Sometimes I’m really impulsive. Although this ‘decision’ was a big one, even for me
The ink isn’t even dry on my diploma yet in exactly 21 days I will celebrate my last day of work for the foreseeable future and leave the only area I’ve ever called home. It hasn’t quite sunk in the enormity of the decision I made, only in March, to pack up my stuff and head to South America. As far as spontaneous decisions go, this was a big one. Most people save up for months or years to do something like this. Me, I find a cheap plane ticket, hit ‘buy now’, and figure out the details later. Who does that?
I’m at somewhat of a cross roads… finished with my degree yet not sure which path to pursue: medicine as a physician, medicine as a physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner; I just know that my current career, while somewhat steady, doesn’t bring me the intellectual stimulation I need in order to be truly satisfied in life.
These scrubs and this job will be put on hold for a while.
I begin June with the absolutely incredible knowledge that while I really have no clue what the next year holds for me, I do know it doesn’t involve 12 (or more!) hour shifts or working every single holiday. I was talking to my best friend last night and he pointed out that 3 weeks from this very moment, I’ll be on another continent… not quite halfway around the world, but still not quite the ability to jump in the car and meet up. It still doesn’t seem real; I still have shifts at the hospital to work, visas to get, vaccines to obtain. I don’t know that the reality of it will really hit until I am on the plane in Charlotte headed for Cacaras. Lots to do between now and then and I have a feeling the next few weeks are going to pull me along by the seat of my pants.
Last time I went away, I was studying and hanging out with these stone guys
An older post, from my private journal about my very first day night on the job right before I moved to Durham, NC for my ‘first’ adult job. 5 year ago. Also, it was the last time I did something ‘crazy, and unexpected’. Somehow, that was considered ‘responsible’ while taking some time off to explore seems ‘careless’. I’ve done a bit more research and decided that I am going to try to visit all 13 countries on the South American continent. I’ve been in touch with some volunteer outfits that will allow me to stay for free if I agree to work a certain amount of time each day. Win-win. My current plan–if you can call it that–is to arrive in Caracas, skedaddle on over to Colombia as quickly as possible, follow my way down the Pacific coast all the way down to the Beagle Channel, scoot back up the Atlantic coast, and hit the interior where it makes sense. I’ve currently got applications for a Bolivian and Brazilian visas in the works and for the rest of it, I’ll figure out things as I go along. I leave in 2 months; let’s get packing.
Reality is the first night on the job.
I have had a license to practice respiratory care in South Carolina for a whopping 8 days, and here I sit, at the hospital on a Saturday night, working. I am the only respiratory therapist in the building. God help us all if there in an EMERGENCY tonight. I am working with my favorite hospitalist, so that helps.
You know, I have never moved. I’ve done a lot of shuffling back and forth between here and there, but I have spent my entire life essentially within a 50 mile radius. (You know, other than when I lived in Mexico or spent the summer in UK) I am beyond nervous, somewhat excited, and generally hopeful that I haven’t committed a major fuck-up. My biggest fear is that I won’t be good enough or smart enough to handle taking care of actual sick people.
Here’s the thing… even though I worked at Hillcrest almost the entire time I was in school, spent time in ER and ICU, I can still count on my fingers the number of bona-fide emergencies I’ve been involved in because Hillcrest is a place for the not-well or those recovering from surgery. It is not a place for the actually dying or people in actual emergencies. There just not the equipment or sheer number of people needed to participated in a real life-or-death situation.
And I am going to work in a hospital with a Level 1 trauma center, a level 3 NICU, and very large PICU, and while I don’t know where I’ll eventually end up, I chose, I chose, PICU, NICU, and ER as my top 3 choices of where I’d like to work.
The reality of what I’ve done is starting to set in. I’ve packed up a month’s worth of clothes, a few books, my laptop, a sleeping bag, my kick-ass stereo that goes with me everywhere, and a sense of adventure. In the morning, after working a 12-hour shift, I’m moving to Durham, North Carolina where for a least the next year, I’ll be participating in a pilot residency program for newly graduated respiratory therapists. I’ve left Shadow, Spot, all my friends, and all the bad memories of the last few months behind.
And later that day…after driving 272 miles, crashing for a few hours in my sleeping bag in a hammock on the screened-in porch, and unpacking my paltry amount of possessions…
I’m living in a roughly 8 x 15 cement cinder block room in the basement of a rather large house. It’s double the size of a jail cell, slightly smaller than a dorm room. I have a minuscule closet, a wall full of wooden built-ins, and an old parquet floor. It looks like a hallway and furniture arrangement is going to take some, um, creativity. Lighting is awful; I have those old, tube fluorescent lights, and the tiniest of windows which I can’t even open. My guess is that it’s not a ‘legal’ bedroom, but whatevs, it’s cheap, and close to the hospital where I’ll be working.
