Sunday, November 24, 2013

Oh hey there,

I recently had two days off in a row. While that doesn't seem impressive, I was going on 16 days without a true day off. I spent it helping a friend move, going to lunch, and seeing a movie one day, and then the next day: I slept. It was glorious!

The next day, I was reading a camping magazine, where an article talked about writing reference letters. The author started the article with a quote that is especially true in the camp world.

"From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. From the inside looking out, you can't explain it"

Wow. If this doesn't describe my life, I don't know what does! It's so true. When friends and family hear my "horror" stories of cleaning up poop, staying up ALLLLLLLL night, getting beat up in a crosswalk in the middle of the road and working 90 hours a week, they often scoff in horror. But when I share these stories with my fellow camp counselors and supervisors, they laugh right along with me. Sometimes, laughing is all you can do to get through a situation, but sometimes, I just want people to understand how wonderful this world can be. I'm sure my friends get tired of hearing my stories, and I know a lot of them don't understand why we do it. But all it takes is one traveler to say something funny, and everything is ok.

Back to the real world.

I'm currently sitting in a hotel watching the Broncos beat up on the Patriots! It's funny, I spend more nights in hotels than I do in my own bed, but this time is much better :) I finally have internet that doesn't block this site, so I figured I'd update you all on my life!

What have I been up to? Just crossing things off my bucket list, and finally becoming a world traveler!

On one of the coldest days of the year, I rode a bike around DC! It was so fun, and I got to see a lot more than I would if I was just walking. 

We're going to Disneyworld!
It feels like we hit the Access Adventures championship! It's been my favorite trip so far, and it was so fun! We stayed at a Disneyworld Resort hotel, and visited all of the parks! I've never been so tired, but it was so much fun! Disney really knows what they're doing, especially in terms of accessibility. They have everything planned, which made my job a lot easier! 

Epcot at night! 

After Disney, we took a quick weekend trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania! It was soooo cold, but we got to make our own chocolate bars, and buy all the chocolate!

The Bahamas! 
While the summer is 9 trips in 9 weeks, it seems that the fall is more exhausting, but that may be because the best trips are in the fall! We went on a cruise to the Bahamas and Turks and Cacicos, which means I finally got to use my passport! The cruise is different experience, and we hit some crazy swells, which made sleeping impossible one night, but overall it was a blast! It was so cool getting to swim in beautiful blue water, and dancing with the DJs on the island. 

Watching the waves

I'm on my way home to Colorado for Thanksgiving! A short trip home for snowmobiling and Catching Fire (round 2!) is followed by a long drive to Montana. Then, it's back to Maryland for two more trips. Once that's over, I'll have a nice break where I'll get to plan everything for the summer, and get caught up on office work :( I'm looking forward to a little bit of downtime though! 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

6 Months

Today marks 6 months on the job! It was only fitting that we had a trip to New York to mark the anniversary! 

On the last night, we made our way to the top of the Empire State Building, and while I was up there, I started thinking about how life. This job has allowed me to cross a lot off my bucket list, and I've gotten to do things I never would have known existed. 

In just a few days, I'm heading to Disney World, and then a few weeks later, I'm cruising to the Bahamas! How many people can say their job includes a cruise!?! 

Of course, this job has it's moments. While these 6 months have gone by fast, it's exhausting some days. 

Now on to the fun stuff! Things went a lot better than the first time I traveled to New York for this job. I went in with a whole new attitude, and it ended up being really fun! 

Back in April, the Statue of Liberty was shut down because of Hurricane Sandy. This time, it was closed because of the government shutdown. That was lame, but we made the most of it and had fun on the boat ride! 

We also went to a Broadway musical, Phantom of the Opera! I unfortunately, didn't get to go in, as I was dealing with some other stuff, but everyone said it was really good! 

I'm back for a week, and then it's off to Disney World!!! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My New Normal

I feel like such an adult sometimes. I took a week off of work, and came back to about 10 million things I had to do. Between planning the upcoming trips (Disneyworld and a cruise!!!) To doing intake interviews for new travelers (the worst part of my job) and to taking care of a new addition to the rec center, I've been busy. Here's what I've been up to!

Our camp was given two turtles, and since I am one of the few full time staff who lives here year round, I get to take care of one of the turtles! His name is Alfred, and he's a box turtle. I can't tell you much more about him, since we don't really get along. But I am attempting to buy his love. Someday, I will make a great mother.

I bought him a water dish, and he liked it so much that he decided to swim in it! 

I finally got to try crabbing (I really didn't do anything, but I like to pretend that I'm a real Marylander :) 

One of the coolest parts about living in the DC/Baltimore area is that we can go to tons of concerts. This is Fall Out Boy, more specifically that's a faceless Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy. Tomorrow night, I'm going to relive middle school again by going to see Yellowcard!

