Well, the time is here. For those of you new to me, my 5 former street dogs I collected in the Peace Corps Eastern Caribbean, my guy (also collected in the Peace Corps… but at the end of his service in Uganda) and I are making a cross-country trek to start our new chapter on the East Coast.
I’ve been involved professionally in animal welfare since 2011 (started the Vincentian SPCA with an amazing group of Vincentians and ex-pats as my primary project in the Peace Corps) and after working in Humane Education for a couple of years at Woods Humane Society then Volunteer Services at The San Francisco SPCA, I’m headed to an organization I’ve wanted to work with since first learning of it-The Humane Society of the United States. I’m beyond stoked. I’ve accepted the role of Volunteer Manager for the Animal Rescue Team. More on the team, here.
I’ve been so fortunate to work for organizations and with groups of people who I truly respect and love. This field is no cake walk and you must have a solid group of support, inside and outside of this realm, to balance and ensure you’re not giving more of yourself than you have. As I often tell volunteers, colleagues, and myself (!): you cannot give 100% if you’re at anything less than that. So lots of deep belly breaths, yoga, hikes, friends, dogs, nature bathing, good beer/wine and writing have helped me over the years.
We’ve been living in Berkeley, CA. the last two years-me commuting 11 miles to work in SF and Nick commuting 5 minutes to a veterinary clinic where he worked-yes, we both LOVE animals. He’s from Rhode Island and has lived in New England and worked in D.C. before and after his Peace Corps service, so he’s no stranger to this crazy white cold stuff they call “snow” nor the actual changing of seasons. Me-I’m born and raised in Cali and other than studying abroad in Deutschland for a year in undergrad and living in the Eastern Caribbean for two years while in the Peace Corps, I’ve grown pretty darn used to wearing my Rainbow flip-flops and “active wear” (yoga pants and a tank) year round… this will certainly be an adventure! Hence, the blog reawakening…
So, I will do my best to document our drive across America with 5 dogs. We’ve shipped our life in 2 containers and my mini cooper-all of which is currently en route to Silver Spring, MD., where we’ve been beyond lucky to secure a beautiful home that’s perfect for our little active family-huge fenced backyard, near a 9-mile park to D.C., and super close to my job! Tomorrow we leave Sun City Lincoln Hills, CA. (where my mom and her guy recently moved), where we’ve been warmly welcomed in their lovely home on the golf course. Special thanks to Rick for taking Nick out to a RiverCats game, dropping us off at the airport to pick up our sweet rental ride for the journey, and for being overall so patient and understanding with having 8 dogs (they have 3, well 2 and a half, but that’s another blog post for another time) in the home for a week!!! Only one “love-nibble” from Yuki, I count that a wild success and have really enjoyed spending time with he and my mom! We leave from here for Salt Lake City-roughly an 8 hour drive, some 640ish miles. That’s the first leg of our journey, then we’ll be going to Littleton, CO. < Waterloo, Iowa < Chillicothe, OH. < MARYLAND! We’re taking our time and staying with new and long-time friends along the way. We’d love good vibes for safe and peaceful travels <3
If you’re into hashtag following, I’ll be posting on Instagram (handle: kierstenlovesmutts) as I’m inspired with the hashtag: #roocrewcrossamerica2017. Look us up :)
Other than that, enjoy some pics so far-our Berkeley hobbit bungalow boxed up, loaded, Wolfie arriving at Grandma’s, Sandy making out with Uncle Roger, Wolfie mackin’ on Aunt Bonnie, beautiful mama, snacks for the road, mom making us vegan choco chip walnut cookies (because she is the best), Nick enjoying retirement, and Roger and Nick talking baseball in the pool: