Do you want to hear a story?
If not, stop reading, because I’m telling it regardless. This story has continued over the course of my road trip, and my hope in sharing the details is that it may serve as inspiration or a reminder for others to remain open to new encounters and possibilities.
A week or so into my road trip (way back in June- wow, time really has flown), I was hiking around Acadia National Park in Maine. At that point I had a tentative idea of my plans: cover the northern part of the States & Canada over summer, hit the West Coast & Midwest through the fall, and head south for winter (working my way over to FL).
I offered to take a picture for a couple that I came across, and we got to chatting. The girl and I had the same exact name (Jessica Rose), so obviously we became friends. She invited me to go climbing with them the next morning. It was a rainy day but I decided to go because hey, that’s the type of opportunity I try to never pass up! Their climbing guide was a super fantastic and fun guy, and at one point he mentioned that throughout the year he worked in Wilderness Therapy in Utah.
I had never heard of that job field prior, but I was intrigued. Over the next few months I continued my road trip explorations around North America- tons of adventures, mountains, lakes, hot springs, and just overall epic moments. The idea of Wilderness Therapy was still in the back of my mind at times… until one random day when the idea just kind of exploded in my mind and took over my focus. I was at Planet Fitness, doing planks I believe, when suddenly I realized “Hey! That job field is everything that matters to you- being active, spending time outdoors, and having the opportunity to really help other individuals”. In that moment I decided to actually pursue this idea (I think I sent requests for letters of recommendation before even leaving the gym). Once I committed, it felt right, like it was precisely what I was supposed to be doing at that moment.
Fast forward to now, as I just finished training for the Wilderness Therapy job & begin working in the field later this month (so much for heading South, oops). It still feels right. The last time I had this gut feeling of needing to just go after something, it was when I committed to the van plan. Which, I still have zero regrets on that, and will continue the whole #vanlife thing for my forseeable future. I’m looking forward to the road ahead (both literally and metaphorically speaking.)
Moral of the story? BE OPEN. Open to meeting new people, hearing new ideas, trying new things, and embracing new challenges. You never know where it will lead you. A random conversation with a new person ultimately led to some pretty big changes in my life and future (way more than I could have predicted all those months ago in Maine).
Basically, just talk to more strangers (despite what our parents told us when young).
*Unless you feel they may kidnap or kill you, then please disregard this advice.