Quarantine Transformation: I Am Not Stuck, I Am Still

Let me be honest, I have a long ass list of things to do. For starters, I still have seemingly important papers from nursing school. NURSING SCHOOL. I graduated in 2014. Why? 

I have outdated clothes I held on to in hopes they will fit again because maybe, just maybe, this will be the year I get consistent with my diet and workout. Knowing that when my waste gets snatched I’m going to want an entire new wardrobe.

Right now, in this quarantine, I have all the time in the world to FINALLY complete my task list starting from 6 years ago. Not only do I avoid it, I added more tasks to my to do list! Again I ask. Why?

While, I am grateful and thankful for all my basic needs being met, I’d be lying if said I didn’t feel stuck, overwhelmed and lacking motivation in this moment. I was so used to being busy and filling my calendar with work or events, I didn’t know how to just be still! It was becoming debilitating to even complete the most simple and basic tasks.

I did not welcome this quarantine with open arms. I knew I needed time to reset, but that’s why I scheduled my trip to Bali to do the whole “Eat. Pray. Love” thing.

At first, I did not see this as the quiet time I had asked for. Because it did not look like what I wanted it to; it wasn’t on the terms I set out. I found myself in denial and resisting the inevitable.

In fact, I did everything in my “power” (let’s face it, you have no power when it comes to the plans of the universe) to avoid feeling the effects of COVID-19.

This was the year I was going to travel past the Atlantic Ocean. I was finally taking full advantage of my travel nurse freedom and had a trip planned in every month from April to September. I was going to enter into the airport in a full HAZMAT suit if need be! It was that deep!

Despite my desperation and minuscule efforts, all my trips still fell through and left my money tied up. And if you read my last 3 posts, you know my work contracts fell through as well. And just like that, I was no longer busy and able to find excuses in avoiding my healing journey.

I was throwing myself a pity party almost everyday in April and the first few days in May. I found myself about to fall into old patterns I had to pray my way out of; please don’t be like me!

However, things really do have a way of just working out – or that’s the blanket version we tell ourselves. In order for things to “magically” workout we still have to do the work.

What is “the work” I am referring to? How am I moving forward?

1- I had to finally accept I am exactly where I need to be. I did not need to go half way across the world to reset my mind and lifestyle. I did it at home surrounded by family and having virtual happy hours with friends. Making sure to stay connected to my foundation.

2- I had to let that pity party go! Things are not going to be the way the once were and I had to release what I thought I knew. There is no more normal to go back to. This thinking became tiresome and taxing to my spirit. Everyone’s life has been turned upside down, it’s not like the universe singled me out to punish me and have me suffer alone. While all our circumstances are different, we are really going through this together.

3- I moved my body everyday and ate more fruits/veggies. For the first time in a while, I was eating right and exercising without obsessing about weight loss. I even surprised myself and started taking hikes, even though I never considered myself a nature person. As someone on a holistic journey, I had to respect that nature has healing powers and fully embrace what just a little bit of sun can do. I surrounded myself in nature and also ate more foods from the earth usually in the form of green smoothies. On the days I felt too tired to move, I listened to my body. I kept my activity light with restorative yoga videos on youtube, making sure to release the tension and stress I was holding on to.

taken on my ig story 5/22

4- I meditated daily. I was feeling anxious non-stop and bursting out into tears daily, when my friend suggested the Balance app to me. I started with 3-minute meditations then I began to work my way up to 5 and 10-minute meditations. It was just enough to quiet my mind. It was hard for me to sit still and to refocus my thoughts without my mind wondering, but the struggle was worth it! If you don’t want to download an app, you can look up meditations on YouTube and Spotify!

5- Most importantly, I prayed.  The first thing I do when I begin to wake up istalk to God. I pray daily for love and light to come into my mind, body, spirit and home. I pray that I would love and accept myself as well as others just as God has done for me. This has changed my perspective on everything because now I am leading with love and feeling more positive. I’m genuinely happy for myself and I now I can be for everyone else.

This internal transformation, this healing has been amazing! It has given me a solid foundation on who I am and what I want. Allowing me to manifest freely and attract everything I want out of life.

