The Last Day

Today is it. My last day in Maine. I did it. I finished.

Tomorrow is the day that I’ve been waiting for. It came so fast, but it seemed like it would never get here.

I’m overflowing with happiness because I know that this time tomorrow I will be on my way to be with my people again. I can’t wait to see their faces and hug their necks.

It’s been a summer full of growing and progressing. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and I’ve learned so much about myself.

As I write this, I can’t seem to say exactly how I feel as I’m soaking up my last few hours here.

It’s going to be strange waking up and not seeing my roommates. After three months of living, working, and adventuring together I’m sure it’s going to be weird being 1,300 miles away from them. Not to mention they live a couple thousand miles from me in the “real world”. So we don’t know when our paths will cross again. It’s scary.

It will be nice to no longer be working 40 hours each week, but I will miss the thick paycheck. I’m not particularly looking forward to growing up and actually having a “real” job full time. I think I’ll stick for working at my university’s outdoor center as long as I can.

I’m going to miss living half a mile from a National Park. Acadia was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever hiked through. I’m determined to see all of the parks eventually.

As I wrap up my time here, I only have one regret: wishing I was home instead of enjoying days. I mean yeah, I did have a lot of fun and do a lot of really incredible things while I’ve been away, but there were also days when I wanted nothing more to be in the humid state of Tennessee. Now that I don’t have any more days here with these people, I wish I would of been less of a baby some days. I wish I would have done more to utilize my time here. But there’s no going back.

I wouldn’t trade this summer for anything. I’m thankful for really cool opportunities like this and I’m thankful I had the courage to leave home for three months completely on my own.

As I head back to Crossville and eventually Chattanooga for school, I’m determined to make the most out of each and every day because this summer I learned that the time is going to pass no matter what, so I might as well enjoy the days while I’m living them.


A Weekend in Montreal

Thursday night around nine when one of my roommates and I got off work, we loaded down our car and headed to Canada for a weekend of exploring.

The drive was about seven hours and about thirty minutes after we crossed the border, we decided we were too tired to drive anymore, so we began searching for a hotel – which turned out to be way more complicated than it should of been. First off, neither of us had any cell service – I ended up not having any all weekend, but thankfully she had international data. Secondly, it was two in the morning and 24 hour hotels weren’t a thing in this small town. The third problem was that all the road signs were in French and kilometers – isn’t the United States supposed to convert to the metric system any day now?

We parked outside of a small motel – that happened to be right across from a cemetery and decided to sleep in the car. Twenty minutes later, with a blue light shining in the car and our minds still racing, aggravated there wasn’t a clerk at the front desk, we realized that neither of us would be getting any sleep.

“Want me to keep driving?” I asked, my eyes still closed.

“Yup,” she replied, not bothering to move.

So we drove about another two hours, deeper into the heart of Canada toward Montreal, before my eyes began to become heavier than my mom would be happy to hear about. The loud beat of the music was no longer doing it’s job of keeping me focused. The coffee had long wore off. I was tired.

After stopping at another half dozen hotels, only to find the lights off and the door closed, I pulled into a brightly lit gas station. I was well prepared to call it quits for the night and sleep curled up in the car, but my friend was not. She googled and called several more hotels, finally getting an answer on the last ring at the last hotel.

We booked an overpriced room that was three miles up the road. Best money I ever spent. 

“You should know by now that I’m not taking no for an answer,” she told me as we pulled into the small hotel’s parking lot. I was too tired to thank her for being more stubborn that I was that night, but I think she received my gratitude as I passed out, at four in the morning, within two minutes of walking in the hotel room.

The next morning, we slept in until around ten. Fortunately, Canadian hotels serve breakfast until three in the morning. At least they got something right. 




When we finally got to Montreal, we went to check into our hostel. This was my first time ever staying in one so I was pretty amazed. The lobby had a lounge area, a full kitchen, and a couple of computers. It was buzzing with energy and there were conversations going on in multiple languages. The downstairs had a bar, pool tables, a small stage, and couches. The rooms were set up like dorms, bunk beds lining the walls and a shared bathroom. Each bed had a thick curtain around it for privacy and everyone talked in whispers in case someone else was sleeping.

