Tokyo, a Nordic God, & New Orleans – Mike.

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Anastasiya Tkachenko

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Copywriter and Blogger behind The Journal. This is where I like to ask & answer questions, document travels, and share my world with you. I'm so happy you're here. 

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Hi, I'm Anastasiya

I met Mike on a chilly, cloudy day up in Boulder, Colorado when I was visiting my brother on a Friday at the University of Colorado Boulder.

My brother, Maxim, and I share a mutual love for chit-chat and coffee…

So, we naturally made our way to one of his go-to spots to grab a cappuccino and sit outside to catch up and enjoy the college edition of people-watching.

If you’re curious, my drink of choice is Hot Apple Cider, but anyway, minor details. 

So, Maxim and I are enjoying our time together under the overcast brewing above us when he notices his friend Mike.

Lucky for us, Mike must’ve had time before his next class started and was able to join us for some time.

Although my time meeting Mike was short…

What I can tell you is that he’s extremely interesting.

Within a few minutes of getting to know him, I learned that he’s from Louisana, a former U.S. Marine, and is a current Philosophy Student.

I mean, are you kidding me?

He already had me locked in at Louisiana…beignets are the best, don’t you agree?

But a former U.S. Marine now studying philosophy?

I love it.

Other than that, before you get to know him more…

All you need to know is that he’s incredibly kind, friendly, and has a mind that is unique to him in the coolest way possible.

If you don’t know Mike, you should.

And if you do know him, you’re very lucky.

Here are his answers, you’re welcome.

What’s your name, where were you born, and where did you grow up?

Michael Ingram, Born and Raised In New Orleans, Louisiana

Does your name have an origin? Or, what’s the story behind your name?

“Michael” is of Hebrew origin, though my family is Catholic, and can mean “one who is like God.” Was never happy with the name really, but its meaning is at least something to be happy about. As well, I’m pretty sure I was just named after my uncle. The name “Ingram” from what I have read translates to “Ing’s Raven,” Ing being the nordic god of peace and fertility or some Scandinavian mythological hero. I’m no etymologist, I just use google like the rest of us. However I am pretty happy to meet another person with an “I” last name, we’re a rare breed.

What’s something you wish people knew about you?

I am willing to talk about anything with anyone, and that there are no need to keep barriers up when talking. I love to get real deep, real quick.

Where’s your favorite place in the world?

My front porch back home. I’ve found myself finishing entire books in a day there or simply eating my lunch and dinner there. It is like a threshold with the entire world on one side, and comforts of one’s childhood on the other. 

Where do you feel most alive? Most welcome? Most yourself?

The dance floor. It energizes me like nothing else and it seems to be one of the few places where one can be a fool and where that is okay. 

Describe yourself to me in 5 words. 

A Crippling Self Aware Eccentric Fantasizer 


Describe humanity to me in 3 words. 

Worse than Individuals 

What’s something you’re scared to say, but want to?

The words, “I don’t want to be around you, you constantly drain me of energy and joy. You make me hate you because of your inability to accept things as they are, and not find anything to look forward to.” I find constantly negative people are just a drain to one’s health.

Tell me about something that you love. 

That perfect joke that hurts to laugh at. Cliche as it may be, to laugh to the point of tears, nearly suffocating as you fall out of a chair, is what I chalk up to be the one of most positive experiences one can have. I think it’s healing in a way. It sort of “resets” your life up to that point. One reason I love it is that you cannot force it, it just happens which makes me love those moments all the more.

What’s something sweet that you love?

I am a borderline child when it comes to sweets. A 5-Star chef can offer to bake me something and I think I’d rather have those Loft-House cookies that they sell at every supermarket.

Tell me a story of a moment in your life that makes you happy. 

The first time my mother and I had a real conversation, as equals, on our back porch. We drank a few beers late into the night and just talked about how our lives have been. It was the first time I began to truly see my mother as an individual on her own journey as well.  It was this specific night that I look back on as the start of a more new, more real relationship with the woman who raised me.

Tell me a story of a moment in your life where you were scared, what happened and what did you do? 

When my brother was around 10 and I was around 8, we were in the back of my dad’s truck while he was in the store getting some things before we went fishing. A man in hospital scrubs came to the car and started knocking on the window with a gun telling us to open the door. My brother and I really didn’t say anything but shrunk below the seats and just sat there waiting as he was yelling at us. He even pointed the gun at the window saying, “I’m going to kill you.” He eventually wandered off and we found out from my dad that it was a friend of my dad’s friend who was told to bring us some bb-gun to his car. We also found that he brought the bb-guns to my dad’s friend’s car where his son Perry took the bb-guns no problem since he knew him. The man was apparently trying to make a “joke.” My brother and I still talk about it to this day, closest I think I ever felt to feeling like I was about to die. Needless to say, that man didn’t know how to talk to kids.

Tell me something that you never thought would happen to you. 

I never thought I would suffer from an anxiety attack. I’m not referring to the overused word we use for fear and panic, but the tightening of the chest and shortness of breath. Understanding that nothing should be wrong, but the feeling that you may collapse and die out of nowhere. It is my family’s curse that I have seemingly been blessed to be free from for the majority of my life until recently. As the more “at ease” member of the family, I was ignorant of what they were actually going through. It doesn’t happen to me often, very rarely in fact, but I still never thought it would’ve happened to me.

