We had the good fortune of connecting with Joanna Otero and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joanna, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
When I was 17 years old, I enrolled in a creative writing course for the elective portion of my high school curriculum. I got to give my highly anxious, scientific, mathematic, & logical mind a much needed vacation by leaning into my right brain and learning how to write short stories, flash fiction, haikus, and other forms of poetry. I found so much peace, clarity and healing simply by putting pen to paper. At that time, I knew I loved writing- but didn’t think I could ever make a career out of it. I certainly couldn’t tell my immigrant parents who toiled so hard that I wanted a free-spirited, artistic & creative career. So I chose the safe route: I began nursing school that next year at the very ripe age of 18. More time spent thinking scientifically, mathematically, logically and you guessed it: highly anxious. Between anatomy & physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, organic chemistry, statistics, pathophysiology and all the core nursing classes- we were told that nursing is an art and science. Somehow, I never understood the meaning of that until nearly a decade into my career, when I switched gears from traditional Western care and began incorporating more of an Eastern and holistic approach. Holistic nursing highlights the patient/ client as the expert of their own life. Holistic nurses empower clients to take control of their own health destiny and to write or re-write their own stories, and not the ones that they are told.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am currently writing a memoir about the transition into my holistic nursing career & coaching practice while my husband and I helped guide my mother to cook, breathe, pray, move and love her way through Stage IV cancer to No cancer. None of it was easy. It still isn’t easy. But here we are, hopefully inspiring others to take that leap of faith, too. Even if the odds are against you or your loved one.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The greatest part about this question is that I literally got paid to be a San Diego tour guide for guests while I was working at a plant-based retreat center. My favorite spots include Balboa Park, La Jolla Cove, Coronado Island, and of course hiking at Torrey Pines. My favorite spots to indulge in plant-based goodness are Green Door Cafe & The Village.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are countless individuals, organizations, mentors & books that have shaped me into who I am today. The main person that encourages me on a daily basis to be my truest authentic self is my incredible husband, who just so happens to be a mega talented all-around artist. Singer, songwriter, photographer, designer, and amateur plant-based chef. A real renaissance man. A gentleman. The man of my heart and father to my newborn son. Not only does my husband encourage me to write & share the stories we’ve lived, he has exposed me to a world of what it’s like to truly live out your boldest dreams. He also taught me how to peel and chop onions, no joke.