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Freaking out


Soo, I am not intimidated by working in major cities, not intimidated by living there either. But I find myself back-peddling because Im scared to death of driving across the country by myself. I dont have anyone who can tag along.

My agency knows that I may have a MA license soon, and yesterday my recruiter asked how I feel about Boston, or Philly in Pa. Initially, I was jumping for joy. I would love to be in those cities on an assignment with hopefully extensions. But now that Ive had time to settle down, I'm freaking out over the drive. I am from HomeTown, USA. I am not used to crazy driving. The most excitement that I get on my daily commute is passing a tractor. Anyone else get this way? The furthest I have ever traveled is 700 miles and it was a pretty easy trek, no tolls or anything. But Philly is 1000 miles from home and Ill have to drive the turnpike. And Boston is 1300 miles. omg!

Get your car shipped and fly. Easy!

I wouldn't have done Cali to Boston by myself (I made my mom drive with me) because you go hundreds of miles with no civilization through deserts with no cell service. I drove from Arkansas to nh though. No issues. I planned the route ahead of time and only drove while it was light out.

Or you could do what I was gonna do if my mom couldn't come. Offer to pay a friends return airfare and share a hotel room along the way. They get a free road trip!

My friends are all married with little kids, I wont bother asking them. My only friend who is childless cannot take time off work/school. My parents will not go with me bc of health problems, and my sister is busy with her work and family. Sigh. I may look into shipping, but Ive heard it is very expensive.

Go for it!! I traveled last summer and I went by myself. 1500 miles! The dumbest thing I did was watch one of those "cop"shows about a serial killer who happened to stalk his victims on the same highway I was taking. Jeez, I literally panicked. I called a friend who lived in that area and said that happened back in the 1970's.I was fine after that. Moral of the story is grab your bags and go have fun!

Yea, I watch Dateline....seems like most ppl become victims on highway.

but really, I panic in heavy traffic and I panic with cars going 80 on a 5 lane Interstste. I cannot read an Atlas for crap, so if my Gps and backup #2 fails me, I am screwed! And isnt parking going to cost an arm leg in Boston and Philly? Oh, and dont ask me to parallel park! I am some 'travel nurse" huh.

When I had to drive in the ice during the polar vortex crap, I called my hubby and made sure I had full coverage! The movie Secret Life of Walter Mitty really opened my eyes. Now, I was already traveling last summer, but still as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. My older sister travels over seas by herself. I panick going to a grocery store at midnight. Traveling made me get over some of my fears.


Has 6 years experience.

I just packed up my car and drove over 1000 miles from small town Alabama to Connecticut, a town outside NYC all by myself with nothing but my GPS and the Holy Spirit. I drove through Washington DC, Baltimore, Philly and NYC. It was an adventure, enjoy it and live life. Kung Fu chop anybody who bothers you.


Specializes in ICU/PACU. Has 10 years experience.

Driving across country is one of the best parts of travel nursing. One of my favorite things to do is be by myself, driving on the open roads. It's relaxing and gives you time to think. And if you plan it out, you can see some cool stuff on the way. The only thing that scares me is driving through snow, so be glad it's not yet that time of year! I have literally called my mom almost in tears due to driving in the snow lol. It scares me to death.

As for parking in the city, that's something to consider before taking an assignment! I haven't been to either city, but am pretty sure in Boston you don't need a car and will take public transport, so your company may not pay for parking at your apt complex or the hospital..ask first and consider the cost before taking an assignment there! I'm sure someone here as been to Boston or Philly so can be more helpful. Also if you are worried about the actual driving in the city, ask to be housed within walking distance to your hospital (if you take company housing that is). My last gig in Seattle, they wanted me to pay for parking at the hospital, which was crazy expensive, so I just lived within walking distance and walked to work everyday. I would drive around the city to get my bearings early in the morning when there was no traffic, just to feel more comfortable.

I'm from a small town too, with hardly any traffic. And big parking lots. Suburbia. Much different than living in the city.

You can do this! I completely understand what you mean though. Driving in bigger cities still makes me nervous, especially when there's all those one way streets. But you will get used to it.

Make sure you have triple A or something similar, GPS and keep a phone charger in the car! Travel light and keep your belongings hidden as best as you can.

Drive! It is an adventure and adventure is part of why you are becoming a traveler.

Drive at the same speeds as everyone else and interstates become incredibly boring and safe. You don't have to take them though, the old main roads (now called secondary roads) are a hoot. They will take a lot longer but what is the rush? See the country in your Chevrolet. Don't worry about the time or distance. They have these really cool buildings with private bathrooms and furnished beds called hotels where you can stop for the night. Color TV even, but don't watch it - I've heard there are a lot of scary shows and movies full of made up stories about the dangers of travel.

:)). I will drive it and allow myself plenty of time. The time to travel is getting close so now I am getting all these butterflies and sh!!t. Looking at GPS's now on QVC. Any recs?

I am working with another traveler right now and Ive been telling her my plans to ski, snowboard, SUP, bike etc when I travel to cool places. Well my joy turned into fear when she told me that if I hurt myself while on an assignment, or driving to assognment, and if the injury forbids me from working up to speed, like a fractured ankle, that I will likely get sued by agency for backpay of hours missed or breaking the contract. Knowing my luck, I will get hurt driving to new city and then owe agency beaux coup bux. But seriously , this does zap some of the excitement out of everything. Any of u hear of this actually happening?

