Blog

West Coast Livin’

Heyyyyy y’all! Happy Sunday! Can we believe it’s already April? Time is a flyin’!

This time last year, I was getting ready to leave Charleston! Every time I see a memory from last year, I am astounded at how quickly life goes by. I keep trying to soak up and enjoy every last moment and memory, because they go too quickly.

A few weeks ago, I drove down to San Diego to visit my friend Lindsey. I worked with Lindsey at Mass General. Last May, she decided to take a leap of faith and start travel PT. We find ourselves in the same state so why WOULDN’T we meet up!? It blew my mind that I could DRIVE to San Diego for a weekend.

Let me tell you, we had an AMAZING weekend. It was one of those weekends that came together perfectly. We spent Saturday literally following the wind, and it led us to some amazing experiences and photos. We made a new friend, explored places we never would have been to, exercised and conquered fears- it was one for the books!

SanDiegoBeach.jpg

Thank you for hosting an incredible weekend, Lindsey! Come to Santa Barbara soon!

I’ve officially been at my new/second Cali job for two weeks. It’s been great! I know I have home care experience (remember my 13 weeks vacat-COUGH assignment in Charleston?), but it’s been great really diving in. This job has been great with training and orientation, and tons of support It’s been a whirlwind two weeks.

Despite the new job, I keep on exploring my surroundings. Hikes, walks, wineries, restaurants, shopping, breweries… the list goes on. Great news- my sister is coming to visit in about two weeks! I am so excited to add another place to our list to explore!

AshHikeSun
Holding the whole world in my hands
SantaBarbCourt.jpg
View from the top

Looking forward to a few more months exploring this beautiful area!

Until next time,

xo

Advertisements

The not so glamorous side of travel therapy…

We all know social media is an amazing tool to keep our loved ones informed of our lives, and show what we are up to, or network amongst our peers.  It can be so awesome. But we all also know that you’re only ever going to see what one WANTS others to see; i.e. typically “the good stuff.” The happy moments, the awesome photos, the great meals, the new relationship statuses and babies. You also read people’s opinions and political views and rants about their bad day because their coffee was made wrong, but often times there isn’t any REAL LIFE.  Which is totally fine. If my friends or family started posting about their day-to-day mundane tasks, I’d probably reach out to ask them why they felt like talking about their latest load of laundry was share-worthy.

Well, I wanted to start this blog to keep those in my life up to date on all my adventures and fun times. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback,too, which is amazing! But in case you were ever sitting there thinking “Gosh, Ashley’s life seems so amazing, and easy, and maybe I should quit my job and do something like this, too” I figured I should share  some of the “not so glamorous” aspects of travel PT.

Such as getting cancelled from your job only a week and a half in. After moving 800 miles and securing housing in under a week. After multiple anxiety ridden moments and few shower tears. How about getting told this, in the middle of your day, in the middle of a busy hallway, while holding a physioball and an ultrasound machine after finishing one session and headed to another?

That’s real life, baby.

Let me back up and say, as I said in my last blog, this was a rough transition. It was fast, I had housing issues, it was fast, it was fast, oh and it was fast. My brain didn’t really catch up, and because of this, my emotions got the best of me. I was already on edge. I started my job, and frankly, immediately hated it. Hated it because it was different? Hated it because it was full of unexpected challenges? Hated it just because I was already anxious? Maybe. Maybe to all of these things. After a week, I decided I needed a weekend to slow down, think, put everything into perspective and decide if I waned to stick it out. At the end of the weekend, I decided I liked Santa Barbara a ton, had already met some cool people, and decided it was worth sticking to this assignment to enjoy all of the other aspects. I headed into Monday with a better attitude and determination to make this experience positive.

Things were going well. Sure, the job, like any other, had its challenges. But I was having a blast exploring! I made sure to really soak up all of my time in SB with fun experiences. Then, Wednesday into my SECOND WEEK, I got the (above) news. A full-time PT was hired, so I was out. Gone. Sorry, thanks for coming, we don’t need ya anymore. Hey, that’s the chance you take. Sure, I was angry. I thought it was crazy that anyone would possibly hire a traveler for a WEEK to just say “peace out.” But, as any  traveler will tell you, EVERY contract has a “cancellation clause.” A certain amount of time either the facility or you can give to end the contract, in circumstances such as that. Granted, I do not think most people expect it to happen a week in, but it can (obviously).

