In 1865, the great newspaperman Horace Greely said, “Go West, young man, go West”. Flash forward to 2017, and the roads in that direction are a little better, and the chances of an arrow to the heart are a little less, but the adventure remains. So, 152 years after Mr. Greely’s exclamation, my wife and her TNF (travel nurse family) heeded his advice, and headed to Grand Junction, Colorado.
Jeanie started her new assignment in early April. It’s eight weeks, with the possibility of an extension. Housing in Grand Junction has proved to be a challenge. We’re going to have to move out of our current residence before her contracts up, and are expecting to have to move a few more times, depending on how long we stay, before we leave town.
Finding a place to stay can be rough for any traveler, but it can be particularly hard for those traveling with their family. Landlords who want to keep their stuff nice, aren’t as open minded about the enthusiastic behavior of a three-year as you think they’d be. We all know that we’re going to have some difficulties on the road, and the first step in knowing how to overcome those obstacles, is knowing your options.
As is the case with most situations you’re likely to run into as a travel nurse, the advice you get from fellow travelers who have been there, done that, is absolutely indispensable. That’s why sites like the Gypsy Nurse are so important. We’re fairly new to doing our own housing, and while we are taking a live and learn attitude towards things, a little help always helps.
The problem for us in Grand Junction seems to be that our focus is on furnished housing. The hospitals here use a lot of travelers, and there seems to be a lot of small commercial contractors that work between the cities in this area, so furnished housing is in high demand. With past assignments, we were either in areas that were basically off season destination spots, so it was a renter’s market, or we had the agency arrange our housing. Things are a little different here, but as the locals like to say, “It ain’t no mountain for a biily-goat”.
Now, since we’re probably not going to be here that much longer we are leaning towards a more force-of-will option for the short term. Meaning, we’ll most likely just keep on looking for furnished places, get what we can for as long as we can, and try to do it all on the cheap. (Speaking of finances, I want to point out that despite the headaches, we’re coming out ahead by doing our own housing.) But, in the future I think we are going to try and utilize some of the lessons we’ve learned here.
Finding affordable, furnished housing will always be our first choice. It’s not as much hassle, and is one less thing to have to try and accomplish when you’re new to a place. If that doesn’t come to fruition though, we want to try our hand at furnishing a unit ourselves. A lot of nurses either rent furniture from a rental company, or buy enough secondhand furniture to make a house a home. We figure we may need to rent a TV, and some appliances, but can buy the rest. It’s a little intimidating, but we’re excited about it.
There are different options for different situations. Being a traveling family, renting a room or living hostel style isn’t a real good choice. A single traveler, or nurses traveling together are going to have different options, and everyone has their own preferences and level of comfort when it comes to where they’re going to live. Just remember to do the research, look for advice from other travel nurses, and don’t be afraid to try something new.