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Northern Maine to Southern Utah.

The 3,000+ mile road trip. OUI.

It was an adventure for the book, y’all. And my mother is a blessed saint for tagging along for the whole damn thing. The first leg of the trip was Presque Isle, Maine to Columbus, Ohio. Driving around/through Boston is like THE WORST, all you Masshole driver, yuk on you. After braving the lands of potholes and no merge lanes, Mom and I found a campground outside of Boston to call it a night. I then managed to jackknife ol Stelly in a tiny beach parking lot after dark, so what did we do? Merely shifted a few cement parking blocks and did a bit of off roading, cause we strong independent women ‘n stuff. The rest of the trip to C-bus was all smoothy smooth and we got to enjoy a day of rest/bath tubbing/unclogging my camper. Good times!!

Next stop, Denver. A magical land of mountains and friends… The journey there though, less than magical. Night one we camped with Mark Twain, and made pals with a live human man who recommended I invest in a sway bar (may god, buddha and allah smile down upon that man). Then we braved I-70 west through Kansas, which is a forever long state filled with sorghum fields and windmills. But alas, the mountains came into view and the heavens opened up and we were in Denver! 2,400 miles into our journey escaping the car was a welcomed treat, legit, our bodies hurt from sitting so much. Red rocks and nursing friends and concerts, oh my!

The Rockies were the next hurdle. Oh. My. Lawd. Shoutout to Celine to sum this portion of the drive up best, cause this is one of those thing’s we’d never do again but then they always seemed alright. Average speed: 40 mph. Not kidding. We had plenty of time to enjoy the fall colors and snowy peaks, while giggling to cover up the thoughts of, “Is this the hill we won’t make it up?”.

And then, we were in Utah. (insert angels singing here)

The sun was shining bright, the left side of my body was getting so tan, we had almost completed our entire road trip scavenger hunt. All seemed right with the world. We found a nice little campground to call home for the next few months and to Zion we went. Luck was definitely on our side, because we scored permits for Subway the next day. I don’t know if I can blame the difficulty of the hike on muscle atrophy from being in the car for 10 days or what, but damn, so absolutely stunning.

Mama bear headed home on Tuesday, and I was sad to see her go. It isn’t easy to share a 20ft home or be in the car together for 3,000 miles, but she made for one hell of a co-pilot and adventure buddy. Without her I would have struggled through the trip and getting settled in to this new area would have been even more stressful. I’m really lucky to have the mom I do, and I’m so glad that we got to create buckets of new memories together.

Northern Maine.

I have officially completed my first assignment living out of a tin can! There was definitely a learning curve to it… If you are buying a camper, listen REAL careful, when you are hooked up to a sewer drain you still have to close your valve and only open it up to drain it when it’s full. I learned a lot of lessons the hard way, but that one has got to be the hardest. Praise the lawd baby Jesus I only shi-shi in my camper, cause I left that valve open and I made a toilet paper clog like you wouldn’t believe. I’m hella lucky to have a plumber brother and a pops that is handy as hell. Happy to announce that 2 months worth of urine will be staying in Ohio as I continue west! A little lighter, a lot less stanky. Oh, TMI? Sorry. Not really. The truth is gnar.

Leaks, mice, no electricity, and life being scaled down to 20 ft made for quite the adventure, but I wouldn’t change my summer for anything. Shout out to all my neighbors up in Paradise for taking me in like part of the family and guiding me through my first season! Literally would still be in the dark without you guys (they helped me get my electricity working, get it?).

Mars Hill was the dopest kind of a middle of nowhere assignment. I tried my hand at nursing home nursing, the result is a realization that old people rock hard.  I joyfully painted nails and listened to travel stories and collected 50some new grandmas and grandpas. But I’ll be glad to get back into the excitement of the hospital world in a couple weeks.  I hiked, biked, paddled, and I had a blast, but it was starting to get cold and mice were trying to move in, so you know it was high time for big mama to hit the trail.

Stellie, Jackie and I are now taking a little 3,000 mile cross country road trip for my next gig.  If you live off 70 and wanna grab a brew in the next few days, holla atcha girls.

Arizona.

So I left AZ a month ago and this is way late, but I need to get back on the blog train, so here she blows!

Once I got back from New Zealand my goal was to push my way back into nursing differently.  After 9 months out of the hospital I figured I would have a little trouble finding an agency that would scoop me up, but  I talked to a recruiter the day after I got back from NZ and a week and a half later I was on my way to my first travel nursing assignment in Bullhead City, AZ!

