As a curiosity-driven girl, I’d always thought my passion for journalism would take me far, far away from Canton, Michigan after college. I had my heart set on getting of this cold climate, where nothing ever happened and the state bush is a construction cone. I sought out big cities with too many people that never slept.

Instead, I found myself about 45 minutes East of Canton.

When I landed in Detroit the summer after college, I never thought it would be for an extended period of time. I thought ‘This is just what I’ll do until I find a way out,” and would head straight back to Canton after work. Slowly, and I mean slowly, but surely, I started to become intrigued by Detroit. The city wasn’t at all what I was told it was going to be. It wasn’t a ghost-town 24-7, it wasn’t any more frightening than Chicago or other major cities; and Detroit possessed one thing that other cities I’d visited didn’t have: pride.

After immersing myself in social events, exploring the local food (Southwest is where it’s at), neighborhoods (West Village is so beautiful), many local coffee shops (New Order, an unexpected gem), and truly forming an understanding of what Detroit went through in the past century, I began to feel that sense of pride myself. Now, when I go out of town and someone hears I’m from a suburb of Detroit, they think immediately respond with ‘Oh, I hear it’s better now but I wouldn’t want to live there. It’s not safe. There’s no hope for that city,” or something similar, it sets me into a defensive frenzy, and I jump to Detroit’s defense. “More people move down there everyday,” I snap back. “The crime rate in Chicago is higher than Detroit. Why aren’t you scared of Chicago?” That alone silicates blank stares and under-their-breath comments, which means I’ve done my job; but I always go on – because there is so much to go on about when discussing Detroit’s glow up.

I still see myself traveling, writing, and immersing myself in cultures all over the world at some point. But Detroit taught me that every city, every culture, and every story matters. You can’t judge a book by one book critic’s review, you have to read it yourself– and you can’t dismiss a city based on a reputation it never deserved.

Detroit became home for me, and I’ve never been more excited to experience it.