So, there I was, with this new happy resolve and positive attitude, and after a week and a half (and a prior week full of stress, headaches, and bad sleep)  I was once again, out of a job. It felt like California just HAD IT OUT for me. I got mad. I called my mom (obviously). I called my recruiter, And then I went back to work. Because, I had to! I still had to fulfill MY duties, despite knowing the job was essentially, over.

WOOF.

 

SBbeach
token photo to prove CA is beautiful

Anyone ever have to do that? Just, continue on, as if nothing was different, when everything was? It’s not easy!

Despite all of this, I decided, NOPE. NOT FREAKING OUT. I wasted too much time and energy on panicking before this job, and I wasn’t going to repeat it, just because I found myself back in the “unemployed” boat. I decided to stay positive. In fact, I stayed so positive, my new mental mantra was “I’m not leaving Santa Barbara.” Yup, I decided to be so confident I would get another job, and it would be in Santa Barbara, to save me the stress of packing/moving/finding housing/settling. Let me tell you.. SO MUCH BETTER than freaking out. Seriously. I knew, even if it wasn’t Santa Barbara, I just decided I would have to take things as they came. No panic. Just figuring it out.

Guess what?

I found another job.

In Santa Barbara.

Within less than a week.

Power of positive thinking.

I mean, that’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

So there you have it. A small glimpse into the difficulties and stressors that come with being a travel therapist. YES, is it amazing to travel the country and see different places and make new friends and try new things and work in new settings? ABSOLUTELY. Is it also stressful and anxiety inducing to apply for licenses and spend the money and struggle with recruiters to find jobs and interview and pack and drive and call places for housing and hope they’re not crazy and move in and start a job and be ready to dive in? YUP.

Did I want to throw in the towel at some points with all of this? You bet. I told my mom I was packing the car and starting to drive to the East Coast, I was done, over, finito, no more travel therapy. But, I also knew if I didn’t get a REAL California experience (ahem, longer than 3.5 weeks) I would be upset. Certainly, I am definitely getting ready to stop, and return to some sense of normalcy (hey man, living out of a Cr-V for a year and a half is hard!). But, not until I explore the West Coast (which is certainly not the best coast, by the way. I see you East Coast, and I remain LOYAL).

 

There you have it. The not so glamorous aspects of this nomadic life. Still wouldn’t trade it. But wanted to be transparent.

 

Now, I can’t wait to share all of my California adventures with y’all! Stay tuned! Thanks for reading!

“It never rains in California…”

“But girl, don’t they warn ya. It pours, man it pours!”

Name that tune. (you won’t)

Honestly, there is SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOOOOOO much to update on, but I want to focus on specificly my transition to California.

Surprise! I’m here!

Y’all, that was the QUICKEST turnover, ever. I’m still reeling and think half my brain may still be in Arizona. I finished in Tucson on a Friday, went to Phoenix to hang with family on Sunday, interviewed for this current job on Monday, was offered and accepted on Tuesday, and slated to start the following Monday (yesterday). Phew- anyone else exhausted?

So that basically meant I had to rearrange game plans, and start seriously hunting HARD for housing. I knew from past assignments and experiences- sometimes that can be a weeks long endeavor, so I was nervous. I knew there was always the option of extended stay hotels and AirBnb (more on that later), but I would love to be settled before starting work.

So, between driving from Phoenix to Redondo Beach (sidenote: super thankful for amazing family members), I hustled the Craiglist, the Facebook groups, the AirBnbs to find SOMETHING 1) reasonably priced and 2) available for my stay in Santa Barbara.

(I forgot to mention I’m living and working in Santa Barbara. Here’s Santa Barbara.)

