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Utah.

(Month one)

The west has always had a sturdy grip on my heart and Utah is a spot I’ve wanted to head back to since I visited a couple years ago. Now that I’ve been here a month I remember exactly why I was so hype on it. I mean red rocks, sunshine, hiking, camping, swimming, sunsets, canyons, etc… It’s basically a little kacy paradise, with one exception, the damn 3.2% beer. Mmmm all the bloat, none of the buzz.

Fear not though, big mama has a healthy stock left from her days in Maine and hath discovered the liquor stores sell the real McCoy (but only warm and by the single bottle). Wouldn’t be mad if someone decided to get me a membership to the beer of the month club for x-mas… wink wink… Siblings…

Sups glad I hauled my life the 3,000 miles out here, me thinks I’ll happily be living life out west for many moons to come.

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.

Acadia.

After dragging my mom and sister all the way up to Mars Hill and sitting in the car for 3 days straight we were past due for a bit of fun. Of course that meant hopping back in our cars and putting in another 4 hours of driving down to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. (It really is a wonder none of us threw a blood clot…) But it was so worth it.

We got real Maine on life.
The lobster was my spirit animal.
I was the lobster.
The lobster was me.
My b.o. smelled like wild blueberries.
I started talking like Mark Wahlburg in any cop movie ever.
Basically.
We went hard in the Maine.
And.it.was.awesome.

 

I can’t lie, I was sad to see my girls go. Another rad mother daughter adventure in the books, time to start brainstorming next year’s escapade!

Maiden Voyage.

In case it isn’t obvious, I’m not the biggest on planning or preparing. So naturally, I didn’t take that strongly recommended trial night out before hooking up the Argonaut and embarking on that 1,300 mile trip to Maine. I mean I had towed her  almost 9 miles (round trip) to the tire store and back, that obviously we were ready.

The first two hours were a little rough, I had flashback after flashback of being 15 and learning to drive, at least this go around I remember that left on red is NOT legal… I was sweating profusely, I could feel the anxiety knots forming in my neck and back, my knuckles were white from the eagle death grip I had on the steering wheel. Then the hills started. Lawd have mercy. Them darn hills. FYI hills, towing, and cruise control don’t mix. I hit a groove around hour 4 and was feeling pretty good as we rolled into our campsite outside of Rochester on night one.

The next morning we woke up to rain. And drove in rain. And I towed in rain and wind. It was, again, an utterly terrifying life experience. Also, I wanna talk to the guy in charge of the Massachusetts roads cause there are more pot holes in that state than squished bugs on my whips after this journey.
The downpours were good for finding any and every leak in the ol girl. AKA next sunny day big mama gonna be climbing on the roof with a tube o caulk, cause my method of duct taping wash cloths to my ceiling isn’t a solid long term fix.

 

Then, we were in Maine and the sun was shining and it was glorious.

BBgirl is all set up and decked out (literally, Bucky the campground man gave us a deck) and she ain’t movin a muscle for the next 3 months.

IMG_3158

Holla to mama Crook for driving the whole way up here alone and cutting off a plethora of vehicles so I could change lanes and such. S/o to THE kels for not exactly calming my nerves with every bump, but defs for feeding me snacks and playing DJ for umpteen hours. Mad props to Jay.J. the jeep for hauling like a bawsss. And to Millie da road hog for not dying and being the cutest lil QT.

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!