After we dropped off everything and got our car parked, we set off on foot to explore the city. The road right beside our hostel had beads hanging down that stretched on for miles. I thought they were so neat, all the colors visible down the road. Anytime that weekend we got in the area with the pink beads, we knew we were close to “home”. We found the metro and went downtown to get homemade Arepas – a Venezuelan food. I was a little skeptical to order one, but I’m really glad that I did. Fried cornmeal bread stuffed with chicken, grilled veggies, sauteed onions, and fresh avocado was presented to me and I ate in about, uh, six minutes. So good. 




On the walk back, we took lots of pictures, admired the vintage-looking houses, and got Starbucks coffee; creatures of habit, I guess. 




That night we hung out in the downstairs area of our hostel. We were sitting on the couches, waiting for a band to play, when two awkward guys came up to us and asked if we wanted to play pool. We looked at each other and kinda shrugged, not wanting to lose our seats.

“Look, if you win, I’ll give you one of these Cuban cigars,” one of the guys said, pulling out a plastic bag of several supposed expensive cigars.

“Sure, we’ll play,” we decided. Mainly because I’m ridiculously competitive.

I first want to say that I’m pretty bad at pool. My brother will vouch for that. He absolutely kicks my butt anytime we play on the lopsided pool table that sits in our garage. And the friend I was with is worse than me and she’ll tell you so while laughing.

But I guess something about being in Canada at a cool little hostel made us better, because we ended up beating him. Well actually, I ended up beating him because my friend got bored and dropped the game about two turns in. (When I told my brother about this his first response was to ask if the guy was in a wheelchair or had a condition with his brain.) Ouch.

We won the cigar and he annoyingly handed it over. It was pretty cool for about two minutes until I remembered that I didn’t smoke and I now had an $86 cigar. I threw it in my pocket and soon forgot about it. Apparently this is a cringe worthy matter for expensive cigar lovers.  

The next morning I drug Lauren out of bed and we ate the frozen waffles our hostel offered and geared up for the walking tour down by a worker at the hostel.

The tour was pretty cool and our to our guide was absolutely adorable. He had the longest eyelashes and the clearest blue eyes and his French accent was so fascinating to me. I probably could of have listened to him talk all day I loved it so much. The tour itself was pretty neat. We saw city hall, the state bank, and the church Celine Dion got married in.

After the tour, we went to cute restaurant with a live jazz band. While we were waiting in line, I noticed a girl who was staying in our hostel and who had been on our walking tour. We chatted with her some before she asked if she could have lunch with us. Of course we said yes, we were both captivated by her adorable Australian accent.

She was so fun to be around. We learned that she took seven weeks off from her nursing job and was traveling around North America by herself meeting up with friends in various states. I would never have the nerve to be able to do that, but I was so fascinated that she did. She’d been to thirty – four countries and more states in America than I have.

At the end of our lunch, she told us she was meeting up with a friend that was from there. She told us that he was going to show her around the rest of the day and offered to let us tag along. Of course we were beyond excited.

Her friend was so fun and we had a blast letting him be our tour guide for the day. We walked up and down the streets admiring the street art, sampling appetizers at restaurants, eating gelato, and doing some shopping, but of course, my favorite part was listening to him talk to people in French.

To me, when someone speaks another language, it sounds like gibberish. I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that it actually makes sense to people. I wonder what each word means in my language. Learning a new language and becoming bilingual is pretty high on my bucket list. I do think I managed a couple of French words, but just the basics. Okay fine, all I know how to say is hello and thank you, but I’m gonna work on it. 

That night we went to a place where you throw axes at a target. It was pretty cool, but we decided not to stay and do it since you had to stay for at least an hour. So we left and continued to walk down the street when we came upon a show of some short. We all agreed to stop and see what was going on, but that we wouldn’t stay too long. It seemed to be a sort of gymnastic show. People were involved in choreographed dances, tightrope walks, and calla-static activities.There was a huge spotlight and you could see the shadows dancing on the building. We ended up staying until the end of show we were so intrigued.




