A Re-Discovered Life

A nurse traveling and learning to embrace new discoveries.


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The SugarPlum

As I’m interacting with some of the members of Remote Year, I find myself sharing some of the more impactful travel stories that I’ve had along the way. I realized that my time in Liberia was all written on the Gypsy Nurse blog and not here.

The sugarplum is a locally named fruit in the small town of Robertsport in Liberia where I did a nursing volunteer stint.

I realized when I went back to the written sugarplum story, that I didn’t tell the ‘Revelation’ of the importance of this simple act of kindness. Here is a section of the original content:

The Sugarplum

travel nurse volunteer Sugar Plum
Sugar Plum

I don’t know how to explain the importance that this simple fruit will forever hold for me. After spending the day acclimating to the people, the heat and the local environment a small boy runs up to me while I’m reflecting on the days events. It’s nearing dark. There have been so many small children through that I remember if I’ve seen him before. He holds out his hand and in it is a ripened sugarplum…he wants me to take it. Having been in many developing countries where all the children are trained to ‘sell and beg’ I smile and ask him ‘how much?’, automatically assuming that he is wanting something from me.  He looks at me strangely, saying nothing. I ask again, and he smiles as he lays the sugar plum on the table and runs off in the near darkness. – SOURCE

Learning the way…

So, why was this simple act of kindness so impactful to me even 3 years later?

During my time in Robertsport, I learned that the act of obtaining any food/fruit was one of dedication and work. There was a boat near the market that had painted on it “No food for lazy man”. This was an honest attribution of the entire community, and one that I learned when I went to the market to find fruit.

Emanuel.JPGIn Robertsport, no individual or family owns the source of food. If there is a fruit tree on an individuals property, it’s not solely the property of the individual. After I had gone to market seeking out some fresh fruit: to no success, my neighbor boy Emmanuel explained to me how I was to find fruit for myself. He gingerly led me, holding my hand to the fruit bearing tree across the ‘yard’. Here he proceeded to show me the perfect size rock and in his form of english, instructed me on where to hit the rock and how to identify the freshest of the fruit.

We tossed rocks into the tree for several minutes before a sugarplum fell to the ground and at the same moment a look of joy and adrenaline crossed his face as he vaulted to the spot where the fruit dropped. He picked up the sugarplum and with one of the most genuine smiles I think I’ve ever seen..he held it out to me. I was intent on ‘fishing for my own’ and insisted that he keep the fruit of his labor. It took me another dozen or so throws to get my fruit to drop from the tree and we shared in cheering for the success. We continued for a few more minutes and I walked home with two sugarplums in hand and more joy in my heart that I can express.

The Revelation

Throughout the rest of my time in Robertsport, I witnessed daily occurrences of children with rocks seeking the prize of the fresh fruit among other very intense food related experiences. Food truly was something that this community had to work for…whether it was fishing for it or tossing stones in the trees. It was a commodity that we in the US take very much for granted and for many is a true struggle of survival.

In looking back at the experience, I know now what a great honor it was for that little boy to bring me a sugarplum. It was more than a simple act of kindness….he literally gave me fruit from his mouth that day. This experience will ever be remembered with fondness and a much more open heart.


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An Empty Glass

If there’s one thing that I have taken away from my first Remote Year month in Mexico City it’s that I really don’t know as much as I thought I knew.

cdmxBeing from small-town Indiana my family and friends always told me how smart, and successful I was.  Funny thing is I blatantly took their feedback without a second guess and with it came a great amount of self-confidence and a feeling of self-worth. I truly think that it’s due to this that I’ve been able to be successful in my life. It’s amazing what this kind of support can do for your personal outlook.

Being surrounded by 79 other extremely intelligent and successful people perhaps for the first time in my life I realize that I know only a very small amount of what success means. I’m honored to be traveling with such a diverse and knowledgable group of people and hope that I can learn from them along the way.
an-empty-glass-is-just-waiting-to-be-filled
A couple of days ago at our monthly Junction which is an event where we gather with all of our group as well as a group of local professionals we were privileged to hear one of our members Carol Schulte give a very inspiring speech on goal setting. We sat down together and were asked to visualize what we would be doing at the end of the year. Then we were asked to fill out a worksheet to help us to find what steps and goals we had for the year and how we were going to attain them. To be honest I just couldn’t do it.

I don’t know what it was but I could not bring myself to even see what the end of this year looks like for me.

Having spent the last 4 years totally focused and knowing exactly where I wanted to go and then suddenly feeling this total sense of loss and lack of Direction was quite daunting.

Do you know what you visualize for yourself when you’re sitting looking at yourself in the mirror on December 31st 2017?

                                     I don’t.

