Archive for June, 2010

Backpacking through Panama

I continued my adventure, living and working in Alaska in the summers and traveling all over the world in the winters. It was incredible.

On one of my trips, I went on a cruise to the Caribbean where I swam with dolphins.  This is where I discovered my love of the water and the animals that live in it.  I had always loved the ocean, but I had never been one to play much in the water. I was used to going to places like Ocean Shores where you wear a sweatshirt while walking along the beach.  But after this trip I really became drawn to getting IN it!

Swimming with the dolphins

My very favorite trip, however, was when I went backpacking through Panama and Mexico with my cousin Bruce.  Wow, what a trip that was!

We flew into Panama City and found our hostel.  From there we took trips in funky, brightly painted buses.

We saw the Panama Canal and traveled to villages along the ocean as well as in the mountains, staying in hostels along the way.  We went snorkeling in the Coiba National Park and hiking in a little mountain village named Santa Fe.  We even visited a small coffee plant.

We ate at quaint little cafes and saw people living in grass huts talking on their cell phones.

The greatest adventure in Panama was getting on an old rattley puddle jumper of a plane that took us to a rickety old dock where we were picked up by a man in a canoe.  He took us to one of the San Blas Islands for three days.  I have to tell you I have NEVER experienced anything like that before!  We were the only people on this tiny island besides the family who cooked for us.  We stayed in a little hut where we could feel the breeze of the ocean while we slept.  All I can say is that is was a very rustic experience, but one I will cherish forever.

My cousin Bruce hanging out by our hut

Restroom at San Blas

Men from another island came every day to see if we wanted them to dive and bring us crab or lobster for dinner.  Of course we said yes.  I had the best lobster I have ever had in my entire life on that island.  And I have to say it was a nice change from the meals we were served every day.

One day we had a man take us to one of the inhabited islands where it was so crowded there was hardly room to walk.  The Kuna Indians lived there who, for some reason many, many years ago, moved from the lush mainland to these tiny islands.  There were several albino children.  These children are worshiped by the Kuna Indians and are called “Moon Children”.

Amazing, right?

After reluctantly returning to Panama City, we got back in a plane and flew to Mexico City.

June 26, 2010 at 2:58 pm Leave a comment

Alaskan Adventures

Wow, what an experience Alaska turned out to be! This was totally uncharacteristic for me. I was always a very quiet, non-risk kind of person. My family and friends were the most important thing to me but venturing out to the unknown was not in my make-up. I got on a plane and headed out to Fairbanks. When I got off the plane I was bussed to Denali Park to a huge lodge. The company hired about 300 people for the summer season. The employees lived in a hotel about 10 miles from the lodge. I knew I was in Alaska from my very first day, when I saw a grizzly bear walking right by the hotel.

Grizzly by our hotel

I hired on as a housekeeping supervisor. This was a position I had never experienced before, but I did know what a clean hotel room should look like, so I just faked it. I guess it turned out okay because I received “employee of the month” and had a great time.

Besides working at something totally different than what I had done in the past, I met some really wonderful new friends and traveled all over the area. I found out that I was not the only middle aged woman looking for something ‘else’ in her life. We gathered every night at the “round table” in the cafeteria and learned about each other, took off on road trips on our days off, took tours of the park and saw bear, moose, dall sheep, and caribou, and made great new friendships. I still keep in touch with several of the ladies I met that first summer.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from that special time:

A B&B we passed by on one of our outings.

Mt McKinley in Denali Park

Me with one of Jeff King's (an Iditorod racer) puppies

Mama & baby moose that wandered into the lodge one morning

Group of us ladies on tour bus in Denali Park.

I ended up working at the same lodge for three years, moving from housekeeping to Food & Beverage. Each year I met lots of young people from all over the world, mostly from Eastern Europe coming up to this last frontier to work and earn money for their education. What great work ethics these young people had. It was quite an inspiration! At the end of the seasons the Northern Lights came out and gave us a beautiful show.

Northern Lights over the lodge

It was definitely an experience of a lifetime and started me on this new path in life.

June 14, 2010 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

Introducing the Road Runner Pet Nanny

Hello and welcome to the new Road Runner Pet Nanny blog! For my first post, I decided to share with you my journey that led me to pet sitting.

A few years ago, I was working a regular 8 to 5 job like most of you. I had been divorced for several years and my kids were raised and gone. My daughter had just graduated from college and was starting her own journeys in life, and my son was married with two children of his own.

I have always had pets –  in my childhood home as I was growing up, as well as in my own home raising my own family – so when my little sheltie mix Rebel (she was actually my son’s dog until he left home, hence the name) and my sweet cat Scamper passed away, I found myself a typical “empty nester”. No kids, no pets.

Rebel with my Grandkids

Scamper Lounging on the Piano

I had always loved traveling and decided that although I loved my job, I had come to a crossroads in my life. Was I going to keep working and have the security we all want? Or did I want to really step out of my box and totally change my life? I knew if I was going to do something drastic, it was now or never. So one day I got on the internet and found a seasonal job in Alaska. I put in my resignation at work, rented out my house, and headed to Alaska not quite knowing what to expect.

To be continued…

June 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment