Wanderlust Hygienist

In My Story, She's Enjoying the Journey by Barb Stackhouse

Seventeen days, 5400 miles, Harley Davidson motorcycle, and a Backpack!  This either scares you to death or creates an internal excitement making you just a bit jealous.  Who really gets to do things like this?  

Seriously, it was the trip of a lifetime. 

Yes, I did ride my own Harley motorcycle across the United States during the summer of 2001.  Now, I wasn’t alone…my handsome, loving, and equally adventurous husband rode alongside on his own Harley motorcycle along with a buddy of ours.    

As a kid growing up with 3 brothers in rural Indiana, we didn’t travel much and never seemed to go very far.  Our circle of life and family was close.  That didn’t stop me from dreaming.  

I love to read and as a young girl living a pretty simple life, books took me away on adventures.  They let me solve mysteries and introduced me to imaginary friends.  I could take myself away and feel the experiences I read about.  

Having 3 brothers also meant I did a lot of ‘boy’ stuff growing up…like riding mini-bikes and playing baseball.  I held my own and was always out to prove I could do it too.  

Fast forward to my first true love, high school proms, and yes, dates on a motorcycle.  I did indeed marry the farm boy next door.  We were high school sweethearts and he loved motorcycles and adventure just as much as me.  

After settling down, and having our 2 sons, it became apparent, the motorcycle had to go.  It wasn’t practical anymore and we needed a 2nd car.  Truth is our first responsibility was our children so taking the risk of riding a motorcycle during that time just didn’t make sense.  But our love of ‘riding’ never died.  

I went to college and came out on the other side as a dental hygienist.  The perfect career for a busy mom of 2 growing sons.  And it gave us the extra money to start enjoying some amazing family trips.  Travel became a regular thing for our family of four.  

Motorcycle dreaming

As the boys grew and were more independent in their high school years, we started dreaming of a motorcycle again.  I remember the salesman telling my husband how lucky he was that his wife actually approved of and wanted him to buy a motorcycle.  I was all in.  The adventures were calling, and we were ready.  

At about the same time, I started back to college to further my education.  I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Dental Health Education and began teaching part-time as a clinical and classroom instructor in Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting.  The next step seemed pretty clear, so I enrolled in a Master’s degree program in Educational Leadership.  

By this time both sons were in college and life had changed dramatically.  There was this sense of freedom.  We could do what we wanted and live where we wanted.  I started dreaming of adventure again but this time in a new way.  

I had my own Harley motorcycle and we were riding on the weekends taking short trips building up my confidence on a larger size road bike.  The ‘big’ adventure out west was a game-changer.  Oh, the stories from that trip!  We had fun!  

After that, I began to think, “what if we didn’t have to live in Indiana anymore?”  I was so tired of winter gray skies. I had fallen in love with the west during our motorcycle travels in the summer of 2001.  

We all know what happened that September 11th.  Life and time suddenly became very precious.  It took another year before we made the move but long story short, we sold our belongings and moved to Arizona…because…we wanted to!  Who does that?  We did!

Life became simple again. 

It felt like we were starting over.  Arizona weather was way better than Indiana and that afforded us more motorcycle riding time.  We also found out we love desert adventures and purchased our first jeep.  More travel and more company to entertain filled our lives with joy!  

I transferred and enrolled in another Master’s degree program in Educational Leadership and set about getting my Dental Hygiene License in Arizona.  I had to take the clinical board exam all over again.  On the day of the exam, I remember feeling like the ‘mom’ to a bunch of young ladies I’d never met before.  They’d all just graduated from Dental Hygiene school and were so nervous about passing this exam.  My only thought was, “I better get a 100 on this exam!”  And yes, I did.  

It was through a person I met at church that I was introduced to Dr. Michael Schuster, a dentist and practice management consultant in Scottsdale, AZ.  During my 12+ years of working at The Schuster Center, I grew both personally and professionally.  I learned so much and am forever grateful for my experiences there.  

Then just when you think things are humming along, life changes.  Both our sons decided to settle in Nashville, and both had that special ‘girl’ and were getting serious about marriage.  We then experienced a sudden loss in my husband’s family.  It was time to move back east.  I hated to leave my beloved Arizona, but I was equally excited for the adventure of living in Nashville, TN.  We moved in December of 2011.  

Fast forward–2020

I’ve now had my own business for 3 years.  I have been a Profit First Professional and Profit Adviser for over 2 years.  The Profit First for Dentists program is a reality that has benefited many dentists already.  

Our family has grown to include 2 daughters-in-law and 3 grandsons.  They all reside here in Nashville.  My hubby and I regularly enjoy live traditional country music and dancing.  Our favorites are the Texas 2 Step, the Waltz, and a Fox Trot.  

It doesn’t end there. 

I continue to develop programs that serve dentists.  Continue to upgrade and expand Profit First for Dentists.  And, I continue to coach dentists and guide them to their own success!  My passion for dentistry and the business side of dentistry is stronger than ever…especially now that we are in the middle of the COVID 19 crisis.  

If you’re reading this after the crisis is over, I hope you are well, and I hope your business is well.  What we know is this; there will continue to be ups and downs in the economy.  I’ve personally lived through many of these cycles.  There will always be corrections and economic downturns.  If you have a solid accurate plan in place and you follow the plan, you’ll weather the storm and come out on the other side stronger for it. 

If you’re a wanderlust like me, Cheers to great travel and adventures.  Or, if you’re a homebody, I also extend Cheers to you for the enjoyment you find at home.  And yes, I too love home!  Even though I’m a wanderlust, I always love coming home.  The security that home provides allows me to recharge & refocus following those periods of adventure.  

Dental Hygiene & Dental Coaching has been and continues to be a big blessing in my life.  I am honored to serve all those who have put their trust in me.  It humbles me greatly.