Life is a Journey.....
So here is the spot that I tell you about me. I really don't know what to put here. I guess, I'll start at the beginning. I was born on an early fall day in 1969 in a small town in Indiana. My parents divorced when I was just a babe in arms. My mother re-married and her husband became my 'Dad' for all intents and purposes. I didn't have much of a relationship with my natural Father. The reasons for this are complicated. Aren't they always?
I was an only child until age 12. My mother and step-father then had two boys (2 years apart). I think I really enjoyed being an only child and to this day still enjoy my alone time. Like most teenage girls that I know, when I was 15 my mother and I didn't get along. I decided then to move in with my natural Father and his newly married wife. It was a big change for me (and them) with different rules, a new set of parents, a new school in the middle of my sophomore year, no siblings and a lot more freedom.
After I moved away from home, my mother and I were able to re-establish a cordial relationship which with time turned into a friendship. During this time I also developed a relationship with the father that I never knew.
I came from a hard-working family. My grandparents were farmers and I spent a lot of time on the farm with them. My Mom and step-Dad were hard workers, always doing something. My father was a factory worker and dabbled in all sorts of other business, including real estate. I never experienced riches or comforts in 'things'. Instead, my life was full of people that loved me and did the best possible to make my life comfortable. Good work ethic, good moral conduct, responsibility for my actions; these are some of the 'riches' that my family instilled in me.
I made some poor choices in life. I graduated at 17 and began a local full-time factory job. I had a brief fling and ended up with a baby at a very young age. I struggled as a single mother for 2 years. I married in 1990. I worked during my marriage at a variety of jobs. I was an office worker in the local factory, then a factory worker, then I moved into health care. I became certified as a home health aide and worked home health care for a while. I attempted to take some college classes, but with a full-time job and a family, it didn't work out well. I ended up falling asleep behind the wheel of my car on the way to class one day (with minor injuries) and decided then that it wasn't worth it. I didn't go back to class after that.
My marriage was tumultuous from the start. Even so, we thought that we needed another child. After two miscarriages and three years into the marriage, we had a beautiful daughter. The marriage lasted three more years before I finally moved out and filed for divorce. The following year was complete upheaval. I struggled financially and emotionally. The kids suffered through it all now 10 and 4.
I ended up losing my job as receptionist in a podiatrist office. My babysitter at the time encouraged me to apply for job training with the local unemployment office. I did, and ended up finally going back to school with hopes of obtaining my LPN license. I took the first semester off work, collecting unemployment and going to college. After the first semester, I went back to work. I worked mornings at Burger King, evenings at the local grocery store in the deli, and full-time on weekends at Home Health as an aide. I continued with full-time classes and of course single mom of two kids. It was a very chaotic and exhausting time in my life. I knew if I wanted to be able to support my children, it was something that I had to do. I survived and obtained my LPN license with a lot of support from friends and family.
Immediately after my graduation, I moved. My best friend at the time was living in southern Indiana and I wanted a change. I planed for months to secure a place to rent and packed up all our belongings and headed to S. Indiana. I had a job lined up, an apartment rented and at least one family in the area that I knew and still, I was terrified of the change. We settled in well and quickly felt at home. By this time, my ex-husband had stopped seeing my son for visitation long before and the move quickly prompted decreased visitation with my daughter. She was distraught. At 9 years old, we discussed the possibility of her living with her father. I figured it was the best of both worlds for her. She would live with her dad and therefore get to see him and I would certainly exercise my visitation. Several court dates later, my daughter was living with her Dad.
By this time, I had went back to school for my RN degree and was working locally as a nurse. I worked in a variety of places; several different nursing homes, a brief stint at one of the local hospitals, and home health. By the summer of 2004, I was feeling stifled. I wanted a change. I had heard about travel nursing and decided to give it a try. My son and I headed out for a summer assignment in Boston, MA. I loved it. My initial plans to return home after 3 months never materialized. We enrolled my son in the local school and ended up staying for 8 months. I was hooked.