SBcoast.jpg

By the time I left Redondo for SB on Saturday morning, I had 8 places lined up to see and decide on, 5 of which I was planning on seeing on Saturday. Of the 5, I had a good feeling about 1, and when I went there and toured it, I liked what I saw. Two rooms for my own (bedroom with adjoining sitting room), big kitchen, sunny yard, warm and open woman renting out the room. Sure, she seemed a bit “kooky” and “artsy-flighty” but nice. For an easy month-to-month lease, this place could be mine. Best news- fairly walkable to the main drag in SB, which I’m all about. But, I wanted a chance to check out Sunday’s choices before I made my final decision.

Sunday came around, and for some reason I woke up a WRECK. I think the stress of the last week really hit me, and I spent a solid 2 hours intermittently crying and feeling super anxious in the hotel (not my best moment but #reallife). Traveling has made me adaptable, but I’m still a human. Despite this, I washed my face and bucked up for another day.

Welp, turns out, 2 of the places fell through so I only ended up seeing one place on Sunday. But, it was also a really good place! The kicker- the woman who owned the house is hosting a 37 year old foreign exchange student named… Chandra. WHAT?! Who else has that name besides my sister? Bizarre.

Unfortunately, having 2 choices wasn’t actually a good thing. It just spiraled me more into a panic. I hate the thought of making a mistake, so I was agonizing over not making the RIGHT choice. I spent 2 hours sitting on the wharf thinking and literally making a pros/cons list. I ended up deciding to go with the first place that I saw Saturday (despite it being slightly more money) because of the proximity to town, and 1 less roommate. YAY, decision made! Should be cake from now on… right? Oh, read on dear one….

I call up the woman who owned the house, and stated I was deciding on her if she’d still have me, and confirming I could move in that night. She also expressed being thrilled, but despite us previously stating “Sunday night” she asked for one more night and day, so she could “finish getting the room up” and “make sure it was cozy for me.” Well, I didn’t REALLY want to stay in a hotel Sunday night and have to start a brand new job in a brand new city, but hey, alright. I’m a traveler, I can adapt, sweet. Oh, did I mention the “all cash security deposit” stipulation?I tried explaining that ATMs have limits, and my bank is on the East Coast so… uhh…. check is easier? But, nope. So despite that minor red flag, I soldiered on.

I spent the night in the least expensive hotel I could find (Which was far overpriced, trust me) and went to work. Already anxious, let’s just say that wasn’t the smoothest transition I ever had (another post for another time, y’all). I couldn’t wait to just GET SETTLED into my new home. I pulled up outside of the house after work, and knocked on the door and walked in. Immediately, I was confused. There was a GIANT bed in the living room. Yes, the same bed that had once been in “my” bedroom. The owner stated her boyfriend was “on his way home right now” with a brand new bed for the room.

…. what? Why? I went into the room and sure enough, no bed. Unfortunately, quite a bit of other crap was in there though. I came out, and circled the house a few times, trying to figure out how we went from this nice house with full access to living room, kitchen, the whole 9…to a bed in the living room. I asked the owner what the plan was for the bed, and she was stating how she was looking forward to sleeping in the living room.

WHAT? I explicitly actually asked her on Sunday where she slept, and she stated her plan was to stay in the bedroom off the bathroom. Apparently, it was her room she was renting out…. strange, but whatever. To each her own. After sitting and marinating in the entire clusterF that was happening around me,  I texted my mom some photos and a “WTF do I do?!” and decided I needed to ask her what was up.

I’m not great with being assertive in situations like this, so confronting her was really hard. But when I started to tell her I wasn’t sure I was comfortable with the situation, I started hyperventilating and just excused myself to the car. In the car, I called my mother, who was now just as panicked as I was, and we collectively decided I needed to get the F out of dodge. I mean, I walked in there Saturday with a comfortable (albeit quirky) house, and it quickly spiraled wildly out of control. A California king bed in the living room!?

To wrap up my long story, I ended up calling the woman who showed me her home on Sunday, and she very graciously gave me permission to still rent the room and show up within 5 minutes. I am forever grateful for that! And now, I have a roommate named Chandra, which my sister obviously states is a sign!

I guess in a way I am lucky, because I haven’t had any true housing “horror stories” as I so often read on the different traveler housing sites. This was a very near miss. I think a lot of this was also worse due to the rapid transition to a new job/city/state within less than a WEEK. WOW. I mean, I started traveling to learn to be more flexible and adaptable. But I’m only human, and a type A one at that.