I literally wake up everyday smiling. Something I haven’t done in almost 10 years. I was really taking everyday for granted and I wasn’t feeling grateful for this gift of life. Now, each day I open my curtains to let the sun fill my room with it’s light.

While my to do list continues to grow, I am welcoming it instead of treating it like it’s a burden. It’s not one more thing I HAVE to do, it’s one more thing I GET to do.

My to do list includes job searches, applying to graduate school, new business ideas, new youtube and instagram ideas to share my story. There are days I still get annoyed or insecure about my ability to complete the tasks at hand, but I turn to the list above and remember how far I have come!

This is just the beginning. The journey is never over, we are always evolving. Once you reach a certain level of healing a new level unlocks.

Front Lines Part 3 with Tips to Maintain Your Mental Health

To reiterate, no, in this moment, I am not on the front line. I am a nurse, feeling empathetic to those with terrible hospital administrators refusing to provide N95 masks and allowing dangerously high nurse to patient ratios.

I am also a civilian, watching in horror as our government leaders play with people’s lives; blatantly lying to cover their mistakes; and sending mixed messages regarding the safety of the public.

Honestly, I can’t decide if it’s the propaganda and constant reporting of COVID 19 that is driving my fear. Or maybe it’s the horror stories I’m reading from the nurse blogs. Or the first hand reports of fellow nurses in my life like my mother, my aunts and friends.

A combination of all three, I’m sure.

With all of this information and conspiracy theories, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed. And as frightening as this situation is, I’ve decided to surrender (not to be confused with giving up) because the circumstances are out of my control. Easier said than done.

If you are feeling overwhelmed in this time here are a few tips based on my experience to help you through.

1 – First and foremost, pray!

2 – Be generous to your self. Do not let the people of ig or anyone else make you feel as if now is the time to focus on that side hustle or those workouts. Nuh -uh. Not everyone can throw themselves into the next project during a stressful time. Focus on yourself. Check in with your mental health. And forgive yourself if you are not being as productive as you once were. You are not lazy and you do not lack discipline just because ig personalities say you do.

3 – Be kind to others. Now is not the time to be a smart ass especially to essential workers. We’ve all seen a Karen type personality belittling or being rude to people just trying to do their job. Don’t be like Karen.

4 – Check out. Turn off the news outlets and delete social media apps off your phone even if it’s for 24 hours. Or mute the people in your timeline who are making negative posts. Don’t let the fear of missing out “FOMO” take over. The media isn’t going anywhere. If it’s really important or some real tea your friends will update you.

5 – Get out of the house. You can walk or exercise. If that’s not your thing, take a drive. Do whatever you can to switch up your scenery.

6 – Monitor your alcohol intake. Whew, this could be challenge! For example, you wake up have some mimosas, then have an afternoon margarita, a couple glasses of wine at dinner then top it off with a night cap. I am not judging because my weekends (and some weekdays) definitely look like this, but be aware! We got 99 problems and alcohol addiction doesn’t need to become one. Swap a drink or 2 for a glass of water.

7 – Try to keep a relatively consistent sleep schedule. Whatever that looks for you, but try to get your 6-8 hours of sleep in everyday.

8 – Stay connected with the people who matter most. There will be days when you don’t feel like talking on the phone or having virtual happy hours . Don’t force it if you’re not in the mood. But when you can, reach out.

9 – Listen to music. Ladies and some gents, practice your twerking skills and stretch your legs. We are coming out of this with Meg knees and ready for brunch! Manifest it!

In all seriousness, if you can, send an extra prayer for those employees keeping the country running. The ones risking their health and the health of their family just by doing their job.

Lastly, even if you think this a hoax, can you stay home anyway and stop trying to be a rebel? I recognize this is not a privilege for some, but for those of you who can – please stay home. At the very least you bring people with major anxiety or immunocompromised family members some peace and at the most you save lives.

Let’s see what happens to those states that have decided to open in the next few weeks and revisit the conversation after we see their numbers. 

“Women lie, men lie, numbers don’t lie!”

P.S. wear your mask.

