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Featured Guests: A Roadtrip Through the Midwest with Joshua Ruan

This summer, we sent photographer and content creator, Joshua Ruan, on a roadtrip to some of our Outposts in the Midwest: from Getaway Barber Creek and Getaway Starved Rock outside of Chicago, to Getaway Wild Rose outside of Milwaukee. We sat down for an interview with him to hear about his experience. Here’s what he had to say:

My name is Joshua Ruan, and I’m based in Chicago! Feel free to shoot me a follow on IG @joshua_ruan and @joshuaruancreative on TikTok!

Who were your travel buddies for this road trip?

For this road trip, I brought my girlfriend Lia along for the ride. She took charge of being designated passenger princess, second shooter, and chief s’mores consumer.

What was your route?

We started our Getaway road trip at Barber Creek, just one hour south of Grand Rapids. After two nights, we drove about three hours to the Starved Rock outpost where we got to stay three nights at one of Getaway’s exclusive Suites! For the final outpost, we drove four hours up to Wild Rose for two rainy (but cozy) nights in. Instead of driving 7+ hours back to Grand Rapids, we decided to have a little more fun and take a ferry from Milwaukee, WI to Muskegon, MI where we completed our journey.

What were a few of your favorite stops along the way?

Probably the best stop between each location was Starved Rock State Park with thirteen miles of gorgeous trails. On the way, we also stopped by Hank’s Farm Restaurant, where we got to meet one of their peacocks roaming about the front lawn. One of the funniest stops along the way was the biggest Culver’s in the world which we saw on the way to Wild Rose. 

What was the inspiration behind your playlist?

Growing up in a sheltered family in the Midwest, meant that I didn’t get to experience much outside of my home until I went to college. So, I wanted to embody the feeling of breaking free for the first time while still feeling the melancholy of wanting that freedom as a kid. Of course I had to start with the banger, “Northern Attitude” by Noah Kahan, the perfect embodiment of growing up in the midwest.

What are some of your packing necessities when you getaway?

I’m an outdoor camper at heart, so having to pack significantly lighter for this trip has been fantastic! I have one small box about a cubic foot in volume that holds my seasonings, a single silicone cooking spatula, a small bottle of olive oil, butane and torches, and a few headlamps. Aside from that, the rest is just clothes, all my camera gear (which probably takes up the most space), and a cooler for transporting groceries. It’s a welcome and stark contrast to the floor to ceiling packed car I’m used to when camping.

Did you have a favorite part of each Outpost you visited?

By far the best thing about the Barber Creek outpost we were at was the view. There was this massive sugar maple that sprawled maybe twenty plus feet in each direction creating this beautiful canopy when chilling at the fire pit. I found myself zoning out just looking out the giant window that always keeps me feeling connected to nature while still retaining my comfort.

The Starved Rock outpost was definitely the highlight of the trip as we got to enjoy the premium offerings that the Suite has which included a soaking tub to unwind in after a long day of hiking, a hammock to sway ourselves into a much needed snooze, and a larger fire pit area to kickback and stretch out as we enjoyed a blazing fire.

Up in Wild Rose was where I probably felt the most secluded from the rest of society, giving me a sense of calm and peace that I only get on my super long road trips out west. It rained for most of the time we were there, so it was nice to end the trip enjoying one another’s company in such a warm and cozy environment, safe from the elements.

I think Lia’s favorite part about all of these Getaways, was the readily available s’mores all packed and ready to be enjoyed in a cute little bag. 

How did it feel to disconnect at reconnect to nature at Getaway?

I’ve always been drawn to nature, especially in its raw form of experience where you have to work to ensure your enjoyment at the end of the night. However, Getaway provides that similar experience while still allowing you the comforts of a home. The gateway of a window that each outpost has, ensured that we never felt disconnected from the outside. It felt great, and much more stress free not having to worry about gathering enough firewood to last me through the night. No hassle and hustle of trying to set up camp before the sun drops past the horizon. It’s the perfect middle ground between immersing yourself in nature and feeling cozy at home, and that’s what makes this a Getaway.