Mal - 3,659 miles, 117 hours
I've made it to Salt Lake City! Actually, I've not only made it here but have been around for 10 days already. Time has been flying by which has been somewhat of a relief to be honest. Unlike all the other cities on my sabbatical, Salt Lake was the one and only that I had not only never been to, but also one in which I know absolutely no one. Because of that I was a bit nervous coming into town that it may be hard to get plugged into the city quickly during my 4 week stay. As you may be able to tell by my lack of recent posts, the city has welcomed me with open arms, and I have met some really amazing people so far.
As has been my plan in each city, I joined a climbing gym on the first day in town. It's called The Front and not only is it an amazing space for climbing, yoga, and working out, but the people here are also incredibly friendly and welcoming. I took a couple classes the first weekend in town, and my two other classmates both happened to be nurses! We had a great time learning together, and after only knowing them for roughly 24 hours, they had already invited me to a trip down to Maple Canyon for some camping and climbing later that day. God bless all you nurses! Always so kind and caring.
So, after just a few days in SLC I found myself climbing late into the night using headlamps with a couple people I'd known for a day, and a handful of others I'd just met that night. Amazing the kind of things that can happen if you put yourself out there and keep an open mind. The majority of the other folks in the group also happened to be nurses (y'all like to stick together I see) and in fact, they were all travel nurses! We spent the night trading travel stories from all over the US around the campfire, and the next day got to climb till our hearts were content.
Since getting back from the canyon, my volunteer work at The Road Home has begun. The Road Home (TRH) is a homeless shelter in downtown SLC with another location in the suburbs for families. They provide emergency shelter and case management services to try and support those trying to transition back into homes. I'll be supporting the shelter through their various volunteer programs that include helping with day-to-day operations, like managing the desks at the shelter or working in their donation warehouse, or supporting some of their weekly programs for individuals in their shelters, like a book club for kids, teens night out, and study group.
Unlike at the food bank, I'll be working much more with the individuals directly supported by the organization. I've already had the chance to interact with some of these individuals and so far the experiences have been all over the board. On my first day I pulled up to the family center with my motorcycle and was immediately surrounded by a group of young boys in awe of my Harley. They smiled from ear to ear as I revved the engine and then got a chance to play with them inside. That same day however, I overheard a fight being broken up between some residents and things got pretty ugly. I think this juxtaposition will be somewhat of a constant during my time here in SLC, but I look forward to helping the shelter in a variety of different ways, and engaging with all the individuals here looking for support.
I can't wait, and can't believe, I get to live with you in just a little over a month! Time is flying by here and I'm sure before I know it I'll be rapping on your door. Love you to bits.