I hope I could make you laugh a little bit along with me (I’m done crying, I can only laugh now) and I now leave you with a few photos from the rest of my California road trip to SB. Stay tuned for more information about my California adventures!

xo

 

SantaMonicaAshleyRoute66SantaMonica

Time is flying

I was just thinking tonight… how are we already at the end of January, of TWO THOUSAND AND EIGHTEEN? What?! I keep seeing all of these memes talking about how “January is 6 months long” and ” January never ends” and ” I hate January.”

First of all- that’s my birthday month. Shut your piehole. Without that month, we wouldn’t have a lot of really awesome people (like me).

Secondly, I think we ALL (myself definitely included) tend to get so stuck in the “rat race,” the motions, the every day rigamaroll of life, and we are ALWAYS waiting and pushing for the next thing. “I can’t wait for summer!” or “My birthday is only six months away.” One day, we’re all going to look back and wonder where the time went and why we spent so much of it stressed and anxious, and wishing it away.

*END RANT*

Anyway! In conjunction with my thought that time is just a-flyin’…. I am approaching the (original) end date of my time in Tucson. WHAT?! I was actually supposed to be done this Friday. BANANAS! Fastest three months of my life. I ended up extending my contract here in Tucson by a few weeks, as my California license was taking FOREVER and I wanted some additional time to find my next assignment.

Finding the next assignment is proving to be a bit of a struggle. California is a large state, and there are a lot of jobs. But, being me, I of course have specific requests- warm weather! Guess what? So does every other traveler. So, we are still waiting in the wings, while I finish up Tucson.

Some highlights since my last update?

  • I went to Dallas to visit my pals from last year and my first assignment. So good to see everyone, so good to do everything, and so good to eat all the food!

 

  • I celebrated my birthday last weekend! And what a celebration it was! I had, the best day, on Friday my actual birthday! Lots of phone calls (including my niece at 4:30am our time- thanks Gab 😉 ), a massage and facial, the biggest french toast breakfast I have ever seen, and a movie. I rounded out the night with a dinner full of new friends. It astounded me to see a table full of people, in a city I’ve only been in for such a short period of time. I felt incredibly lucky, happy and #blessed to enjoy an evening with such wonderful people. Saturday I headed down to “Arizona Wine Country” with my friend Amanda and her husband Sam. We had – a BLAST. Who knew, nestled in the mountains, was this oasis of over 10 wineries, in beautiful natural sagebrush scenery. We had such a great time, laughing and trying wine and exploring. Sunday, we rounded the weekend out with a delicious breakfast of farm fresh eggs provided by our AirBnB host, hiking and rounding out the weekend trying this cool little microbrewery. Needless to say, I was super tired come Sunday night!

This coming Sunday is the Superbowl! Anyone else feeling ring #6 ?!

Next time, hopefully I’ll be able to update y’all with my next stop!

xoxo

New Year, New Me?

 

AZTucson

You know… I have thought about sitting down and writing in this blog multiple times over the last few months, and just completely lost track of time, motivation and desire.

Hopefully, with the new year, I can make this into a resolution to be more dedicated to blogging, as I actually do enjoy it!

So, ARIZONA! Where to start. To sum it up… Arizona is different. Different than anywhere else I’ve worked, ever lived. I mean.. I knew it was a desert.. but it is DRY. Within one of my first few weeks of working here, I took myself to the River Walk for a bike ride… one would think, river = water. Even Google Maps showed blue. When I got there, unpacked my bike, started riding… I realized, no water. Nothing. Dry as a bone. Thought it was hysterical.

It’s a strange phenomenon to look outside, in any given direction, and see beautiful mountain ranges. Surrounding Tucson on all sides. The Catalina’s in the north turn a gorgeous shade of purple at sunset.

I have now hiked real, actual mountains! That’s something I can’t say I ever did in New England. First of all, Rhode Island/Boston has hills, not mountains. I’d have to go to Western MA or New Hampshire or Vermont to get real mountains, and as a New Englander, that was FAR too long of a drive to try. But here, 30-45 minutes and I can hike. A real mountain!