What’s something you want?

My own mega-yacht, obviously for myself, but also I think it would be a fun job to sail the high seas and ferry wealthy people to their vacation destinations. At the same time, I also get to wear the captain’s hat.

What did you dream of when you were a kid? Do you still dream about it? 

Being the hero, dying so others may live, things like that. I am almost certain that all men dream about this. People can consider glory seeking like this simply vanity, but I choose to think that most people just want to be useful in some regard. I think this is culturally but also biologically wired into us. Needless to say I still dream about things like this, but with a self-awareness that only comes with age. 

Who do you admire and why?

My friend Robert. Not only does he already practice in court as a law-student, but keeps me constantly self-examining my thoughts and feelings. He is probably the smartest individual I can consider a friend, as well as his work ethic and ambition something I wish could emulate.  I think I really admire him because he is one of those individuals you know will be successful wherever he goes, and will put more good than bad into the world. He’s the person you need when you become too cynical about how things are, because he will change your heart through your mind.

If you could change anything, what would you change? 

Communication, I think if we as humans had the ability to “mind meld” or something of that sort, we could convey information much more clearly. We’d not cause as many offenses to one another, and we’d likely understand each other’s experiences much more. I feel like we can never truly express what we are feeling through language.

If you could go back in time and relive your life, would you? If not, why not? Also, do you wish you lived your life differently? 

At this point, I don’t think I would. There are things I wish I would’ve done differently, but those mistakes have made me what I am today. I wouldn’t want to risk the experiences I have had or the people I’ve met as a result of the way the course of my life has gone so far.

Tell me something you miss.

My time in the U.S. Marine Corps. The brotherhood and the purpose are what I really miss the most. Probably some of the best friends I will ever have made were made in the service. I think everyone who joins, though specifically the infantry, has something to prove. I think most could relate in that sense, and as a result we made each other better because of the purpose that type of institution brought. Though we griped a lot, joint suffering is a beautiful thing. Almost as beautiful as seeing a group of men joined together in a common cause to see something accomplished. I worry sometimes my service will be the last time I see that, so I treasure that time dearly even with all the idiocy I had to deal with at the same time. 

What’s a risk you decided not to take? 

Asking a friend out. It was very obvious that there was a connection, but I just had no confidence in myself at the time to think she would say yes. I don’t view it as a “what could have been” moment, I view it more as a reflection of who I was to who I am now.

What do you dream about? 

I don’t really dream much, but they are usually indecipherable fever dreams. 

What’s a risk you decided to take and what happened because of it?

Joining the U.S. Marine Corps. I went against the grain in the way that an upper middle class kid from Catholic School isn’t necessarily the makeup of an enlisted man in the infantry. There are always “my types” certainly, but a lot of the people I knew were from different situations than I. College was the trajectory which I was on, but I am grateful I didn’t choose it just then. It’s hard to compile the result of four years of service, but I would say a greater self-confidence and knowledge is what became of it. It was the first time I really had to make a decision for myself, starting that transition from boy to man. 

If you could do something again for the first time, what would that be? 

Walk the streets of Tokyo, it is the coolest city in the world in my opinion.

What do you love learning about?

History because I, like everyone else, simply enjoy stories. Historical accounts provide not only interesting human experiences, but as well help the present world itself.  Yet the real reason I enjoy it is because I think it connects us as a species overtime. Things become a lot less daunting knowing people before you have crossed oceans on wooden ships and survived with a lot less than you have now. History can let the individual know what they are truly capable of, for good or ill. 

If you could have a special talent or superpower, what would it be?

A Six Sense, based entirely around music. Something foreboding plays when something bad is about to happen, something sad when you’re down, and something upbeat and lively when the sun is out.

If you could change any law or rule, what would it be?

Simplify the U.S. tax code.

Tell me something you’re glad isn’t in your life anymore. 

Nothing really, anything bad that has happened to me is just a part of living, so I expect it to happen again.

What are 3 things you wish you had an endless supply of?

I’m going to eliminate money from “things”  because that would be no fun. I’d say frequent flyer miles, clothes (I am a clothes whore and there would be endless fits), free membership subscriptions.

What’s your favorite quote or words to live by?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Teddy Roosevelt

What do you love most about the world? 

 The duality of people, the fact that everyone can be so different but so much the same. I think it’s the contradictions about the world that can make things seem new while at the same time relatable.

Tell me about something that changed your life forever. 

A  6 month period of time in which many of my close friends admitted to trying to kill themselves or slipping back into those thoughts. It made me much more worried about the people close to me, and constantly creeps into my head in periods of no-contact with them and others. It made me much more aware of the fragility of people.

If today was your last day on earth, what would you want to say?

That I was glad to have shared it with the people around me.

What’s the most impressionable scent in the world?

The smell of grass in the morning. It motivates me to get my day started, and is almost impossible for me to stay in the house when I smell it.

I knew you’d like him.

Love,

Anastasiya

P.S. If you’d like to obsess more about Mike, you can follow him on Instagram here.

P.P.S. If you liked this interview, I think it’s time you met Mulu.

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