As we continued our walk down the street, we came upon a small street festival. I heard that if you’re ever bored in Montreal then it’s your own fault and after this weekend, I 100% believe that. The festival was kinda like the fair, minus the rides and the strange employees. We ate a waffle on a stick that was drenched in chocolate that was so delicious my mouth is still watering.

After walking around there for an hour or so, we decided we needed actual food since it was a little past midnight and we hadn’t technically had dinner. So we felt obligated to grab poutines – a famous Canadian food consisting of fries smothered in gravy and cheese and we added some pulled pork on there. So good. 

We ended the night laughing with full bellies, as we walked back to the hostel listening to people’s conversations that we couldn’t understand.

The next morning after we checked out, we drove to Mount Royal for a view of the city. It was a short walk to the top and the air was refreshing after breathing in city air for a couple of days. It was the perfect way to wrap up a fun, eventual weekend.




At the border on the way back, we got asked the usual questions. Any alcohol in the car? No. Tobacco? No. Firearms or weapons? No. 

And then we were asked to pop our trunk, which I thought was normal procedure, but apparently it wasn’t. After a few minutes, the guy came back up to our window and gave us a funny look.

“You guys lied to me,” he said. We thought he was joking or had a weird sense of humor since we couldn’t think of what we could of possibly lied about. We awkward laughed and waited to see where this was going.

“That Cuban cigar contains tobacco,” he told us. Ours eyebrows shot up.

“I completely forgot I had that,” I told him.
“Yeah yeah, it’s fine,” he said as he opened the gate to let us cross over to America.

It felt nice to be back in familiar territory so we celebrated by blasting music and rolling our windows down, letting the wind whip our hair in every direction.




A Little Bit of Growing Up

I’ve been very absent in the blog world lately but I’m sure that only a handful of people have noticed. It seems like every time I try to write, something juts feels off. I’m not sure if it’s because my world has been spun in so many directions these past few months or if I just needed some time to breathe and think without expressing those thoughts. Either way, I feel like I’m well over due a post.

As I accepted this internship and prepared to head out, I’m not sure what my expectations were. I knew I wanted to see more of the country; I wanted to make more friends outside of my circle; and I wanted to learn more about myself. I think that all three of those have pretty much been met. As I flipped back in my journal to the days when I first found out I would be coming up here, I was so excited. It seemed to be all I could talk or write about. I was initially disappointed I wasn’t going to be going to Hawaii or some where tropical, but I also felt like there was a reason I was chosen to come up here instead. I can’t say that there aren’t days that I wish I was laying in the sunshine on an island somewhere, because there definitley are. But I also can’t say I would redo anything if I was given the chance – not that I would be anwyays.

If I would have gotten sent to a different location everything would be different. I would have never met any of the people that I have this summer. I wouldn’t have gotten to experience the beauty of this really weird state. Not only have I learned to live with girls from different states, we’ve learned to rely on each other and be there for each other. Being 1,300 miles away from my support system has been difficult, to say the least. On days when I simply wanted to go to my sister’s room and plop down on her bed to chat, I had to instead go to my roommate’s. On nights when I just wanted my mom to cook me dinner, I had to cook something myself or make a sandwich. To say that I’ve grown up and became more independent is an understatement.

I debated a lot about throwing in the towel and coming home early these last couple of weeks. I had many conversations with my family and friends about what I should do. Do I stick it out? Do I come home and enjoy the last few weeks of summer with my people? Do I say screw my contract? Or do I honor it out and suck it up?

I’ll be honest here, I actually bought a plane ticket. I was gonna board a plane and come back to Nashville with my best friend after her visit. I was gonna do it. I was so excited. But I had a knot in my stomach immediately after I bought it. It didn’t feel right. Quitting isn’t in my blood. My parents hadn’t raised me to bail when things got tough, no matter how much we missed each other. From as early as I can remember my parents have taught me to push through difficult situations and try to make the most of them.

One night, my mom called me and told me how proud she was that I had been up here for so long when I’ve been pretty homesick. She told me that it would be okay if I ended things a little bit early. She told me she would support me no matter what I did and that she wanted me to do what was going to be best for myself. I wanted to go home and hug her so badly. But I knew I would look back and be frustrated with myself. I’d feel like I gave up, like I wasn’t tough enough to finish something that I had started. And the thought of that was greater than my homesickness right then, and that was a lot.

