My name is Chelsey Knuth, and I am the creator of The Wisconsinista. I am from a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and currently live in the city proper. I recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and have since put my degree to use with jobs in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Destination Marketing. Aside from work and school, I am also a performer with a competitive water ski show team as well as a Pomeranian folk dancing troupe.
What is the passion that drives you to collect adventures?
My passion to collect adventures began with the realization that where I was born uniquely contributed to the person I’ve become and the hobbies that have turned into my passions. Nowhere in the world besides Wisconsin could I water ski and snowmobile right out of my backyard, celebrate my German heritage at a different festival every weekend, and hike along the path once taken by the Laurentide Ice Sheet. This epiphany not only made me more excited to keep exploring my home state but also to find the idiosyncrasies that make every state and country around the globe one-of-a-kind!
How did you discover this passion?
After graduating high school, I attempted to go out-of-state for college and had the strangest feeling of disconnect. While I was excited to experience and learn about a new city and state, to do so meant that I had to sacrifice spending time in my home state doing the things I already knew I loved. I did end up transferring back to a Wisconsin college but have found that travel is even more meaningful to me now than before. It gives me a chance to let other people show me around their hometowns, then come back from my adventure and show people around mine. That reciprocity is why I am so passionate about tourism and created my brand to inspire people to make the most of their time in my locale!
What is your favorite memory from one of your adventures?
When I was in the fourth grade, my parents pulled my younger brother and me out of school to spend a few months living and being homeschooled on our houseboat in The Bahamas. I remember crying on the day we left for the trip because it meant I had to leave my friends. But my favorite memory is the personal growth and self-realization I felt when that same emotion came over me at the end of the trip when we had to leave the boat. The understanding that we had just done something most people would only dream about doing, that we didn’t just say no and forget about it, and that our experience was worth all of the time and effort my parents put into it, has completely changed my life and made me a firm believer that any adventure or lifestyle can be made possible.
If you could give someone advice about pursuing their passions and collecting adventures, what would it be?
“We must be our own before we can be another’s,” is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that I actually used for my senior quote in high school. It is so important to act and take that first step to find and pursue our passions. The scariest part is doing so on your own, but once you start chasing your dreams, the people you’ll run into along the way will be the ones who share your ambition for life and adventure. Look for the experiences first, not the people – book that plane ticket, attend that event, or register for that class. You’ll prove to yourself that you are capable of anything, and in the process find your best friends, greatest mentors, and maybe even a lifelong travel companion.
What are your top 3 life goals or bucket list items?
- I would love to visit and experience Antarctica.
- Pursue my love of water skiing in a professional capacity.
- Work as a tour guide or onstage performer at an iconic American travel destination or resort.
If you had to plan an adventure with little or no budget, what would you do and why?
I would love to road trip across the country either camping or sleeping in my car along the way. I love road (and train) trips because they remind me how connected we all are and that with just some gas money and a trusty vehicle I can take myself to a completely different part of the country. It is liberating as well as eye-opening, and the intimate experience of being on the road and camping makes connecting to the surrounding environment and community that much more meaningful.
What are 5 fun facts or quirks that not many people know about you?
- I fell in love with water skiing at age ten, before which I absolutely dreaded the sport, refused to learn and ran away whenever my parents tried to get me in the water. I am now a firm believer that you cannot know whether something is for you until you’ve done it successfully at least once.
- As a self-proclaimed geographer, I love crossing places off my list. I keep lists of everywhere I’ve been, from states to national parks to countries! Of all my travel stats, my two favorites are that I’ve water skied in four different states (Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana, and Florida) and three countries (USA, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic).
- In the sixth grade, I developed an intense celebrity crush on a singer from a reality TV show. Over the next two years, I would spend all of my time listening to his music and all of my money going to his shows. Ever since the obsession faded, I have had virtually no interest in going to concerts or staying up-to-date with any musicians or bands.
- The farthest I have ever been from Wisconsin was when I traveled to Turkey with my family in 2014. We spent just over a week there, which allowed us to explore three completely different parts of the country: we started our trip on the beaches of the Mediterranean near Antalya, then drove east into the mountains of Cappadocia, and finally finished in the iconic city of Istanbul.
- I’ve recently taken an interest in the IndyCar racing series, although I’ve never previously had an interest in motorsports. So far, I’ve attended the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana and the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America in Wisconsin. I’ll be headed to my third track this April to watch the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park!
How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me here: