Chances are, you became a travel nurse primarily for the chance to experience new cities, meet new people and have new fun.
Of course, if that’s not happening you’re missing out on many of the best perks of your job. Perhaps you’re finding that you’re too tired after work, you’re too shy to “put yourself out there” with new people or you’re simply not taking the initiative to research the best attractions in and around your temporary home.
Whatever your situation, you’ll want to turn that around so you can fully optimize the advantages of being a travel nurse.
As renegade author Hunter S. Thompson once said, “Buy the ticket, take the ride."
“If you think about it, (that’s) exactly what travel nurses do,” writes the Gypsy Nurse. “They take the chances a lot of people can’t bring themselves to take. The rewards are off the hook, but even so, it takes some bravery, and a lot of gumption to step into the arena.”
As such, think about these 15 suggestions for fitting more travel and fun into your schedule so you can add more experiences to your travel scrapbook — and make more great memories — while you have the opportunity.
- When possible, choose a shift that aligns with your personal clock and gives you time to explore key places.
- Recognize that fun experiences may not just fall into your lap; they will take initiative and planning.
- Before leaving for your new city, go online and Google the city's 20 top attractions. Multiple sites should offer descriptions and objective reviews so you can determine which places are likely to be of interest to you.
- The Gypsy Nurse recommends creating a “vision board” as a tangible representation of your vision for your new assignment. “Cut out pictures of things you want to be, do and/or have in your life,” it recommends. “Take words and/or sayings that inspire.”
- Remain open to meeting new people. Show interest in their lives by asking them about themselves, objectively listen to their responses and opinions, seek common ground and refrain from personal judgments. People who can admit they don’t know everything are more apt to learn and grow.
- Don’t hesitate to sight-see on your own. That allows you to spend your time doing exactly what you want to do, without regard for the schedules or preferences of companions.
- Let co-workers know you want to explore the town so they can offer advice about favorite locales. They may offer to take you themselves, but don’t take it personally if they don't; they may lack time, money or energy or simply be too introverted.
- Vow to partake in at least one weekly activity that takes you out of your comfort zone. “What we fear most about challenging ourselves is that we may fail and/or get hurt in the process,” notes psychiatrist Dr. Abigail Brenner in Psychology Today. “Truth be known, most of us have the ability to rise to the occasion, overcome hurdles and obstacles and actually succeed in accomplishing something new and challenging.”
- Make sure you try the trademark foods of your new town, and be open to sampling other new foods as well.
- Resist the urge to vent about your job to co-workers, and never badmouth fellow employees at new assignments. It’s all too easy to gain a reputation as a negative person who isn’t worth spending time with.
- Be an advocate for your own health and well-being so you feel good enough to optimize your time off from work. Eat right, exercise, get plenty of sleep, practice stress-reduction techniques and avoid self-medicating.
- Don’t stay out so late partying that the morning alarm clock is your enemy. No experience is worth jeopardizing your job for.
- Use social media to determine whether you may be able to reconnect with friends and/or family members who live in or near your new city.
- When possible, bring a friend or family member for all or part of your assignment. The savings on lodgings could present the chance for a fun and affordable shared vacation.
- Weekend road trips can be your friend. Kyle Schmidt offers tips for websites and apps that can help you plan optimal itineraries on Bluepipes.com.