Stop watching TV! The internet is where to buy electronics. Read user reviews on Amazon. But I wouldn't buy one. Smartphones have built in GPS and may be more user friendly than a lot of dedicated GPS models. You can use it while walking, bicycling, or navigating public transport unlike most car based GPS. Sales of dedicated GPS units have plummeted for good cause and those manufacturers are having big problems staying in business. Personally, I like iPhones but as a Mac user it was a natural fit.

Yes, travel gives up a lot of the security blanket you have as staff. You only get paid for what you work and there is no sick pay or PTO. However, when those benefits run out as staff, you will find yourself in the same place with a broken leg, you have to pay for the cost of living without an income. Generally you can get disability or unemployment depending on the reason but you still should have some funds saved up as staff or traveler for these kinds of situations. They can hit travelers harder and faster than staff, so it is more important for travelers to have savings than staff.

Your agency is paying for housing or a housing stipend. Since you are getting paid only for hours worked, they need a mechanism to recover any housing costs already paid to you. This is done via a missed hours penalty, often on the order of $15 a missed hour. Very scary number and it feels wrong to not only not pay you when you are sick, but also charge you for the privilege of not working! But the math should work out very closely either way, a lump sum per hour, or a lower sum per hour plus housing, with a "claw back" if you don't work the contracted hours. It is just math! Just as in real life, housing is a cost to you whether you work or not and must be paid either way.

Now there are some agencies that will try to recover "lost profits" with missed hour penalties in addition to housing costs. These are unfair and such agencies are to be avoided. A more common problem, see if you can visualize this, is an agency that provides housing is typically committed to a three month lease. If the assignment ends early for any reason, they are stuck with these costs, and that missed hour penalty is a large number that can create a conflict between the agency and the traveler, especially when it is no fault of the traveler when (for example) the hospital terms her for low census.

Taking the stipend instead of provided housing in effect transfers the risks involved directly to the traveler. No, you won't have large missed hour penalties (they should be limited to one week at most to recover the weekly housing stipend), but you have the upfront cost of acquiring housing, with deposits, utilities, and a lease, and the credit report hit that may happen if you break a lease.

Yes, travel is riskier than staff. Over the long run though, with good health, you should get paid more and have a lot more fun. Most travel assignments finish successfully, and with good financial discipline, it is easy to weather the rare assignment with problems.

^^^Agree with what the others said. I was fortunate to have my husband with me so I wasn't alone but we trekked 1500 miles from small town NC to south TX. I LOVED driving and seeing all of the new places on the way...we even detoured a couple of times just to see things like New Orleans. But yeah, there were times (like Atlanta and Houston) where I was white knuckling down the highway. :) Even with the two of us we debated very seriously about taking our friend who is a car mechanic and flying him home when we got there. Good luck!

Yea, I watch Dateline....seems like most ppl become victims on highway.

but really, I panic in heavy traffic and I panic with cars going 80 on a 5 lane Interstste. I cannot read an Atlas for crap, so if my Gps and backup #2 fails me, I am screwed! And isnt parking going to cost an arm leg in Boston and Philly? Oh, and dont ask me to parallel park! I am some 'travel nurse" huh.

Boston is wonderful. If you are going to work for MGH, they have parking. And the T is very convenient for your day to day routine. You really don't need a car in Boston. Fly. If you must bring your car, just park it at your apartment and take the T.

Thanks ya'll :)

ps, found a really cool shipping website called uship.com. You can ship anything, including pets. Looks to be a lot like ebay. Ppl will bid on your shipment needs, you can post questions, read the shippers feedback history, haggle the price down and then accept or deny the bid.

I drove from Missouri to California all by myself. It took me 2 1/2 days. I took my time, I rested and I only tried to drive during the day to see cool things. And I'm not a driver at all. You are talking about someone who resented road trips and would jump on a plane every chance I got. And I don't do 5 lane highways. But you know what? It was the best experience of my life!

I got to see the Rockies, the Salt Desert, and just a desert period for the first time in my life! I also got to see the Tahoe forest and who knew that Wyoming was so damn beautiful?

I printed my driving instructions and I had my phone that had GPS. I planned well in advance, but did miscalculate the time between Cheyenne WY and Salt Lake City UT and ended up having to sleep in my car at at rest stop. And that freaked me out, but it was very lit and it was packed with cars and trucks so I felt somewhat ok.

You will be fine, just take your time and plan well!

Good luck!

FurBabyMom, MSN, RN

Has 8 years experience.

I'm not a traveler. But I was 22 when I moved from suburban Ohio to rural Kentucky (Appalachia) - not super far but whoa things are different. I drove from my then residence (KY) to Washington, DC and Chicago, IL for job interviews. My parents moved from the house I grew up in to the southeast and I was left with an 8 hour drive to visit them and/or a 7 hour drive to Pennsylvania to visit my extended family. I live in the southeast now (still several hours from my parents), and drove back "home" to where I grew up for a wedding I was in - during a winter storm. It kind of sucked driving through the mountains in that weather but gosh was it ever pretty (the number 1 thing I miss about the mountains is how beautiful they make everything).

My advice is to find some good music, charge your phone and enjoy the drive. If you use common sense you will be just fine. If you plan your drive just right then you can plan to hit big cities in the daytime between morning and evening rush. Find some cool places to see and/or neat places to eat along the way. Don't settle for chain restaurants and especially not fast food - there are some really awesome places to eat that are "holes in the wall" and your learn a lot about where to go and what to see by talking to some of the people in some of those places.

For what it's worth, I LOVED my visit to DC. Even with the crazy traffic and interesting streets. I did a fair amount of city street driving because of the location I stayed at verses the location I interviewed at - plus my GPS's update did not account for the new construction near my hotel...so I drove around the block a few times before I got it right.

Good luck! :)