Living the Island Life: St. Thomas, USVI

I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone.

I’ve traveled.

I’ve lived away from family.

I’ve lived in another country.

I’ve experienced many firsts.

OR so I thought. My life in St. Thomas, USVI has been more of a life experience than I EVER  EXPECTED. I knew it would be different and truth be told, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this beautiful, cultural-filled, island-life, country in the Caribbean.

But, boy, was I in a complete culture shock when my “work-social” life began to emerge.

If you know me outside of this blog, then you know that for the last 4 years, I haven’t really EVER worked in a normal 8-5 or 9-6 style job. Read more

The Beginning of My Island Life

It’s hard to start this post because since landing on St. Thomas last Friday, it’s been completely overwhelming. People always say “it’s island time” and until you are immersed into the culture and lifestyle that doesn’t mean anything. “Island Time” has a whole new meaning to me, and I’ve only been here for a week. I’m positive that is going to change again and again as I continue to become immersed in the daily living of St. Thomas.

For those who don’t know, St. Thomas is 1 of 4 islands which form the U.S. Virgin Islands (along with St. Croix, St. John, and Water Island), an unincorporated territory of the United States since 1917. The island is home to ~51,000 residents over the ~31 square miles of land (that’s 23 miles from end to end), which sounds small but these roads are windy, steep and rough. So in reality it can take you over 2 hours to get from one side of the island to another. AND Traffic, will be, well horrible, from what I was told. We are a major port on many Caribbean cruise lines and I was told there could be as many as 5 ships in the harbor. Read more

When a Job Lands at Your Feet

I quite honestly don’t know where to begin. It’s hard to say how I landed my next job assignment, but I know it came at the right time.

If you read one of my recent post, then you know I was laid off in May and worked my last day as a full time Speech Language Pathologist on June 1st. Many of you might think, “I thought they were in high demand?!” And you might be right…when it comes to the school systems, but for me, I was dead set on the adult population. And well, um, this population, the demand is…less in demand. With the constant changes with Medicare, insurances, and billing requirements, skilled nursing rehabilitation is changing. This has been my primary setting and primary focus for the last 4 1/2 years. It’s what I’m skilled in; it’s what I enjoy doing; it’s where I thought my heart and passion belonged.

However, as usual, God had another plan for me.

I spend a good solid portion of the first two weeks in June, APPLYING. Applying to any type  of adult or medical position I found on every type of job board that is out there. I posted my resume on Indeed.com, where I’ve been blessed with excellent outcomes. I prayed and prayed that someone would lead to a call back, to an interview, to ANYTHING.

Two weeks went by and nothing. Feeling defeated, frustrated, and scared don’t really give you a good idea of my emotional status. Then came the email. The life altering, life change email. This particular email was from a staffing agency for a school system (not my preference), but what caught my eye was the location in which they were hiring SLPs…

St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands.

“Um…WAIT. You mean you are reaching out to me for placement in the VIRGIN ISLANDS?” These words actually went through my head and like any grown adult female, I forwarded the email to my mom and dad. I don’t make decisions lightly nor without my parents approval (mom and dad really do know what’s best). Here were their responses

Dad: “Wow, lot to absorb.”

Mom: “I think you should continue the process, fill out paperwork ect.  Your not accepting and might be dead end but it is very interesting.”

I did what my mom advised me to do and I honestly did not think for one second I had a shot. I haven’t been a school SLP since graduation and it’s been since probably 2010 since I last worked with a child, but I took a chance. How often does a job opportunity like this land at your feet?!!  I could mentally prepare myself for the school systems. I mean, I grew up thinking and believing I’d work with children. I always did love children. At least, that’s what I kept saying to myself.

The time between the interview and acceptance of the job was a little more than a week and I’ve been in a whirlwind ever since.

I got the job that landed at my feet without believe in myself that I’d even get offered the position. (confidence booster and reality check when people see something in me that I couldn’t see myself)

I took the job that’s going to have me move, yet again, out of my known environment and requiring me to sell most of my belongings. (starting fresh, not starting over)

I took the job that is out of my comfort and safety zone in my career in hopes for further growth. (growth is good for the soul)

I took the job that God has given me and opened the door to guide me into a new unknown.  (learning experiences and God’s guided path)

I took the job that is going to teach me more about myself as a person and as a clinician.

I took the job that I’m going to put every ounce of my heart and soul into because I was hired to make a difference in those children’s lives.