I’ve since chatted with Carol and she has given me some hope. Hope that I’ll find my direction. Hope to fill the emptiness. Hope to move forward. So now, I’m looking at my glass nearly empty and wondering what will fill it by the end of 2017. As I visualize this…I’m filled with excitement, fear, and wonder.

I still don’t know what I see when I look at the me on December 31, 2017 but I’m hopeful that it is going to be a happy, successful, and fulfilled me!


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Las doce uvas de la suerte

It’s been a whirlwind of activity, experiences and new faces. Arrival in Mexico City or better known as the #CDMX went just about as smooth as I could have imagined or hoped for. I brought in the new year with several others from the #RemoteYear Meraki group at a roof-top party in the heart of the city. Champagne toasts to the year ahead, dancing, meeting my fellow travelers and learning a little about the local new-year traditions were high-points.cdmx

Las doce uvas de la suerte, “The twelve grapes of luck”

The tradition consists of eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight of December 31. According to the tradition, that leads to a year of prosperity. In some areas, it is believed that the tradition wards away witches and general evil, although this “magic” is treated like an old heritage, and in modern days it’s viewed as a cultural tradition to welcome the new year.

– Wikipedia

Meeting the Meraki Group

At this point (about 2 weeks in) I feel like I’ve at least met most of the 80 other Remote Year attendees that will be living and traveling with me for the whole of 2017. It’s a diverse group that encompasses multiple countries and a multitude of jobs and skills. The ‘Meraki’ group that I’m traveling with is the largest that Remote Year has launched.

We’ve talked a lot in both large and small groups abut what our goals and aspirations for the year are. The answers are as varied as the number of members in our group. We’ve also talked about the highs and lows so far…of this, it takes a bit of thought for me to answer.

HIGHS AND LOWS

My highs and lows thus far haven’t been of great leaps or bounds. I feel like I’ve been on a pretty even keel for the most part. If I had to pick a particular low; it would likely be the feelings I experienced on the flight here. As always, when I take off via plane the first 45 seconds of actually pulling the wheels off the ground are invigorating to me. Then I generally take a deep breath of anticipation for the adventure ahead and a smile appears on my face.

This flight was a bit different in the fact that after my 45 invigorating seconds of takeoff, I then suddenly began to question myself; “What am I doing?” The multitude of questions that ran through my head were a bit disturbing…wondering the ‘why’ of choosing to accept this experience. It wasn’t doubt in traveling; it was doubt in the how I’m traveling. Why did I choose to commit to an entire year with total strangers? Who was I doing this for? Me? Or was I trying to make a statement of being something ‘more’? I truly questioned my intentions of making this trip and I think I’m still having some doubts about why I’m here.

I guess that time and experience will show me the truth of the choice I’ve made.


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Leaving Vegas

The annual Vegas travel nurse event is finally over. I met some wonderful new friends and re-connected with some old ones.

The travelers conference has been an amazing opportunity for me to assist in connecting the travelers on both a personal and educational level. This year I spoke in front of over 300 attendees…this was quite daunting to say the least!

TravCon_Gypsy.jpg

For those of you that follow me on Facebook, you may have read that I’ve resigned my position on the Board of Directors for the Travelers Education Group that runs the Travelers Conference. This is something that I’ve given great amounts of thought and consideration too. There were some personal conflicts, coupled with the large amount of time and energies that came with this role. With my hopeful re-direction of energies coupled with the Remote Year, I felt that it would be best to remove this additional stressor from my life.

I’m now continuing on the #HipGypTrip leading up to my year long Remote Year. . . .

So much to think about and DO!

As we continue the #HipGypTrip on our way toward either Arizona or Texas, there is daily work that goes along with all of it. From researching and booking campgrounds, determining travel routes and activities, it’s busy to say the least. Dad is doing more and more of the campground research in preparation for my leaving and he’s doing a great job of it!

All of this coupled with the fact that I’m prepping to leave on a year long trip, is both exciting and a bit daunting! It’s been nearly 3 years since I’ve traveled out of the country and although I’ve been traveling full-time in the states, I feel like a total ‘newbie’ to the international travel arena. Remote Year will take care of much of the logistics for me…I just have to make sure that I plan and pack accordingly on my side.

I would also like to be able to optimize the RY for the blog and be able to provide some useful direction for the time spent abroad….how to do that? I’m not sure that I’ve figured it out totally yet.

If you have thoughts or ideas, I would love to hear them.

MORE TO COME….

 


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A Waterfall Wonderland

Next Stop… Ainsworth State Park, (Just East of Portland OR)
Sept 20 – October 4th

I was really looking forward to being in Oregon. It’s such a beautiful state and it didn’t disappoint on this trip (although there could have been a bit less rain). We stayed at Ainsworth State Park, which is in the heart of the waterfalls that dot this stretch of the Columbia River Valley. It’s truly a magical place.

