The good and the bad of leaving home 

I’m off to my next assignment soon. Not heading far, as I’ve mentioned. It’s not at home, but it’s close enough to home that my mother is pleased as punch and is already planning visits. Other than pushing my start date back a smidge, it’s not been much that’s made me more worried than normal about beginning a new assignment. Except… 

One of the things I’m distressed/worried/wondering about is how my appearance will be received. My hair is natural and colored plus I’m proudly sporting a nose ring that I have no plans on removing any time soon. Will that cause issues? 

There’s talk of the appearance of the nurse affecting care, or the patient’s  perception of the nurse’s ability to provide care. I’ll save this topic for another post, but where I stand on that is if I treat you with the dignity, respect, and care you deserve, what does a nose ring and hair color have to do with it? 

This brings me around to the topic that’s been brewing in my head since I’ve been home. 

The Good and the Bad of leaving (and coming) home. 

Many new travelers struggle with leaving the first few times. One of the biggest issues travelers face is homesickness. You’re somewhere totally new with people who don’t know you or what your capable of doing a different routine than what you’re probably used to from home. Add to that being in a new city all a lone and you run the risk of spiraling into depression and succumbing to homesickness. Most people quit if it gets too bad. I’ve always loved being on the road so it’s never been too big of deal to up and leave. I battle the anxiety of a new routine, but have learned to remember what I’m capable of and that makes the first few weeks easier to get through. 

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been traveling for three years, and while I like being home, I find it exceedingly difficult. I’ve been examining why and settled on the conclusion that I’ve changed so much that being home reminds me how much. 

Some of the changes are great. I recognize my worth, I know what I can take on without getting overwhelmed, I know what I won’t tolerate, and I know I’m a good helper. I’m a good nurse. Even when I’m anxious about so many things, I know that. I also know I can be an independent person who goes out and explores without needing someone else there with me. 

Some of the changes haven’t been so good. I’ve grown impatient with others, I’ve fallen into some habits that aren’t healthy (physically or spiritually), I’ve developed a potty mouth ūüė≥, and another of other things that I don’t feel comfortable splashing over my blog today. And let’s not talk about my backsliding as a women of God. Everything has consequences 

It’s also tough on relationships, traveling. I find it easier to move on than take a chance when dating is the way it is currently. It’s hard coming home and seeing everyone in solid relationships, having babies when not sure it’ll ever happen for me. Side note: I’ve wondering how my mother would do arranging a marriage for me. Hm… 

Working at home gets tough because I see clearly what needs changed and I can’t tolerate when I see how poorly the staff is treated by those high in leadership. Church is tough too because they know how I was before and I feel like I’m struggling too much to pretend I have it together like I used to. When you’re out in the world that’s when the test of who you’ll be is given. Who am I right now? Human. Admittedly, I know God can use everything and I need to let Him led. I’m still learning. 

Traveling has helped me become someone better and different. That’s what happens when you’re on the move. Am I where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Yes, I believe that in spite of the struggles I battle against on many levels. I’m stronger in too many ways and I feel like more strength (as a nurse, as a woman, as a Christian) are coming. 

Leaving and coming home is an experience every time. And while I’d much rather stay on the road, everyone has to come home to rest. 

Travel on, Road Warrior 

Hello, how are you? 

I almost went for an Adele joke, but stopped myself. Frerer Jacques came to mind also, but that has more to do with my attempts to learn another language. 

That’s your random fact of the day. I’ve been attempting to learn Spanish since like June. I’m using the apps duolingo and Memrise. Both excellent, free apps that let you listen/repeat/spell/learn any language. I’m not sure I’ll ever be fluent, but I’m getting better at listening to my Spanish speaking patients and deciphering what they’re saying. 
Why is that even important? Because every person I take care of has a right to be understood and communicated with in a manner that respects them and their health. I hear some nurses say they shouldn’t need to know it, but I challenge that notion. You’d want to go somewhere foreign and know at least one person could understand you and help you navigate the hospital. I want to be that nurse for someone. My current issue is I get embarrassed when I try to speak, but I’ll keep at it. 

Which kinda links to today’s topic. 

I was home recently for a short while around Christmas. Working and keeping my mother from being sad with me being away a lot. Usual stuff. 

Anyway, I’d be out shopping or at the mall or at Kroger and someone would say hello or start talking to me. I’m not super approachable if you don’t know me, but I do smile and reply with a hello back. 

I noticed it happening a ton though. One day at the mall some random older gent started talking to my mom. I asked her who he was and she replied, 

“I don’t know. Just some guy saying hello.”

Then it hit me. I’m not in a big city where people barely look at you when you pass them let alone say hi. I’m in small town USA where everyone says hello to each other and your neighbors will watch your house when you’re gone on vacation 

Living in large cities for the majority of my traveling career means I’ve forgotten that was a thing people do. Speak to strangers. I’m used to mass transit where you stand close, but don’t speak. Where wearing headphones is normal. 

Honestly it was a moment where I realized how different I am. It was nice seeing it but also super odd. It’s no longer familiar to me. I also noted the other things not so good about small towns, but that’s for another post. 

I’ll leave it at it being a nice thing seeing and hearing all the warm greetings. I don’t get that when I’m away and it’s pleasant. The perks of traveling is seeing different things and knowing you can always come home.  

Until I’m home again (in March) 

Travel on, road warrior. 

Not Quite Home

About to board a plane to head to Nantucket. Wasn’t even home 48 hours before I had to turn around and leave again. It was two days of doctor’s appointments and errands so I got to hang out with approximately zero people. I promised myself 2 weeks off after this contract so I could just recuperate, which leads to my next thought…

The more I travel the more I notice that home isn’t really¬†“home” anymore.

West Virginia, the place I’ve lived for 20+ years is home, but it isn’t where I feel comfortable anymore. It’s weird heading to places I know and feeling weird¬†for being there. I’m so used to being a stranger that being in the familiar no longer inspires the same safe feelings in me.

I think that’s the thing with chronic wanderlust and not being able to stay still. I’m much more comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s strange to say that, but being mobile makes me feel stable. Knowing that I’ll be somewhere different in a few months,¬†weeks, or days is exciting to me. It’s normal! If I sleep in my old room a month total in a calendar year, I’ve been home a ton. I’m far more acquainted with hotel beds than my own. I find I like it that way.

Losing that feeling of being comfortable at home is a little sad though. It’s not the same. There’s certain obligations when I’m home that I don’t have when I’m on the road. My relative anonymity and lack of additional expectations adds to traveling’s appeal.

Please don’t misunderstand. I love being home when I am. I love visiting with friends and family, but I don’t feel that same settled feeling others get when they come home. That renewal comes not when I come home, but when I leave. And I’m always leaving.

The road has become my home. The unfamiliar has become familiar. I find comfort in change and being somewhere different. Two years of travel for my job and previous years of traveling for leisure has made me this way. Permanent wanderlust without a cure.

Am I the only traveler with this problem? Surely not! Wanderlust isn’t a single person disease. Come on, admit it, you’re infected, too!

ūüėČ

travel on, road warrior.