The bathroom beside my room has clearly seen better days. It has a stand-up shower, a pedestal sink, and a toilet. The minimum. Rent is $282.50/month… which hopefully after a month or so of settling in, I can begin to save up money, pay off student loans, and finally take a vacation. I don’t even have a bed yet. I report to work at promptly 8:30am. It’s too late to turn back now. This is my new reality.
So I did a thing… well two things really if you count one of them as this blog. Well, three if you count having a milestone birthday… which I did today. The thing about milestone birthdays, at least for me, are indications that I should re-evaluate my life and see if I am on the path I want to be on. And while I love my job, it is not a job I want to be doing for the next 35 years. So here I am, re-evaluating my life’s plan.
Milestone birthdays–not just markers of time…
Adventure Adikt*, is my blog 2.0. I wasn’t really sure what to do with this re-incarnation of the blog. I started blogging way back in 2005 as a way to process my feelings about life and death, love and loss, endings and beginnings, and whatever else life was throwing at me. Back then, I’d just graduated college, moved to a new city, started my first job in healthcare working with teeny tiny babies and really sick children. I processed all those changes by writing. And traveling.
But I wasn’t ready to release those thoughts into the blog-o-sphere. So I blogged for me. It was essentially an on-line [but private] journal.
So here it is, a few years later. I’m still in healthcare. I have moved back to South Carolina. I want to buy a fixer-upper. Grad school is in my future although I still can’t decide between physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner, so until I do, I’m going to keep plugging along. And traveling. A lot. And writint to process my feelings.
In order to to avert my impending mid (?)-life crisis, I’ve decided to go public for the first time ever. I love my job. I love learning languages. I love history, the history of places, and the history of things. I love science–what it is now and what it used to be.
In a nutshell, my ‘new’, reformatted blog is a [very] vaguely chronological timeline of life events, travel, and mishaps along with some life lessons and musings thrown in for fun. Life is life. Adventure is still adventure, and wanderlust is still wanderlust; I’m trying to find new ways of having a bit of each in my every day.
The ‘other news’
While opening up the blog to the public is one attempt to stave off the potential mid life crisis, some may say I’m already in full blown crisis mode. Earlier today, as I am prone to do when I’m bored, I was surfing the ‘net for airline deals. And I came across a steal. Without truly thinking things all the way through, I jumped on it. I found a one-way flight from Charlotte to Caracas for $99. I bought it. Have I ever been to Venezuela? No. Have I ever even wanted to go to Venezuela? Not particularly. But I studied their history while in college. I speak the language. And I really do want to see Angel Falls. What else will I do? Who knows? Where will I stay? Not sure. Will I be kidnapped by narco-terrorists? I certainly hope not. And the big one– When will I come back? I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll hate it and only be gone a week. Maybe I’ll love it and try to figure out a way to stay permanently. Who knows? But follow along and see how this little adventure plays out.
I turned 24 today. It’s a big milestone. I’ve always thought of mid 20’s as adults. I am nowhere near ready to be an adult. And truthfully, I’m freaking out just a bit.
*Why Adventure Adikt? I went through a lot of names [A Traveler Rests was one of them] before I decided on this one. Somehow, it just fit. And I like the word adikt better than the word junkie. I seek out adventure–in all ways, traveling to foreign countries to explore history and culture, hiking in my back yard and across the country, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, and life in general. My goal is to never stop learning and never stop adventuring… just never stop.
Hi, I’m Michelle and this is my own little corner of the interwebs where I write, share photos, and interact with others in the blog-o-shpere. So in addition to that–Who am I? I am –in one way or another– the following: hiker + backpacker + swimmer + pediatric respiratory therapist + registered nurse + avid traveler + cat parent + gardener + photographer + medical science junkie + adventure-seeker + DIY enthusiast + voracious reader + history and science nerd + football fanatic + aging athlete + wannabe chef + trying not to succumb to the trappings of a 9-5 life. And beginning in 2018, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rwanda.
Everyday life doesn’t have to be routine. Anyone can do just about anything he or she wants to do– sometimes one has to find creative ways in doing it. Sometimes one has to tear down the barriers that might stopping them. Everyday is an opportunity to choose your own adventure. That is what I ultimately write about.