Graphic for episode 107 of The Waiting Warriors Podcast titled OCONUS Assignments: How To Change Struggles To Growth For Your Military Family with a picture of the military spouse guest speaker, Anna Larson, on it.

OCONUS Assignments: How To Change Struggles To Growth For Your Military Family with Anna Larson – Episode 107 The Waiting Warriors Podcast

OCONUS Assignments: How To Change Struggles To Growth For Your Military Family with Anna Larson - Episode 107 The Waiting Warriors Podcast

The Waiting Warriors Podcast

OCONUS Assignments: How To Change Struggles To Growth For Your Military Family

By Michelle Bowler

Graphic for episode 107 of The Waiting Warriors Podcast titled OCONUS Assignments: How To Change Struggles To Growth For Your Military Family with a picture of the military spouse guest speaker, Anna Larson, on it.

Are you heading into an overseas assignment as a military family? Or maybe you’ve already been moved by the military and you are wondering what the heck you’ve gotten into? This episode is for you! 

Hear Anna Larson’s story, the many places the military moved her family, and how they were able to turn everything into an adventure instead of letting it break their family. 

Connect with Anna on social media :

Episode 107 -
OCONUS Assignments: How To Change Struggles To Growth For Your Military Family

Michelle Bowler: Hey, Waiting Warriors out there. Welcome to another week on the podcast. This week we have Anna Larson on the show with us. Welcome to the show, Anna.

[00:00:08] Anna Larson: Thank you! I’m so glad to be here today.

[00:00:10] Michelle Bowler: We are happy to have you. So Anna has like quite the resume. So she has she did work 18 years of corporate marketing and program management, which I know was like a big, that’s quite a feat as a military spouse to like have that long of a career. Claps to you, . 

[00:00:34] Anna Larson: Well, I got really lucky with the company I worked for.

[00:00:37] Michelle Bowler: That’s good. 

[00:00:38] Anna Larson: Yeah, , they allowed me to telecommute and when I moved overseas and wasn’t able to work, they put me on extended leave and that was the only reason I was able to do that. But, Yeah, that’s a blessing. Yes, very much. 

[00:00:51] Michelle Bowler: Now though, she’s a solopreneur, as a copyright and marketing strategist, she writes for the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs and Army Wife Network and is the director of operations for a military spouse founded nonprofit called Pink Warriors, Angels of Texas, which i know, well, I won’t like blurt out her, but I know some people involved in that as well. And that is like an awesome foundation is, or organization, whatever. 

[00:01:23] Anna Larson: Yeah, organization, nonprofit. Yeah. Foundation, whatever you wanna call it. 

[00:01:28] Michelle Bowler: And she’s been a military spouse of 16 years and a mom of two. So welcome to the show. We are glad to have you. You have a lot of experience, obviously; 16 years. Or you’ve just kind of been like sitting in one spot, 

When Military Spouses Get Told "You Know What You Signed Up For"

Anna Larson: no, definitely not. Yeah, so when I met my spouse, he was taking a break from active duty. , he had gotten out of active duty with from his first marriage. It, there was anyway long story there. When we met, he wasn’t a soldier, so it was very interesting. When we got serious, he was a in the guard, you know, but there’s, it’s a little bit different, the National Guard.

And if you are not familiar with Army or military life in general, then you don’t reallyget a big taste of it unless they deploy. Mm-hmm. . And so when we met, and he wasn’t in the military, and then he said, I really miss it. It’s like what I love, I wanna go back. And I’m like, okay. I had no clue. really what that meant?

Now, 16 years later, we’re getting ready to retire and I know what it means.

 Now you know what you signed up for. Exactly. Yeah. Which is interesting because I feel like we get told that a. as military spouses like, especially like the first deployment or the first PCS, like when we’re going crazy or something, people are like, well, well, okay, not people, it’s not a large population , but has been said to military spouses like, well, you know, you knew they were in the military.

You knew what you were getting into. It’s like, I don’t think

 I would say definitely until you’ve experienced it. Yes. No. No. Okay. Yeah, so I mean, I was, I was, I, I was established. I had a home. I owned a home. I had, you know, I worked, and military life was a huge upheaval of my norm. I had no idea. What it was gonna bring. I, I love it. I grew to love it. It very much fits my lifestyle very well.

Yeah. I love to travel, right? I like to move around. So every few years, PCSing was no big deal to me in that sense. But, you know, it’s definitely not your nine to five off to work back home kind of job schedule. so, Yeah, I 

don’t even think it’s close to nine to five , 

right. Lately it has been this pandemic like 

9:00 AM to 5:00 AM 

well, five is pt, so no, you have to just keep going.

24 hours . Yeah. . 

[00:04:12] Michelle Bowler: Yeah. You can’t make nine to five work at all. 

How To Navigate Military Moves Around The World As A Military Spouse

Michelle Bowler: You mentioned like your, your love to travel and all that kinda stuff. Where have you guys. Been, I mean, you’ve been in for 16 years. 

[00:04:25] Anna Larson: Yeah. So well, a number of places around the states we were at Fort Waka in Arizona, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Yeah. Fort Bva, Virginia. Currently at Fort Hood, Texas. We spent a few years in Germany and Vilsack. , which I loved, and traveled all over Europe from there. And then we had a special one-off assignment where we were attached to the State Department and sent to Kampala, Uganda. And so we were stationed in Africa for two weeks.

No. Yeah, 

[00:04:57] Michelle Bowler: you don’t, you don’t hear 

[00:04:59] Anna Larson: about that every day? No. It was, it was a unique they were exploring whether one MOS could. Fit into another mos and the answer was no. But we had fun for the two years that we were exploring that . Yeah. 

[00:05:15] Michelle Bowler: What was the, I mean, cuz like I know so many people have questions, like, especially newbies about what it’s like to live overseas, live in Japan, live in Germany, which I wanna talk about in as you were in Germany and then you traveled so far.

You were in Africa? Like what was, what was that like? Because I’m, I’m, I mean, I’m assuming you’re not just traveling Africa the way you would Europe, you know what I mean? Like when you’re in Germany, 

[00:05:45] Anna Larson: No, it was, it was definitely different. So first of all, I think the biggest difference was we were not attached to a military base.

We were part of the embassy community, but we lived on our own little compound surrounded by 10 foot high walls and razor wire. And we had guard gates with the only keys to enter and exit our home. So we didn’t even have keys to get in or out of our own. Well, the house, but the property, I should say, right?

So they had to let us in and they had to let us out and it was 24 hours a day, seven days a week like that. And so it was a very different environment. It was very hard to get around town. Traffic is, Horrific. Plus they drive on the wrong side of the road or the other side of the road. Maybe that’s not the wrong side.

Yeah, the other side of the road. And there is no such thing as like traffic signals or lines on the road or stop signs even. You just kind of go . So, so that was always an adventure. And so for. Embassy people were all over the city. So to get from one side of the city where I lived to see a friend on the other side of the city could be up to a four hour drive.

So you really were limited to the area that you lived in and the people that were there. So our community was very small. And you know, my kids aren’t heading off to the park playing. We weren’t taking the dog to the dog park. We weren’t going for walks, even up and down the street necessarily. So a very different lifestyle from what we were used to.

That’s, that was probably the biggest one. Yeah. How do you, 

[00:07:20] Michelle Bowler: how do you cope with. , especially when a military spouse tactic took to adapting to this life is to engage and like immerse yourself in the community and all that kinda stuff. How did you switch gears and what did, what did coping and adapting look like for you?

How Do You Adapt and Cope With Living Overseas As A Military Spouse

Anna Larson: Well, for us we were very fortunate to have a a full-time housekeeper who also acted as a nanny for me. Mm-hmm. . So I was able to work at the US Embassy. I, I ended up working there and that helped. in terms of being able to be part of the embassy community and seeing people every day outside of my home.

