Anne and Lindsey

“Sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take.” -Angela N. Blount

Apologies for the delay, apparently the Southwest region of our country respects itself too much to have cell service.

I want to cover a lot of ground in this post.. I feel it’s poetic considering how much literal ground we covered over the last seven days. This trip taught me quite a few things about myself and my Millennial generation as a whole. You hear *generally older* people speak about our habit of devaluing history or other cultures unless it has a social media payoff for us.

For example, let’s call our hypothetical millennial idiot Anne. Anne decides she wants to see a landmark she saw on Pinterest in real life so she can have a really awesome picture to post on Instagram. Anne spends a ton of money and time getting to.. the Colosseum. Her main purpose to snap a pic in a cute hat without getting pickpocketed and on to the next..

Lindsey, a stranger to Anne, takes this cute hat pic as a friendly favor, while contemplating the history of the ground they stand on. How many people have died on this dirt? How many people have broken their backs to build one of the oldest and most recognizable landmarks on this earth.. fought for their lives and lost.. only to have their legacy remembered by a girl in a hat captioning the photo of this hallowed ground with only emojis.

I will admit that I have been both Anne and Lindsey. I’ve been Anne and Lindsey as recently as this trip.

Here’s an example of my Anne behavior:

Awesome pic right? I’m literally standing on the edge of one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World and I’m losing my shit over this bird and our symmetry and how great it’s gonna play online.. and that filter? It doesn’t get any better than that.

I suck. However, I’ve had many more moments as Lindsey over the past week. Like the day I met these wonderful people:

We weren’t able to speak to each other, unable to learn each other’s names, but in one of those really rare moments of unspoken clarity, we understood each other. I did learn how to say “See you later” (It’s Jaane). And in another Lindsey moment, I met Nick Klonis:

Nick runs a bar in Santa Fe, NM called Evangelo’s. After talking with Nick and his niece tending bar, we learned about Nick’s father, Angelo Klonis. Angelo was a teenager when he moved solo to The States from Greece. After Pearl Harbor, he was so offended by what happened to his new home that he joined The Army. His picture is one of the most iconic images from WWII, having been featured on the cover of TIME and many other publications, including a stamp at one point. Here’s a link to check out the full story:

https://m.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/delving-deep-story-angelo-klonis-wwii-icon.html

This my friends, is what it’s all about. Real people and real stories and okay the occasional awesome picture that makes you feel good when your likes turn from names to numbers. There is so much more I can tell you and show you from this week, but I’m gonna leave this one here for a bit.

Peace ✌🏻

Road Trippppp

“We can’t know what’s going to happen. We can just try to figure it out as we go along.” -Roger Sullivan

I’m currently sitting in the Houston Hobby airport half lit.

I’m waiting on my connecting flight to Albuquerque to meet up with two very special friends of mine from back home for a road trip across the Southwest. (Fun fact: an Ultra in the airport is $7 😩) Moving on, I want to tell you a little bit about these two.

First up, Taylor *code name: Red Panda*. She’s a wildly funny redhead with a flair for the dramatic. Some of her favorite things include wine, carbs, and Jesus. She’s been the subject of many a Snapchat story and I’m proud to call her one of my tribe.

Next is Kassey Jae *code name: Moscato Fancy*. She’s a sassy traveler with deep roots for home and family. She enjoys sunsets, bonfires, and all things Tuff (the cutest damn dog you ever did see). She tends to be at the source of most of the trouble I get into and I love her for it.

We’ve been the trio for more than a few years now and never seem to have trouble keeping it going despite my traveling absence. Millennial girls in a millennial world I guess, cross country communication comes naturally to us. Those are best kinds of friends though, right? The ones you can pick up with wherever you last left off as if no time has passed..

See, Moscato Fancy and I have done this before. A few years back we took a trip where we flipped a coin each day to decide where to go.. and I definitely just tipped most of my beer onto my pillow and the floor of the airplane while typing this.. I’ve really got it together.. Anyway. This will be Red Panda’s first experience with a ‘plan as you go’ road trip and I’m very excited. I hope you are too.

Stay tuned 😘

Wish Me Luck..

“One must conform to the baseness of an age or become neurotic” -Robert Musil

8.5 million people in this city. I think they might all be wag walkers. I have spent my morning sporadically dropping everything to request a walk as soon as the notification hits my phone. At one point my phone was across the room on the charger and the Wag! alert came across my watch, at which point I damn near threw the dog across the room in my disorganized flop to the other side of the couch.. and there it was.. the dreaded “walk filled”. Discouragement. Defeat. I’ve become obsessed with trying to ‘win’ walks, compulsively checking my phone. I think this is happening because I literally have nothing else going on.

Being postponed for this nursing contract has left me with a wide open schedule and next to nothing to fill it with. I spent Saturday night deep cleaning the apartment. You’re thinking “surely I didn’t hear her right”. I assure you, you did. I DEEP CLEANED THE APARTMENT… ON A SATURDAYYY. I’ve got to figure out a way to start making friends that aren’t named Sharky or Cubone.

I went to a movie last night with my roommate and a group of her friends. They were so “New York”, I loved it. All millennials and all servers at The Smith, hands down my favorite restaurant in the city (Get the hot chips!!), and aspiring to be big names in the drama sector. Their clothes and their snarky opinions about the film… it was magic. How am I going to find my niche here? I’m a 6′ tall nurse from the midwest.. I might be the most uninteresting person in this city.

Wish me luck.

Wag!

“but the beauty is in the walking – – we are betrayed by destinations.” -Gwyn Thomas

I got some bad news yesterday. My license to work as a nurse in the state of New York is taking longer than expected, and my start date for my contract has been postponed for a month. I’m now living in one of the most expensive cities on this earth, with no income.. cool.

