Originally Written For The Gypsy Nurse
As a travel nurse, I feel like it takes a specific person to choose this type of nursing career. If I were to stereotype travel nurses, I would say we are free spirits, flexible, always down for a new adventure and we love to travel in between our contracts. Often we are off for large chunks of time in between contracts at different times of the year…”funemployment” we call it. It’s rare if our spouses, family members or friends are off at the same time as we are- unless it’s planned months in advance. I don’t know about you, but when I finish a contract, I like to reward myself with a trip. Call it wanderlust or boredom, but I get restless in between assignments. I make sure I have some time at home to see my loved ones and unwind but sitting at home gets boring so I often plan some sort of trip to explore a new place! Ideally someone will join me but this isn’t always possible. So this past month when I had two weeks to spare, I decided to plan a solo adventure to some National Parks in California! It might not seem like a huge place to go on a solo trip but I’m from Canada and California is so different for us! The climate is crazy and it was so cool to see the desert, ocean, mountains, forests and waterfalls within the same week.
If you’ve never been on a solo trip, I highly recommend it. I was hesitant to do it, and I’m no expert but I’m here to encourage you to just do it!! Don’t get me wrong- I love travelling with others as well but if you can travel by yourself, it opens up so many opportunities for you. It’s an unreal experience and even though it may be scary for some, it has many benefits. It’s great for building your confidence. All decisions are up to you and there isn’t anyone to consult. You’re the boss! It’s really nice when you can decide where to go, what to eat, where to stay. You can stay within your budget and you are never rushed or waiting for anyone. I was hesitant to book a solo trip because I thought I would be lonely or bored. I realize now that I was never bored and I was never lonely. I planned a pretty busy trip and did a lot of driving so I made sure I had a ton of new music and podcasts ready to listen to. I stayed in hostels and rooms in Airbnbs so there was always someone around to chat with if I wanted to. It was great!
I’ve heard some people say they are afraid to eat alone in a restaurant. I was a bit nervous at first because I thought people would look at me weird. I soon realized it was wonderful to have an excuse to sit on my phone while I ate without anyone trying to talk to me! Stop being worried about what other people think of you! Own the solo travel life. OR, if it really bothers you, get takeout if you want- you’re in control!
I don’t know why but society seems to think it’s unsafe to travel alone. I feel like as long as you are a smart individual with a good head on your shoulders and as long as you aren’t alone in an extremely unsafe country, you’ll be fine. Check in with your loved ones daily and tell them where you are. I had an itinerary with addresses of where I was staying that I sent to my parents so that they could follow along. Be smart…if you are going to go to a bar, be mindful of your drink and don’t leave it unattended. Don’t do anything dumb like walk down a dark alley alone, judge your surroundings and act accordingly. Use common sense. Don’t get yourself into a compromising situation. I was mainly at National Parks and the people around me were doing the exact same thing as I was. I never felt unsafe once. Don’t let other people hold you back from travelling where you want to go! Most people who tell you that it’s unsafe have never been on a solo trip before!
People always ask me how I take pictures when I’m travelling alone. For one, if you are at a place with other people surrounding you, eye out another solo traveler or a family that might want a group shot. Offer to take their picture and they will do the same for you. I always find someone with a good camera or find a girl who looks like she appreciates a good Instagram shot! There’s nothing worse than some random person taking your picture and then realizing they cut off your head or something. I also have this little tripod/selfie stick. It’s small and folds up so it’s easy to travel with. It has a little bluetooth remote so I can set it up to take a picture if there is no one around to help me out! I have a tripod for my GoPro too and I can control it with my phone to take a picture. Technology is great!
So what’s holding you back!? Get the courage and book that flight. The only thing stopping you is yourself! Life is too short to sit around waiting for others to join you on your adventure. Think of all the places you can see and experience. It may not be for everyone or every personality type and that’s totally fine! Try taking a small weekend trip to test it out and see if you like it! Step outside of your comfort zone! Now that I have done a solo road trip, I’m looking into doing a solo international trip somewhere! The possibilities are endless when you just learn to say yes and stop making excuses for yourself! You can do it!
I think the most important thing to remember is that you aren’t travelling alone, you’re travelling with YOURSELF. There’s nothing like it.
Thanks for reading!