And then I’m a homeschool mom, but for those two years, both of my kids ended up going to international schools for that, just for, partly for the international school experience. And their curriculum was really good. So that was very different too for my children to, you know, they’re used to being at home with mom.

and mom being their teacher, and now they’re in the school system experience. And I think that was really good for them because the international schools are also not standard schools. So my daughter’s swimming for half the day and they’re going on adventures and anyway, that was really fun for them.

So that’s kind of what it ended up looking like. It was just, we did the best we could with the small community that we had, and then we did, once we got comfortable in our own. We would take walks down to the local, well, I wouldn’t even say local, it’s like a maybe a two couple blocks away, and it was this patch of dirt and it’s where the boat of drivers would hang out.

Boats are like the motorcycle taxis. And there was people there that would vend food, so they’d make things like, there’s a food called Rolex that they would make, which is rolled eggs in a tortilla, kind of with their chapati bread, which is their, their type of bread. And then they lived in these little metal shack hut things right there.

I mean, no bathrooms, no. No kitchens, no grilled bedrooms. They were teeny tiny little shacks. So we got to know that community very well too, because we would go down there and we would buy some food from them and the talk to the boda drivers and you know, and my part of that was having my nanny to help guide me.

Her name was Ms. Dorothy. So is Dorothy, to help guide us through kind of that process. You know what Ugandan life is really like when you’re not mm-hmm. a US citizen living on a compound , right? So yeah. 

How To Help Your Military Kids Cope With Living Overseas

Michelle Bowler: How did that, do you feel like that impacted your kids and was like super eye-opening or was it just kind of like a fun adventure?

[00:10:08] Anna Larson: Well, they were little, so the impact for them I think was more the. the, I mean they, they were little. The thing I love about military kids is that they are so resilient and they make friends so easily. Right. I mean, it didn’t matter where we go, they, it didn’t matter if they didn’t speak the same language.

It didn’t matter what they looked like or their economic status. They were like best friends cuz they were the same age. Right? Yeah. Or both boys or both girls or whatever the case might be. So that’s really what I saw there. I think the. It wasn’t so much as an impact on them other than the fact that we did talk a lot about.

Why they lived, how they lived, and why they, their clothes looked the way they looked, you know? And we would take down our, our hand me downs and, and give them to the children. And I think in that sense, we had some impact on them, understanding the, the disparity between economic levels and what that means like in the long term.

But more than anything, I think they just. being around people that were kind and loving and that’s where we, what we were doing and where we were at. Yeah. So, yeah. 

[00:11:17] Michelle Bowler: Well, and I love what you said, like kids just make friends with anybody their age or anybody. Yeah. You know, that’s, it’s really just anybody their age, you know, they don’t have to speak the same language, and yet your kids just loved every.

and I know like right now race and everything is such a touchy subject, but I think that’s a really cool aspect that some military kids get is that you get absolutely no. It’s like there’s no reason unless it’s taught, like there’s no reason to. not love somebody. You just make friends and it just becomes a like, well, yeah, like they’re my friend.

You know what I mean? 

Military Moves (PCS) Can Help Military Kids Become More Cultured Than Typical Kids

Anna Larson: Just a Absolutely. And I think that military life really lends itself to that. When you’re allowed to travel to so many different cultures. Mm-hmm. , you have a huge opportunity to just. Immerse yourself in someone else’s way of doing things and figure out why they do it that way and why they love that and mm-hmm.

in turn, I feel like we can learn to love that too. Mm-hmm. and appreciate, if not love it, appreciate it. If that, yeah. 

[00:12:27] Michelle Bowler: Were there some things that you took away from specifically like the Ugandan culture? . 

[00:12:35] Anna Larson: Well, we love Chapati. . Yeah. Her food. We, yes, we love Chapati. They have these really cool brooms, , like they’re made out of like straw, but they’re very wide and they sweep so well.

And I’m like, why in the world do we not have these awesome rooms in the United States? Just little things like that that I really loved. , think they’re so respectful of people. Yeah. Very, very respectful. They do not, I was called madam, like across the board, you know, if you don’t or auntie, if you don’t know someone, you and automatically provide a title of respect.

You don’t always see that everywhere you go. And then just like there are joy for dancing and movement and life in general, we went to a number of cultural. You know, and part of it is that’s their show and what they do. But I saw it in daily life with Ms. Dorothy. She would dance with my kids. We had a trampoline, we, we did PCs over there with a trampoline and set it up.

And I’ve never seen . I’ve never seen an adult love to be on the trampoline as much as Ms. Dorothy did. We also had a gardener that came part time and he was six foot. Four and he would get on the trampoline. Hilarious. I mean, just like this enormous man just jumping and just laughing and his arms in the air and just loving life.

And I think that was, that’s something I definitely hope that I took away from them. Just, yeah. And dancing too. Yeah. Yeah. I 

Living In Germany As A Military Spouse

Michelle Bowler: I love that. So what about Germany? I mean, I’ve gotta imagine that you weren’t living on like a compound and you could walk out a little bit more. Although I know some places in Germany like it’s.

A little bit different, but what about the place you were at? How did you 

[00:14:28] Anna Larson: Vilsack? Vilsack? Yes. Close Rose Barracks. It’s called Rose Barracks, is the actual military base, but Vilsack is the small town near it. So Germany was, that was one of those duty stations that I cried buckets of tears when I had to leave.

I just, I could have stayed there another. Five years and been very, very happy there. We lived on post but there’s just something about European life that they’re so much, they’re so relaxed and they, they they really enjoy, they enjoy the finer things, I guess, in life. So it almost felt like living in this European movie where we’d go have a lunch of.

You know, fresh bread from the bakery with the little slice of cheese and some grapes and my kids playing in the park area and you know, it was just, it was a really wonderful life. I wasn’t able to work when we were in Germany. and I only had one child at the time, and then my son was born there while we were there.

And then my stepdaughter came and lived with us while we were there too. So I had, I had children and wasn’t working. So we ex. Explored. We went to castles and we went to fests and we went to see different markets and explored what the stores offered. And, and I was not very good about learning German , but , but thankfully the German people were very good about knowing English, so it all worked out

Traveling With Kids In Europe As A Military Family

Michelle Bowler: That’s awesome. Yeah. How, what, how did you kind of get over the hurdle though, of traveling with. little, like you would’ve had to have young kids, especially if you gave birth there. Like a lot of people would say, oh, I have little, so I can’t. What made you say you could? 

[00:16:23] Anna Larson: I, that’s a great question. Honestly, I’ve never, I’ve never said to myself, I can’t travel cuz I have a small child.

It’s more like, how am I gonna make this work with the small child because I’m going, yeah. So. Maybe I’m just very fortunate in that my kids are good travelers or maybe I made them good travelers cuz I insisted on them traveling. I dunno which one it is. I think it’s 

[00:16:47] Michelle Bowler: probably that one. . Yeah. My humble opinion.


[00:16:51] Anna Larson: yeah, so we would take long road trips and, and I think maybe just stopping often on the way and, and accommodating their needs, you know, knowing that when they’re little they need to get out and run. So if that means a side of the. Stop and there’s a corn field and they can go run in it for five minutes and that’s what you do.

Even if it’s not a park or a, yeah. Normal rest dock you might see. You know, like a park or something like that. So we would just stop and we would run and, and then, you know, I think maybe just my excitement for being there. Maybe it rubbed off. I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers for that one. I know that that’s hard.

Right. Like little, you have to pack a ton of extra stuff. for littles, , and we didn’t do really long trips, like month long trips or anything. Mm-hmm. , it was always a weekend here, maybe a week there. But we did get to travel the majority of Europe and that was really amazing. Yeah, 

[00:17:50] Michelle Bowler: I, I love that though, because it’s like, that doesn’t mean it was easy that there weren’t any bumps in the road.

or any like hurdles to get over. It’s just that you decided I’m in Europe and I’m gonna go see Europe, so what do I have to do? Do you know what I mean? Like 

[00:18:13] Anna Larson: Yeah. 

