2017 Year in Review and Looking Ahead to 2018

This year was a whirlwind! 2016 New Year's Eve had me chilling at a beach bar in Florida and the year just flew by from there. I continued the RV adventure; living in campgrounds, working at Hospitals, Outpatient clinics, and home health agencies, and taking a few road trips along the way. My best friend got married and I had a blast celebrating with her and her family in Nashville. We got to explore some honky tonks, do some line dancing, and she had the most beautiful barn wedding. Another highlight of the year was going road tripping/camping with my Mom on the gulf coast of Alabama and then down to southern Florida for a month. That's definitely a memory I will treasure for a long time, and I'm so grateful that I had the means and flexibility to do something like that. 

  Kayaking in St. Joseph Bay

 Kayaking in St. Joseph Bay

I also had a lot of success paying off debt! From September 2017 - when I really started tracking my debt and net worth- to January 2018, I paid off $7360 of debt! It's amazing what some budgeting and logical choices to spend less than you make can do for your financial health. 

As far as work, it had its ups and downs. I found out that I liked working as a Home Health speech therapist the most because it was much easier to involve the families and provide functional therapy. Plus I got to schedule my patients so that my lunch time patients just happened to be the ones that lived by one of the beautiful rivers in NC. I loved having picnic lunches every day!  

Unfortunately the stress of the job really got to me, and I kept getting frustrated with what I was doing as a speech therapist. I found it hard to know if I was really helping my patients or not and I was constantly second guessing myself. I also found it incredibly emotionally taxing when patients passed away or had other intense medical complications. I didn't want to let them down and I had a classic case of imposter syndrome. While I did enjoy the traveling, I also found it hard to be away from friends and family for so long. So after my travel assignment in November, I decided to apply to some jobs outside of speech therapy to see what was out there. Part of me was dreaming of having a guaranteed salary 9-5 office job with no patient care at all...which is pretty much the opposite of medical SLP work whether you're a traveler or not. 

I am from the DC area, and there are a lot of government contractors up here. I have previous experience working for the Department of Defense (Talk about an intimidating first job!), and so I applied to some listings that I saw on indeed and on USA jobs. I probably sent out about 100 applications for job postings that I seemed even slightly qualified for- everything from logistics, to marketing, to administration...and I got rejected a LOT. 99/100 said no thanks, I didn't have the qualifications. But one of them brought me in for an interview. And I got the job! It's a pay cut where I'll be making about half of my previous salary. So I'll have to tighten the budget even more if I still want to retire by 35! ;) 

For privacy reasons, I don't want to say my exact new job title especially since it hasn't started yet. It's still not the 9-5 office job that I was eyeing, but it is a mostly work from home position which does have it's perks. Until the job starts up, I'm continuing to work part time as a speech therapist during the days, and I also have a evening job tutoring K-12 students. 

So I will be staying in one spot for the foreseeable future, which means I am starting the process of selling my RV and truck. This is bittersweet, as I can see it out my window as I'm typing this, and a big part of me wants to jump in right now and take off on another road trip. But fear not! This is not the end of my RVing days. I plan to replace my monster diesel truck with a quieter, smaller, more city-approved vehicle... the total badass known as the Toyota Prius. 

 Vroom, vrooommmm..

Vroom, vrooommmm..

And for those of you who think I'm joking, I'm really not! Of course I plan to buy a used one, and pay cash. No more debt for me! I love the 40-50 mpg and I love that it's basically a generator on wheels. It's perfect for camping! There are even people who live in their Priuses. Now I'm not going to go that far, but I want to have it pretty much packed and ready to go for weekend trips at a moment's notice and of course I'll blog about it, so stay tuned! Happy New Year!