So I refunded my plane ticket; I put my suitcase back in my closet; I decided to suck it up and do what I’d been taught to do. As much as I love traveling and experiencing new things, I’m not sure if being away from my family long term is what’s best for me right now. I still want to see so many places and do so many things. I want to study abroad for a semester; I want to hike the AT through, but I also wanna hang out with my parents on a Friday night, laughing as my dad makes fun of my mom for falling asleep at nine pm.

In a perfect world, I could bring my people with me everywhere that I go. But life is complicated and messy and some of the things that I desire and crave aren’t the desires of the people that I love the most in this world. I guess this summer I’ve learned to be okay with.

I have a couple of weekend trips planned with my roommates to wrap up the summer that I’m really looking forward to, but I’m also looking forward to boarding a plane that flashes Nashville. 

1,300 miles away and I still feel the love and support of my people. I still have a place to call home even if I haven’t seen it in a couple of months. I still have a life waiting for me back in the mountains, even when my time here feels endless. And I’m not sure if things could get any better than that.

A Break in the Clouds

I’m beginning to feel more at home in the great state of Maine. It’s taken me longer than I imagined and than I would have liked, but I’m thankful I’ve stuck it out and made the most of it.

Some of my family got to visit a few days last week and I was absolutely through the roof. As soon as I saw their car driving down the road, I ran after it. I know that I looked like a crazy lady and I don’t care at all. Getting to wrap my arms around my sweet sister’s neck was completely worth it.


Getting to show my people around for a couple of days of was so much fun. They absolutely loved the park and how beautiful it was. I was so thankful the weather cooperated and the days were perfect. I took them to my favorite places to eat. We gorged on lobster, ice-cream, blueberries, and pancakes. We drove around the entire park, stopping numerous times to admire the views. We drove to a lighthouse and got to see it, which was near the top of my bucket list.


But my favorite thing I got to do with them was take them to Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise. Since Bar Harbor is on the east coast and the sun rises in the east, Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the United States you can see the sunrise. I’ve been wanting to go and watch the sunrise there since I first got here, but I don’t have a car up here, so it made it a little difficult. I figured it would be perfect to get to watch it with them. So at 3:30 in the morning, we drug ourselves out of bed and drove to the top of the mountain.

It was cloudy and it seemed as though we weren’t going to see the sun or any of the pretty colors that came with the sunrise. I was completely devastated. And very annoyed. But we stuck it out and waited at the top of the mountain. And just when it seemed like we wouldn’t get to see the show, there was a break in the clouds. Bright yellow seeped through, a deep purple stained the clouds, oranges blended smoothly in with red. The sun was peeking its face through that break. Smiles spread from ear to ear on everyone’s face. We all pulled out our cameras and I snuggled closer to my sister, a break in my clouds.




A couple of days later, at the Bangor airport, I fought back tears as I hugged my people goodbye. I didn’t want to think about them boarding the plane and heading back to Tennessee while I was about to catch an Uber and head back to Bar Harbor. After I waved for the final time and turned to walk away, a single tear fell down my face. I suddenly felt all alone again. I knew from the beginning that the end of their visit would come soon, but I had no idea it would be that soon. I wished we had had one more day together, but I knew I’d still be sad when that day ended too. No amount of time with them was going to be enough.

As I got in the car with my Uber driver, she told me that she needed coffee and was going to stop at Dunkin Donuts and would buy my coffee if that was okay with me. Of course I agreed.  At Dunkin they accidentally made an extra coffee and gave it to me for free. Two free coffees? I couldn’t complain. A break in the clouds.


I was so worried that after my people left, I was going to be just as homesick as before they got there, if not more. But I was okay. I was thankful to have seen them and to be reminded how loved I am and that have I was the best people on the planet waiting for me with open arms whenever I return. I’m honestly not sure if there’s a better feeling than that.

The days that have followed their visit have been good. I haven’t been homesick and I’ve gotten closer to my roommates and coworkers. I’m learning that life isn’t going to slow down for anything.

