The Traveler

From the first time, I read Robert Frost’s “The road not taken,” I have had an affinity for the poem.  It is a poem about the choices we make and how we reflect on them later in life.  Every choice leads down a new road.  With every road, a new path is formed.  When I started my high school graduation speech with “The road not taken,” I couldn’t have imagined forks that would appear on my road.  My paths were sometimes very different and with every choice, I knew I couldn’t regret my choice even if it ended badly.  Over the last five years, I have been going down roads that I would have never thought possible.  I went 8 hours from home for college, did a solo cross-country road trip (four times), worked in a U.S. national park, moved to Africa, and moved to Colorado.  I can’t believe the roads I have taken, but I don’t let the fear of the unknown stop me from living.   I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had made a different choice, but we will never know.  I have made my road my own and in the end, it has made all the difference.

Who is the Traveler?

Hiking in Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, Colombia
Hiking in Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, Colombia

Hey, y’all.  Can you tell I am from the south?  I am a small town girl born and raised in rural East Tennessee, United States.  My hometown was one of those southern towns with a church on every quarter, almost everyone is related, and you graduate high school with 90% of your kindergarten class.  My Yankee parents (my mom is from Pennsylvania and my dad is from New Jersey) found their retirement home at the ripe age of 30. It is a 9 room log cabin with a pond and 55 acres of woods and fields.  I grew up exploring the property and having imaginary adventures.

My parent’s retirement home.

I got the travel and exploration bug very early in life.  My parents loved to travel.  My parents didn’t let having a kid stop them from traveling.  They flew with me to kite festivals all over the country.  I was 4 the first time I left the country.  When I graduated high school, I had been to 20+ states and 10 countries.  One thing that stands out is that I have only lived in one town in Tennessee. I had never experienced moving to a new town, being the new kid in school, or a home to explore.

This lead to my first solo adventure and eight-hour move to Gainesville, Florida to attend the University of Florida.  During college, I used those four years as a time to explore and travel.  I spent my freshman summer working in a Mount Rainer National Park, Washington and my junior summer interning in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Both summers involved a solo cross-country National Park hopping road trip.

Mount Rainer
The Traveler summiting a mountain on my day off while working at Mount Rainier National Park.

Upon graduating college, I made the surprising decision to accept a job in Equatorial Guinea, Africa. Never in a million years did I imagine that I would be working in another country other than the United States.  I work for an oilfield service company.  I am was an M/LWD field engineer.  That is a fancy way of saying I ran tools that go after drill bits and tell them where they are underground as well as where the oil is in the hole they just drilled.  I used my time off to travel to the United Arab Emirates, Colombia, and Iceland.  After I got laid off due to low oil price, I moved to Colorado to have some fun before finding a job in Virginia.  I can’t wait to travel for my job and explore the world.  I plan to explore the great state of Colorado on my time off.

Fun Facts about Me

  • I have a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.
  • I graduated from the University of Florida in December 2013.
  • I am a third generation Florida Gator.
  • I am a second generation University Florida Engineer.
My graduation day from the University of Florida
  • I have lived in the following US states Tennessee (18.5 years), Washington (4 months), Florida (4.5 years minus my summers Washington and Colorado), and Colorado (4 months during college and current location).
  • I have lived in the United Arab Emirates (2.5 months) and Equatorial Guinea (9.5 months).
  • While in Equational Guinea, my permanent address was my parents’ house but I lived in a hotel or on an oil platform in Equatorial Guinea.
  • I am now 27-year-old.
  • I like traveling by myself (it has some advantages).
  • I like traveling with friends (requires more planning).
  • I have an adventurous streak (hence the move to Africa) and am almost always up for trying new things.
  • I played soccer from the time I was  4.5 to 18 years old.
  • I am an Advanced Open Water Driver with a Nitrox specialty.
  • I have 60+ dives.
  • I have been to 27 US National Parks.
  • I have hiked or backpacked over 1000 miles of trail.

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A twenty-something traveler out to see the world.