I might not have started this summer as a school SLP, but I sure am now! Life doesn’t always take you down a straight path or even a path you are hoping for, but God sure knows how to guide you down the right detour to lead you to a better outcome 🙂

Salt Lake City- Young Living Style

Last year, you might have read my blog post about my journey to Dallas, Texas for the Young Living International Grand Convention (click here) with my sister, where we spent 4 days learning more in-depth information about Young Living Essential Oils, business building concepts, and listening to multiple motivational speakers for personal development. Now, some of you who are new might not know what Young Living, which is perfectly acceptable but keep reading, this might intrigue your interest.

This past week, was the 2016 Young Living Grand Convention- Live Your Passion, except instead of Dallas, TX, it was hosted in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is also home state to Young Living Corporate Headquarters and to the Young Living Lavender Farm. I was blessed to be able to attend this convention for the second year in a row, minus my sister/teammate. She is 37/38 weeks pregnant and traveling, sitting, walking, heat, etc. would have been, not just uncomfortable, but slightly unsafe for her and baby girl. Thankfully, being at a convention full of like-minded people, I was never alone-alone. I belong to several teams with 100+ YLEO users and being surrounded by oily users, it didn’t take long to be connected with other people.

Being apart of the world leading essential oil company, with over 1.7 million distributors around the globe, I knew this year’s convention was going to blow last years out the window, and boy, did it ever. To start, our swag bags were were nicely colored backpacks, packed full of goodies including a standing case for 8 oils, a “Live Your Passion” pin (think like pin-trading), a logo’d pen and notebook, and my ‘I’m suspecting my nephews favorite part’, finger lights (yes, I’m giving mine to them because well their 5 and 2).  Then, on top of the swag bag, they provided TWO concerts for the opening and closing ceremonies of the convention, AND a trip to the Young Living Lavender Farm in Mona, Utah. Oh, did I mention the concerts were Recycled Percussion and LADY ANTEBELLUM. I mean, come on, what other company provides not just one totally amazing concert but TWO, and thats including a Grammy-awarding winning country trio! It probably doesn’t help that Hilary, the female vocal lead of Lady A is an avid Young Living Essential Oil user as well, but still, it was Lady Antebellum (at NO extra charge).

Okay, enough ranting about the concerts, back to the good stuff- the Farm. One thing you might find fascinating is the Young Living’s Lavender Farm, called Whispering Springs Farm in Mona is the largest herb farm and distillery in the world at 1,400 acres and opened to visitors year round, and during convention was offered as a day trip. I couldn’t really pass up this opportunity to truly experience the Seed to Seal process that only Young Living offers. I won’t go into boring details, but the process is bare-none to any other essential oil company. You can find out more information about the Seed to Seal process and why (one of the many reasons), I use and prefer Young Living here.

Now, my sister and I were going to drive ourselves and as she was unable to attend, I had to search for other transportation options and I was sure glad I did. I ended up joining in with 4 other YL distributors from around the country for an eventful hour-ish long road trip  from SLC to Mona. These are the reasons why these conventions are so fun, because it’s not everyday you get to spend time with random strangers on a road trip and have something in common 🙂

The farm is home to many different herbs and flowers, including clary sage, yarrow, golden rod, juniper, sage, thyme, fennel, plus more, and YL allows for visitors to wander the fields freely and even partake in some hands-on planting. This trip was yarrow and you betcha that I planting my own seedling. Along with fields and fields of herbs and flowers, this farm has it’s own distillery designed by none other than D. Gary Young, founder of YLEO, and I got to watch how the distillation process works (another step to the Seed to Seal process). Currently, juniper and blue yarrow were being distilled and guess what…the scent was heavenly!

The farm is also home to a horse rescue sanctuary, where they train, feed and ride them in not just open fields, but for a medieval style show full of humor, excitement and jousting. It was an amazing day to say the least getting to experience the Seed to Seal process first hand and watch the philanthropic mindset of YL at work.

Speaking of philanthropic mindset, did you know that Young Living Essential Oils partners with more than 7 organizations around the world in spreading love, hope, and protection to people in need or devastated by natural disasters, called the Young Living Foundation. And did you know that YL Independent Distributors are so generous that in 4-days, we has a company raised over $1 MILLION dollars towards these projects. Young Living Foundation‘s current projects include:

  • Rebuild Nepal
  • Young Living Academy Ecuador- which just graduated it’s first graduation class of 2016 at a 100% graduation success rate 🙂
  • Maestro Orphanage Croatia
  • Hope for Justice
    • Mission: To end human trafficking and slavery, in our generation
  • African Hearts
    • Rescue program for children living in the slums and streets of Kampala, Uganda and currently provides education, food and living quarters to more than 200 children
  • Sole Hope
    • offering medical relief, education, jobs and SHOES to people in Uganda free from foot-related diseases- JIGGERS.
  • Healing Faith Uganda
    • Malaria education, prevention, and treatment in rural areas in Uganda including something so simple as a mosquito net, now at 4,000 nets per month
  • Ecuador Earthquake Relief

These are the types of knowledge we are embraced with at these conventions. I honestly had no idea how rounding out my monthly order by as small as 10 cents could impact so many children and adults around the world.