[00:18:14] Michelle Bowler: Be, because I feel like we have this choice and I, I like to think of myself mostly as I’m gonna go on the adventure, but I. . I’m not quite like you.

Where I still feel though like, oh, . 

[00:18:29] Anna Larson: There is sometimes some dread, right? I mean, I have a, my daughter’s now turning into a teenager and there’s a little, sometimes some dread of, oh good Lord, what is it gonna be like for the next week with her on the road? Cuz she’s grumpy. But I think it’s. You know, you just have to insist sometimes.

Sometimes people don’t know what’s best for them, and so when you push them into an uncomfortable situation and then they realize they love it. Yeah. That’s, you know, maybe that’s my philosophy for the travel portion of it. My kids are gonna experience it whether they want to or not, because it’s important for them to learn and to grow into wonderful human being.

to have those experiences mm-hmm. that are uncomfortable sometimes. Yeah. 

[00:19:18] Michelle Bowler: What, what do you love so much and get out of the, the travel and the cultural experiences like that? 

[00:19:29] Anna Larson: I think a lot of it is just the people that I meet and then how. each of them are and what they do and what they love. When we were in Africa, the job that I had at the embassy was for pepfar, which is the presidential plan for, for AIDS relief, is basically what it is.

So I ran a small grant program and had 12 grantee program. That were all over Uganda, that were invested in helping their community with either people who were infected or affected by AIDS and and the H I V virus. So my job ended up being traveling to these very small remote communities in the middle of nowhere.

And in going to see their program and talking to the people that they had worked with and seeing the kind of change it had brought within their community. So I mean, that right there was two years of like, , amazing experience after experience and I got to do things I never thought I would do. One was a beekeeping program where they were teaching people how to keep bees and make honey to earn a living, and I’m put on a beekeeper suit and I’m smoking the beehive and I’m out there surround, covered in bees, and I’m thinking, what the heck am I doing?

[00:20:53] Michelle Bowler: That’s so cool. 

[00:20:55] Anna Larson: Yes. Yeah. And there was a lot, there was a lot of experiences like that. And just seeing as I would go out to those communities in Africa, especially when I would go to those communities and knowing that I was going to see a program where there were people that had been, their lives had been severely affected by something that was very tragic and, and still seeing them making an effort to.

Do their best at whatever it was that they were doing. I loved that. So it was a little different in Europe, there wasn’t so much tragedy in Europe. It was more the history and the, the different cultures. And what they loved, you know, food in Italy and drink in Italy, I should say. Both of those come on, are very high, but in Switzerland it was the nature and the outdoors and you know, we hiked through glaciers and went into caves and up mountaintops and skiing.

And so it was just, it depended on where it was we were going and what really that culture appreciated most. Mm-hmm.

[00:22:03] Michelle Bowler: with, with the theme of like soaking in the cultures you’re around and being engaged in the community and like really taking advantage of the opportunity to be there. How do you go from doing that in Europe, in Germany to two, like somewhere like you’re at Fort Hood, , 

[00:22:25] Anna Larson: Fort Hood, Kansas, , like 

[00:22:28] Michelle Bowler: where. . I know right now it especially has like a bad rep in the news and stuff, but like it’s the middle of Texas that’s not glaciers in Switzerland or the beautiful fields in Germany.

Like how do you, or I guess, have you been able to still find the adventure and the culture and the appreciation for where you are and who you’re surrounded by at a place like Fort Hood? You know what I mean? Like Yeah. The comments when we’re like,

[00:23:03] Anna Larson: I will caveat this with my, when I heard we were coming to Fort Hood, I did cry . Yeah. It was on, it was on my like list of four duty stations I never wanted to be stationed at, you know, fingers crossed that the Army doesn’t send us there. But now that here, we’re retiring here and we’re staying in the area, so, Yes, I’m going.

So what I’m, here’s how I’m gonna say yes, you can absolutely find adventure when it’s not someplace exotic. So you may not know that there are mammoths that lived in Texas and you can go see their bones. Cool. Just right up in Waco area, you know, 45 minutes away and they have a dinosaur NA or state park, a dinosaur state park where they’ve.

literal dinosaur footprints in rocks, you know, that are fossilized. And so there’s, there’s still so many adventures. There’s waterfalls and, and part of it is I love to be outside and I love nature and I love camping and hiking and those kinds of things, so that makes it very easy to fall in love with someplace.