Front Lines Part 2

As promised at the end of part 1, this second blog post is more of what could’ve been done rant while comparing it to the reality of what is happening. Again, if you think our current administration is handling this well – you probably won’t like what I have to say.

What I desperately wish would have happened is that we had a reliable leader who tried to get ahead of this pandemic. That our president would’ve taken the threat against our health more serious versus downplaying it and put in stay at home orders immediately! 

Hospitals would have had the time to prepare, to educate their staff, to study what other countries are doing, to find what works and what doesn’t.

Hospitals could’ve stocked up on PPE. Instead some facilities exposed their frontline workers and created new rules on the fly about reusing a mask meant for one time use, for multiple days. This is assuming they provided staff with N95 masks. Expecting healthcare workers to enter a patient’s room without proper equipment is ridiculous, idiotic and UNSAFE for everybody.

The OR, procedure and PACU nurses with floor experience could’ve been retrained to inpatient units. Those without floor experience could’ve been trained to COVID 19 testing centers and performed screenings. We could’ve kept all hands on deck or at least on call and prepared. A “stay ready so you don’t have to get ready” mentality.

Instead a lot of nurses (myself included) were cancelled, laid off or furloughed. While the nurse to patient ratios continue to climb in some parts of the country. Nurses who were willing to work are now outcaste, unable to help their colleagues, feeling helpless or guilty because they can’t find work.

Instead these nurses are filing for unemployment and tirelessly applying to jobs and contracts only to be told we need recent (in the last 12 months) inpatient experience.

Instead hospitals are now paying extreme amounts of money for travel nurses. (No shade because I support every travel nurse getting to the bag and signing up to go into these contracts)!

In worst-case scenarios, scamming those same travel nurses to uproot and risks their health only to have their contract cancelled or pay significantly decreased upon arrival. For example, staffing companies were advertising $6,000 – $10,000/wk contracts in NYC. By the time nurses arrived in the city some contracts were already cancelled. They were left scrambling, as I explained in my last blog post, and contacting other companies to find a local contract because they already paid for housing. Only to find that same exact contract and hospital is once again available, but with a 40-60% decrease in pay.

Or maybe the contracts weren’t cancelled, but the travel nurses were being sent to a new unit with less than a day of training. This goes back to my point of nursing is not one size fit all. Imagine being an admitted patient in the ICU and the nurse taking care of you does not have the ICU or critical care experience to properly care for you.

Lastly, there is the outlandish expectation of staff to work 12-hour shifts – up to 21 days in a row, like the McCormick Place Contract in Chicago. The pay is high, but at what cost?

Personally, I can barely work one shift of overtime without feeling like I need a two week vacation on somebody’s beach.

Being a caregiver can get exhausting even to someone who is so in love with their job. Healthcare workers are not machines, they are humans who need proper rest to keep their immunity and mental health up.

If your staff is exposed and contact the virus who’s going to take care of these patients? I’ll wait.

I will admit, some of these stories are extreme and they might be the minority, but it does not change the fact it is happening.

Though it’s not surprising, it’s still heartbreaking to watch our health care system struggle. It’s embarrassing to see our government leaders put profit over lives.

So much of these consequences could’ve been avoided.

Hopefully we learn something from this so 100 years from now a similar situation can be handled with ease. Part 3 will wrap up my final experience about why I am no on the frontline.

“The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” Rafiki, Lion King 1994

March 2019 – Taken on my first travel nurse contract in Worcester, MA. I never wear make up to work because who’s going to wake up early enough to do it? Not Jen!

Yes, I’m a Nurse. No I’m Not on the Front Lines

Disclaimer: if you believe our current administration is handling this pandemic well or you believe they’ve done all they can to support our country; we’re going to have a difference of opinion. And that’s okay.

The truth is, I’m not on the front line of this pandemic as of now. It seems like a no brainer, right? I’m an RN so automatically I should jump into “hero” mode. Isn’t this what I went to school for? I am in the small pool of people considered an essential worker by my title, so what went wrong?

Keep on reading!

