Recommended Spotify listening: Traveler by Chris Stapleton
I’ve often been asked what part of travel nursing is the hardest. People always assume it’s the moving every three months or the long drives to get to the new locations. It’s not.
The hardest part of travel nursing is making the decision to do it.
I remember thinking it would be fun or a great opportunity, but I could never actually do it. How was I going to make friends? What if the hospital had different practices than I was used to? How could I leave my friends and family? It was just too difficult to think about.
It all came down to the fact that I didn’t want to leave the comfort of my everyday life. Who does? When you have a routine and know what’s coming next it makes life so livable. You know what days you’re going to work, you know what people you’re going to work with, and you know exactly where you’re going to be laying your head when you get home. It makes life easy.
But I challenge you to think about that. Is life supposed to be easy? Are we meant to become hollow versions of ourselves following the same routine just because it’s what we know and what makes life stress-free? Think about it. Do you remember your drives to and from work?…The grocery store? I sure didn’t. And that scared me even more than making the decision to uproot my life, change my career path, and leave everything I knew behind.
The thought of a mundane life fueled my signing a contract in Colorado Springs, CO. The strength it took me to sign that contract was something unbelievable. I made my recruiter stay on the phone while I read every single word of every single line of every single clause in that online document. I told him it was just to verify that I approved of the terms, but I had no idea what I was looking at. If I’m being honest with myself I was looking for any reason to back out of the decision I was making. I was looking for any small word that stood out to me so I could go about my already established easy life. The word itself didn’t matter…it’s what it signified. In its presence I would have been able to continue down my current path of staying in my career until I found a husband, had some babies, and quit my job to be a mom. 24 year-old Hannah hated that concept, but also yearned for it all in the same. Alas, the word I was looking for I did not find—I signed my first travel contract and in that moment squashed any lingering thoughts of what I thought my normal life would look life.
The moments after were pure panic. But something else was there too—exhilaration. Before that moment in my life there were exactly zero occurrences where I could have described myself as being exhilarated by something. My life was going to turn completely upside down, and I made the decision let it-nay, I caused it. It was exhilarating.
Yes, sometimes finding housing is hard. Sometimes you forget to pack something you need and you have to buy it again so now you have duplicates (I personally have so many salt shakers I’m surprised there’s salt left in the ocean). And sometimes you have to be alone, and that’s a hardship like no other. But the hardest part about living this amazing travel life is deciding you’re ready to abandon every other conventional path laid before you, and take a massive hokey-pokey sidestep onto your own path that you get to pave as you go. The roads you have to travel may be long, but the memories and the freedom you gain from this crazy, unconventional life last so much longer.