Is when you go out and you explore what they have around. We live just a couple of miles and 20 minutes from a lake, you know, and last summer during the pandemic, my kids and I were out there every day from nine. Am until about 12:00 PM for the 30 hours of fun. And then we come home because it’s 110 degrees here, which is not my favorite thing in the world.

Yeah. But 110 degrees here. And then we come home and do our schoolwork and or my business work and be here at home for it. But it’s just part of like telling yourself I need to be proactive. Get out and do something and find what it is about this location that I do love. If you’re a food, Then go find those small restaurants.

If you like to dance, there’s gonna be a dance club someplace close by. If you love nature, there’s no end of adventures You can find in national parks, state parks, hiking trails at your local community college. I mean, just, you just gotta go searching for it. And I think sometimes we get to do this station, we’re just like, Ugh, I can’t believe I got stationed here.

There’s nothing to do. And it’s that automatic decision that you’re not gonna like it. Mm-hmm. That’s kind of how I ended up at Fort Hood. But now, like I said, I like it here and we’re staying , which is nothing I ever thought would come outta my mouth just a couple of years ago. . Well, 

[00:25:36] Michelle Bowler: especially since it was like that was on your list of I don’t wanna go.

Yep. Now you’re gonna retire there. in 16 years and, and you know, you listed off a number of places you’ve been, have you ever been to a place that you didn’t grow to love or find adventure and like fun things to do in 

[00:25:58] Anna Larson: No, there are different individual tiny things about certain places. Like if you’re at Fort Campbell and you go to land between the lakes, I’m really sorry, but you’re gonna be covered in ticks when you come out of.

Like that just is part of living in that location. So did I love that? Absolutely not. But was I gonna stay away just because of that? No, definitely not. So, yeah, no, there hasn’t been a single duty location that I have not loved. Even Fort Waco, which is in the middle of nowhere, Arizona. Yeah. We looked at so many ghost towns.

Yeah. , 

[00:26:33] Michelle Bowler: ghost towns. That, that was gonna be one of my next questions cause Yoka. , like, so we’ve looked into it because we have family in the Mesa area. Yeah. And my parents are in California, so we’re like, well, we’d only be like six hours from my parents, which is way closer than 26 hours. And we’d only be like two or three hours from Mesa, more big Diamondbacks baseball fans.

So, you know, like, yeah, there’s still something we could do, but we’re like, okay. But on a daily basis, Yes. What would you do? But like, there’s even ghosts, like 

[00:27:12] Anna Larson: yes, ghost camp. Tombstone isn’t very far from there. There, what’s the name? There’s some little town. I can’t remember the name of it. It invades me right now, but it, it’s like this artsy fary little town.

It’s got a copper mine you can go and do a tour in, but it’s got like weekly art walks and these posh little unique boutique restaurants and galleries. You know, if you, if you like that kind of thing. And then Tucson’s only an hour. . Mm-hmm. . But, and you’re only two miles from like Mexico. Not that you’re allowed to go there necessarily.

can’t just cross the border by like, climbing over the mountain. Yeah. But you’re close to, you know, so many new places. Yeah. I highly recommend it. Waco was a good adventure for us. Yeah. 

[00:28:03] Michelle Bowler: How do you, or how have you like, out about the adventures because like it, I feel like it’s easy to just say, oh, we’re going to Waka or, or wherever it is and be, they’ll be like, well, it’s not, Tucson and like, you know, it’s easy to hear about or know things in that are, that are fun in the major cities.

Yeah. How, how have you found out about the adventures and the cool little corks of each little 

[00:28:35] Anna Larson: base? I think probably I would say. Because I ask the locals, it’s not So other military families, sometimes they’ll have the answers, but more often than not, it’s the local people that will say, oh, I’ve been here forever.

