On August 1st, 2014 I packed my car to the max and moved 1,027 miles across the country to Bethesda, Maryland to work as a travel nurse. On that summer day I chose to leave my loving family, best of friends, and my job. I left behind the comfortable little life I lived in Arkansas in search of something more. I wasn’t sure what that “something more” was at the time and I was uncertain that I would ever find it but I knew I had to travel, I had to get lost. I had to go find myself and with a little luck I found him.
I was excited and absolutely terrified at the same time. What if I didn’t make it? But what if I flourished? I ended up staying in Maryland for 8 months then traveled on to New York City where I explored for 6 months. While in these two cities I learned more about my self that I ever thought imaginable. I loved and I lost. I fought and I failed. I learned what things I wanted in my life and what things I did not. The whole year was a whirlwind of emotions and lessons that I will forever be thankful for. Because of traveling I was able to recognize how strong I really was. There’s something about being surrounded by the unfamiliar that gives you strength. Maybe it’s because you are free to be the purest version of yourself or maybe it is just because you encounter more opportunities the farther you get from your doorstep. The beauty of it, though, is that the world won’t judge you for your mistakes. And if the people in it do, it won’t matter because you’ll be on to the next place soon enough.
I was finishing up my last week in New York, all set to head to Texas next when my recruiter called me and told me that the hospital had canceled my contract. She told me not to worry, that it would all work out. By the end of the week she had me a job offer at a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. A few weeks later, there I was settled in my new apartment, only a two hour drive from home. I worked my first few days in a lab of mainly women who left a good first impression of the place. And then, in the middle of all my chaos, there was Jeff. He was a full time nurse there in the cath lab where I was going to be for at least the next thirteen weeks. One of our first conversations was him rattling of a handful of jokes that actually made me laugh, even the stupid knock knock one. He claimed he had to get a feel for my sense of humor. I could not tell you if I loved him the first moment I saw him, or if it was the second or third or fourth. But I do remember the first moment I looked at him and realized that somehow the rest of the world seemed to vanish when I was with him. It's amazing how love finds you when you least expect it. Without expectations, Jeff and I became buddies. Over the next few weeks he became my closest friend. We were constantly joking and sharing funny pictures and videos we had found on the internet. I’m almost certain sure our co-workers recognized what was happening before we did. We stood there in the room, just friends, when all the while, everyone could see that we were only existing for each other.
As the weeks passed we got to know each other on a more personal level. We talked about our friends and family and our love of football and dogs. I filled him in on all the details of my past year traveling and he told me all about his busy life, his experience of owning a gym while still working at the hospital. We both knew that we’d met someone special but neither one of us were looking for anything serious. I had just gotten out of an unhealthy relationship that left me doubting that love still existed. I believe that every painful love I have gone through, was just an incident to crack open the deepest parts of my core and allow to me to explore a passion so rare, that I would find a love that was almost, never meant to be. I was only in Memphis for a short amount of time, my contract was nearing the end and they hadn't offered an extension yet. He was super busy between the gym and the hospital that he didn’t have much spare time on his hands. I knew there was no way this would ever work out.
I was only in Memphis for a short amount of time, my contract was nearing the end and they hadn't offered an extension yet. He was super busy between the gym and the hospital that he didn’t have much spare time on his hands. I knew there was no way this would ever work out. The extension offer finally came and towards the end of December. At the time, Jeff was hosting an ugly Christmas sweater party at his house. Of course I helped him plan this shindig. We worked on our own ugly sweaters, Christmas decorations, lights and food. And it was during the crafting of a solo cup Christmas tree that our fate was set in stone. We were so unexpectedly compatible. We shared the same strong beliefs, a similar sense of humor, morals and values, and very close dreams and aspirations for the future. I knew right away that he was it. Was I ready for love again? When someone makes you feel alive again it's kind of worth the risk. I could tell he was just as scared to love again as I was, but we still both carelessly climbed into each other's embrace and before we knew it love had found us. To say our love has been the greatest adventure would be an understatement.
“There’s something about being surrounded by the unfamiliar that gives you strength. Maybe it’s because you are free to be the purest version of yourself or maybe it is just because you encounter more opportunities the farther you get from your doorstep.”