16 Travel Nurse Tips

So February 2019 started my travel nurse journey and I have no regrets. There are some challenges, but it’s much easier than I thought it would be. If you’re contemplating your career as a travel nurse, take that leap of faith and just begin. There’s a lot of research that went into my first 3 contracts and every day I learn little more! Here’s what I have learned so far:

1: Talk to other travelers about their pay and their company benefits. Obviously, not in front of permanent staff, but be comfortable having that discussion. My company does not reimburse for licenses or cover travel expenses or parking and they don’t offer an extension bonus, but I learned that I usually have a higher weekly payout. When I compared with other travelers, all the money adds up. However, the biggest draw back I experienced with my company is my tax free housing/meal stipend is pro rated if I don’t work all my contracted hours. This wasn’t a big deal until recently. For example, I work in an outpatient procedure unit that is only open for day shift M-F. The unit was closed Thanksgiving and Black Friday, so I only worked 30 hours and my stipend was adjusted by 1/4. I worked less, but that doesn’t matter to my bills and rent! However, if you’re working 3 12 hour shifts, it probably won’t be hard to make up those missed hours.

2: Don’t be afraid to switch companies! I enjoy working with my recruiter and I have worked with him for 3 contracts, 4 if you include my upcoming extension. However, based on my example in number 1, I am ready to switch companies. I have had multiple recruiters and companies from the beginning of my travel nurse journey simply to compare pay packages. I always went with company A because they had the highest weekly pay, but now I know what’s a deal breaker for me and what’s not!

3: Speaking of contract extensions, DO NOT extend unless you are 100% sure it’s what you want. The first few weeks may seem amazing and the other travelers make great coworkers, but have you experienced working on the unit when they are short staffed or having some sort of crisis? Does the manager and charge nurse offer help when the staff is drowning in work? You want to know how they handle inconvenient situations especially short staffing before you sign up for an extension. Last thing you want is to feel burnt out, it defeats the purpose of traveling. Please note, if your extending a contract because you met that special someone, be sure it’s what you want & you’re not just trying to make them happy.

4: Whatever you discuss in the interview with the manger, put it in your contract! In a perfect people hold on to their words. In reality people forget or things change by the time you start. If the manager promised something in the interview have your recruiter place that in the contract. It could be as simple as time off requests to something more specific like fair rotation. In Endoscopy, fair rotations looks like split time in preop, circulating and discharge! Or maybe they promised to provide OR scrubs. Whatever it is get it in writing (CYA).

5: Take time off in between contracts if you can, even if it’s just a week! If you are one of those people who can survive off of little sleep and you don’t get exhausted easily, this is not for you. If you’re like me and you need time to rest and recoup after major life events, take the time off. I consider constantly moving across the states/country every 3–4 months a major life event. While it is exciting to try something new, it is absolutely exhausting. With each contract in a new state comes: a housing search, driving/shipping your car, completing compliance (drug testing, hours of learning modules, last minute references) and packing your favorite items and weather appropriate wardrobe. Don’t underestimate your stress level and don’t over extend yourself for the sake of the “grind.You can’t pour from an empty cup, take the time to give back to yourself.

6: Be open! If you are an extrovert this probably does not apply. When I told one of my friends I was going to be a travel nurse she said “be open!” Prior to this 3rd contract, I was just polite enough or just friendly enough to work with, but I wasnt making connections outside of work and I felt more alone. However my first 2 contracts had a lot of older nurses and not as many travelers so it was hard to form friendships. Now, I am less stand-off ish & a little less socially awkward in new situations. I try to engage and say yes to new experiences.

7: Don’t let recruiters pressure you. It’s okay to say no and bye if they aren’t offering what need. This is a business, it’s not personal! Ultimately you have to decide with type of conditions you’re willing to put up with.

8: Save! Yes travel nurses make good money, but we are missing out on other benefits. Depending on your company you may not have short term disability or maybe you declined coverage. The most important benefit we don’t have, paid time off. Yes you can take as many weeks or months off as you want, but you are not getting paid for it. If you’re able to and have the energy, pick up those extra shifts! Or if you’re like me and realized 40 hours at one job is enough for the week find a side hustle. I recently started as a food delivery driver on my days off, it doesn’t hurt to have a little extra spending money whether I’m working or not.