You should go hike this place. There’s a hidden spring back there that you can skinny dip in if you feel like it. You know? So they’re the ones who can 

[00:29:01] Michelle Bowler: we ? 

[00:29:04] Anna Larson: I. I plead the fifth

[00:29:11] Michelle Bowler: We don’t have to take confess. Yeah, . 

[00:29:15] Anna Larson: But that’s an option when you know a local and they know about the spring, that’s hidden away. So no. Yeah, so I think it just, if you ask the people that, lots of times I ask the librarians, the local librarians, a lot of times they’ve been there for, you know, 50 years and they’re 50 years before that.

And then of course they always have their tourist things that you should look up on their city or county websites, but it’s, it’s the people that have lived there the longest that are gonna be able to tell you where to go, where the adventures really are gonna be. Yeah. 

[00:29:51] Michelle Bowler: Yeah. Mine has al, or at least so far, and maybe it’s just because.

I grew up in a family of dentists, so I’m like comfortable. I’m oddly comfortable at the dentist’s 

[00:30:02] Anna Larson: office, , 

[00:30:04] Michelle Bowler: but it’s always like our, our, the, the receptionist at the dental office, like the one that’s a little bit older. Not the new girl, but the one that like, she’s a local. She’s been here for a while.

That’s where we’ve gotten the best food recommendation. the best sites to. 

[00:30:24] Anna Larson: Yes. The librarian though. That’s a good one. Yeah, librarians are good. I mean, it’s whatever you can find. I mean, it’s hard to ask like the grocery checkout girl, Hey, what’s your favorite place around here to go visit ? So it’s the people that are, you know, where they’re maybe in a job that they’ve been established in for a while that have been around for a while.

And they almost always have something. If they haven’t been there, their friend’s friend has been there. You know, and once you, once you find something that sparks your interest, no matter what it is, you know, or they’ll tell you, Hey, don’t miss out on this local festival or party or carnival that we have every year.

That’s another big one. Cuz you never know until you get to a town what their big event is. Yeah. Every year. And sometimes those. Really fun. Yeah. And different and unique. And you’re like, what in the world is going on here? . But it’s a good adventure. It’s a big deal, but it’s cool. . Exactly. Like why are we, why are we bowing down to cherries?

I don’t understand this whole cherry. Festival that I’m involved in where people are dressed like cherries and eating cherries and cherry jam and cherry pie. Anyway, you know what I’m saying? Like where was Cherry? Was that, 

[00:31:44] Michelle Bowler: is that a true 

[00:31:45] Anna Larson: story? No,

[00:31:53] Michelle Bowler: that now I wanna start a cherry festival. Great. That sounds like something that would happen on like Gilmore Girls in that small town. Yes. 

[00:32:05] Anna Larson: Yeah. You know what that, yes. So I love the Gilmore Girls because wasn’t there just such a good feeling in that town? And I feel like that’s what I’m looking for everywhere I go is that kind of community feeling.

Yeah. No matter where I’m at, they just have fun 

[00:32:20] Michelle Bowler: with everything. They have fun with Thanksgiving, they have fun with. Yeah. Yeah. We. military spouses could create that community. . Yeah, 

[00:32:30] Anna Larson: we totally . We just call it Gilmore Girl Land and nobody that doesn’t watch the show or love it can be in there, . You gotta watch the show, then you can come visit.


[00:32:45] Michelle Bowler: So last question, what’s your key to thriving that you wanna share with your fellow 

[00:32:50] Anna Larson: waiting warriors? Well, I would say after our conversation here, that being proactive about getting out and doing things and not worrying so much about whether or not you’re gonna like it mm-hmm. , just trying it out and making sure that you just take time to try to love a place before you decide automatically.

It’s. , it’s not what you want. So, but as far as like life in general, I mean, I think that applies to it. So proactivity, invest in yourself and military life can be. very, it can bog you down really, really deeply. Mm-hmm. . And so as long as you’re able to kind of wade your way through that, and remember that you are a unique individual that loves unique things.