I was a traveling Nurse:
Boston, MA ~ 8 months
Edinburgh, TX ~ 3 months
San Diego, CA ~ 2 months
Cincinnati, OH ~ 7 months
Portsmouth, VA ~ 3 months
Scottsbluff, NE ~ 2 months
Morehead City, NC ~ 5 months
Phoenix, AZ ~ 3 months
New Orleans, LA ~ 3 months
San Francisco, CA ~ 8 months
Seattle, WA ~ 7 months
Elko, NV ~ 5 months
Total 56 months ~ almost 5 years
Whewwww....what a ride! I found my independence, learned to make friends, continually experienced new things in the workplace, and most importantly, I found a love for travel. In the meantime, I continued to have a wonderful relationship with my daughter and whenever possible she traveled to where-ever I was. My son and I have a great relationship and he traveled with me until one day he grew up and moved out on his own.
So how does this all translate into traveling internationally? I have always wanted to do it. A friend and I were going to spend a summer traveling Europe several years back but life got in the way and it never happened. I have dreamed of traveling for so long that I can't imagine that there was ever a point in time that I didn't think about it, although I am certain that there was. I knew that in order to be able to travel that I was going to have to get myself out of debt, first. I obtained a lot of information and support from here. The more I researched, the more I realized that people really do drop everything and travel. More importantly, I realized that I COULD DO IT. But could I? I could think about it, but could I actually do it? Alone? I had all sort of excuses for not going. I never would make any firm plans, until.....
My room-mate "K" at the time was planning what I considered the ultimate trip of a life-time. She was planning to travel to SE Asia! I was jealous beyond thought. I had tossed around the idea of traveling, but really never thought that I would have the guts to actually do it, nor did I know anyone that ever had! Man, this girl was BRAVE! I had traveled all over the US over the past 5 years as a travel RN but to leave the country and actually go somewhere where I didn't speak the language was something that I just didn't think I could do. "Besides," I told myself, "people that travel around the world are much younger than me".
The more and more she talked about it and the more I thought about it, I decided "I can do this". So with a little determination and a lot of support from K, I started putting my extra cash into an account for Vietnam. Yes, Vietnam. The plan was to meet K and her boyfriend in Vietnam and I could stay with them or wander on my own. It was wonderful knowing that I had the security of a friend close by if I needed it. And because of this, it was the perfect opportunity to venture into the unknown world of solo travel.
After Vietnam, Any fears that I had were squelched. Don't get me wrong, caution is still a very big part of my daily thoughts, but the FEAR was conquered and I DID it. All I could think about was where else can I go, how long do I have to wait, I read numerous travel blogs and continually thought about traveling.
I wanted to share my new-found love with my kids. I wanted to make up for the lack of vacations through their lives and give them an experience that I didn't get until I was in my 30's. So, I decided to take them to Italy! I think I'm hooked!
To be continued...
(see link on TP for my blogs about Vietnam and Italy)
I am now living and working in Germany on a two year contract. I am enjoying traveling around Europe during my free time (which is never enough) and continuing to save for my future traveling. I have been here for 6 months now and have traveled to 6 different countries. I have not given up the idea of long term travel and am currently planning for a post-Germany 4-6 month trip to Africa and/or South America as well as a subsequent trip on the Trans-Mongolian RR....
Theater, comedy, easy hiking, amateur photography, road trips, my doggie, meeting new people and exploring new places, a cold beer in a strange city, sidewalk cafe's watching the 'locals', getting lost and finding myself again...
I have found something enjoyable or good about every place that I have been....each being unique. I am still searching for my favorite! Favorites so far include: San Francisco, USA; New Orleans, USA; Boston, USA; Hoi An, Vietnam, Venice, Gdansk Poland, and Brugge Belgium.
01 Sep 2009 - 04 Dec 2010
Visiting: Germany, Belgium, France, Norway, Poland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Czech Republic and Netherlands.
20 Nov 1009 - 01 Dec 2009
24 Jun 2009 - 31 Aug 2009
Visiting: Italy, Ireland, Germany and USA.
Khandilee hasn't been active in the wiki travel guide yet. Have you?