Nurse Travel with A Spouse or “Tag-A-Long”

I know that a lot of travel nurses travel with a spouse or significant other and began wondering what it was like for those that tag along. There isn’t really any support system for this unique group of people and I wanted to provide an insight as to what it is like and what the daily challenges are for this group of people.

What is a tag-a-long?  I originally found the term when I was researching travel nursing blogs.  I found a blog of a self-proclaimed ‘tag-a-long’ and loved the term.  (I’ve searched back through my internet history and can’t find the link so if this is you please contact me and I’ll give the appropriate link!  UPDATE:  I have found the original source!  Stay tuned next week for the interview with the Original TagALong!)  Many travel nurses travel with a significant other, a spouse, a close friend or other family member.  These are tag-a-long’s. I wanted to find out what it’s like to live the Travel Nurse life as a Tag-A-Long and here is what I found out.
Thanks go to Sam who is a self-proclaimed ‘best-friend’ tag-a-long who agreed to answer a few questions for me.  Sam has been tagging along since July 31st, 2010, Almost 2.5 years.

Here is what Sam had to say about living the Travel Nursing Life as a tag-a-long:

Why did you choose to live a life of Travel Nursing?

My wife Kristen (A Travel Physical Therapist) and I wanted to explore the country before we had obligations such as a mortgage or children.  We both didn’t travel many places growing up and have been inspired by other friends to get out and see the world.  As we see more things and live in more places, I feel like we are able to get a better perspective on the world.

Do you work? from Home/Internet?

I own a small Mobile and Web Application development company, Handstand Technologies (http://handstandtech.com) where I do consulting and build products.  I work primarily at home but occasionally at a client’s office, depending on what my current work is.  I’ve found some of my work through my existing connections, some through recruiters and other work through new contacts I’ve met while traveling.  In my spare time over the last year, I’ve been developing a web and mobile application to help licensed healthcare professionals keep track of their licenses, CEUs and work history.  This idea was inspired by my wife’s work as a traveler.  There are too many things to keep track of, and no easy way to do it.  I’m developing this suite of tools to help travelers and other health care professionals.  I’m looking to release this at the end of January.  If anyone is interested in this or has anything else they’d like to see done, I’d be happy to hear from them by email (sam AT handstandtech.com).

What do you do when your Travel companion is working?

I work at home or at a client’s office.  I try to work the same hours as my wife when I can.

Do you get bored?

Bored of traveling?  No.  But I do have a desire to set more roots and have something to call our own.  We travel around with only what fits in our two cars, so it’s necessary to be minimalist. It’s really great, but it’s started to wear on you as time goes on.  We feel like we have another 2 years of traveling in us, but we might end up settling down after that.

What do you do to keep active/entertained?

We go running and check out local places.  We try to do new things as much as we can since we are living in areas we have never been before.  We are currently in the San Diego area and I’ve bought a wet-suit and surfboard. I don’t know when I’ll ever live somewhere where I can go surfing whenever I want, so you need to embrace what the area has to offer and try to enjoy it.

Nurse Travel with A Spouse

Do you utilize local clubs or groups like meetup.com

I generally try to find other people in the mobile/web/software industry using meetup.com and have been successful at finding a few people everywhere we go.

What is the biggest challenge for you?

The logistics in moving a lot.  You need to be ready to move with just a few days notice.  I’m generally in charge of finding housing, setting up utilities, etc.  The most notice we’ve ever had about an assignment was about 2.5 weeks and the shortest was 4 days.  You must be able to “go with the flow” and figure out what the next best step is.  Finding housing can be a really big challenge if you decide to do it on your own.  We’ve opted to find our own housing for every assignment because we can generally find something either cheaper than the stipend or we can find something that works really well for us.  When getting housing through your company, you will get something decent but you run the risk of not finding a place you really like.

What is the best benefit for you?

Freedom and exploration.  We are getting to do things that most people will never do.  We have lived in 6 states so far and want to do a few more.  South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Texas & California

What advice would you give to someone considering the life of a Tag-a-long?

Do it.  If you can find a way to make enough money to get by and not go crazy, it’s an amazing opportunity to explore the country with a friend/partner/etc.  I would recommend this for anyone who is able to do short-term contract work.  The priceless part about it is the extended breaks between contracts.  Having to work a full-time job year round is exhausting and having a break between contracts help you recharge for your next assignment.

What term do you refer to yourself as?  Tag-A-Long, Side-kick, etc?

“Best Friend”.  It’s important to travel with someone who you can get through things with.  More than likely, you will not know anyone else when you get to your new assignment so you will interact even more with your traveling companion.  Be sure to travel with someone you can live with, get along with, and still enjoy each other’s company.

Is there something unique that you do, collect or save from your travels?

Kristen and I take a picture of everywhere we go and have all of this saved on a map.  I do handstands and she does Jump-kicks.

I asked Sam for a photo or two to add to the article and he blew me away with his and Kristen’s Jump/Handstand photos.  I couldn’t choose just one so I’ve posted the link for you to check them out.  What a fun way to capture the moment!

You can check out the photos on a map at http://handstandsam.onamap.net and http://jumpkicker.onamap.net

Are you a healthcare provider or nurse that travel with a spouse?  I would love to hear your ‘tag-a-long’ story.  If you are interested in contributing by sharing your story contact me.
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TheGypsyNurse

As a travel nursing educator, Candy aka Gypsy Nurse, RN has worked in healthcare for nearly 20 years, working up the ranks from CNA to LPN to RN. For the past nine years, she’s worked as a travel nurse, allowing her to practice and live in 15 states throughout the U.S. She regularly shares advice for those interested in travel nurse jobs on her website at: www.thegypsynurse.com.

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  1. [...] by Gypsy Nurse, RN / January 11, 2013 / Leave a comment This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Specialty NursesSpecialty [...]

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