Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. — Miriam Beard
These words have been posted on my refrigerator for many years. They still make me smile. Travel has opened me to a larger life, one that sparkles and sings as I experience nature and walk with and among people in other areas of the world.
This blog started out as a quest to “find islands”. I wanted to experience as many of 32,000 islands of the Great Lakes as possible. These islands–by far the largest and rarest collection of freshwater islands on Earth–have been the focus of my life for 35 years and this continues.
I circled much of Lake Superior in 2012 and just about all of Lake Michigan in 2014. This blog documents those travels with my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Henry, in a small motorhome I had called Ecovision. It became clear quite early on that I will have difficulty getting out to these islands, especially when traveling with my dog-friend. I also began want to connect this journey to my dissertation research of real-estate developers and the transformation of land. It slowly became clear that what I want to learn is the meaning of the Great Lakes, their coasts and islands to those who touch and are touched by the lakes. I want to talk with researchers, ferry-boat captains, birders, cottagers, developers, tourists, hunters, native people, anglers, educators and as many people from different walks of life and perspectives possible. In this way I can learn and document the breadth and complexity of very real relationships between people and nature.
Thus with this reimagined blog I want to weave together the stories of my travels along the stories of the people of the coasts and islands as I travel and research the Great Lakes. Sometimes the writings and photographs will be in the present moment. Other times reflections on years past. I’ll will interviews people in person and over the telephone. Sometimes I will share what others have told me, at other times my own observations.
In early May, 2018, after much research, I will be picking up a 13′ fiberglass Scamp travel trailer that I am having built at the Scamp factory in Backus, Minnesota. At that point the physical “circling” of the Great Lake around the lakes will begin again, for as long and as often as possible. In the meantime, my circling will be virtual and not quite as up-front-and-personal as I had planned. I keep reminding myself that perfection is the enemy of the good.
I hope you will go on this renewed journey with Henry and me. Please contact me if you or someone you know would like to be interviewed or some how included in this journey.
Karen E. Vigmostad, Ph.D.
Updated August 14, 2017, Thornbury, Ontario