I’m still trying to catch up! This post is also backdated in an effort to get the postings in an appropriate time-line. Please bear with me as I can’t currently add photo’s or links….I’m working on it!! Don’t forget to keep track of us via Facebook and the Map…I’ve been doing a pretty good job of keeping more up to date there than here…

This was another long stay (2 weeks) in which I was gone for a week for the Annual Travelers Conference and then Dad was gone for several days for Taylor and Vicki’s wedding back in Indiana. Dad got the opportunity to go back to the house for a night and I wondered if he was going to return to the #HipGypTrip…guess what? I think I may have turned him into a Gypsy!! He’s back and more committed than ever to continue to travel!!

While I was gone, Dad and Dan made some new friends that are from the Sacramento area. They offered to let us stay at their RV park on the Sacramento River for a couple of nights! They even messaged me since we left to remind us that we should stop by. The people that we’ve met along this trip have been wonderful! There truly is more ‘good’ in people than bad…or maybe that’s just some of our good Karma working. (Maybe it could work on helping us NOT miss all the good stuff!!)

While Dad was back home in Indiana, Dan and I went on a riverboat brunch cruise which was quite fun. The food wasn’t the best but the Mimosa’s, the views and the Captain made up for it!

I could have stayed here for an additional week to do some hiking and visit the waterfalls, but it was time to move on…


The Hip-Gyp Trip began on June 3, 2016 and who knows when and where it will end… If you would like to see all of the photo’s from the trip, please visit Hip-Gyp Photo’s.

You can follow our adventures via Facebook, Instagram, and my Blog Page via Facebook

To be continued….



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Meraki – A Remote Experience

 

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MERAKI

To do something with Soul, Creativity, or Love; To put something of yourself into your work….


This is going to be the motto that I’ll live by in 2017. Wait…it’s only September 2016, you might wonder why am I setting a motto for 2017 already?

I’m going on a year-long adventure in 2017!!

It’s finally confirmed! I’m going to be traveling with Remote Year for all of 2017.

When I decided to pursue this opportunity, it was mainly an effort to force myself back into international travel without the hassle of organizing and arranging everything myself. When I actually got a spot confirmed, I started to think about what I was going to do. Since the incorporation of private investors with The Gyspy Nurse, I’ve got a lot more time on my hands…but, if you know me; you know that I’m certainly not one to sit idle with nothing to focus on! So….what am I going to do with my Remote Year?

Being a nurse and having been highly involved in the support of the travel nurse community has been exciting, fun and quite the challenge. I am hoping to bring a bit of information on the best and the worst of the state of healthcare to the community. I’ll be pursuing information on the day-to-day life of nurses, the hospital environments, local healthcare volunteer organizations and pursuits, differences in treatments and processes and any other topics that happen to peek my interest or I can get an inside look.

I knew going into remote year that a lot of fellow travel nurses and healthcare workers, might find this an interesting endeavor so I’ve decided to ask YOU!

What I should do?

Are there questions you have about the countries that I’ll be visiting?

Do you want to know what the local health related superstitions are?

Want to know how local treatments vary from ours here in the US?

Interested in finding out about local healthcare volunteer organizations or opportunities?

So while I may not be actively working as a nurse over the next year, I’ll be immersing myself into the healthcare systems across three continents!

Are you interested in joining me? You can apply directly with Remote Year!!

 


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Northwestern-Most Point in the USA

Kitsap State Park
September 8-13th

Located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, this is an area that I’ve wanted to visit for a very long time. I’ve traveled to the San Juan Islands and to the Seattle area in the past but never got out to the peninsula. We ended up leaving the RV’s behind and taking a road trip!! We spent two days driving around the loop and had a great time. The highlight for me was Neah Bay, the northwestern most point in the continental US. We hiked out to the peak, and were greeted by a huge bank of FOG…so much for a view? Although we didn’t get much of a view…it was still a great trip.

I haven’t had an opportunity to upload the photo’s from this trip yet…I’ll add the link as soon as possible.

We also visited the Quinault Rain Forrest, which was experiencing a ‘drought’!! Leave it to us to hit the Midwest in the worst heat wave of the century followed by visiting a rain forest in a drought!! Again…please send some of that good Karma our way!!


The Hip-Gyp Trip began on June 3, 2016 and who knows when and where it will end… If you would like to see all of the photo’s from the trip, please visit Hip-Gyp Photo’s.

You can follow our adventures via Facebook, Instagram, and my Blog Page via Facebook

To be continued….