My first hike, I decided to look up the trail online. It rated a 3/10 on Trailvoyant. I thought, “SURE!” Less than 6 miles, I had 1.5-2L of water, should be good. I survived, and had fun, but certainly leaned to do a few things next time. Bring MORE WATER. 95 degrees in a desert calls for ALL THE WATER. Also, I decided a little more research was reasonable. While Trailvoyant was great, it was slightly off with its calculation of distance… I ended up hiking nearly 9 miles that day. Solo. I felt like a complete badass. An exhausted badass, but a badass nonetheless.

AZAshHike

Another first for me, a brew bike! Or a party tavern, or bar-on-wheels, whatever you’d like the call it. My friend Amanda, her husband Sam and I rode the Arizona Party Bike to see Christmas Lights! There is this neighborhood in Tucson called Winterhaven, that every year, goes ALL OUT with Christmas lights, and it’s been a Tucson tradition for an insane amount of time (68 years!). All of the houses go crazy with lights, and themes, and they even have food trucks and hayrides, and now… a brew bike! We rode for 45 minutes, sipping on some adult beverages and enjoying some awesome holiday music and the festiveness of the lights.  One of my favorite displays below… AZStranerThingsLights.jpg

Having family nearby has been great, too. I visited with Aunt Claire, Uncle Steve, Maddie and Erika for Thanksgiving in Queen Creek, which was awesome. Erika also came down to visit me for a weekend, which was awesome! It really was our first opportunity, pretty much ever, to spend time together one on one and getting to know one another, and we had a blast. We explored downtown a bit, and at night went to “Brew at the Zoo” which involved holiday lights and a whole ton of local breweries setting up and providing samples of their drinks. What a fun way to try different local beers, see some beautiful lights, and enjoy the festiveness of the season. We even took a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus, which is definitely going into the scrapbook!

AZAshErika

Now, I have just about a month left in AZ- feels like time has flown, which is has. The standard contract feels so short, given I’ve had two longer than usual contracts.I was planning on taking a roadtrip to Tombstone this weekend with Erika; however, I got bit by the flubug and knocked down a bit this week, so lots of rest and fluids has been the only thing on my agenda.

This upcoming weekend, I am flying to Dallas to see some pals I met just over a year ago! I love how traveling has afforded me the opportunity to develop and maintain friendships, and opened up so many opportunities!

 

Hopefully, more hiking/biking and adventures will help me round out my time in dry Arizona! Keep it weird, Tucson!

AZAshHike2

Starting over….

Not in life, just the whole “blogging” thing. It’s safe to say I ended up having too much fun on Nantucket to worry about blogging and writing. Which I guess is a good thing.

I completed slightly over 5 months on ACK, and enjoyed every second of being on that little East Coast island. Sure, it got cold, and foggy, and it got annoying sometimes having limited resources, but I’m so thankful I did it. I met some awesome people, gained experience in a setting I had never been in, and learned so much.

The day I ended my assignment in ACK, I had no clue where my next step would be. I ended up interviewing that evening for a job at a hospital down in Tucson, AZ- and long story short, accepted! They didn’t need me to start until November 6th, so I spent 3 weeks hanging at home,  celebrating Becky, being an auntie and watching the pups while my parents went on vacation. It was an awesome, relaxing three weeks.

October 28th Dad and I set off on an epic, monumental cross-country American road trip. We decided to take our time and sight see (well, I decided and Dad rolled his eyes and sighed). Our first stop was initially Harrisburg, PA- but then we realized we didn’t need to travel that far south to make the same goals. We ended up driving through the gorgeous mountains of PA on Sunday and enjoyed the fog and the view (though there was rain to be had, too). We even got to see an Amish buggy (man, those things move fast!). Sunday night we landed in Indianapolis and experienced some local brews.

Monday we checked out St. Louis and travelled up in the arch, which was awesome and something I was super pumped to see and do. Dad and I enjoyed walked a bit in the city and passing the Cardinals stadium, and again checking out the local brews. Springfield, MO is where we landed that night- in a Route 66 converted motel! It was awesome, with vintage gas pumps and cars outside, and a cute retro eating area.