Other knowledge based areas provided during the convention included business building tips, like those involving social media, and personal development and emotional support through use of oils. If I had to write down the most important pieces of information received during the 4-day long convention, or summarize my overall experience, it would look like this:

“What do you want to stand for? What do you want to accomplish in life? What do you want your legacy to be when you leave? Write it down and don’t EVER stop chasing it.” D. Gary Young, founder of Young Living (quote summarized)

“Don’t let your emotions control your life. Take charge of your emotions and use it to persevere towards your dreams.” D. Gary Young, founder of Young Living (quote summarized)

“Dream bigger. Dream bolder. Dream WAY WAY  huge for your business.”  Carol Yeh-Gardner, Royal Crown Diamond, Young Living

“Think of 10 words you want your ‘BRAND’ to be known as and each time you post something or write something to share, see if it matches up to those words. If it doesn’t, don’t post it or share it. Be creative in your ‘BRAND’. Success doesn’t happen overnight, everyone has a back story.” Lindsay Teague Moreno, Royal Crown Diamond, Young Living

My experience with Young Living Essential Oils continues to grown with each month that I use the products and essential oils. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, more faithful than I can remember, happier than I was before I started, and truly inspired by the people in my “oily” family and community. I started using essential oils simply to change the amount of toxins I was absorbing to give me a better life, and I had no idea the oils would change me inside and out, from my heart and soul to my muscles and body systems.

I can’t wait to show all you Mapless Followers the pictures from my adventure in SLC. Until them, happy exploring!

***Interested in learning more or just curious on the life of essential oils, don’t hesitate to contact me via email at MaplessAdventures@gmail.com or to get started on your own journey (with my support and guidance) go to https://www.tinyURL.com/LivingOilyNicoleL or https://www.tinyURL.com/LivingOilyAdventures***

 

 

Something about “Starting Fresh”

Returning from Mexico, I instantly became, well, depressed. I mean for the last 5 months, my life has consisted of planning and preparing for my Mexican Adventure with Contiki and I didn’t really know what to do now that I had returned. I tried to jump right back into the swing of things (work, gym, play) but something was missing.

My lease was about to end and I didn’t want, nor was I going to stay where I have been living for the last year of my life. I was tired and bored of living along and it just wasn’t the right fit for me anymore. I spend most of my time in Seattle and knew it was time to make the move to the big city. It took about a month of searching, email and interviewing (and panicking) before I finally found my perfect new home. This new home was in the heart of my social life, but was different than any other living situation I’ve ever put myself into. I mean, I’ve lived with roommates before but never more than 2 ladies. This house has 5, yes 5, total women (including me) living in a three-story three-bathroom home built in the year 1909. It sounds like tight quarter, being there are 5 of us, but in reality, this home is fairly decent in size and besides now I have 4 new amazing friends in my life. Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone, but that’s what Mapless Adventures is all about.

This house is located on the east side of a lake just north of Seattle and with nothing but the lake in view from our balcony, we get to end most nights watching the sunset across the lake and feeling blessed to be given the chance of a lifetime to live where we live. God has been so good to me this year, and I think he has something in store for me this year by opening up this opportunity to live in a new home, in a new city, with new friends.

But the “starting fresh” doesn’t end with a new living situation. Shortly after finding my new home and while searching online, a posting was found about a job opening at a facility located just 1 mile west of my new home. After applying and going through the interview process, I was offered this new position and started only 2 short weeks after moving to Seattle. This news basically means I only had to commute 45 minutes south for 10 working days. I have been driving no less than an hour to and from work for the last two years, and now my commute to work is under 5 minutes. Honestly, I don’t even have to drive if I choose not to, I’m only 1 mile from work. Talk about a blessing in disguise. If you commute to work, you have my sympathy. I didn’t even move before I was dreading driving to and from work 45-60 minutes each way.

I know this isn’t normally the type of post I write on Mapless Adventures, but both moving and accepting a new position were not part of my plan. I don’t know where I’d be if I decided not to take a chance and move into a house with four amazingly beautiful and kind women and starting a new job with less stress and less driving. I feel like this year has been one of my best years to date. I’m eager to see what else God has in store for me for the remainder of 2014. Stay tuned for more Mapless Adventures.