Traveler stories

Traveler Embraces Adventures of the Southwest


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By Melissa Wirkus, staff writer

Adventure and excitement never seem to elude Jeanne Alford, RN, a critical care nurse on assignment with travel staffing company American Mobile Healthcare.

Currently on assignment in Capitola, California, Alford has been all over the Southwest in search of friends, fun and fierce adventure. After working at the same facility in South Bend, Indiana for more than 25 years, Alford decided it was time for a change and packed her bags to head out West.

“I retired from my marriage of 30 years and then retired from the hospital, and then I asked myself, ‘What was I going to do?,’” she said.

Traveling was the first thing that came to mind.

When Alford’s travel assignment took her to New Mexico, she embraced every opportunity to learn as much as possible about the state and its people.

“Whenever I had a few days off, I would travel around the state of New Mexico and explore,” she said. “I never knew what we were going to do or where we were going to go. I had such a wonderful time in New Mexico—so many things to see and so many things to do.”

During her stay in Albuquerque, Alford had the opportunity to visit 16 of the 19 Native American reservations in the state. “At the Zuni reservation we stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast,” Alford recalled. “At the Acoma Reservation we were able to tour a pueblo on the mesa that has been there since 400 A.D.”

During her visit to the Acoma Reservation, Alford also had the opportunity to walk the trail where the Acoma women hiked with pails of water on their heads down incredibly steep stone steps.

New Mexico proved to be more adventure than Alford originally bargained for, as she soon found herself 183 feet above ground exploring the famed Pueblo cliff dwellings.

“The cliff dwellings were absolutely spectacular,” Alford said. “We had to go down a ladder to get out. When we were coming down I almost went over the edge.”

In addition to experiencing the Native American culture and history first hand, Alford also has plenty of modern day adventures to speak of.

“We visited the town of Madrid, which is featured in the movie, ‘Wild Hogs,’” she explained. “We met a man, Tom, who had a bit part in the movie. We also visited the local bar that was featured in the movie and enjoyed their live music.”

Alford has since traveled all over California and New Mexico, and enjoys reading about the places she visits to have a better understanding of the history, culture and people.

“I like to combine the travel and the history,” Alford said. “I like to read about everywhere I travel to, either before or after I go.”

Once her current assignment in California is over, Alford will continue her adventures out West, moving up north to explore the Pacific Northwest.

“I’m always looking forward to my next assignment—the next great adventure.”

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