Arch

Back on the road, we flew through the rest of MO, all of Oklahoma (not the most exciting state, and way too clean of roads to count roadkill on), and landed in Tucumari, NM. This, after sighseeing whatever we could that was Route 66 related. I ended up finding an authentic Route 66 motel (straight outta the movie Cars, people) and it was awesome! Everything was authentic, right down to the magazines from the ’30’s and the rotary telephone.

Wednesday was the day we landed in Arizona. We chose the northern route to enter the state, to travel through the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert- well worth the $20 admission to drive through and see some amazing, beautiful and natural works of art. Driving south, we ended up staying over in the White Mountains of AZ- where you would swear you were in New Hampshire. The funniest thing was my lungs could feel the difference in elevation- I was short of breath at 6,000 feet!

PaintedDesert.jpg

Thursday we arrived in Tucson after meeting Aunt Claire for lunch in Queen Creek. Friday we moved in all my stuff, made a few Walmart trip for provisions, and ended up mini-golfing and grabbing a bite to eat before setting back in for our last night.

 

Overall, I am so grateful my Dad was with my for that drive for so many reasons. 1) it’s a crazy long drive, and it would have definitely taken me double the time to get down to Arizona without him. 2) When else in my life am I going to get to spend 1:1 time with my father for that long?! 3) We had so much fun laughing, counting roadkill, sightseeing and just chatting. 4) Honesty, we make a pretty good team navigating and driving!

Now, I am in a new city, where I don’t know a soul. I have family 2 hours away, which is always a great thing, but new to everything and everyone else down here. It’s funny, but I haven’t actually done that since my first assignment in Dallas. I knew Kim in Charleston, and Dawn in Nantucket, so I always knew I had a buffer. So, while it’s a great thing, I know it’s going to take me some time to get used to being comfortable with being solo again. I moved into a house with two roommates, and they’ve been great so far with providing suggestions on where to go and what to see. Time to take a deep breath and jump in. I can only hope it works out as well as Dallas did and I get to meet some amazing people!

DiaDeLosMeurtosBeer

Wish me luck!

Livin’ the dream

Wow. I thought it was bad when I neglected writing in this blog for 5 weeks, and then I proceeded to ignore it for an entire summer. Whoops!

But with good reason. I have been living “my best life.” This summer has been a whirlwind! I have been lucky to have so many visitors from near and far, and all corners of my life, come to experience a little slice of New England. I guess I have been experiencing life rather than writing about it! But, I’ll try to provide a small synopsis.

I had guests nearly every weekend from  June 23rd until  August 26th, with the exception of leaving the island twice. It was AWESOME. From Texas, to Rhode Island, to Massachusetts… I had people from all parts of my life travel and spend quality time with me. With every guest I hosted, I got to explore a little more of Nantucket.

I’ve also made some great friends out here! From fellow travelers, to year- rounders… I’ve met some awesome people. I’ve shared beautiful sunsets, and laughs on the beach, and drinks at the brewery.

It hasn’t been without it’s bumps in the road…. I injured my back, while at work, back in July. While I was obviously physically hurting, I was so embarrassed because… well, duh. A physical therapist should be the person to not hurt their back…. but, well, life happens. It taught me a few lessons. 1) Empathy. I can understand pain better, because now I’ve experienced it, and sought help for it. 2) I am not invincible. I really didn’t think I was, but now I know. My body and my health, is my lifeline and career. If I don’t have that, I am in big trouble. 3) Physical therapists who really understand manual techniques, are amazing. My fellow traveler literally fixed me, with hands on manual techniques- and I learned so much from that! As a therapist and a patient.

Now it’s September, supposedly ” the best time in Nantucket.” The summer people are gone, the weather is still beautiful, there is so much less traffic!!!! I extended my contract until October 6th, so I have about a month of soaking in New England left before whatever comes next. (Hint: think west)!

‘Til next time, here’s a few Nantucket photos. Thanks for reading!

 

MomAuntBrant
Mom and Aunt Peg- Brant Point Light
Nanfire
Fire on the beach at sunset
Nansun
Wood shingle house, sunset, sea grass
ciscowave
Cisco