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Resident at Morning Pointe of Franklin is a lifelong traveler

photo of Nancy Barber at Morning Pointe of Franklin TN

Nancy Barber, a 77-year-old resident at Morning Pointe of Franklin, Tennessee, has been traveling since she was a small child. She has been to all 50 United States and a dozen European countries!

Travels in Youth

It all started when Nancy was very young. Her father was a builder, and although she was born in Jackson, Tennessee, their family moved frequently as his projects changed often. She remembers living in Minot, North Dakota, when she was 4 – a very cold and windy location.

When Nancy got older, she attended college at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and started dating the very adventurous Roy Meadows. Together, they got involved in a lot of outdoor sports and travelling.

Nancy and Roy backpacking
Nancy and Roy backpacking

“We usually went every weekend somewhere,” Nancy remembered.

Roy proposed to her on his knees on a rock in the middle of a stream after they summited Mount Le Conte in the Smoky Mountains.

Nancy earned her bachelor’s degree in education, and after Roy graduated, they moved to West Virginia. Nancy spent 18 years working in a variety of educational settings, including teaching, launching a gifted program, and working in other administrative positions.

Nancy and Roy bicycling
Nancy and Roy bicycling

The highlights of those years, though, were the weekend and summer trips they took.

“Roy was always coming up with something new that he wanted me to try, some sport,” Nancy said.

Among those sports were biking, caving, backpacking, kayaking and snow skiing. Each summer, they traveled out West to spend days at a time backpacking. They learned to sail and even went skydiving twice. But kayaking was a favorite.

“We ran a lot of rivers in West Virginia and other states,” Nancy said. “We did up to Class 5 rapids. There’s a chance of death but not a guarantee.”

One of Nancy’s favorite kayaking trips was after Roy had transferred to Texas and they kayaked the Rio Grande.

photo of Nancy kayaking a rapid
Nancy kayaking a rapid

A Year Abroad

Nancy became a solo traveler after the couple divorced. She went to Ohio and pursued a doctoral degree in computer education, but then she realized she was burned out on teaching, so she did not complete her dissertation.

It was time for something different. When she turned 40, she took a year to travel around Europe alone. She started with a home base in England, where she worked through a temporary agency in information technology to support her pilgrimages. During the year, she visited England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Italy, France, Spain, Greece and Germany.

In many places, she bicycled from place to place and stayed in youth hostels.

“Wales was so spectacular,” Nancy said of the scenery and the friendliness of the people. “Women would come out of their houses and ask me to tea.”

On one trip, she bicycled in Scandinavia and then dropped down to Germany.

“I was still bicycling at that point,” Nancy shared. “Then it rained for 18 days and there weren’t any youth hostels there. I stayed in a fishermen’s inn, and I was the only woman in there.”

After continued bad weather, Nancy packed her bicycle and herself on a train and returned to England.

There were ups and downs to the year’s experience.

“When you do that kind of thing, your goal is to see and experience things, but your mind is so involved in keeping a roof over your head,” Nancy shared. “You spend a lot of time getting food, learning the language, and keeping yourself and your clothes clean.”

For all the hassle, though, Nancy would do it all over again.

“You meet a lot of people,” she said. “I talked to people who could speak English or who knew enough of it to converse, and I got to see what it was really like to live in those places.”

When Nancy came back to the States, she decided to take her career in another direction: nursing. She went on to earn a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate in nursing science.

Her new career provided Nancy with further opportunity to work as a travel nurse. Her first job as a nurse was at a small hospital in Idaho, but she went on to work as a nurse and nurse practitioner in California, Key West and other locations.

“My favorites were Alaska and Hawaii,” Nancy said.

photo of Nancy sailing
Nancy sailing

As time went by and Nancy got older, she traded some of her sports activity for hobbies like quilting and crocheting and walking with friends. Her walks were no small strolls, though, as she continued to walk more than six miles at a time.

Coming to Morning Pointe

Eventually, health issues necessitated a move to assisted living.

“I had lived by myself for 37 years,” Nancy said. “I liked living alone. I pushed it as far as I could, but I just got to where I couldn’t live alone. I moved to where I have a niece and a nephew, where I have support, and I think it was a good decision.”

Nancy did her research before selecting Morning Pointe of Franklin.

“I went to seven or eight assisted living facilities and then picked three,” Nancy said. “I went back to those and talked to them more in depth. Morning Pointe is a visually appealing place, and it has a lot of activities. I was interested in that because I want to keep as active as I can. Here, they are interested in your being happy and well cared for. I think it’s a very good place to be.”

And Nancy stays active! She especially loves the daily exercise class and the musical entertainment that frequents the campus. She also enjoys playing bingo and card games.

As she looks back on her life, she is most proud of her time working as a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

“That’s an area that’s hard to work in, and I feel like I was able to make a difference,” Nancy said. “I also enjoyed all the travel I did. I wanted to see the world, and I saw a lot of it.”

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