Birthday time! 
Apparently turning 23 means multiple birthday celebrations! I was able to celebrate while home, and then also out in Maryland! I have some awesome friends and family :)
Family Dinner with my Maryland family!

No trip home is complete until I get to go to a Rockies game!

I finally tried this whole "let's put bacon on sweet things" and had a maple bacon cupcake. It was interesting...very mapley. I did however, get to eat a lot of chocolate dipped bacon this summer, which was wonderful.

We had our first trip of the fall, which was a baseball themed weekend in Baltimore and DC! I would love to say that the game was fun, but I ended up sitting this one out with some travelers who didn't want to go to the game. I also spent a lot of time driving around DC, because DC's roads suck.

On Saturday, we went to the Sports Legends Hall of Fame in Baltimore, which was dedicated to all things Maryland Sports Related. It was also right next to Camden Yards! While we didn't get to go in to Camden Yards, I did stand outside of it!

 I plan on going to a game there next week, so Camden Yards can be baseball stadium number 4!

This week, we're heading back to Ocean City, MD for a festival! Then it's New York, Disney World, Hersheytown PA, and the cruise!

Also coming up, my 6 month anniversary of working at Melwood! It may not seem like long, but it is flying by!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The End!!

I'm currently writing this post from Colorado, which means that I survived the summer! 9 straight weeks of trips, and one rental group later, I made it through what may have been the craziest time of my short life! There was always something, but I'll try and capture the highlights of each trip


We went to Busch Gardens, which was pretty cool! We also went to a water park and the Revolutionary City. One of the funniest travelers went on this trip, and he kept us laughing the entire time. My favorite memory from this trip was when this traveler went to the Revolutionary City, and asked a colonial lady (who was in full costume) if she knew who John Wilkes Booth was. The lady, not missing a beat, said that no, she hadn't heard of him. This wasn't a good enough answer for my traveler, so he went on and on about John Wilkes Booth. Finally, the lady said yes, she knew him, and started to tell us about him. My traveler kept on walking, not even bothering to listen to her. 

Virginia Beach

We went back to Virginia Beach, and while the first time there was fun, the second trip was difficult. We had a tough group of travelers, and on the last night, one of our travelers sat on the floor of the restaurant and would not move for 45 minutes. That was the low point of the summer, and I'm happy to report that from there, the rest of the summer went wonderfully. I guess it's times like these that remind you to always be on your toes. 
This is how much luggage we take on our trips. This week, I was the lucky one who got to haul all of this upstairs while everyone else went to dinner. Lucky me!

Carolina Beach Tour 

After one horrendous week, we took a tour of the Carolina Beaches. We started in the Outer Banks, made our way to Myrtle Beach, and then back to the Outer Banks. This amounted to us spending a lot of time in a bus, which the staff got to drive. (Oh boy!) It was a fun trip, but by the last day, I was done with driving! 

Myrtle beach was a lot of fun, and we spent about 45 minutes in the ocean, which, for Access Adventures, is a summer record. Another one of my favorite travelers went on this trip, and he was hilarious as always. The best part of this trip was on the last night when we went to a Mexican restaurant, and he ate a ton of food, then proceded to walk around the restaurant, asking everyone to look at his food baby. Inappropriate, yes, hilarious, absolutely! 

Ocean City!

Ocean City concluded the away trips for us, and it was another adventure, but it ended up being one of my favorites. We all finally had the routine down, and it was the last trip. The finish line was so close...just one more sprint and then we were done. 

The first thing I had ever heard about Ocean City is that it's often referred to as Ocean Sh****y because of the amount of clogged toilets AA was responsible for. Unfortunately, we experienced the same thing, but it was only on the last day.
Doris was another of my favorite travelers. She was always smiling, and rocked the floral print every day! She was just fantastic! 

Club Venture

One experience sums up my role of the whole summer. At the end of the last week, we had a lunch cruise around Washington DC. Everyone was going to get to go on it, and after a disastrous drive to DC  (I hate DC traffic soo much!) We were ready to get on the boat. I always go last at any activity, and, just as I was handing my ticket to the man, I hear a loud "No!" I instantly knew that was one of our travelers, and that that would conclude my lunch cruise. She wouldn't get on the boat, so we drove off to find the nearest McDonalds. I drove around for 45 minutes in a two block radius trying to find parking, then eventually gave up and settled for Quiznos. 

After everyone got back, and had a fabulous time (which was the whole point anyway) I had to go pay the bill. As I paid the bill and got off, the gates to the entrance were locked. I started panicking after I couldn't find anyone, and then finally found someone, who told me to push the glowing green button right by the exit. Ooops. 

That's not the only time I've had to sit out while everyone else had fun. In fact, that's part of my job. It's frustrating, sure, but as long as the travelers had fun, that's all that matters. We got to go back to camp and have a talent show that night, and it was there that I realized how much I love this job, even if I have to sit out of the lunch cruise. 

