Loneliness and other travel stuff...

by vzcookie vzcookie Member

Has 7 years experience.

Hey fellow travelers,

I've been feeling a little confused lately and was hoping to use this as an open dialogue for those who can relate or possibly give me some words of encouragement.

I grew up in northern NJ where my family and friends still are, and decided to start ICU travel nursing a little over since months ago (first in Chicago and now in Florida). I absolutely adore the flexibility that comes with travel nursing and I have been so fortunate to meet fun people along my way and stay at places where I didn't have to pay rent to pocket the housing stipend. I am 30 years old, single and, in essence, working my dream job.

I am getting a ton of pushback from my family lately about how they think I am wasting my time and sacrificing further schooling/dating/family life for working at places that I don't intend to stay in for the long run. At first I brushed it off, but now it's starting to discourage me.

I guess I am posting for those who might find themselves in a similar boat. It's for those that feel this path is definitely the right one for them, but still feel some un-fulfillment in other areas. How did or do you keep going for years? How do you cope with the loneliness of travel nursing or wanting a certain sense of stability with such an unstable line of work? I cannot see myself returning home and working a full-time job ever again. But I also want to end up close to family as they get older and need the help. I want to settle down with a family eventually, but also want to continue bouncing state to state!

If anyone can share their experiences, I'd greatly appreciate it!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day!! :)



18 Posts

Hi, I personally feel that you are doing the right thing if you are happy when no one is trying to convince you to take another path. I think you should refuse to listen to people's opinion about travel nursing so you can really pay attention to your own feelings and experiences. No one knows what you need better than YOU. Trust your gut. You know what makes you happy. You could meet the love of your life and make friends for life traveling. Now is the time to be away from home before your parents may need you to take care of them in old age and while you don't have children that you want to be close to extended family. That's just my two cents, if you care, lol. I hope it helps. Best to you!


8-ball, BSN

Specializes in ICU, and IR. Has 12 years experience. 286 Posts

I am lucky I get to travel with my wife she quit her job as a teacher and we hit the road. I love it but I also feel you. My parents are getting older and my dad has had 3 heart attacks in 2 years. I will settle down to help them some day soon probably 1-2 years. I have been traveling ICU for a little over 2 years now and I still love it but there are things that start to annoy after a while. Its not all roses and chocolate but for the most part I can never imagine taking a FT job with no vacation time again so if I do settle it will be per diem probably.

FYI they way you are doing the stipends doesn't qualify for tax free status so if you get audited you are screwed. even if you pay $100/month with a lease agreement from family that would be better. Just my 2 cents I know plenty people do it this way and never get caught but that's a risk i'm not willing to take.

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 20 years experience. 3,660 Posts

I don't travel but my son does. They stayed in their tax home state for over a year while his fiance finished her education, after she was able to work remotely in her field they were able to travel together while both working. Now they have the most fun while working. They both love to explore different cultures and are the type of people that make friends easily wherever they go.

From a Mom point of view of course I miss having them around but with cell phones and Facebook we are never really out of touch. Their travel also inspires my husband and I to travel more. If you know my husband you'd realize what a shocker this is, I have the travel bug while he is totally a homebody. Most trips I take with other family or friends while he stays home. But, with the kids gone so much that once a year big vacation we take to where the kids are working. It's been great to have that excuse to travel the country and see places I'd probably never go to otherwise.

Sure it's a little tough to be away from family for extended periods of time. They have always managed to take a contract somewhere close to home around Christmas though. Last year, for the first time in six years of travelling my son took a longer vacation and didn't pick up another contract until after the holidays so he could be home for Christmas. With a good company and a good recruiter finding that next job isn't an issue so he's never worried about being out of work. Quite the opposite in fact, he's always been able to pick where he goes next from several choices.

The travel lifestyle does have a few drawbacks though. My son and his fiance do not plan on having children by choice, that's their decision and I support it. If something changes in the future and they do have a family settling down somewhere will be a must. Travelling isn't a good lifestyle for a family. Same goes for pets. It isn't impossible to travel with pets, but it sure wouldn't be easy.

They have learned to embrace and love a lifestyle unencumbered by things. When you move frequently, packing and hauling a bunch of possessions around the country just isn't something you want to do. From a Mom standpoint that makes gift shopping at holidays a challenge as neither one of them wants "stuff" that just needs to be moved with them every time they go.

Financially, travelling has been a great choice. The pay is better than good, he's been able to pay down his considerable student loans way faster than would've been possible with any traditional job. There's enough money to do fun things wherever they travel to without worrying about the expense and he bought his first new off the showroom car without concern about the expense so he was able to get what he really wanted.

Of course my husband and I miss having the kids around, but knowing our physical time together is limited makes us as parents cherish that time together that much more. They love being travelers and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

NurseCheung, MSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU, ER, Education. Has 9 years experience. 15 Posts

My family gave my husband and I major flack for considering travel nursing. I am an only child and my mother couldn't stand the thought of me leaving for 3 to 10 months at a time without being home or available to see her often. Travel Nursing gives us the ability to travel and experience life while still making money wherever we go. It's tough because at times you do feel lonely, but you learn that technology has been able to keep everyone you hold dear very close. I think we have all been there and experienced something like you are going through. Keep your head and continue to travel. :snurse:❤️



112 Posts

Hey fellow travelers,

I am getting a ton of pushback from my family lately about how they think I am wasting my time and sacrificing further schooling/dating/family life for working at places that I don't intend to stay in for the long run. At first I brushed it off, but now it's starting to discourage me.


A couple of ideas.

I'm sure your reasons for travelling are good. Have you tried to explain that to your family? That it's the combination of good pay, good conditions and a good career for a young, unmarried, childfree person? Tell them your goals and try to get them onboard.

One thing you could do is to work toward buying a property near your family. You could then use it as an investment and a tax-home while you travel and then a permanent home when/if you stop travelling. You could buy a two bedroom and use it to make money (rent it out when gone) and as a place to vacation or stay when you visit. Rent it to a roommate and keep one room for your storage/use.



Has 7 years experience. 21 Posts

Thank you so much for your input. It is nice to see what a momma feels, and it's wonderful that you support your son in his adventures!



Has 10 years experience. 17 Posts

It can get lonely and you are always new person the unit but there many positives. Don't live your life by others standards..live your life how you feel you need to. The work can be potentially unstable depending on rigid you are with locations and such but i was never without a job lined up. I also came to love taking breaks between contracts and planned financially accordingly. You should live moderately and save money for rainy days so to speak but this is true regardless if you were a traveler or not. Side note: I came to love being called "the traveler" by staff. It meant no useless staff meeting staring at power points or spreadsheets. I came in and did my job and left though I got the patients most didn't want but again I found positives in it. Those patients became some my fondest memories. I saved money, paid off debt and have gone back to school for ANP. For me it was a great experience. I had terrible times to but you will have those no matter where you are. Life is not guaranteed even if you stayed near where you grew up and worked 10 miles from home. So I say go enjoy it but be flexible and responsible within reason with your money.

I met several people who did for several years which allowed them to get a jump on retirement then went home and took lower paying but less stressful jobs. Always negotiate with the companies..they work for you not the other way around. If a company or recruiter doesn't value you..move on. If you want to go work at hospital in a certain area..call them and ask what agencies they use.

Travel while you can and fly home between planned contracts to get your visit with family!



Specializes in ICU. Has 11 years experience. 3 Posts

Hi read your post previously on the ICU not being the place for you and looks like you did some traveling ICU, did that help? I am asking bc im in the same boat and don't like ICU. Not sure what other direction to even go.