A Traveling Family • The Gypsy Nurse

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By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

August 29, 2018



A Traveling Family

The following is a Guest Post via Jenn

Many of us wonder what it’s like to travel with Family.  I can’t tell you how many times a staff co-worker will say to me ‘I wish I could travel like you but I have a family.’  Jenn is a great example of a Travel Nurse with a Traveling Family.  Jenn agreed to answer some questions for me about traveling with family.

How long have you been a travel nurse?  
 I have been traveling for the past 5 yrs. I usually stay close to home and just go do my days and drive back home and work my per diem job full time as well. In the past, my family has come to visit but never to stay. 

This summer I ventured to Cali. A friend wanted to do it so we did. I have had my CA license for a while. The timing was never right to go.  My frind did go back home mid contract and I chose to stay and even look for another assignment here. 
Tell us a little about you and your family?    I have 4 children ages 16, 15, 5 and 3. My husband and I have been homeschooling for the past 3 years, so it just works perfect. We utilize the online public school homeschool through our home state. It’s so much easier for us but others may like other options like Abeka and such. My Husband has been a house husband since being laid off 4 yrs ago,  It made the decision to travel nurse so much simplier.

What made you decide to take the family traveling with you?  I was out in Cali, my travel mate went home and I had another traveler working out here and she turned me on to an awesome opportunity, I was missing my kids and hubby a lot so we talked it over as a family and voila family travels begin. I loved the opportunity that I was going to be able to show my children many different places.

Was there someone that inspired you?   I did know another person who had done it with her family and  they loved it. She was a staff nurse at one of my assignments who left her staff position to travel .

What unique ‘road-blocks’ have you encountered traveling as a family? We really haven’t encountered any road blocks yet as this is our first time traveling together as a family. We are mostly just trying to figure it all out.

Preparations? Since we do have a house back in Florida, my husband had to get it prepared for our absense on short notice. Once we got to our assignment location I opted for unfurnished housing. This gave me a little $ to play with that allowed me to negotiate for a 2 bedroom. We furnished the apartment ourselves. I already had an air mattresses, kitchen stuff and a tv when I came out here that I had from the studio apt.

How do you handle housing? Right now I take the housing provided we are in the process of looking for a travel trailer so @ least packing wont be so crazy and the kids can make their area truly their own.

Are there specific preparations that you make due to traveling with family? I make sure that I am well ready when it gets time to move on to the next assignment and I also make sure that on my days off it is not always about running errands and such. We all have a job, kids do their schoolwork ahead of time when I have stretches off so that it is not something we worry about when we stay up late, go somewhere to visit.

What are the children’s and spouse thoughts to living as a traveling family? Some days my 15 yo is not to happy about it. He misses stuff he did back home. He is really a big TNA Impact Jeff Hardy fan, so when we are home he goes to Impact wrestling all the time. My girls love it but right now they want to go back to LA. My husband loves it he is finally seeing things he always wanted to see.

What do you do for the children’s education?   We actually add a little more in education beyond school. One thing we do is we plan a family cruise every Dec. This true vacation consist of no electronics what-so-ever. We cut ourselves off from the world back home. The kids must find something to do with one of the countries we go to that they really want to see by researching that country. They usually have 3-9 mths to prepare. This year they actually have 11 mths.. We want to expose them to all different ways of life. 

How do they respond? They actually love learning about the difference in lifestyles and the way of living in other countries are as well as how different one place is from another.

Can you list 3 ‘perks’ to traveling with family? 
#1  I am making memories with my children that can never be replaced and my children get to go to places that they may not get to when they become adults and have families of their own.

#2 I get to actually watch my children grow and flourish in their new environment.

#3 I dont have to save up all year for my children to go on vacation once a year. We have gone to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Vegas, Los Angeles, and Shaver Lake all this in less than 3 months. Those vacations would of taken me 2-3 years to have enough money to take off work and plan and do. Now I just make it a day trip or even a weekend on my days off. A Working Vacation is what I call it.. 🙂

Can you list 3 ‘challenges’ to traveling with family?
#1 Worrying about the next place. Since I am the breadwinner and we do have bills back home, I always have to be conscious on my decisions.

#2 Some days are so crazy at work and I just would like to come home relax hot bubble bath and glass of wine. Try that with 2 girls who want to tell you about their day instead.

#3 When they want to do something that I cant because of my work schedule and we are with just one vehicle here.

How do you deal with these challenges? I just let GOD lead the way. As for my free moments to myself I think of it this way one day they wont be there knocking on the bathroom door to tell me about their day because they will be in their own bathroom wishing the same thing I am right now and I will miss these days.

Is there a specific event that has occurred while traveling with the family that has made you think “omg…what am I doing?” or “…this is the best decision ever?”   Yes. When my extention for this last contract was being worked on, we had to fly back on tues for me to work wed from our vacation. Until that monday they had not even gotten the contract to my recruiter so I was freaking out. Here I was, flying back with my family the week before Christmas and my job may not even be there. I stopped stressing when we left for our cruise the week before and Let it fall in GODs hands. It worked out thank God.

What words of advice would you give to someone that states “I just can’t travel now…I have a family”?  My true advice is to ask yourself ‘Do you want to wait, or do you want to Live?’ I just lost a very dear friend to me this week. She hadn’t even gotten to retire, in just 3 short months she went from a vibrate full of life person to someone who couldnt even get out of bed. She had a cruise planned (she loved cruising) and she was devastated that she had to cancel. She was also going to miss her 1st grandbaby growing up.

I want my childrens memories to be “yes my mom is a nurse but she also showed us all the wonderful new and exciting adventures the world had to offer”, not just a vacation that truthfully half of families do not even truly take. Many vacations consisit of going to families for a visit. Grab onto Life and make yours and your childrens life one big adventure!!!! Think what stories your children will pass on to their children when they are grown.

What do you feel is the #1 Benefit of having a Traveling Family? We are much closer as a family!!

About The Author:

My name is Jenn Sheppard, I have been a Labor and Delivery Nurse for the past 12 years with the last 5 yrs being a traveler. I love adventure and to see new things. Which is quite funny since I am a Virgo; but I have a fellow Virgo buddy who feels the same way and she also teaches me about the ins and outs of the industry..

This year I have made big changes.. I ventured out of my comfort zone. I traveled away from home and even quit my safety net per diem job… after 5 yrs of talking about it we made the leap of faith and became a Traveling Family.

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