9: Health insurance – If you decide to take more than 30 days off or your next contract is with a different company, make sure you get all your health related appointments scheduled before your benefits expire.

10: Don’t over pack. A lesson I learned the hard way. I’m way too embarrassed to even tell you how much ish I bought with me. You do not need every pair or even every kind of shoe. Take the basics and create versatile looks.

11: Housing. If you have family or friends in that area, see if you can stay with and pay rent to them. If you are going to be moving in with a stranger, ask for references from recent roommates! It can be awkward moving into someone’s home. You want to know that they are welcoming and not over bearing/militant about every single thing. Also, something I like to do before I sign or even submit to a position is look up housing near the facility! I despise a long commute, I need to be at my job in under 30 minutes with traffic. If housing options are slim pickings or out of my price/mile range I will pass on the job! Lastly, use all the search tools available. I found housing on Airbnb my first 2 contracts, but the service fee gets pricey. My current renter I found through the gypsy nurse housing Facebook group!

*For my non-travel nurses or health care workers, these last round of topics can be applied to anyone in any setting. Where you see travel nursing insert your own career!

12: Be flexible, but don’t bend over backwards. As a traveler, yes you are there to fill a need, but that does not give the manager/charge nurse/coworkers to dump on you! Do not let anyone make you feel like you deserve more work because you make more money! Especially to my nurses working on the floors or in LTC facilities. If you feel assignments or admissions aren’t being rotated fairly or they are unsafe, SPEAK UP! Talk to the unit manager, but also talk with your recruiter. They are there to support you when things get rough at work and if need be, get you out of unsafe contracts!

13: Be comfortable with exploring cities by yourself. Most off days I just want to sleep, but every now and again I want to explore the city or take a road trip to a nearby city. Maybe you didn’t make friends at work yet or maybe you can’t get your off days to line up with your work bestie, regardless don’t wait for somebody else’s availability. Research, create an itinerary and just go do something you’ve never done before.

14: Unit drama is none of your concern. When Carol and Sue are whispering in the corner just mind the business that pays you. If you’re nosey like me, keep your ear to the “streets”, but act like you didn’t hear shit. Don’t be that traveler getting too comfortable and stirring the pot.

15: Always make sure your pay stub is correct! The people working pay roll are human and errors can occur. The more uncomfortable mention is that big companies will try to get away with minor details and skim off the top at your expense. Regardless, make sure the money adds up because “if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.”

16: Visit home as often as you want. You could be having the best time in your at your new job, but there’s no place like home. Take an extended weekend or week as often as you need to visit your loved ones.

17: Bonus tip, find a seemingly healthy way to decompress after work. It’s easy to rush home, get in the bed and scroll/watch tv. Maybe there is something else you can do to contribute to your overall mental or physical health. Recently I started journaling/stretching after work and it has helped tremendously. The weeks I slack off and replace my healthy habits with wine and TV, I am more tense and slightly hungover the next day (cheers to the late 20s club).

My blog post are usually not this long; cheers to you if you made it to the end. If you found this information was helpful please share and pass it along. Or if you have your own tips to surviving this travel nurse life leave a comment below.

Happy holidays & new year! See y’all in 2020 ❤️

Live for the Day, Plan for Tomorrow

This particular blog post is based on very recent conversations I’ve had with patients. It truly breaks my heart to not see people enjoying life, whatever “joy” might look like to them.

I’ve worked with so many 50+ year old patients who have chronic/serious illness that are still trying to work 40 hours a week to max out their retirement benefits. It’s always “I’ll retire in x amount years.”

Their Plan for retirement usually involves FINALLY traveling or spending time with their grandkids. On one hand I get it; they’ve spent decades at this company. What’s a few more years to make sure they get their max pension? They rarely called in sick, showed up on time, did their job with little to no complaints. They damn sure deserve the maximum money & retirement benefits! On the other hand, they might not be around to make it to retirement. Or they make it and they’re on oxygen tanks, using motorized scooters because of joint pain and too tired to travel or chase after their grandkids.

