I never thought I’d call you home. When I moved up here five years ago as a doe-eyed graduate, I thought I’d complete my summer copywriting internship and then head out to a mega ad agency in some bustling big city. But then I fell in love.
It all started with your nature. Despite living in the center of the city, rugged rivers with towering cliffs were an easy walk away. The perfect swimming spot on Lake Superior took a five-minute bike ride. And with four wheels? Your breathtaking vistas of Hawk Ridge and the wild blueberries of Piedmont Trail were mine to explore. I definitely had a crush.
So when my internship turned into a job offer, I took it. Still, I figured I’d be around another year and then continue my travels.
Then came our adventures. Duluth, you’re a playground. Biking, hiking, sailing, skiing, climbing, running. I did them all — right after work. There was no waiting in traffic. Just a quick jaunt from your downtown to the marina and then my friends and I were setting sail on the biggest freshwater lake in the world. Or skiing down Spirit Mountain as the moon rose. Or running the length of Park Point beach, stopping only to watch a beaver.
I was falling hard.
But I still dreamed of far off places. You were just a place I could say I lived; you weren’t my final destination.
Also, Duluthians are the worst. They always want to do things outside — even if it’s -20 degrees. They dig in their Mukluks and make the most of it. This hardiness is intoxicating. It inspired me to push myself, to appreciate the subtle beauties that I never noticed before.
Even better than the hardiness was the passion. Your people care passionately about you, each other, and constantly learning. At Swim Creative, I was surrounded by this attitude every day. And it’s amazing. My co-workers not only put their all into helping organizations tell their stories, they put their all into this city. They joined boards, they kick-started community events, and they cleaned up the beaches. Not because it was required, but because they understood that the future of their home depended on their passion for it.
I was smitten.
Today is my last day at Swim Creative and in Duluth. While working here has turned into my dream job, my travel bug won’t quit, so I’m going to chase it down this next year. While I don’t know where I’ll be in six months, I do know where I’ll be in a few years.
Thank you, Duluth, and everyone in this city who makes it what it is. You’ve made the last five years the most amazing of my life and I can’t wait to see how our city grows.