We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Hardy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalie, can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
“Girl in the Woods” by Aspen Matis was the first outdoor recreation memoir I read. It’s an incredible story of growth through nature and self-perseverance. It was my inspiration for heading into the woods, taking my first backpacking trip, and hiking with friends and family. Matis’ experience with nature was something I aspired to have. I yearned for the adventure, the serenity, the growth, the hardship that came with her hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail. Even though I have yet to embark on a trip of that size, my outdoor recreation as increased exponentially since that book and has allowed me to now write and educate on the outdoors and experiences in Michigan and beyond.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I create content on recreating in the outdoors. Mainly surrounding hiking, camping, and backpacking. I have a main focus on Michigan, which is my home state, but also expand on many other locations. I’m most proud of my ability to keep pushing, even when moments come up where I feel unmotivated, I can take a break, and then start again on the ground running (literally sometimes, I am trail runner lol).
I’m so excited to grow more with my content, I started YouTube about a year ago and I’ve been enjoying it whole-heartedly and look forward to putting more content out through videos and not just writing.
This whole journey hasn’t been easy, but it’s been fun. There are moments where I hope something will attract a bigger audience or perform better analytically, and it doesn’t. But I try to not let just “likes” and “views” dictate my life and how I run Travel Over MI Way. Part of this project is just for myself, and writing/creating content on things I enjoy. The other part is to help encourage to get outdoors, to recreate responsibly and safely, and to provide information on where, when, and how to do various outdoor activities.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A week long Northern Michigan road trip would start in Traverse City. We’d head to downtown to grab a bite to eat at the best brewery, Rare Bird, and then walk to local shops like Horizon Books, My Secret Stash, and the M22 Store. We would end the day wine tasting on Leelanau Peninsula. The next day we’d head to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and hike Treat Farm Trail, jump in Lake Michigan, and grab a bite to eat in Glen Arbor at Art’s Tavern. We’d end the day driving through Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and catching an iconic sunset over Lake Michigan at stop #9 & #10. We’d head up to Petoskey the next day, grab pizza and beer at Beard’s Brewery, hike and camp at Petoskey State Park and paddle board on Little Traverse Bay. Next Day would be heading to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where we cross the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere, the Mackinac Bridge. Continuing to Tahquamenon Falls we’d hike the lower and upper falls, ending the day at Tahquamenon Brewing Company. Next day would lead us to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore where we would start on the eastern side in Grand Marias grabbing coffee at The Dream Bean Machine and hiking Grand Sable falls. Continuing west along the lakeshore we’d hike the Chapel/Mosquito loop for the best views of Lake Superior and the cliffs. Ending at the western side in Munising we’d hike our third and final hike seeing our 4th waterfall of the day at Munising Falls. Next day we’d head to Marquette and take the day to relax in the city, after hiking the best hike in the area, Sugarloaf Mountain. Grab a beer at Black Rocks, shop downtown, relaxing the beach on Lake Superior. Our last day would be spent in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Heading first through the twin cities of Houghton and Hancock, up to Calumet where we’d grab a coffee at Keweenaw Coffee Company. Then heading to the tip of the peninsula, Copper Harbor, where we’d explore Fort Wilkins State Park and drive the scenic Brockway Mountain Drive.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I really owe a lot to my partner, my friends, and family. They have been supporters from day 1. From just writing for fun, to creating my first videos on Youtube, I’ve never felt embarrassed, hesitant, or scared to share each moment with them. My sister is always willing to go on any adventure with me and helps me capture those moments on camera. My partner, David, has always been encouraging and positive with every idea, article, or video. My dad and mom never hesitate at any opportunity to share with others my websites and resources. My friend Ali is probably my number 1 supporter on Youtube. I have so many people to be thankful throughout this journey I’m on.