Getting outside, enjoying nature, breathing in the fresh air and exploring both familiar and new-to-us places in Michigan — we’ve all realized just how important these activities are for our mental and physical well-being over the past several months. We see more people out and about walking, hiking, running, and biking in our neighborhoods and in our communities, and we’ve also seen lots of this as we’ve taken trips throughout the state with our family and friends, particular, you may have found, during trips to northern Michigan and in the upper peninsula. The U.P. has indeed witnessed a significant uptick in its visitors this summer, as more families venture across the Mighty Mac, sometimes for the first time ever, according to travel industry experts. 

To listen to this episode, click on the player at the top of this post. Or, download the episode (and subscribe to the show!) using your favorite podcast app.

Tent camping along the Great Lakes shoreline.

Travel is transformative, and now more than ever is helping us cope with so much uncertainty in the world. Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, believes travel also has the power to connect us with one another in positive ways. “You look at all the disharmony in America right now. People distrusting each other because of politics or our skin color — what I call stupid reasons to not trust each other or like each other. Travel is the biggest exporter and importer of peace the world has ever known. As much as I want people to stay in this state, spend their money here … man, people need to travel around our country, because I’ll tell you, what I’ve learned is in my many, many travels around, mostly on behalf of Pure Michigan, we are the same. We all want a better life for children, for our grandchildren. And in many other ways, we are the same.”

“The travel industry, through immersion, teaches people because it’s deeply felt when you travel and when you meet different people — that’s the biggest benefit of travel…and it’s going to be one of the most important things in the next several years.” 

Dave Lorenz, along with Maia Turek, resource development specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, join me to talk about exploring during the pandemic, how to do so safely during COVID, the enduring strength of the Pure Michigan campaign, the future of travel (in Michigan and outside of our state), and why both Maia and Dave believe this fall is going to be big for traveling in Michigan. 

Dave and Maia also talk about the Pure Michigan Pledge, the “Two Peninsulas, One Pure Michigan” message, and their ideal way to spend the day in Michigan.


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If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. 

A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

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