I can work with that

And I’m a year older!

We’re post birthday (welcome to me in Year 33), and I’ve already veered off my tentative blogging schedule. My original intention was to have a twice a week posting, and last week didn’t produce said activity.

Look, I’m not going to sweat a schedule. I’m just going to be happy I manage it at all. We can’t be picky when we’re out here seeing the world. I’m conquering town, cities, states, and countries over here.

In case you’re wondering, my weekend was filled with pickles and lots of food. Picklesburgh, set on the Roberto Clemente bridge near PNC Park, was an interesting experience that reminded me of why I love the opportunities that traveling provides me. And why I’ll never have pickle lemonade if I’m ever offered it  🤢

You can see a lot by going not so far from home.

Pittsburgh is a short jaunt up the road (hour and some change depending on how long it takes you to drive), and the short drive brings you into a city with its own culture. Steel City, the home of Heinz, a city with a history rooted in industry that’s shown itself to be far more.

It’s interesting to cruise around a city that at times feels like it’s struggling to grow out of its industrial slump. I’m not going to lie, it reminds me of D.C. and it’s constant struggles with gentrification. The rundown houses butt right up to the hipster breweries. That’s any major city though, so I can’t fault Pittsburgh for the pains it feels at times.

East Liberty has a huge Target that seemed to draw people from far and wide into its doors. You pass the orchestra house and the ballet, both tucked into buildings that appear to have one time held factory work. Lawrenceville is home to many a hipster restaurant, and is the setting for an ice cream place whose idea, I was informed by someone, originates from Thailand. Check out NatuRoll, if you’d love some ice cream with a side of fanfare. Head over to the strip district for cool bars and a great (and wicked busy) Argentinan place. Gaucho, oh Gaucho, delicious food that makes your little heart sing. Stuck near the airport? Head to Settlers Ridge for Giant Eagle… I mean, a strip filled with stores and food to keep you entertained.

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Stuck at home? I believe every city has its strong points. There are things I do like about home and I’ll have to express that in a post sometime. The thing to remember is getting out. I don’t know how many native dwellers have told me they’ve lived somewhere their whole lives and never visited any of the major landmarks.

If you can’t travel, explore where you live. There’s simply no excuse. Festivals, farmers markets, parks, trails. Free, free, and free. When you know it, the city leaves its mark on you, so let it leave its mark.

In the immortal words of Stephen Stills, if you can’t be with the one you love, honey love the one you’re with. 

I’ll take my own advice every time I’m home.

Travel on, road warriors

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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 😳, 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 

An update of sorts

Well, the first 8 weeks ended and I am so glad to be starting vacation. 

It was tougher than I thought it would be, but everything is a learning experience. I will be returning at the end of the month because I have no reason not to. I’m clinging to the saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

I was thinking about the things I’ve learned in the last year of traveling and here’s what stucks out. 

  1. No place is perfect. No matter what there are personalities and politics that make every place trying to work at 
  2. Attitude is everything. I can’t make everyone love me, but I can check my attitude and try putting forth my best. 
  3. Fake it until you make it. No need to explain this point. 
  4. Orientation can’t tell you how a floor will be. If I went by how my orientation at this place, I would’ve believed this assignment was set to be my best. 
  5. There is good in every crappy instant. 
  6. For a traveler, the end is always coming. 13 weeks, 8 weeks, 26 weeks. Doesn’t matter, we aren’t permanent. We can leave the crazy politics, personalities, and poor assignments. There is an end. 

So we’ll see if I actually end up back there. I’ll work hard if I do end up there and save money for a rainy day. If they cancel me, there are other places that need a traveler. 

And just to remind everyone: I am there to help. Not to take your crappiest assignment or be dumped on, but to bolster the thin staff and fill the gaps in. Not to take your job or your money, just to help. 

I start my 6 day sea-sailing adventure today on which I will be doing as little as possible and not thinking about work. Picture blue seas and me eating two appetizers every night. All will be right in my world. 

Travel on, road warrior 

Somebody’s Baby

If you see my mother over the next couple of weeks, give her a hug for me. Thanks

Leaving is a double edged sword in this business. Sometimes you’re excited to leave a place, hospital, assignment for a variety of reasons. You’re counting down your 13 weeks and chomping at the bit to get away.

I’m learning that there are times where leaving is hard…

Traveling means saying “see you soon” to your family. I started my cross country trip today (a first for me to travel to my assignment via car so that has its own anxiety tied in).

My mother always gets sad when I leave. Every time.

I never claim to understand because I say I’m a big girl and we should be used to it by now. I mean, I’m a little sad, but I’m also nervous and excited about something new.

Mom tells me that no matter how old I get, I’m still her baby. I realized how difficult it was for her to send me off this morning and it hit home. She kept referring to the Subaru commercial with the dad talking to the little girl driving the car. You know the one, she’s in the driver’s seat, looks like she’s 5, and he’s giving her cautions about driving. At the end, she changes to a 16 year old girl. Mom said that’s how she felt about me leaving.

I don’t have kids, but I imagine no matter how old they get they’re still your baby.

Baby C on the go

Travel on, road warrior

Nurse C on the go

I just finished my assignment in Nantucket. The leaving was bittersweet in many ways. Each assignment has its own good and bad components and this one definitely had its good and bad parts in spades.

That’s the funny thing about traveling. Even if the assignment wasn’t everything you thought it would be, leaving doesn’t get any easier.

Okay, I take that back.

There are some assignments that you can’t wait to leave. They’re so bad that you kick the dust off your shoes when you get on the plane and never look back!

But leaving Nantucket has me in mixed feelings.

It was a place that had some of the best patients I’ve ever taken care of in my career. For all my complaints about unappreciative patients, every person I’ve taken care of there was thankful (effusively so), glad to see you when you were out, and always sent gifts to the floor in thanks. A small hospital with amazing patients and patient load.

I also had coworkers I really enjoyed working with. Coworkers I liked hang out with after work also.

It had its bad moments, make no mistake, but for all the issues Nantucket turned into my longest assignment so far. 7 months! It beat out Brigham and Women’s, which I loved.

I teared up a bit on leaving!!

Will I go back? That’s a question I ask myself every assignment. I asked myself that as i boarded the ferry out of town yesterday and I don’t have the answers.

Traveling is so exciting in the opportunities it gives. Seeing new places, meeting new people, and gaining new experiences.

Off to warmer climes, but maybe I’ll see you again soon, Nantucket. Until then…

Travel on, road warrior