Now, Bullhead City is in the high desert and probably a place you’ve never heard of (fair nuff). It was a great first experience though and I think it was the right spot to sort out this dreamy work and travel combination. During my 8 weeks there I made it to Flagstaff, Sedona, Vegas, Lake Havasu, Oatman, and I managed to take a weekend trip to Austin. Plus, lets get real, after 9 months on the road I didn’t have much to my name so getting back to work finally got my bank account heading in the right direction…

Now I’m on my second assignment in Austin and it is going fantastically, I’ll be here until the middle of July, and I’ll try to not be such a slacker on this ol thang.

Marlborough, Kaikoura, Christchurch

So this is it. The end of New Zealand, the end of a truly incredible adventure.

My last few days were spent wandering around wine country getting my sommelier on, picking cherries, playing in the ocean, feasting on the beach, and turning 25. I have now been 25 for almost two weeks and it has been a good chance to look back at 24 and be proud. In the past year I became that person who not only talks big dreams, but lives them. I went after what I want in life and I had some incredible adventures along the way. I’m more open minded, more confident in myself, more ready to face fears and take on any challenge that comes for me. Best of all, I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. So thank you to everyone who supported my choices and to those of you who said I’m crazy… I hope I’ve managed to chance your perception!

Now that I’m home (and poor) I’m going to be taking on new adventures, trying to figure out how to balance working and being all consumed by the travel bug. Tomorrow Rosie and I hit the road again and I begin life as a travel nurse! Watch out Arizona!

Golden Bay.

I’ve been slacking on the blog the last few weeks, but in my defense I was out making the most of my last few weeks in New Zealand! After all, I had limited time there and it is quite a bit easier to wade though and post my pictures from here…

After making our way up the west coast we decided that we should absolutely go to the northern tip of the South Island, Cape Farewell. It was so incredibly beautiful, there were amazing hikes through fields of sheep with cliffs that dropped down to white sand beaches. My favorite part though, without question, BABY SEAL ENCOUNTERS. People naturally freak whenever we see a wild animal up close and personal so when my travel bud and I stumbled upon a cave full of seals it took some sneaking and strategic timing to avoid drawing attention to the hot spot, but it paid off! We were approached by at least 5 babies and the moms all just kept eyes from a distance and didn’t seem to mind us one bit!

An experience I won’t soon forget (especially since every piece of technology I own is now backgrounded with a picture of the babes)

Wine Country/Kaikoura post on deck!

Beautiful Bays and Glow Worm Caves

This is it! Step Up 2!  My next adventure- performed in dance.

Wait. Nah. The world isn’t ready for all that.

…yet…

I made it! I am actually in New Zealand which is so wild. It still hasn’t hit me that I get to hang out here for two months. Probably because I’m still jet lagging something fierce. I mean 20 hours in the air and way more than that when airport time is factored in. Plus I’m living in the future! 18 hours ahead and on the other side of the international dateline, so if you need to talk to a fortune teller and sort out the next 18 hours of your life, go ahead and holla atcha girl!

My first challenge in this country is being behind the wheel of a vehicle. It is a totally backwards endeavor, I’m sitting on the wrong side of the car and driving on the wrong side of the road (but I’m doing all things correctly for this country). There have been more than a few moments of panic where I’m sure I’m driving into oncoming traffic. oui.

I wasted no time getting out of Auckland on my first day and heading up the coast. I found my way to a beach in Waipu where I played in tidal pools and watched baby kiwis learn how to surf, it was a fairly magical welcome to this place! Yesterday was a bit on the rainy side in the morning so I found my way to Whangarei where I figured out the NZ post system (pen pals get ready!! {if you want a pen pal and we’re not there yet give me your address somehow}). The early afternoon was still overcast so whats a girl to do? Caving? YES. I stumbled upon glow worm caves and it was a superb experience, definitely used some newly found canyoneering skills to make my way through three different caves and only scraped one leg up a bit! Sorry mom…

Today’s plan is to head up to Paihia and do some more beaching and camping!

K-9 Transport Unit.

You know that dream people have where their teeth fall out? School nursing is kind of that dream on a mass scale and not your own teeth, plus a couple sharts here and there… Kind of kidding… But all in all, I gotta say, it was a great experience and I’m glad to see another aspect of nursing. I just don’t think I’m at a point in life where I can do that as a full time gig.

So to kick off second retirement Rosie and I took on a job as a k-9 transport unit!  Basically, to everyone out there, if you don’t want to put your dog on a plane and you need to get the babe across the country, we’ll do that for ya. You sponsor the trip, we’ll deliver you critter!

It felt fantastic to be on the road again! Driving west I really felt like all too soon I’ll be needing to do that for keeps. The ol gal and I bossed through many a states and managed to have some playtime in the week too. We checked out a distillery in Kentucky, cotton fields in Texas, I got to work on my freckle collection in New Mexico and sleeping under the stars, and then we headed up to Denver just in time for a winter storm and negative something disgusting cold temps. I also got to see some of my favorite people who aren’t so close.