When I was 18, I moved to a beautiful place called the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Never heard of it? Thought it was part of Wisconsin? You’re not alone.
I don’t think I even knew that the Upper Peninsula was part of Michigan (or the United States?) before I applied for college there. Don’t even ask how the university got on my radar, because I honestly don’t even remember. But I do remember the first time I came up here to visit and how it instantly felt like home.
The people are friendly, the scenery is beautiful, the streets are safe and the snow is outta control. In short, it’s been the perfect place to start out life on my own, and it will always have a special place in my heart.
Throughout college, I stayed close to campus in my free time…granted, there wasn’t much of it. Between traveling for track & field, managing the student newspaper and being a full-time student, I hardly slept, let alone explore. If I was actually in town for a weekend, I usually had my nose in the books or my head on the pillow.
Fast forward a few years to graduation and the beginning of my working life, and I actually had waking hours to spare. I also discovered how bad I am at just relaxing. (Got that from my dad!) So I decided to use my spare time to get out and explore the beautiful Upper Peninsula in all of its Yooper glory.
What’s a Yooper, you ask?
In short, a Yooper is an Upper Peninsula native. Upper Peninsula is often abbreviated as U.P., where each letter is pronounced. Now add “er” to the end of that. U-Per. Yooper. Don’t think too hard about it.
To most, I’m considered a “transplant,” as you can’t be a Yooper unless you were born and raised. Others are fine with the term as long as you’ve lived/worked in the U.P. for 5+ years. Either way, I’m just happy to be here!
I believe the list started when I posted on Facebook asking for suggestions. I got a huge response from that, and combined it with my own research and input from my Yooper friends. The Yooper bucket list was born!
I’ve made it a goal to knock out a few items each year, and I’m proud to say I’ve seen more of the Upper Peninsula than some natives I know. I’ve also experienced enough redneck-ness to last a lifetime (can you say Trenary Outhouse Races?!).
As a grow closer to completing my Yooper bucket list, I hope I inspire you to venture north of the Mackinac Bridge to God’s Country … a.k.a. the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan.