3 years and 10 months. That’s how long it has been since I packed up a backpack, obsessed over travel details, checked out currency exchange rates, and border a plane for some unknown (or in that case, known, but still an adventure) destination, and if you are reading this, I have finally [FINALLY] gotten to do all those things as I’m currently en route to Iceland by way of a stop in the Pyrenees mountains.

For someone with an exploring mindset, 3 years and 10 months is entirely too long. And a lot of things have happened in the years and months since February/March 2019. Such as…

Year 1

**The clocks start at year 1 when I ended my Peace Corps service rather abruptly (or maybe not depending on your definition of abruptly). This surprisingly random accident ended up in medical separation from the Peace Corps since no one could figure out what this injury was and then how to treat it.

It doesn’t necessarily look that catastrophic, but I’m STILL dealing with the consequences of this injury 4 years later.

**I adopted a cat

Fierce little Oliver

**And then another

Year 2

**Year 2 starts when I started grad school (University of Tennessee’s nurse practitioner program). As a DNP student going part-time, it may take me 10 years to finish but that’s where we are right now.

First football game at the University of Tennessee as a grad student

**I drove a few hours north to visit a dear friend in Washington DC, saw a new state (hello, Delaware), and drove down the coastal inlets and outlets in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.

Cherry blossoms bloomed a little early in 2020

**I returned home the same day the world shut down (March 13, 2020)

**I got an “Authorized Personnel” travel paper to go back and forth to work

My official travel papers had my driving around just as I did pre-lockdown.
The ubiquitous ‘Heroes Work Here’ sign that nearly every hospital in the USA displayed during the first few month of COVID-10

**Housing problems (fire and water leak) necessitated a kitchen remodel

**I caught COVID-19 (pre-vaccine)

** I got a tattoo

**And then another

Year 3

**I broke up with a long-term partner (We reconnected in Charleston a few years ago; then unceremoniously un-connected)

I used to write our initials in the sand on every beach I ever visited from Nova Scotia to Usushia and Seattle to Lake Kivu but, it’s just M now

**I learned how to suture and make casts

They still need some work

**I started clinicals in Family Practice and have learned a lot

**I FINALLY saw RAMMSTEIN in concert in Chicago

RAMMSTEIM–I waited 3 years for this concert to happen

**I did A LOT of hiking. A LOT.

**My mom had a major health scare that required a prolonged recovery

**I started a new job

I spent New Year’s Eve at the new job

**I quit the same job about a year later and returned to my previous location in a slightly differently position

So believe me when I say that I am more than ready to resume exploring places I’ve never been, and see things I’ve never seen, and experience that familiar feeling of nervousness and excitement that always happens when I dig out my passport, download foreign maps, and prepare myself for an adventure.

Some things you just can’t deny

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