A Big Smile

Yesterday was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the air was warm, and the best part was that I didn’t have to work. One of my roommates had the day off too, so we decided it was the perfect day to go to Acadia Park and do some exploring. 

We packed some lunches and decided to call a cab to take us to the park entrance we wanted to be at that was about six miles away. 

When we got there, we decided to the do the Beehive Trail. I was excited, but a little nervous because the hike is basically straight up a mountain. The entire climb, my legs were shaky and I felt like I was hanging on to the metal rings for dear life, but the views were so worth it. The sky didn’t have a cloud in it; the water was the prettiest color of blue; the trees seemed to stretch on for miles. The higher we climbed, the prettier everything kept getting. 

It made me remember why I was so excited for this internship: I’m living in on of the prettiest places in the country and I get to explore it everyday. 

After we took a million pictures and finished the hike, we decided to go to Sand Beach, since it was right up the road. We really wanted to swim, but the water was colder than water should be allowed to be. We tried to brave it out and swim, but we only lasted about five minutes before our lower bodies went numb and we imagined our lips turning blue, so we got out. 

We laid around on the beach for about an hour, but the wind was blowing pretty hard and the sand was beginning to cake our skin. It was impossible to keep my eyes open, much less read my book. So we decided to explore some more. 

After we raked an incredible amount of sand from our bodies, we decided to to walk a short mile up the road to Thunder Hole. On the way, we got sidetracked and explored some of the bluffs. We ended up climbing down to the water and taking a million more pictures. The coast is breathtaking, freezing cold, but absolutely breathtaking. 

Don’t worry mom, it was safe and we were careful. 🙂

This place is growing on me slowly, but surely. 

When we finally got to Thunder Hole, I was unimpressed. There were a lot of people there, more people there than I’d yet to see in the park. Leading down to the hike between the two cliffs were manmade stairs, making it an easy twenty step walk from the road. The actual hole was pretty cool though. The space between the cliffs seemed to be naturally hollowed-out and when big waves crashed in and filled the space, it sounded like thunder had cracked in the sky. We stayed there for a while and listened to several big waves and each time we were surprised it sounded exactly like thunder, even though we knew it would. 

​I’m so thankful for days like this; I’m thankful to have the opportunity to live in such a beautiful place and on such a beautiful planet; I’m thankful for friends who explore with me. I can’t help but stop to appreciate everything I have. I definitely ended the day with a huge grin plastered across my face. 

Acadia National Park


I’m a sucker for fun hikes and pretty views. Anyone that knows me shouldn’t be surprised that I fell in love with the national park up here.

My first day off work I was planning on sleeping in, doing laundry, and finding a peaceful place to read, but when one of my roommates told me that she wanted to go to Acadia, I wasn’t about to turn her down.


Our only way to get places at the moment is by foot. We’re eventually going to have bikes, but for now we’re walking everywhere. It’s hasn’t been bad since it isn’t too hot up here yet.

Around 11, with full water bottles, tightly-laced shoes, and big smiles we set off towards the park on foot. The walk to the park entrance was about seven miles and it took about two hours to get there. My roommate grew up in Washington and has never been in the south; I grew up in Tennessee and hadn’t been out west until my training in Utah. You can only imagine that we both had a lot of questions about how the other person grew up. I talked a lot about my family, greasy fried foods, sweet tea, and my love for books. She talked a lot about the weather over there, her travels – including studying abroad in Spain, and her family’s love for hiking. It was pretty cool to get to her know her a little bit better and see the differences in how we grew up.

After seven sweaty miles, we made it to one of the park’s entrances, only to find out that you needed a pass to enter. We had been told that you only needed a pass if you were driving and since we were on foot, we hadn’t bothered to look into the rule anymore. We explained to one of the rangers that we were living and working in Bar Harbor for the summer and we had just walked seven miles to get here. Did I mention we walked those seven miles? Yeah? Okay. My feet were starting to blister and my water bottle was nearly empty. Reluctantly and thankfully, the ranger let us in. PRAISE. 


