Travel Diaries: Detroit
Memorial Day was a few weekends ago and I took advantage of the long weekend to do some exploring. I didn’t want to drive too far and also didn’t feel like flying anywhere so I was restricted to the Midwest pretty much. Now sometime last year when I was hoping to leave Illinois and move down South (I was going through my Texas phase then), I resolved to visit all the states in the Midwest so I could check those states off my list and wouldn’t have to come down this way to visit once I was settled in Texas or Atlanta or NY – anywhere that isn’t in the Midwest; as I thought. Well life happened and I’m still here.
I’ve visited all the big Midwestern cities except Des Moines (don’t nobody care much for Iowa anyway though my friend lives there now so I probably will go visit soon). I also hadn’t been to Detroit though I had visited other cities in Michigan so my travel options were the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin, Memphis or Detroit. I have visited Memphis and the Apostle Islands are a good 9 hour drive from me so I decided on Detroit. Hopped in the car with my friend on Saturday morning and drove down and boy, did I have me a good time.
Apparently, Detroit is one of the fastest growing small-sized cities. They had an economic crisis years ago when the auto manufacturing companies which are the lifeblood of the economy started shutting down. But the city received a bailout by the Obama administration and it’s been on the up and coming since. There are a lot of new developments and they have a decent sized downtown area too.
There’s a nice Riverwalk and just across the Lake Michigan is Windsor, Ontario so I was pretty much standing across from Canada and I felt it calling me. I will visit soon 😊. It’s so random how there are a lot of cars in the city with Ontario plates like Canada isn’t another country.
Long story short, I loved it there and I had a full day of activities. I walked along the Riverwalk and enjoyed people-watching the locals who were relaxing in the nice Summer weather. I explored the GM headquarters which is a mega skyscraper made up on 7 interconnected buildings – mindblowing.
I also wanted to check out the Masonic Temple out of sheer curiosity but unfortunately it was closed. The temple is the world headquarters of the freemasons I did get to visit a huge African American museum which was the highlight of my trip. Roll your eyes all you want but I felt so ‘alive’ going through the museum, looking at the exhibits and trying to imagine life as a child of slavery. Their biggest installation had displays that depicts life on the continent of Africa and chronologically progresses through slave capture, the journey across the seas, and life in the new continent of North America. It was an experience I tell you and I will visit again if I could.
Sisters were looking all dressed up in their heels and hot dresses and I could smell the plenty rocks awaiting. We decided we had to see what was going on but we could barely find a place to park. All the lots were charging $10 and upwards to park and we had run out of cash. I’m not sure if the city is that alive every weekend or it was different just because it was Memorial Day but I love the energy. On our way back home, we stopped in a beach town called Benton Harbor for some ice-cream and checked out the beach for a little bit before getting back on the road.
In all, it was a fun getaway. I’m not sure if anything would ever take me back there but Detroit is definitely on the list of favorite mid-sized cities – alongside Denver, New Orleans and Memphis.
Now you know this post is incomplete if I don’t wax philosophical so here goes.
Recently, I have been feeling a little unhappy about my present location. I feel like I am so restricted physically, career wise, socially and with relationships. Naturally, I feel like I am not living out my full youth and am pretty much an old lady now so I have questioned time and again why I was placed here. Usually I go on trips like this not just to explore, but to give myself clarity and to infuse some happiness and sunshine in my otherwise cloudy, uneventful life. On the good days, I am resolute in my decision to make the best of where I am and what I have been given but on the bad days – which are every now and then – I feel bad, compare myself to others and note that they don’t have two heads. I know I will be happier in a bigger city (I am after all a city girl) but due to reasons beyond my control, I’ve found myself in small towns and it still doesn’t make sense no matter how much I try to rationalize it. But I realize that it isn’t supposed to make sense, at least not going forward. It will only make sense when I look back and see all the pieces coming together. I talked to a friend about some places I have been in the past and how I hated them in the beginning but eventually (after months and years), I could piece the puzzle and reconcile that with my present life and know for a fact that it was all part of the story. I draw on these periods in my life for strength and motivation to carry on with similar challenge I deal with today.
My word to you is to get out of your corner of the world and venture out to other parts around you however uncertain and frightening. My coming to the U.S itself was very scary and while I have had my trying moments and questioned my being in the country altogether, I can tell you that life is finally starting to come together and after a long time, I now have a sense of direction. While it hardly ever makes sense looking forward especially when well-crafted plans fall apart, when you look back, it definitely will. In the meantime, grow where you are planted and prosper where you are placed. We only have so much time in each season of our life before we move on to the next so do something different and seek colorful experiences each time. Do not just exist people, live!