well, I am completing my first travel assignment here in Yuma, AZ. I have learned a lot here for my first experience with this. pro’s and cons, and feel like I will be able to tackle my next assignment with even more confidence. I have met a lot of new people, made some new friends, and really have enjoyed myself immensely. I would say the best thing I have done, was in getting to know people. this has been an outstanding experience for that. if I had to break it down into top 10 things I have learned it would be the following.
1. Research Your Surroundings. I discovered after I had already been here for a while and had spent quite a bit of money on a rental car, that the cabs are ridiculously cheap. I could have saved myself 500 dollars my first 3 weeks here.
2. Don’t be afraid to be unconventional and take risks. I rented a motel room for the first week I was here, then met someone in orientation who needed a roomate. it has been an awesome experience. not only have I saved money, but I have made a really great friend. If I stuck to the traditional route of provided housing or keeping to myself, this would not have been nearly so financially lucrative, nor would I have developed this friendship.
3. Search out your transportation options way in advance. I lost money coming out here because it was kind of last minute, and the travel options were limited. if I had researched things a little more, I would have found out I could fly into a major city and take a shuttle to my location, saving me time and money.
4. Portable Internet. This is a must. everything is online now, and while I brought my laptop and I have my iphone, I did not have real internet access for most of this trip. I assumed I would have it in the apartment, but it was more challenging to get. I ended up getting something through my phone company that is portable and I can hook up to 5 wireless things into it. for 50 bucks a month, it can’t be beat.
5. Travel Light. I have too much crap with me. I have to buy another suitcase to take the stuff with me home that I have now. its really not necessary. half of the clothes I brought with me I have not used, and there are things I wish I had.
6. Have Distractions. its very lonely being away from your family and friends when you travel. you don’t notice it on the days you work, but on your days off, you have to find things to do. its especially hard working night shift, because you feel like such a zombie on your days off.
7. Talk to your neighbors and co-workers. I have gained a lot of tips and information by networking with people. just by being open and friendly, I have learned new things and gotten great tips on local stuff. anything from where to eat, to what to do on your day off. the local people can help you, and the other travelers can offer pointers.
8. Be Flexible. I have floated all over the hospital, and had as much work as I want. I try to be all about what I CAN do, not what I WON’T do. it has put me in good standing in the facility, and really helped me financially.
9. Be Goal Oriented. I have to remember why I am here and what I am doing this for. I make small little goals- get through this week, earn x amount of money…it makes the time go by faster and makes it much easier to adapt.
10. RELAX. this is about the experience, the journey, the adventure of being somewhere new. just roll with it. it is fun being somewhere I don’t know! yes, some people call it being “lost”…I call it exploring. you have to have the right personality for travel nursing, and you have to be flexible. nothing is perfect, no place is perfect. if it was, they wouldn’t need travelers. but its exciting, and its temporary. so if it sucks, it will end eventually. and it is all about what I make it.