So, I will start at the beginning…… (this may be long ): The end of April 2016, my friend, Risherrah, and I went on a moms only-no kid- weekend trip to the mountains of Western North Carolina. – Hendersonville, NC (one of favorite places (so far) in the world).
I felt as if I needed this trip, to get away and refresh for a bit. It was a relaxing weekend. We did a lot of driving and talking and drinking coffee and more talking. We decided to get on the Blue Ridge Parkway, ride around and enjoy the views. Along the way, we stopped at the Folk Art Center.
While at the Folk Art Center we were looking at the national park passports for kids. The kids take their passports to different national parks and have it stamped. Each park has their own unique stamp. Risherrah and I were discussing what national park was the closet to us when a man nearby answered the question for us. We got into a discussion with him.
This man very knowledgeable about the parks. We came to find out that he and his wife sold everything they own at home and bought a travel trailer. They have been traveling the United States with their two children. The husband works a month or so at a time and then they travel about nine months out of the year. They travel frugally and take advantage of free activities and campsites that are low in cost.
Their philosophy was this: why give corporate America the very best years of your lives and then hope to live/make t to retirement where you then may or may not be able to enjoy it. They themselves were in their early to middle 20s. I remember standing there thinking that their story was amazing and realizing that this is my dream. I have always wanted to travel and see the world.
As we continued to talk I mentioned that I am a nurse and they both told me that this lifestyle would be easy for me to maintain as a travel nurse. I’d never thought that a travel nurse position would have been something I would consider because I enjoy the comfort of being familiar with my surroundings.
After Risherrah and I left the Folk Art Center we continued to talk about how we would love to be able to travel as this couple is. We both left feeling that this meeting was one of things that were meant to be.
Listening to their story made me think that they are living my dream.
I am a critical care nurse. For years I thought my dream was to be a stay at home, homeschool mom. Well, that never panned out for me and I just decided to embrace the fact that I have the best of two worlds- I worked 2 twelve hour shifts a week and I was home with my children most of the time. I’ve come to see nursing as a part of my ministry and instead of fighting working I’ve come to enjoy it (most days). I had considered travel nursing in the past- for about five seconds. Look y’all, I’m an introvert and I love my comfort zone.
BUT, after I left that Folk Art Center in NC all Risherrah and I could talk about how amazing it would be to pack up our families and travel like that. That enthusiasm didn’t end there. When I got home I shared the story with my husband and children. We talked and talked and talked about the possibilities. I never thought I could be a travel nurse. I didn’t think it was suitable for my personality. Something I came to realize though is that I am the only one that can hold myself back. The only thing holding me back from doing this (aside from my husband’s approval) was my own fear. Well, I refuse to live in fear. My excitement about the possibilities far outweighed my fear of new people and environments.
So, on May 1st 2016, at almost midnight, hours after returning from my NC trip, I filled out an application for a travel nursing company. The next morning a recruiter called me. On May 4th I was submitted to 3 different hospital postings. On May 5th I had a telephone interview with a nurse manager from a hospital in Florence, SC (about 2 hours from my home). On May 6th I was accepted for that position and signed 13 week contract. Also on May 6th I resigned from the unit I have worked on for eleven years, a health system I have worked for over 17 years.
My assignment and my new career as a travel nurse began June 6th,2016. I said good-bye to my co-workers on my unit. This unit was where I became an ICU nurse. I have learned so much and made so many wonderful friends, leaving was sad, but the new journey held way too much potential and excitement not to take the leap of faith.
So, here began a new journey for us, me and my zoo.
January 2017 we were living in our 32- foot bunkhouse Class C RV. A family of four- husband wife and two daughters aged 9 and 12, plus our dog, Skeeter, and turtle, Elvis. We left our home, family and friends to set out on adventure. After much planning and preparation we packed up and headed out to explore the country.
I decided that I would email the couple that I met in North Carolina and share our journey and how they are a part of it. Here is the email I sent: