So, Are you a Gypsy Nurse?
There are qualities that you might already possess that indicate travel nursing might be your next adventure. This article will help you identify the Gypsy Nurse that might be lurking inside of you. With the current economy in the dumps and jobs becoming harder and harder to find as some places are over-saturated with nurses, there is a move for more and more nurses to hit the road and leave families and friends behind to begin a life as a Gypsy Nurse. People who live like gypsies while working are a minority, but they’re not uncommon. Admittedly it’s not for everyone. Some people instinctively know that it’s not for them and avoid it. Some people, myself included, love the lifestyle and wouldn’t live any other way.
Many people travel for work. the difference between a person who travels as part of their job and a gypsy is that the former is always looking forward to returning home, while the gypsy is at home in their travels. It’s largely an attitude.
Let’s take a look at what it’s like to be a gypsy. Maybe you are a gypsy and don’t know it or maybe there is a gypsy inside of you waiting to be released. For me, there are certain characteristics that define gypsies. When I think of a Gypsy I think of someone who has the following characteristics:
A sense of Community
For me, this involves a mindset to be willing to rely on the kindness of friends, strangers and new co-workers. Being willing to assist another while on contract. Being open to sharing a tip or two regarding a facility that you’ve experienced. When I think of a Gypsy life, I think of a tight group willing to help, guide and share with each other. Most of the travel assignments that I have had, I’ve experienced this sense of community with not only other travel nurses but with the friends that I have met along the way. Open yourself up to sharing, whether it’s an apple from your lunchbox or a couch for another travel nurse passing through. You will find that the travel nursing community is a strong one.
One good example of this:
I was in between contracts and headed out on an Across the Country Road Trip. I was getting ready to leave for a two-year stint in Germany with the DOD and wanted to touch base with the friends I had met throughout the US before I left. I ended up being on the road for 32 days. Due to the kindness of travelers that I had met previously as well as a traveler friend of a friend and another friend of a friend…I only spent two nights out of 32 in a hotel. This was an amazing experience.
A love for the Simple Life
I envision Gypsies as simple living people….minimalists of a sort. They carry only what they need or can sell and they trade their skills or labor for necessities. In a way, this is exactly what we do as travel nurses. We trade our nursing skills and time for facilities with a need. In return, we are provided not only a wage but a place to live. As a Travel nurse, it’s important to become somewhat of a minimalist. You will be traveling away from your primary home for large periods of time. Because of this, we have to simplify our belongings and determine what we need to have with us as we travel away from home.
When I first began traveling in 2004, this was a difficult task for me. Now, I travel with very little. You can read about how to pack to travel in Step #15 of my treatment plan for hypertravelosis. I have managed to downsize my life and become a minimalist. I find that living this way has allowed me to see life in a different way. I enjoy experiences much more than I enjoy ‘things’. I have very little worries about theft or loss, most of what I have is replaceable. Living a simple/minimalist life has allowed me to place a greater focus on living. Because I can focus on living, I can experience the next characteristic of a Gypsy…
Living Life to the Fullest/The Mindframe.
You must remember, spontaneity is the gypsy’s friend. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want (just so long as you don’t hurt anybody)! Spontaneity can define the travel lifestyle. Whether that consists of wandering the streets in a new city or taking in a weekend trip to Mt Rushmore just because it’s close.
I think of Gypsy’s as being carefree, happy, full of dance and song….in fact, when I think of a Gypsy it always makes me smile and long for a life so carefree. But, I don’t have to longingly think of living a care-free and happy life; I already live it. Understand, I do have problems and there are bumps in the road along the way, but overall the life that I live is a happy one.
Being able to decide at the last-minute that I am going to take a contract on the beach in North Carolina for the summer or take the entire month of December off in order to spend it with family is a great perk to travel nursing. My family has finally gotten used to the fact that I probably do not know where I’ll be next year, let alone next week.
This is probably the most instinctive characteristic thought of when contemplating a Gypsy Life. Gypsies are never content to stay in one place for long, and, as a gypsy nurse, you will be constantly moving too! To make this coming and going easier, many travel nurses choose a home that moves with them. The original gypsies used horse-drawn caravans, or vardos. (I don’t recommend this as in today’s culture of fast paced travel and interstates). The gypsies basically used them the way some people use SUVs on camping trips today. You can go the authentic route and use the caravans (with or without the horses), or you can use an RV or an SUV. You can also use a regular car, you’ll just have to pack smaller. Just remember to keep moving wherever the wind takes you.
If you don’t enjoy travel, this isn’t the life-style for you. Gypsy living is a perfect life for those (like me) that suffer from Hypertravelosis.
Above all….have Fun! The whole point of being a gypsy is to have fun! Don’t concentrate so much on these steps that it seems like a chore. That would ruin the purpose!
I don’t recommend the Gypsy life for everyone. Your either going to love it or your going to hate it. There really isn’t much of an in-between.
So….ARE YOU A GYPSY NURSE?
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