March 27, 2023
If you are just tuning in and don’t know how I ended up being a nomad in the Southwest, I’ll give you a little background. We used to live in Massachusetts in a nice home on a cul-de-sac. We had previously taken some vacation road trips around the Southwest and loved it out here. Our lives were largely defined by our passions, goals, and relationships as is true for most. I worked as a clinical supervisor at a non-profit helping people disabled by severe mental health conditions. I thought that my work was important and meaningful and it took up a good amount of my time. I had goals I still hoped to achieve with this career and had worked for the same company for most of my adult years since finishing college. I’ve had doubts at times about leaving my career, home, and relationships. I miss the people that I love at home and some of the routines we had together. Sometimes I think about my past co-workers and how the team is doing. I wonder about what I would have learned or achieved if I had stayed in that job. Sometimes I have worried that I have squandered my purpose as well as a huge investment in grad school.
Here’s a photo of Xunantunich in Belize. This is an ancient Mayan archeological site and the name means Maiden of the Rock. This particular pyramid is known as El Castillo.
Now I work part-time at a campground in Southeastern Utah as a front desk agent. I am a seasonal hotel employee working in the tourism industry. So why am I really happy and enjoying my work and feeling fulfilled? It shouldn’t be true, right? I had previously thought that I should do a certain type of job and strive to rise to higher levels and earn more money and make a greater impact and this was to be the key to success and happiness. That was silly. If you think about it, all jobs are important. That’s why we pay someone to do them. Also, all of our actions have impact, we may have the greatest impact to others in our work or in other areas of our lives. We all need to make a certain amount of money to fit the lifestyle we want in the area we have chosen to live in. However, we can get by with a lot less if we chose to live in a different area or if we choose a different lifestyle.
At the end of the day, we all just want to be happy and we strive to figure out what that is and how to achieve it. For me, it is as simple as deciding that I want to be a happy person and then thinking about how I want to fill my days to bring me joy. It’s amazing that I had a chance to do it all over and sort of start from scratch. Our dreams and desires do change and not infrequently and now I have the opportunity to be whimsical and follow the next thing that interests me. I love people and that has always been a constant so doing any sort of job helping others makes me happy. Once I could get over the nagging thoughts about what I thought I should be doing, I was able to take pride in my new line of work and gain a sense of accomplishment from it. If you want to be just a little bit happier, take pride in your work and it will make you happy. It doesn’t matter what the work is or if you even consider it work, just whatever you do, do it with intention and love. If you are not happy with what you’re doing you can change your job or you can change your beliefs about it. Either of these options will be difficult, but the rewards are worth it. I’m thinking about work this week as I’ve been doing so full-time for the start of the campground season as not all of the employees have arrived yet. It’s also nice to refill the coffers after a winter of not working. Enough about work though. Here’s a picture of a giraffe.
I’m the most me I’ve ever been. Is this a funny thing to say? I said this to Luke about a week ago and he agreed with my assessment. I feel the most comfortable and confident with who I am. I feel more certain about my decisions and intentions. Does this come with age and maturity or is it more because I have had a lot more time with myself these days to think about these things and less influences from others unknowingly effecting my thinking and decisions? One of my mentors passed away last week. She was a wonderful woman who helped me think about these important questions regarding my career. I had told her once that I had failed at being the right type of person to work in a men’s prison. It was my first job out of grad school and the only job I had ever lost. They transferred me to a clinic instead due to concerns they had about my safety in that environment. I told this mentor that the experience still troubled me and I thought I needed to toughen up. She taught me that in fact that just hadn’t been the right job for me. Instead of changing the way I am, I changed the job and that was the right choice. She taught me to value the qualities I possess and leverage these in my role as a helper. She also taught me to learn about my weaknesses and be aware of them when they come up. I am grateful to her for the lessons in leadership and self-worth that she shared with me. You are missed Arlene.
Luke and I watched Everything, Everywhere, All at Once and it was fantastic. I especially enjoyed the silliness of some scenes like when they were in the universe where everyone’s fingers were hot dogs. I was also transfixed by the cinematography of the fight scenes. They were beautifully choreographed and I loved how the camera followed the action in unique ways. I will forever remember the scene where men performed Kung Fu with improvised butt plugs hanging out of their assess. The actors and actresses were brilliant in portraying their characters with strong lead female roles being the stars of the movie. This movie definitely deserved the accolades it received. Since I didn’t get out to take photos this week, here is one from 2019 in Greece. This is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey a bunch lately and this is one of the places I pass through at times when completing quests. This structure is on the Southwest slope of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. It was used in ancient times as a concert venue. In more recent years Yanni and Sting have performed here.
I got together with some co-workers a couple of times this week in the evenings. One day we braved the cold to shoot BBs at cans. It was pretty fun and I discovered that lack of practice has not made me a terrible shot. Ana also had an incredible scope on one of her BB guns that made it easy even when we added the challenge of hanging the can from a tree on a windy day. Thank you Ana for providing the BB guns and good old fashioned country life fun.
I finished reading the book Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey and I did enjoy it and can recommend it. There were parts in the book in which he was able to laugh at and recognize his arrogance which warmed me up to him. I will never take the risks he took when he wandered in the desert exploring, but I enjoyed his prose and thoughts about being surrounded by nature. We have some plans to start a book/writing club out here when the weather warms up. I will keep you posted on this and other community development projects we get into.
I’ve been thinking of wanting to capture misty photos. The cover photo is from a misty morning at the Cape Cod National Seashore. Finding misty areas is harder away from the coast. I hope this spring to make time to get into the forest on the right morning for some cool misty shots in the trees.
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents her journey through her photography and blog to share with others.