All this to say, LIVE YOUR LIFE. Obviously create a solid retirement plan when you’re young and save as much as you can, but tomorrow isn’t promised. Working in healthcare has truly taught me that time waits for no one! If you were placed on major restrictions due to health reasons right now, would you be satisfied with the life you have lived so far without those restrictions? If the answers is no, START LIVING! ❤️

We are approaching a new decade. Now is the time dust off those “crazy” ideas and find a way to make it happen.

Reflect on Your Minor Accomplishments Too

It’s been 5.5 years exactly since I graduated undergrad. On paper it doesn’t seem that long, but it’s evident when I scroll through my photos how many memories have been created in that time. Not to mention how the WORLD has changed since 2014. Let’s recap. Uber is popping world wide. Having your groceries delivered is now considered normal. More people than I thought have a cleaning lady which has me second guessing, why the F have I been wasting my time cleaning. Most importantly the way social media has been used has drastically changed.

With each transition of travel nurse contracts, I find myself reflecting a great deal more than I ever have. Back in April, on my personal page, I made a post with the caption:

“5 years ago I graduated with my BSN. 5 years ago I couldn’t imagine being in the position I am in now, traveling the US and getting paid to for it. 5 years ago I wasn’t giving myself permission to dream big. And 5 years ago I wouldn’t be wearing my natural fro unapologetically!”

There are times, especially in this social media era, that people don’t feel like they’re doing enough. Times where people are unintentionally comparing their journeys to someone else’s. I have definitely been guilty of this! I’m so incredibly proud of people following their dreams, whether I know them or not. On one hand it brings inspiration and motivation. On the other hand it can bring you to state of feeling stagnant, maybe feeling purposeless or like you’re missing out opportunities.

When I made the post back in April, I was feeling the latter. I had to take time to reflect and acknowledge my accomplishments no matter how minor or obvious it seemed. Wearing natural hair might not seem like a big deal to some, but to a former bundles buyer and silk press addict, it meant I was becoming more confident in my own skin. And realizing that self acceptance was a part of self love. MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT!

So I ask you, whoever is reading this. What have you not giving yourself enough credit for lately? Are you in a place where you can stand proud in seemingly minor accomplishments even if it’s not “instagram worthy”?

If you’re feeling chatty, please leave a response below and share your accomplishments!!

Year 27: I’m Moving Different

The last 6 weeks or so leading to my birthday, I kept saying “when I turn 27 I’m acting different.” I don’t even know where this statement or idea originated from, I didn’t even know what it meant until recently, but something was shifting in my spirit and energy.

In the last six weeks I have made some pretty important decisions about my future. Everything from how much longer I will be a travel nurse, to new specialties, side hustles/prn jobs and business/investment endeavors. My end game, bigger picture or whatever you want to call it has shifted into focus. I have finally “found” whatever I was searching for in my career.

I am able to visualize it each and every day. While I’m not ready to share exactly what it is, I will say it has given me so much motivation, joy and hope to have clarity. I truly wish this feeling on everybody!

The road to achieving these goals can seem daunting or even discouraging on paper, but it beats the feelings I had of being lost. And the time is going to past regardless, might as well make my dreams come true.

Knowing where I want to go has put so many things into perspective and corrected a lot negative, impulsive and coping behaviors. For me, that was shopping, poor food choices or binge drinking (even though I still enjoy a turn up brunch or day party every now and then). These were things that brought immediate comfort or satisfaction to a much bigger and internal problem. Which can happen when you aren’t walking in your truth and attempting to fit a mold that is not for you. It’s time to make nursing work for me!

So, instead of possibly offending people by saying “I’m acting different” I am telling people “I’m moving different” in this 27th year. AKA getting my ish together, not comparing myself to others, remaining unapologetic about my journey and the sacrifices/decisions I’m making along the way. Basically it’s a forever hot girl mood.

Happy birthday to all my fellow Virgos! ♍️

Houston Housing Update

Houston Housing Update

So, I know on that last blog I went on a mini rant about my hatred for bugs. Typical dramatic girlie girl. I see blood and various body fluids & parts on a daily, but freak out at the site of bug *eye roll. However this new living situation is much better! I may see a bug every so often, but nothing compared to the multiple juicy bugs I saw in that first airbnb for those 10 days I stayed there. 

