Leaving home as a travel nurse can be tough. Other times, it can be the greatest adventure of our lives. In our Wanderly community, we love taking time to chat with travel nurses and all traveling healthcare professionals. Hearing about their journey, story, and what they’ve learned is something that inspires all who are in this field of work. We’d love for you to e-meet Karen, a Travel Nurse in Southern California who’s embracing her sense of adventure, discovery, and freedom.
My name is Karen and currently, I’m a travel nurse out here in Southern California. This blog post isn’t necessarily about my assignment but rather my experience in leaving my hometown and starting over somewhere new.
Where it all started
Originally I’m from a small town in Southwest Florida where everyone knows everyone. From preschool to elementary, middle school to high school, and all throughout college. While this may seem like a cool idea or a wholesome comforting experience, this may not always be the case. While there may be a lot of perks to growing up in a small town, there are also a lot of downfalls. One is the ability to grow and I don’t mean this as in ‘growing up,’ but in the sense of developing and evolving into another version of yourself. A different, or maybe even better version.
When you grow up in a small town, people meet you at a very young age. You establish a lot of relationships and friendships with people throughout the years and suddenly, a perception of you is built. This, unfortunately, makes it extremely difficult to grow into another version of yourself, because people don’t stop seeing you as the person they once met. Sometimes you outgrow things, places, and people, even when those who surround you haven’t.
I find myself more daring and curious than ever now. I jump at the idea of diving into different cultures, styles, foods, and hobbies. This is why I decided to leave and start over someplace new. So I did. I finished my contract as a core staff nurse in Florida, packed up my belongings, and traveled to Vegas, Canada, and Hawaii before ending up in Southern California.
Time to spread my wings
I moved here without knowing anyone or anything. No family, no close friends, no one at all. At first, it was a little scary, maybe even depressing, but those feelings all faded. I met a lot of people during my first travel contract. All different, but all with similar goals– wanting to travel, to be free, and have an adventure. Nobody had preconceived notions or memories of one another. Rather than meeting the person you were, they met the person you were evolving into. This was all a refreshing feeling. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I could be myself.
I still go back to Florida time to time just to visit old friends and family. It took me leaving for them to see me as the person I saw myself as. They no longer remind me of who I was, but rather who I am and what I’m doing with my life. I tell them life is better for me now that I’ve left, while also respecting that their life is better having had stayed. When I’m not working a travel assignment or picking up shifts per diem, I’m taking road trips along the midwest or flying to another country. This is my life now. I no longer live to work, but work to live and travel nursing has provided that lifestyle. All I worry about now is laughing and smiling with friends who I have met along the way. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Say hello to Karen and give her a follow here. If you’re a travel nurse in Southern California just like her, make a new friend this summer.
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