10 Things You Learn When You Move To The UP

10 Things You Learn When You Move To The UP

From the Pasty to the trucks, the UP is it's own world.

While Michigan’s lower peninsula is filled with a mix of fun tourist towns and Big City Livin', Michigan’s upper peninsula is filled with trees and bugs. As a born and raised troll, the transition from lower peninsula life to life in the UP has been an educational and eye-opening experience.

Before the 10 things I’ve learned, here is a brief vocabulary lesson for non-Michiganders and for Mitten residents:

Trunk-Slammers: A term of “endearment” for people visiting the UP.

Trolls: People who live below the Mackinac Bridge.

Yoopers: People who live north of the Mackinac Bridge.

Pasty: A pastry made for the main course meal usually containing beef and an assortment of vegetables.

Here are 10 things that I learned in my first year of UP life.

1. The pace is slow for the townies as well as the trunk-slammers on vacation.

The people who live here year round lead slower lives than the people I grew up with in the mitten. Instead of always running around and just getting from one place to the next like we do in the lower peninsula, Yoopers take the time to appreciate their surroundings. They stop to smell the roses and appreciate the beautiful scenery. They spend their weekend's camping, hiking and relaxing with loved ones.

2. The clouds are alive.

No this is not a legitimate cloud. This is a swarm of black flies. The largest swarm I have seen was so big, it looked like the Basilisk from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets had arisen and began flying over US route 2 (the highway that follows the Lake Michigan side of the UP).

The bugs in the UP are a real nuisance. Between the mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies, and ticks, sometimes it seems like everything up here bites. Never leave the house without bug spray on hand. And make it a strong bug spray.

3. Hiking is a must but beware.

Living up here, there are a plethora of places to hike for all skill levels. From flat dirt paths for the beginner to off-the-beaten-path mountain hiking, we have a little bit of something for everyone. Some of the best views in the UP are just a little hike off the road. From seeing exciting waterfalls like Laughing Whitefish Falls to the clear freshwater spring Kitch-iti-kipi to the tranquil Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains, there are so many places to see. But remember those bugs that were mentioned previously? Beware of those. Bring your bug spray.

4. Pasties are a food group.

The Pasty is more than just a food for yoopers, it is a cultural icon that is one of the defining characteristics of the UP way of life. While it is not something they eat every day, it is incorporated into family traditions and get-togethers. Pasty shops can be found in the major cities including Escanaba, Marquette, Munising, and St. Ignace, as well as smaller towns. They are everywhere. And YOU MUST CHOOSE A FAVORITE. Every yooper has their favorite shop and no other shop can touch it.

5. Hockey is a way of life.

From youth hockey to collegiate rivalry, Hockey is the talk of the town. The rivalry between the Michigan Technological University Huskies and the Wildcats of Northern Michigan University packs the stadium for each game. The rivalry runs deep and pride is shown in various layers of spirit wear from both sides.

On the high school level, the Gibson Cup is a time-honored tradition that dates back to the first decade of the 1900s. This rival competition is between the Portage Lake Pioneers and the Calumet Wolverines in a best-of-three competition.

6. Deer are about as common as squirrels.

Deer cross the road with no regard for their life and safety. They will come up to you if you are having a picnic and you have food. They will not run away from you when you are passing them on the side of the road in your car. And they are everywhere. You can even spot a couple albino deer in the Marquette area!

7. Everybody looks like a tanned Abercrombie model in the summer…

Because there is so much to do outside, everyone gets 20 shades darker in the summer, their hair gets lighter, and most of them look #Flawless. But then the inevitable winter comes in and everyone looks like the Michelin Man because of having so many layers on.

8. Almost everyone drives a truck.

When stopped at a light, it is not uncommon to see 10 trucks within spitting distance to your vehicle, 2 of which are probably jacked up and muddy. Snowmobiles and four wheelers are also extremely common up here. Most people also own either a trailer, motor-home or several tents. Yoopers like their toys.

9. This is truly “God’s Country”.

The UP is filled with breathtaking views and endless places for photo ops and enjoying time with family and friends. From the wintery skiing days to the autumn hikes to see the fall colors, yoopers take full advantage of this beautiful part of the world over every season.

10. You will NEVER be considered a Yooper.

No matter how long you live here, if you weren’t born here, you will never be a true yooper. The most you can hope for is to be considered a “Trooper”, a.k.a. a Troll who moved to the UP. Don’t waste your energy arguing (even if you have lived here for 10 plus years). Your neighbors will still refer to you as a troll.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Marie Bain

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved

To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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11 Ways To Travel More And Spend Less

Airbnb is just the beginning.


Everyone wants to travel, but it can be really expensive, especially if you are in college and have a lot of other expenses. Here are a few different ways you can travel while still staying on budget. These are just some of the ways you can reduce travel costs.

1. Airbnb

A hotel that got four and a half stars in the reviews costs $245 a night in New Orleans, Airbnb has options for as low as $28 a night that has five stars rated by over 130 people. In San Francisco, a five star Airbnb costs $46 a night where a four and a half star hotel costs $199. So if you are comfortable with renting out someone's space for a bit, it's a great option.

2. Get a hotel membership

If you aren't comfortable with staying in strangers' homes, this is another great way to save money. Earn rewards and free visits by sticking to one hotel chain. This might be hard if you travel abroad but it will certainly help in the states.

3. Last minute airline deals

If you want to travel to Florida in two days, take a look because airlines often lower prices and have last minute deals. I would be okay going in two days if the plane ticket price went down to $98. And for New Orleans, the flight price dropped from $400 to $155 for a round trip ticket. If I leave for Dubai in four days, my round trip ticket is $984 instead of being around $1300. So if you can get up and go in a short period of time, look out for deals like these.

4. Round trip vs. one way tickets

Most people just go automatically into booking a round trip ticket, but sometimes it is actually cheaper to get two one way tickets. So just take a look before you book the tickets.

5 . Eating on vacation

It may not be as exciting as eating out every night, but even just bringing enough for your own breakfast and snacks will save you a ton of money by the end of your trip.

6. Eating at home

Or if you really want to go out on vacation, eat cheaper when you are home. Cook more, go out less — this will save even more money than the previous suggestion. Or even better, do both.

7. Get a credit card with points or miles

This way everything you do will help you do more things in the future, while helping pay for what you want to do now.

8. In terms of saving up, ask for money

If you really want to travel, for every holiday and birthday, ask for money or gift cards, then save it up to go away.

9. Use public transportation

Instead of taking an Uber or taxi everywhere, use public transportation.

10. Use apps

If you are going out of the country, use apps to call and text people instead of paying for a very expensive phone plan. WhatsApp is a very popular option.

11. Withdraw money, don't exchange

Many times you can avoid fees or at least minimize them by withdrawing money while in the country you are visiting rather than paying exchange rate fees.


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