On to more important things. The other airbnb tenant on the third floor has since moved out and a new guy has taken his place whom I coincidentally met today (same as the last blog). The new guy is nice enough and probably mid 30s, we had an introductory conversation while in the kitchen. 

I told him I’m from Chicago and his response being “oooo I’m sorry.” Uhm, SIR! Excuse me?

My facial expression must’ve betrayed me probably for the 100th time today. Before I could even ask a follow up question he was laughing and elaborated he was speaking only of the cold months. I was definitely about to begin the fact check of why Chicago is the best, haha. 

Am I only the person who gets territorial of my home? It’s like when someone outside of your family tries to pick on your sibling. Only I can talk shit about them, not you an outsider! 

Anyway, I’m not sure if it’s less awkward because I’ve been renting a room for 6 months now or my social skills are just getting better. Hopefully the latter. Regardless, having roommates has not bothered me as much as I thought it would. For starters I spend 8-10 hours a day at work Monday – Friday and another 1-3 hours of the day commuting and running errands. On the weekends, if I’m not traveling or having a visitor, I am relaxing at a local coffee shop or having lunch/brunch for a table of one.

Looking back, I am admitting I was little spoiled and unrealistic about the housing situations of travel nursing. I was expecting to be staying in high rise,1 bedroom fully furnished apartments close to work for every contract for less than 1/4 my salary. I’m sure I will stumble upon some hidden gems as I continue, but renting a room will always be more favorable for my financial goals. 

People have been renting rooms for centuries, it’s not even a big deal. If I’m not mistaken, my own maternal grandmother rented a room in Chicago to save up when she first came from Jamaica. It’s convenient and temporary. No worries of switching over utilities or cable into your name, it’s usually included.

My enlightened and now positive stance on shared housing is just one example of the growth I have experienced while on this journey. Many examples to come, stay tuned! You can see photos of my current home below, courtesy of the airbnb host/original posting. 

Houston Housing

Y’all remember when I said I wouldn’t be having a roommate for my future assignments?? Well my finances and I had a conversation and they determined we would definitely be in a roommate situation. 

For  this assignment I had two different airbnbs. I rented the first location for my first week of work just in case things didn’t work out. Also because the second home wasn’t available until Sunday June 30th. 

My first room was in a mother in law suite locked and closed off from the main house and it was built more like a hotel room. It had a mini fridge, a microwave and 0 cabinet space. It was in Eado (East downtown), very convenient location, but it was next to an open field and there were some big ass bugs lingering. 

If you know me, you know my phobia for bugs runs very deep. I saw about 5 different species of bugs in the apartment, it was too much. I messaged the host frequently in the 10 days I was there, but she seemed pretty much over me. She supposedly had the complex spray the apartment, but it did not help much. 

Now there weren’t just bugs constantly crawling up the walls, but I saw at least 1-2 juicy bugs a day while I was home and they were coming from under the sink not near the window or entry ways. So it was definitely concerning to me and causing serious anxiety. I tried to stay outside as long as possible, exploring. When I came home I kept all the lights on until it was time to sleep, but not without the help of benadryl and melatonin. Ever see a bug and just start itching? That’s me! 

Best believe I shook out every single article of clothing I had before I moved into my new room. Anything that was out, I washed!

The second room I found is in a cute town home with a private bathroom in the room. The house is absolutely gorgeous! It’s 4 stories, there’s a washer/dryer and garage parking spot with full access to the kitchen. It’s about 20 minutes from my job. 

The host are a young and pretty chill couple and they are renting to at least one other person who is on a separate level (I only found this out this morning, but whatever no big deal I guess). Compared to my housing in Mass this second room is a much better experience personality wise. Everybody does their own thing and we’re in similar age groups which is very helpful. 

Not to mention, this second house is surrounded by concrete, a city girls dream! Anyway prayers for me that bugs don’t come harassing me at this new location otherwise I am never coming back to Houston or the south period. This was supposed to be my permanent residence in the long run, my escape from Illinois which is not looking bad considering we don’t gigantic bugs like the south. I am so glad I took a travel assignment first to test the waters!