I’m Dana, which is a nickname my husband gave me about a week after we met in 1998 because I am a huge X-Files freak. At the time, I had a dyed-red bob and green contacts, a la Scully.
I’ve been obsessed with travel since I was little and have even been known to travel just for the sake of travel. My parents have a summer (now retirement) place right on Lake Michigan (heaven!) just outside of Mackinaw City, Michigan, which is about four hours north of where I grew up in a suburb of Detroit. I spent every summer (and just about every spring and fall weekend) there from the time I was an infant until I was in high school. But as nice as that lakefront property was, the best week of the summer was the week that my dad had off for vacation. We always packed up and headed into the Upper Peninsula for a week-long adventure that took us all over, staying only one or two nights in each place (usually camping, but sometimes in cheap motels) as we explored ghost towns, copper mines, shipwreck museums, massive waterfalls only slightly less impressive than those at Niagara, white sand beaches, forests, and anything else that struck my parents’ fancy.
My grandma also had a wanderlust that could not be quenched, and she traveled the world when I was little, bringing me back collectable dolls from Italy, Germany, Holland, Japan, England, France, Spain, and many other faraway places that were so exotic to me. When she took me to England when I was 14 and Holland when I was 19, all she did was encourage my own wanderlust. It was in Holland that she told me that I (a broke college student at the time) had “champagne tastes on a beer pocketbook.” Guilty as charged! Now that I have a sparkling wine pocketbook and a job that requires travel, I’m lucky enough to be able to indulge that wanderlust ignited so long ago.
After Vietnam, Russia is the other country I want to visit most in the world (I have a Baltic cruise scheduled in 2017, shhhh). I also have to visit Bora Bora, Tahiti, and Fiji before I die! I want to see the pitons of St. Lucia very badly and also visit Cambodia, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Dubai, and Peru. After I hit all those, any other travel I do will be gravy. 🙂 Oh, and of course, I am going to have to check off the last three states I need–Alaska and the Dakotas.
As far as the mundane stuff, I have two degrees in microbiology, I’m a diehard Michigan State Spartan who bleeds green and white, I was raised on Detroit Lions football, I love to write and participate in National Novel Writing Month every year (and have established two NaNoWriMo regions in Michigan, one of which I still lead), I’m an avid cook who loves to experiment with making up recipes and cook all sorts of cuisines, and by trade I am a science writer. Which is cool, because I get to combine my love of writing, science, and travel. I live on 20 gorgeous acres in northern Michigan with my husband and our two furry kids, a miniature schnauzer and a yellow Lab. As far as I’m concerned, the sun rises and sets in my 12 nieces and nephews, who are all the cutest, most adorable, smartest, most talented kids you’ll ever meet. And, no, I’m not biased. 🙂
So, anyway, those are the things that I consider integral to the core of who I am.