Sunday, August 4, 2013

What Will You Do with Your Free Time? Name Your Game

By Aaron J. Moore, MSN, RN, travel nursing expert

There are so many awesome parts to travel nursing.  You get to work in the best hospitals around, live in awesome cities, and stay in great apartments.  But we all know work isn't everything, and where you sleep is just, well, where you sleep.  It's what you can do when you're not working or sleeping--during your time off--that is truly one of the best aspects of your travel assignment. 

And the reason it's the best is because it's all yours--you get to pick your city and you get to pick what you do in that city with your time off. 

Now first I have to restate the facts: to get time off you have to work, and to keep getting great jobs in great locations you have to work hard and get great references so you look great on your résumé. Since assignments are only 13 weeks long in many cases, you have to do what's necessary to make a great impression while at work.  Then, with your time off, you can do what you want and look forward to more great times at your next destination. 

Second, I also want to remind you that 13 weeks is a shorter time than you think, so don't wait too long to get out, explore and experience the new things around you.

Time off is all about planning...unless that's not your thing.  Because remember, it's your time!

Personally, I loved to plan ahead and group my days off so I could travel around the area and see more stuff.  Even when picking an assignment location, I always made sure to look at the surrounding area as well as the city.  And I don't mean just the suburbs. 

When considering locations, find activities and sites you're interested in and look for those.  One of my favorite places to travel was the East Coast, in part because there are so many great day trips you can take.  For instance, when I lived in DC we were able to travel to Baltimore, Boston, and Atlantic City.  We also made sure to check out local, state and national parks that were within a day's drive.  We also made many trips to the ocean and national landmarks like Gettysburg. 

But I'll be honest: planning isn't always the most adventurous.  So my wife and I always made time near the end of assignments to just strike out on our own and see what we could find.  One of our favorite ways to explore was to look for things we both enjoyed and Google ideas.  We went swimming in reservoirs, hiked to scenic overlooks, and tried to find local landmarks that we would have never known existed. 

One of my favorite adventures was finding the grave of Edgar Allen Poe, the famous poet, and then trying to locate the actual spot in town were he was found dead.  It took some looking, but we did it! 

Another of our favorite things to do was go to local wineries or breweries.  This gave us a staple for basic exploring and led us on some awesome adventures.  We got lost along the way sometimes, but without some risk there's no adventure, right?

So whatever you like, wherever you like it, let me tell you that traveling is the great adventure.  So get out there, especially during your time off, and live the dream that is travel nursing.

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