That's it for the summer! This past week has been full of good byes, and it's always sad saying goodbye to everyone. Camp is a weird place. We sleep, eat and work with each other all day for 9 weeks, and then say goodbye. It'll be weird to go back to such an empty place, but we have some very exciting trips planned for the fall. 

I'm spending the week in Colorado, spending my days watching netflix and napping. We're off to the Rockies game, because honestly, what good would a trip to Colorado be without a Rockies game, and I get to go visit my kiddos from my middle school job. I'm really looking forward to seeing them, and hoping that they remember me :) My grandparents are coming down to visit, and we're having a pre-birthday celebration for my Aunt and I. Then it's back to work I go. Since this time last year, my life has changed a lot. At this time last year, I was unemployed, and now, I've been able to work at two wonderful jobs. I've got to meet some wonderful people, and I've done a lot of growing up. Here's to another incredible year!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


There are some days that just don't make sense. Like today, when, after cruising around a water park all day, a traveler wouldn't get off the bus. Now, it's humid and hot in Tennessee, and when you're sitting on a bus, you're just sitting there sweating. So for an hour, we tried to get this traveler to get off the bus, but she wouldn't move. After trying everything, I finally thought to buy her a Pepsi, and what do you know, she grabbed the Pepsi and walked right off the bus.
Pepsi-1, Hannah-0
I love my job. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Drum roll.....dollywood!

We are halfway through the aummer! We're also currently in hour 2 of an 8 hour bus ride to Tennessee, so I'm using this time to catch up on everything, so I figured I'd update everyone! The past two weeks we were at the camp for our retreat weeks. The travelers came to the camp for a week of camp activities, and it was fun being back in my element! After all the fun though, I'm ready to get back to hotel living! 
There were multiple highlights from the two weeks, but one of my favorites was a very intense kickball game! It got a little too intense, and we had some tears, but it was still a lot of fun! 
We also did a secret buddy thing, just like secret Santa, but in July! I woke up one morning to find my hallway decorated, which was so awesome! 

I can't wait for dollywood and Tennessee, but that may be because I don't want to be on the bus anymore :) I'm also excited to get to see some mountains again! Even though they don't compare to the Colorado mountains!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Virginia Beach!

Trip number 2 of 9 is in the books, and I'm glad it is! We're cruising right along through the summer, and I was reminded of how hot and humid it is in Virginia! I'm sure it felt good to jump into the ocean, but our group of travelers weren't too impressed with the ocean, so we stayed under the beach umbrellas for about 30 minutes, then decided it was time for lunch :) Thank goodness Virginia Beach has a lot to see other than the ocean!

 This is a glimpse into one of my many job responsibilities....luggage! Coordinating luggage for 21 people is quite the task! We took over one of the floors at our hotel, and this was the scene on the morning we left.
We spent one afternoon on a dolphin watching boat! We saw a lot of dolphins, but it was hard to get a good picture! I was content just sitting on the boat, it felt good to cruise around! 

This was one of those weeks where I was reminded how lucky I am to have this job. I got to meet one of the best travelers ever. He is non-verbal, but still found a way to be the coolest person ever! The last night, as we were getting everyone ready for bed, he just came over to me, grabbed my hand, and led me around the hotel for about 20 minutes. We just strolled around, and went to check everything out. Eventually, he just led me back to his room, and hopped right into bed. All it took was a 20 minute walk to make me forget about all of the behaviors, issues, and bouts of diarrhea we had dealt with all week. That is why I love this job!
Of course, while we work hard all week, we like to have fun on the weekends. I finally got to see the Rockies play at Nationals Park. Even though it was hot, and everyone ended up sunburned, the Rockies won, and we had a blast! 

These next two weeks are going to be a bit of a break. We're having retreat weeks, which is where the travelers come to the camp and get to do all of our camp activities. I'm looking forward to being back in the camp environment, and also being able to sleep in my own bed! After these two weeks though, it's five straight weeks of traveling, starting with our first trip to Dollywood! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Adventure time in Atlantic City!

It's the first of nine straight weeks of traveling, but we started off with a bang! We're in Atlantic City, which is just like a miniature version of Las Vegas, just with East Coast people. On the night we arrived, it poured rain, causing flooding in the hotel parking lot, which made the first night crazy. But today, the sun was shining!
That's me watching my BATHROOM MIRROR! 

My office for the day

Ocean selfies!

It's been awhile since we've been on a trip, but I was reminded Tuesday just how much work it is! We've had fun gambling, shopping and hanging at the beach though! Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind me that this is my job!

