| November 5, 2016 |
I sit by my window in my new apartment in Lacey, Washington, with a “Flannel Blanket” soy candle burning, a minion blanket on my lap, and rain pattering on my window pane. It’s officially rainy season in the Pacific Northwest, and it has me embracing my creative juices today. Finally, it’s “me time” day!
I’ve been a little scattered, I’ll admit it. From moving out of my previous apartment (with a four-day-long turnover from searching for a place, finding one, and then moving), to strep throat and lengthy recovery, to weekend adventures, to a Halloween trip to South Florida, and overall lack of devotion to my blog, I’ve been on hiatus. And we reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally have a lot of catching up to do!
The first obvious update is that I have surpassed my original three-month plan to be in the state of Washington as a travel Physical Therapist, and I will now be in this wonderful state until (at least) December 22 before returning to New York for the holidays. Why did I decide to stay? And what is this travel Physical Therapy life like? Read on, my long lost fellow dreamers…
Travel Physical Therapy Updates
THE JOB: Being a Travel Physical Therapist has certainly been a blast so far. I’ve been embracing (almost) all the weekends to explore, explore, explore! Luckily, I’ve had some wonderful partners in crime who also come along for the journeys. I’ve been beyond fortunate to land a travel position at a clinic that I truly adore. Not only are we the best at making Halloween costumes, but my coworkers and I are a uniquely unified team of young ladies. We work synchronously, and I view my coworkers as some of my dearest acquaintances in this state. We’ve had pot lucks, massage/meade/pizza nights, and share our knowledge and personal lives with openness! Beyond this, I have an amazing caseload and patients! I work with anyone from high school athletes to neurological adult cases. It’s certainly kept me on my toes, as I’ve had to refresh on diagnoses like TMJ dysfunction, and have learned more about women’s health as I’ve now worked with a handful of women during pregnancy.
Beyond my caseload, my schedule has been perfect. I work five 8-hour days, with three late starts and two early starts. Some weeks, I have also flexed my hours to work four 10-hour days in order to travel or be home with strep throat (oh joy). Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be this lucky. I didn’t think I would fall in love with the job as much as I have! One of my greatest fears with initiating my traveling journey was that I would not feel satisfied with my work, and I would feel pressured or unhappy. Currently, this is not the case! I’m lucky my current clinic still wanted and needed me, and I was able to extend my contract for an additional three months in Washington! Although a piece of my heart greatly misses working solely with kids in pediatrics, I am feeling fulfilled. Perhaps my next position will be back in pediatrics…
Okay, okay… That’s enough business talk!
THE LIFE: So far, I haven’t had to deal with too much paperwork because I haven’t begun applying for any other state licenses. Biweekly, I send in my timesheet to my travel company, and that’s about it! I’ve been getting great financial assistance going towards my living situations. When I originally moved to Washington, I moved into an airbnb with a lesbian couple and their three border collies. It was a great fit at first, but soon I had many issues: the temperature in my room rose up to 88 degrees on some days, the dogs started breeding (and therefore the male was going bonkers), and there was a lot of noise in the house. I became uncomfortable relatively quickly, and shortened my airbnb rental by about 3 weeks. This led to losing some money, and the sharp realization that I had spent way too much on an uncomfortable living situation.
My feelings of financial frustration were rectified when I moved in with my coworker a mere five minutes from work. We subletted a two-bedroom apartment from my coworker’s friend–a traveling occupational therapist working in Idaho. Rent was cheap, and the environment was pristine! Despite having limited space for my belongings, I don’t have all too much here in Washington, and I loved having my coworker as my roommate. However… This all changed when we had to move out because the traveling OT was planning to move all her belongings to Idaho for a permanent position, and thus would not resign her lease in Olympia. So… I was again looking for a new place to stay. Although I didn’t find a place in Olympia close to my job, I stumbled upon a wonderful home in Lacey. I am now in a very comfortable bedroom living with a single mother who has an empty nest. One of my roommates is a 20-something girl who works as a counselor, and we’ve already connected! I feel comfortable and happy here, and it certainly feels homey! Not too bad for a Craigslist find! Again, lucky Kristen.
Had I known I would be in Washington for six months, I probably would have sought out something of my own. Although I have enjoyed having roommates, I somewhat miss having my own place like I did in South Florida!
I have a new camera! I updated from my Canon T3 to Canon 60D and wowee do I see the difference already! I’m adjusting to the plethora of new options, and also working on getting the best lenses for all my outdoor/indoor photography needs. I would love to keep expanding my photography skills, in the outdoors, and capture moments – people – places in their genuine form. I’m also going to look into getting Adobe Lightroom to make the whole photo-editing process a little smoother because my RAW editor and Photoshop are getting a little time costly.
I miss my family and friends in New York. One of my best friends just got engaged (which means YAY to planning and helping with DIY crafts!), and I won’t be home for Thanksgiving this year. However, time is flying INSANELY fast (for real), and I know I’ll be home for Christmas before I know it. Plus, I have a ton to do in the Pacific Northwest between today and December 22 when I fly back to the Empire State.
I have no idea what’s next. Oh, the sweet life of a traveling Physical Therapist. Accoriding to Pema Chödrön in the first chapter in the book Comfortable With Uncertainty:
Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain. We leave our attachments and our wordliness behind and slowly make our way to the top. At the peak we have trascended all pain. The only problem with this metaphor is that we leave all others behind. Their suffering continues, unrelieved by our personal escape.
On the journey of the warrior-bodhisattva, the path goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth instead of the sky. Instead of transcending the sufferngg of all creatrues, we move toward turbulence and doubt however we can. We explore the reality of unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we can move down and downa d down. With us move millioins of others, our companions in awakening from fear.
I’m ready to embrace the continuation of my uncertain life! Perhaps I will end up back on the west coast in January, because I really am craving more and more mountains. Plus, I would love to get into some snowshoeing, winter camping, and dust off my skis! Last year, I could not ski because I was living in Florida at the time, and New York had an insanely warm holiday season. It was 65 degrees on Christmas day, and therefore the mountains didn’t have snow when I was home for the holidays. It was a super bummer, and I’m long overdue for a solid ski trip. I am also dying to experience some western powder beneath my skis! Come January, part of me also just wants to jump on a plane and go abroad… Oh gosh, I just don’t know. Time will tell.
In the meantime, good lawd I have a ton to share. I will in my best effort share all I’ve done since August… 🙂
San Juan Islands: San Juan Island, Orcas Island
Canada: Vancouver, Granville Island, Squamish, Whistler
Oregon: Portland, Mt. Hood National Forest, Crater Lake National Park
North Cascades National Park: Heather-Maple Pass, Cascade Pass/Sahale Arm, Hidden Lake Lookout, Blue Lake, Baker Lake
Olympic National Park: Hip Camp Camping, Mt. Ellinor, Staircase
Olympia, WA: food and drink (including a 2-pound burrito)
Life of KConn: my Osprey packs, ‘Leave No Trace,’ home-brewed Kombucha, forever-growing bucket list(s), calligraphy pens, and lots of books!