Normally, I would be losing myself to the stress that accompanies this type of uncertainty..BUT I have decided I’m going to learn how to enjoy the journey. As a very future oriented person, the finish line is always in sight for me. I want to fast forward through the struggle to the moment that I accomplish my goal, only to start over again wishing for time to move to the next goal. As I get older, I am learning that this is no way to live. I overlook the real fulfillment that comes with overcoming the struggle.

So while I’m living here, unemployed, I am going to be walking dogs through a new (very Millennial) app called Wag!. It works like Uber for dog walking. Clients will request a walk ASAP or on a specific day and time, and walkers will accept walks as they choose. Yesterday was day one.. and I was bitten. Story of my life. I was so psyched to play with puppies all day while getting exercise and learning the ins and outs of the city. Second walk in.. this dog is not a fan of having a leash on and lets me know it in a very aggressive way. And I started bawling. My thoughts were as follows:

What am I doing? Why can’t I find direction for my life? What decisions led me to be an on-demand dog walker in NYC at 26 years old. Why am I so dramatic right now? Nope! Don’t do this. Wash the blood off your hand and the doubt from your mind. This is where you are supposed to be. This is the journey.. learn to enjoy it.

I get outside with this dog after lassoing its leash around its neck and it won’t even walk. I’m literally dragging it down the sidewalk to get one lap around the block.. like seriously? Why does the owner have strangers walk this cranky slug? I had to use a chopstick and a pile of treats to get the leash off after and left like I had stolen something.

So let’s recap. I’m a 20 something with no idea of where she’s going or what she’s doing and now she’s walking dogs. Right on.

The Beginning.. Again.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” -T.S. Eliot

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Australia has obviously become last year’s language (or the language of 3 years ago) and my life has changed immensely in that time. I finished up my first year of nursing in Tulsa and moved back to OKC for a couple of years. In that time I met some crazy good people and had some crazy good adventures. The biggest adventure was the dive into travel nursing.

For anyone who is unfamiliar, travel nursing allows nurses to take short-term (usually around 3 months) contracts at hospitals with needs all over the country. The nurses make great money and get to live in awesome places, while the hospital fills a short term need, taking strain off of their core staff. I’ve been traveling for almost a year now, and this is where I’ve decided to begin..again.

 

Earlier this week, I moved to New York City, The Big Apple, The City that Never Sleeps, The Empire City, etc. I flew in with two suitcases, a contract to work at Metropolitan Hospital, and not enough money. So let’s get started.

As Far As Strangers Go…

“…sometimes one feels freer speaking to a stranger than to people one knows. Why is that? Probably because a stranger sees us the way we are, not as he wishes to think we are.”

I’m sitting alone in a hotel bar, waiting on company to join me. The night before, the red neon lights were shining upon guests as they poured handfuls of Chex Mix into their palms from the jars on the bar top. Karaoke singers roared out classics in wonderful, slightly out of tune voices, the bartenders with continuous smiles as they poured and served drink after drink, hoping for that one high rolling tipper to walk through the doors. Tonight there are two men at the other end of the bar, Zach the lone bartender, and Game 2 of the World Series.

As I sit with my drink, not daring to touch the Chex Mix (seriously, all I see when I look at that jar is Ebola), I start thinking about all the things I’ve done in my life thus far, and all of the gigantic plans I have yet to initiate. I start to envision what it will be like when I sit in a bar alone in Sydney, eagerly awaiting my chance to make even the smallest connection with the next person that sits down, assuming they are also craving to interact with someone new. Behind my eyes, I’m seeing completely different neon lights, bar top snacks, wonderfully accented strangers sharing stories of their …

My beautiful dream is interrupted by my present company taking their seat next to me. As our night carries on and the alcohol begins to perform the way it’s intended, we start making small connections with strangers. Zach the bartender becomes my long lost best friend, the postal worker a few seats down becomes family, the couple at the end of the bar morphs into arrogant ‘oh so you’re better than us then, sitting in your corner minding your own business’. We all leave the bar with flushed cheeks, happy to return to clean sheets and fluffed pillows.

I’ve learned that in a random bar, I could be anyone, I can make up a name, an outrageously hipster sounding career, hobbies one could only dream of having… The beautiful thing is, I don’t have to. I am so happy and blessed to be living the life that I am living, taking hold of the opportunities I’ve been given. So as far as strangers go, I will gladly be myself and hope that they will do the same.

With Love,
Mads

The Beginning

Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.” -Walt Whitman

It’s the middle of October, I’m 23 years old, and I’ve made an art of making life-altering decisions… It may be the need for constant beginnings, a fear of complacency, or serial boredom; but nevertheless, this habit of uprooting everything in my life for something new has become a hobby, maybe even a passion.

I never thought I would end up this way. I had big plans to finish school, get married, pop out little carbon copies of myself that my parents could gush about which traits came from which family member, find a hobby to keep me busy, hopefully retire at a comfortable age, then gush over my grandchildren’s inherited eye color and so on. Somewhere in the midst of drastically changing majors 8 times, moving from OKC to Stillwater to Edmond where I graduated, then to Tulsa where I began my career as a NeuroTrauma ICU nurse, I let go of that original plan and began to let life carry me. This takes me to my next beginning..

Sydney. As in Sydney, Australia. Not sure what made me decide this particular place besides the fact that I have to go somewhere that speaks English (no way am I learning medical jargon in French or Spanish), and although it’s approximately 18 months away from happening, I’m extremely excited. I broke the news to my family this week. My stepfather is all for it, my mother is petrified, my little brother asked if he could have my car, and my grandmother wants to accompany me. I would say all solid and expected reactions (except my grandmother; what would she do in Australia?!)

Anyway, this blogging thing is also a new beginning, hopefully it will become a more natural thing with time.

With Love,

Mads.