On Saturday, I finally finally finally get to see my beloved Rockies when they come to Washington DC! It's about time! Then, it's on to Virginia Beach for more ocean fun! It's been so much fun getting to meet the new summer staff, and my fellow Access Adventures staff are the best! Things are moving right along! It's been fun getting back into the swing of things!

Monday, May 6, 2013

New York!

Sorry this post is so late! This website it blocked at the rec center, so I have to wait until I’m in town to post this. But in the past few weeks, I’ve been to New York, and hosted a retreat weekend at the rec center.
New York provided a good lesson in why planning is essential to this job! We had some major accessibility issues, and it made me reflect on the ADA laws. I’ve never paid much attention to those laws. When I worked at Camp Courage in Minnesota, our camp was very accessible, and we stayed on the camp, so we didn’t have to worry about making sure bathrooms, buses, and streets were accessible. In New York, there are people EVERYWHERE and they aren’t very polite. It was just another small reminder that I’m not in Colorado anymore.
New york was still a lot of fun! I got to see my first Broadway play! We saw Annie, and it was legit! We’re going back to New York in the fall, and I’m ready to conquer it!
The retreat weekend was fiesta themed, and we certainly had fun! It brought me back to my camp days! We did all of the camp activities, but this time, I was in charge of all of the planning and leading, and it was a tough job! Trying to keep 10 adults occupied for 48 hours was tough, but we made it fun!
One of my favorite parts of the job are the travelers! They keep me on their toes, and they always keep me laughing! It’s been awesome getting to meet everyone, and hopefully they’re having as much fun as I am!
These next few weeks are full of training and planning. Starting June 18th, I go on 10 straight trips. I won’t know which way is up or down, but I’ll get to see some really cool places!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Viva Las Vegas!

Greetings from Nanjemoy MD! I just got back from Las Vegas and all I can say is wow!!! My job is going to majorly fun, but it's also going to be a lot of work!
As for living in Nanjemoy, I've gotten everything set up and I'm all settled in. I'm currently sitting at Starbucks though because this blog is blocked by our wifi, so updates may be a little slow.
So what have I been up to since moving?

Going to Vegas!!!
We had a great staff, a great group of travelers and fantastic weather! (Yay for my first sunburn!) It was crazy to see how quickly the trip came together once we started!
Colorado is under those clouds!

Hanging with Abe at the wax museum

New York, New York!!!

One of the best much fun!

Our group! 
Our hotel at night!

So I learned a lot while traveling with people with disabilities. At first, I noticed a lot of staring. I guess 13 people in a group would cause anyone to stare, but add in people with disabilities and we now know what it feels like to be a celebrity. (Not in a good way) But for every jerk, there were 10 people who were so kind and gracious to us. After a long day of flying, we went to dinner, and the waiter comped our meal. It was so generous of him. If you can't see, it's a 360 dollar bill. So shout out to our waiter at Dick's restaurant! 

I also realized how much patience is required of others when helping any group of 13 people. At every event in Vegas, they want you to take a group picture. Instead of rolling their eyes at the number of our group (as I would have done) They just put on a smile and helped us out. 
I also have to give a shoutout to the Thunder from Down Under show. One of the best parts of the trip. We went on our night off, and it was so Vegas and so great! Again, you could pay $20 dollars to take a picture with them, but it was the best $20 I've spent! Check out instagram for that picture :) 

Next Tuesday, we're heading to New York! I get to spend this week training and planning trips, but I'm really excited about the next few trips. Once summer hits, it's going to be nonstop pandemonium! But I'm ready for it! 

Also, to close this out, I wanted to add to my family that I have yet to be homesick. If you knew me the first time I went to Minnesota to work and when I went to college (both of which were a lot closer to home) I cried non stop, and was ready to quit. But moving to a whole new area of the country hasn't gotten to me. I guess I'm growing up! Although when they did announce that we were flying right over Grand Junction, I was a little homesick, but then I remembered it was Grand Junction :) 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kansas has some really weird Billboards

What does an 8,000 pound prairie dog, a 5 legged cow, a Wizard of Oz wine and a picture of Jesus in a wheat field have in common?
These are all things you can see in Kansas
And these are attractions that are closed on Sunday.
So we didn't get to stop and see any cool attractions on our way out to Maryland. However, we still had fun, and three days of driving wasn't too bad.
 Funny story about trying to drive through St. Louis, the arch is like right next to the road. Like right next to it. Also, it is huge.
 I got to stop in Indianapolis to see friends and family, so naturally we walked around downtown and took pictures with the crazy statues :)
 This picture does not even give this cross justice. It was massive!
 Took a few wrong turns and ended up right next to the Washington Memorial. Also, I hate DC traffic.
So that's the trip! We spent all day today unpacking and getting my room set up! Tomorrow it's off to DC for a little sightseeing, then I'm going to spend the next 6 months being crazy flipping busy! For example, I'm off to Vegas on Monday. Woohoo!!