area and Lake Huron because I went to Alpena which I think is another hidden gem, which in the northeast Lower Peninsula. And the area was super cool and very much like a hidden gem. A lot of people go to Traverse City, but not a lot of people go to that side, and the water's just as pretty there. So, I definitely want to hit up that area.

Interview Transcript

Sophia Saliby: Spring is officially here in Mid-Michigan, but you might be already looking ahead to planning your summer vacations.

Taylor Dustin runs The Wandering Michigander blog on social media where she documents her travels around the state.

Taylor Dustin sitting among field of tulips
Courtesy
/
Taylor Dustin
Taylor Dustin runs The Wandering Michigander blog on social media.

She joins me now to talk about some of her recommendations for your next trip in the Mitten or the Upper Peninsula. Thank you for being here.

Taylor Dustin: Thanks for having me.

Saliby: Can you tell me a bit about how you got started making content about travel here in Michigan?

Dustin: So, I started creating content in 2020, right after COVID hit. There's a mix of like the reasons why I started creating content, but one of them is because I really wanted to learn more about TikTok and the platform itself because I work in corporate social media.

So, I decided to get on TikTok because everyone else was, even though everyone thought it was like teenagers dancing. It turns out it's not just that. So, I started thinking about how I could build a brand on TikTok that's different than anyone else. And I didn't see anyone posting anything about Michigan or traveling as much as I saw other random stuff. So, I was like, "Okay, maybe I have a chance at growing something here." And so, I kind of started experimenting.

I also came up with the idea that me and my roommate, at the time, were going to do something cool in Michigan every weekend to get outside because that was safe during COVID, and it was a way that we didn't have to be trapped in our house.

And then I also came up with the idea that me and my roommate, at the time, were going to do something cool in Michigan every weekend to get outside because that was safe during COVID, and it was a way that we didn't have to be trapped in our house. And that's how it all started, and it took off from there, and I just kept traveling.

Saliby: If you had to recommend just one place for our listeners to go this summer, what would be on your list?

Dustin: My all-time favorite place is Sleeping Bear Dunes in the Traverse City area, Leland, all of that Northern Michigan really pretty water area. But I also always want to tell people that they should go to the Upper Peninsula somewhere, anywhere. There's so much to do there.

So, it's hard to pick just one, so it's either Lower Peninsula would be Sleeping Bear Dunes. Upper Peninsula, anywhere, Pictured Rocks, I guess I would pick for a summertime adventure in the U.P.

Saliby: Would you recommend any experiences that are good for families?

In Pictured Rocks, specifically, they have glass-bottom boat tours, which is really cool and safe for the family. I would recommend kayaking for older people.

Dustin: In Pictured Rocks, specifically, they have glass-bottom boat tours, which is really cool and safe for the family. I would recommend kayaking for older people. I loved kayaking. I think that's an awesome thing to do at Pictured Rocks.

But with a family, it's kind of dangerous. It can be dangerous on Lake Superior, it'd just be a lot of work. So, I would recommend doing the boat tour because then you get to see all the water and the beautiful Pictured Rocks from the boat.

Saliby: You know, Michigan has a wealth of rivers, lakes, of course, the Great Lakes. Do you have a favorite lake spot?

Dustin: Oh, that's hard, too. I am biased to Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan or Lake Superior are my favorite of the Great Lakes. But I think my favorite spot because I'm local to the area is Rosy Mound in Grand Haven. It's just a really beautiful area, and it's kind of a hidden gem. So, I really love that it's hiking and the beach and sand dunes, so I think that's my favorite spot.

Saliby: So, we've talked about places where you'd recommend other people to go, what's on your personal list for travel in the state this summer?

Dustin: I am trying to go to places that I haven't been before. So, I have been a lot of places in Michigan, but I still have yet to see it all. And I really want to do more on the east side, more exploring, like the Thumb area and Lake Huron because I went to Alpena which I think is another hidden gem, which in the northeast Lower Peninsula.

I also want to go to Isle Royale in the Upper Peninsula, which is our only national park in Michigan. So, that's always been on my bucket list.

And the area was super cool and very much like a hidden gem. A lot of people go to Traverse City, but not a lot of people go to that side, and the water's just as pretty there. So, I definitely want to hit up that area.

And then I also want to go to Isle Royale in the Upper Peninsula, which is our only national park in Michigan. So, that's always been on my bucket list, and I really want to do that this year.

Saliby: You can follow Taylor Dustin on social media by searching for her handle, The Wandering Michigander. Thank you for joining me.

Dustin: Thank you so much for having me.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

Sophia Saliby is the local producer and host of All Things Considered, airing 4pm-7pm weekdays on 90.5 FM WKAR.
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