You don’t have to love everything military. You don’t have to only be friends with military. You don’t have to only be within your military community. You will find so many new adventures and wonderful things out there to explore. , 

[00:33:52] Michelle Bowler: I love it. And the, yeah, just like with the traveling theme, like, or theme, military life presents such a unique opportunity and I know, like, I know I like, I’m about to have kid number five.

I know it is hard to take on those adventures, but I also know how. how much benefit there is for me and for my kids. And then just like watching your face, like li like if you’re watching on YouTube, like you’ve seen Anna’s face light up. I think you can hear it in her voice, like talking about Uganda and the, and Germany.

But then also Chuka like, you know, like there, there are adventures in life out there for us if we’re willing to, to not. to not only like take the opportunity, but I think it is, I think you chose proactive. . Yeah. Really smartly. That’s not the right word, but you guys know what I mean. 

[00:34:57] Anna Larson: Yeah, well, you have to be proactive about it.

If you sit around waiting for adventure or fun or waiting for something great to happen in Fort Hood, I’m sorry, it’s not gonna be there, . It’s just, if you’re coming this direction, I’m just, I’m really sorry. But if you sit around waiting for adventure, Fort Hood is not the place you’re gonna find it. But if you go seeking it, So many great places around here to explore and find and really cool people and great restaurants.

And you know, I love our local library , so it’s one of my favorite places to go. Yeah. So you’ll, you’ll find things that you love about it. . So when you leave there, then you shed tears and you say, I’m sad to be leaving here, but on my next adventure, my next PCs, 

[00:35:47] Michelle Bowler: let’s go find the next librarian. That’s 

[00:35:49] Anna Larson: right.

That’s right. I love librarians. I should have just been one. Maybe I will be one. Who knows. Yeah, that’s not 

[00:35:55] Michelle Bowler: over. That’s right. You, you’ve got plenty of time. Right? 

[00:35:59] Anna Larson: It’ll be my retiree job. I’ll be like, I just wanna be a librarian. . Yeah. That’s a good, 

[00:36:06] Michelle Bowler: especially if you’re just like, . Like, you’re, you are the adventure woman, so you’ll be like, yes.

You’re checking this book out. Did you know that there is a spring and a waterfall where you can go ? 

[00:36:18] Anna Larson: I have, I haven’t yet to find a hidden spring here in Texas. I know that they exist, but mm-hmm. , I’m a little afraid of rattlesnakes sometimes, and so hiking through the, the back woods, rattlesnakes are not my favorite thing.

not prepared for that yet. I need 

[00:36:36] Michelle Bowler: for a. About how to keep rattlesnakes away. 

[00:36:41] Anna Larson: step one, right?

[00:36:46] Michelle Bowler: I love it. Well, thank you so much for being on the show. If somebody wants to connect with you, what is the best way for them to do that? 

[00:36:53] Anna Larson: Well, so you can always visit my website, which is And that’s for copywriting, social media strategy, marketing strategies, all that kind of stuff.

Mm-hmm. Or I’m on social media, Instagram and Facebook. At, IM nomad. And you can find me there or connect with me on LinkedIn if you’re wanting a more professional connection. Yeah. Perfect. . Yeah. 

[00:37:19] Michelle Bowler: I just wanna send you like a, a DM about like, okay, what was your favorite adventure here was . 

[00:37:27] Anna Larson: I would tell you, just send me a dm.

I’ll be like, okay, when you go, this is what you have to do, . 

[00:37:33] Michelle Bowler: That’s the way to do it. Yeah. Well they do so much for coming on the show, Anna, and waiting more years remember, just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it has to be miserable. Have a good week guys. 

3 Ways To Set Up Your Relationship For A Successful Deployment/TDY/Training

3 Ways To Set Your Military Marriage Up For A Successful Deployment, TDY, or Training
Michelle Bowler- military spouse - creator of the Bulletproof Your Reintegration Course

Author - Michelle Bowler

 Army wife of 11+ years, mom for 4 girls and a boy in heaven, and hardcore believer that it’s possible to have a thriving marriage, family, and military life.