The main place we wanted to go was just inside this entrance of the park: Sand Beach. When we got to the parking lot, the most amazing smell in the world hit us. It was a mix of salt, lemons, pinewoods, fresh air, and sunscreen. I wanted to bottle it up and make it into a candle. When we finally got to the water, I ripped my boots off and ran to put my feet in the water. It was still pretty cold and I had on capris, so just my feet in would have to be enough.


The air had the perfect amount of salt in it. The water was so blue and peaceful. The mountains and rocks that surrounded the beach stretched for miles. I felt like I was in the scene of a movie. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how beautiful it was. I didn’t mind the seaweed. I didn’t mind the tourists – that definitely didn’t appreciate these views as much as I did. I didn’t mind my aching feet. I was in absolute paradise. I still can’t get over it. Was that real? Did that really happen? YES! I’m living in the coolest place.

After all of our pictures and more exploring the beach, we laid in the sand and attempted to get a little bit of sun. There was a mild breeze and it was the perfect temperature. The seagulls were flying around, but they weren’t landing all over you and driving you crazy. The sand was made of tiny broken pieces of shells and felt so good. Not a care in the world crossed my mind.


I was exhausted on the walk back, but we agreed that we deserved to stop for ice cream. During the trek back into town, we didn’t talk much, just kept our heads and walked pretty quick to be sure to get back into town with plenty of daylight. The thought of two scoops of mint chocolate chip on a waffle cone kept me putting one foot in front of another the entire seven miles.

After we got home that night I crashed and slept really hard for about ten hours – I felt like I could have easily have slept double that. I also decided to make a bucket list of things that I wanted to do – not just for the summer, but over a time period much longer. I made sure to put on the list to visit all of the national parks. Road trip, in the future, anyone?


A year ago if someone would have told me I’d be able to travel around the country at nineteen years old and get paid to do so, I probably would have laughed at them. Now I’m laughing at myself for thinking that limits exist. Sure there are some limits. Two big ones will always be time and money. But as life goes on, I’m learning that the only true limits are ones that you create for yourself. Excuses are huge limits that we make for ourselves.


But here I am, at nineteen, living a life that a lot of people only dream to live. And I’m not trying to sound conceited, believe me, that is not the point of this post. The point of this post is that if you have a dream or a goal, then there are ways to make them happen. There are ways to do what you once thought was laughable.


The companies that I’m interning for this summer are amazing. Let me just tell you a little bit about them because I could probably talk about them all day.  Cariloha is a store that sells products that are only made from bamboo. They’re most famously known for their sheets and other bedding products. They have incredible mattresses, pillows, towels, and clothes that are made from bamboo. The best part? It’s environment friendly and affordable. Del Sol is a company where all the products change color in the sun. They have tee-shirts, sunglasses, nail polish, keychains, and so many other things. The environment in the store is super fun.


While these companies have incredible products, they’re about so much more. Cariloha and Del Sol are all about the experience. Having energy, fun, and a positive attitude are some of the things this company strives for. It was crazy actually, the CEO of this incredibly – well profited company took time out of several of his hectic days to teach and talk to a group of interns. What other company does that? 

All the people that work at the corporate headquarters absolutely love their job. They wake up and they’re excited about going to work; they’re excited to learn something new every day; they’re excited to interact with their coworkers. What other job is truly like that? 


While I’m doing my internship in Maine, I’ll be working at both Del Sol and Cariloha selling their products. But it’s so much more. I’m making sure the costumer has fun and enjoys their vacation; I’m promoting quality products at an affordable price. All the while, living in paradise. The company takes care of their employees and at nineteen years old, I’m truly treated like an employee of a successful company. It’s been an amazing experience and it hasn’t even technically started.


I love seeing the world and meeting new people. Who doesn’t, honestly? But I would never get to do these things if I hadn’t taken a chance. I took a chance and applied for this incredible opportunity, very unsure of if I even stood a chance among the other 1600 applications that were turned in. Yet here I am, typing this from my new apartment for this summer in Bar Harbor, Maine- where I get to stay at rent free.

I’m learning not to create limits for myself and for my life. I’m learning to take the opportunities that I want, even if it means risking being uncomfortable or even a little scared.