Travel Nursing & Tiny Living

It has been quiet on the blog lately, but for good reasons! We are radically changing our lives.

We bought a 32 foot travel trailer and have already began living in it full time. WHY might someone do this, you ask? There are a few reasons.

  1. I am going to be doing travel nursing!
  2. We have been wanting to experience “tiny house living” for awhile
  3. We are going to explore the United States over the next 2 years
  4. Jake is going to learn all about alternative building techniques and organic farming from places around the country
  5. We are using this opportunity to work towards becoming debt free!
clam beach california

Clam Beach, California

So yeah, a huge life change! First off, I have been a registered nurse for 6 years now. 5 years ago I became really interested in travel nursing, I talked to a couple recruiters and we even bought a big truck to pull a travel trailer. Neither of us were ready for such a big change though, and we ultimately decided to stay put. I eventually switched departments and I have been working in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for the last 3.5 years.

Initially, I LOVED my job. I learned so much, and I know that there is still much I could learn there. But I didn’t feel challenged like I wanted to. I mostly just felt tired. I made great money though, had an awesome schedule and got the equivalent of 7 weeks of paid time off every year…WORKING PART TIME! I really like most of my coworkers too. Putting in my notice made me feel sick to my stomach and sad, but I know it was the right thing.

What Is Travel Nursing?

Travel nurses are contracted to work (usually) 13 week contracts. It may be that a facility does not have enough staff, or they may temporarily need more staff, such as Florida in the winter when all the snowbirds head south. Or when they are converting medical charting systems (it’s a huge deal). So a travel nurse fills that void. Usually they only receive 1-2 days of training, so you have to be confident in your skills and be flexible. Working in ICU has really helped improve my confidence, and I feel like travel has taught me to be more of a ‘go with the flow’ person, so I feel like this is something I will be good at.

Where Are We Going?

We both immediately knew where we wanted my first contract to be: New England in the fall! It is a region neither of us has been, besides New York City. So we are both super excited to experience it during the best time of the year. I have been focusing my job search mostly in the northern states, because we don’t want to be near the big cities. So either Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine is where we will hopefully end up.

**EDIT 7/29/17: I somehow ended up getting the first position I applied for, which was EXACTLY what I was looking for! So it looks like we will be spending autumn in NEW HAMPSHIRE!! 

When Are We Going?

My final day of work is July 31st. We plan on being on the road 2 days later. We are going to make a quick detour to California. I eventually want to take a contract in California, but the process to getting licensed can take 6+ months. The process can be expedited a little if you go there for part of it (getting finger printed with their system).

After swinging by Northern Cali, we are backtracking a little to Albany, Oregon for the Mother Earth News Fair. It is a conference that we have been to before and both really love. Then we will start the long journey East! We are taking quite a few detours, so it is much longer than the Google Maps recommended route. But we really want to enjoy this time and the start of our new lifestyle, so we are planning on taking 3 weeks to cross country.

2018 Forest River Surveyor

Why Buy a Travel Trailer?

Travel nursing can pay pretty good, but a big chunk of that money comes in the form of a tax free “housing stipend.” There are some rules to qualify for the tax free part, but I don’t need to get into that. So we could take that stipend money and rent a place for 13 weeks. But with our 2 dogs, we would likely have to pay a pet deposit. And the idea of packing and moving every 4 months doesn’t sound pleasant.

Many travel nurses buy an RV or travel trailer for the convenience of having  your home with you everywhere you go. And if you have dogs it’s nice for them too to have that familiarity. It probably works out to be cheaper in the long run too, and you are putting your money towards something you will eventually own.

We have been living in a 750 sq. foot house, and many times we mention to each other how it feels too big. So the idea of downsizing more is something that we both really wanted to do at some point. I have been reading about minimalism and I think it sounds so freeing. We are almost completely moved into the trailer. It is about 290 sq. feet or so with the 2 sliders out. We have not felt crowded at all, and I think it’s going to be something we like a lot.

quiraing isle of skye

The Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland

What is Jake Going To Do?

Professionally, Jake is a Real Estate Agent. He does a great job at it, but it is a job that requires your attention at any hour of any day. We had to set our alarms in Venice to wake in the middle of the night so he could make some business calls. Or try and find the tallest mountain on the Isle of Skye in Scotland so he could scheduled showings. Thankfully he has found a great new business parter, which has taken away some of the stress. He will be able to manage most of his business by phone and internet, and he will fly back home periodically to work. He is actually looking forward to this change, and scaling back on how many “on the ground” hours he puts in.

As I mentioned earlier, Jakes job may be real estate, but his passion is permaculture and sustainability. People around the United States are doing amazing things with sustainable building, like using cob to build houses or hempcrete, or (my favorite) earthship style houses. In addition to sustainable building, he plans on volunteering through Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA, which is often called WOOFing.

So as you can see, a lot of changes coming for us! The blog has primarily been focused on travels in the past. Since we are traveling around the United States, travel will obviously be a big topic here still. But I would also like to incorporate a little bit about sustainable living or even travel nursing since I haven’t found many blogs that discuss the topic. We will also be talking about what life is like living in a travel traveler, and all the joys and challenges that come with it as we explore every corner of the USA, Canada and Mexico. We will still take international trips periodically, depending on my schedule and the deals we fine. While I will not have paid time off like I did at my staff position, I can take as much time off between contracts as I would like 😉

travel trailer usa

So, what do you think about our plans?! Would you live in a travel trailer if it meant you could explore more? 

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