It's hard to maintain a travel blog when the only places you travel are between your childhood bedroom and the kitchen most days.
As much as my travels in the last year filled me with gratitude and bliss, they conversely drained my bank account of money and...well, more money. Seeing the low triple digits in my checking account when I returned to Nebraska not only motivated me to apply for multiple jobs a day, but also assess what I really needed the next year to look like. It became apparent that if I wasn't able to get a job that covered my living expenses, I would be forced to stay at my parent's house for much longer than I was comfortable.
Recovering from the disappointment and shock of my job falling through in the Dominican Republic, I pulled myself out of my newly revisited hole of teenage angst by making a new plan for myself [and a couple backup plans to go with it]. Plan A, apply to work as a fitness instructor on resorts around the Greater U.S. and abroad. Plan B, apply to work as a fitness instructor on cruise lines. Plan C, get my TEFL certification and teach in Asia for a year. In the meantime, I maintained a [debatable] sense of sanity by occupying my time in Nebraska with activities that got me out of the house and put a little bit of cash in my pocket. This was accomplished by continuing work on my Shaklee business and picking up a few classes teaching kickboxing and yoga around town.
Since I'd already been applying for work while I was traveling, I knew which jobsites to creep on a daily basis. My favorite jobsite published new openings daily at private resorts in the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean consisting of 26 double chain atoll islands. Fitness instructor positions were showing up few and far between in the Maldives, but one morning I woke up and found what I deemed my "dream job."
I applied to the job and lo and behold, I was shortlisted as a candidate, sent through three rounds of interviews, had all my references checked and became the first American ever to get hired by the company. I was thrilled but scared at this new and enormous prospect. However, knowing I had worked hard to design this outcome, I accepted the position and awaited my work visa to arrive within two weeks.
That was over a month and a half ago.
As the weeks went by without any indication of my work visa being processed, I started to think about Plan B and Plan C as viable options once again. I also decided that since there was no way I was going to get my visa in the foreseeable future, I would join my best friend for her bachelorette party in Vegas over the weekend.
As my sister dropped me off at the Omaha airport on Friday morning her parting words echoed, "I think you're going to get your visa while you're in Vegas," to which I replied, "There's absolutely no way in hell I would ever get this visa while I'm in Vegas."
I was right. I didn't get my visa while I was in Vegas. I got it while I was flying to Vegas. While transferring to my Vegas flight in Minneapolis, my resort informed me that my visa came through and they were ready to fly me to the Maldives on Monday.
That news may have elicited one of the biggest "OH SH*T" moments of the last year. Despite having nothing ready to pack, I decided to board my flight to Vegas anyway and spend one of my last days in America living it up and celebrating the upcoming nuptials of my best friend.
(My bestie and me on our first night out.)
The next 36 hours were filled with slot machines in the most unlikely of places,
A lady walking her cat on The Strip,
An $8 coconut water [!!!]
(That's what I get for staying sober in Vegas)
And even trip to Venice! [Well, sort of...]
And of course, fun times with my bestie and our friends!
Completely exhausted from my 36 hours in Vegas, I took a redeye flight back to Nebraska early Sunday morning and in less than 18 hours, packed all my belongings for an entire year and flew to New York City. I spent my remaining hours in America running around the City with my backpack tying up loose ends and saying goodbye to a couple friends in the rain.
I must admit that the quick turnaround of events has made life feel pretty surreal at the moment. However, I am happy to have the chance to strap back on my lil backpack once again and go forth onto another adventure.
I'll be sending love from the island sunshine shortly!