I know that many travel nurses travel with a spouse or significant other and began wondering what it was like for those that tag along. There isn’t really any support system for this unique group of people, and I wanted to provide insight into what it is like and the daily challenges for this group of people.
What is a tag-a-long? I originally found the term when I was researching travel nursing blogs. I found a blog of a self-proclaimed tag-a-long and loved the term.
Since the last Tag-A-Long Travel Nurse interview, I figured out where I had found the term. Ryan S. blogs at TagALongNurse and has agreed to provide another Tag-A-Long interview. I’m happy to have found the source of the term. I felt a bit like I plagiarized, not being able to reference where I found the term.
Many travel nurses travel with a significant other, a spouse, a close friend, or other family members. These are tag-a-longs. I wanted to find out what it’s like to live the Travel Nurse life as a Tag-A-Long, and here is what I found out.
Thanks go to Ryan, a self-proclaimed ‘tag-a-long” who agreed to answer a few questions. Ryan has been tagging along since May 2012. He and his wife are pretty new at the Travel Nurse scene.
Here is what Ryan had to say about living the Travel Nursing Life as a tag-a-long:
Why did you choose to live a life of Travel Nursing?
My wife and I have always wanted to travel to see other places and people and experience how people live in different parts of the US and eventually the world. We both grew up in Texas, dated in high school, and got married after college. I got the chance to travel to Namibia, Africa, for a semester in college and absolutely loved it. I think my wife caught the travel bug from me after that.
The moment we officially decided to travel happened when my wife was coming up on her first 2 years of experience in nursing – what the agencies usually ask for. We had, of course, been discussing traveling for a while, but one night about a year ago, my wife said, “I’m ready to start traveling.” I said I was too, and we made it official with a spit shake. Haha, it was just a little bit impulsive.
Do you work from Home/Internet?
Right now, I’m planning on starting to work as an extra for TV and movies as we are on assignment in Los Angeles. For our first assignment in Las Vegas, I started working online for Leapforce doing web search optimization for Google and Bing. It turned out I would only get 5 or 10 hours of work a week, so I let that slide. I’m still trying to figure out what I can do to contribute something financially. As I said, I’m going to try being an extra here in LA, but for our next assignment, I’ll look for another online job, or perhaps something temporary in retail or Starbucks, etc.
What do you do when your Travel companion is working? Do you get bored? What do you do to keep active/entertained?
Besides looking for/thinking about work, I have just recently gone vegan a few months ago and really got into fitness. My wife and I go to an outdoor fitness camp called Camp Gladiator, which my wife started going to Texas. I’ve found that as a tagalong, having somewhere to meet people and make friends can really help, and Camp Gladiator has been one of those outlets for me. We have also found a church to attend, and they have been very open and accepting of us. For this assignment, we’re here for 8 months, so we have a chance to build these new relationships a little more than if we were here for only 3 months. However, for future assignments, I also plan to keep tapping into opportunities to make new friends.
Do you utilize local clubs or groups like meetup.com? What is the biggest challenge for you?
My biggest challenge so far has been keeping myself occupied and stifling boredom while my wife is at work. This was especially the case while we were in Vegas (our first assignment). Luckily lots of our friends and family came to visit us – imagine that – but for the most part, it was just our dog and me. I’m really into the video game franchise Call of Duty, so that definitely keeps me entertained. Fortunately, though, I get burnt out on it after a few hours, so it can only last so long. I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to meet people in LA, so as I mentioned, I plan to keep on finding places to make new friends at other assignments.
What is the best benefit for you?
My biggest benefit is definitely the opportunity to see places I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. We got to see Carlsbad Caverns, Roswell, NM, the grand canyon, Vegas, and now LA all in 6 months. I couldn’t think of a better way to get to see all of that.
What advice would you give to someone considering the life of a Tag-a-long?
For anyone considering tagging along with a travel nurse, I would say this: Try to figure out what you will do on the downtime beforehand if it is a job, volunteering, a workout group, or a local meetup group. This will greatly help to keep you stimulated and fulfilled. Take on whatever travel and household responsibilities you can. I’ve done my best to take on the role of house husband, and it seems to be working fairly well. I also plan out getting from location to location and what we’ll do while we’re on assignment. Most obviously, treat travel as an adventure. You might give up some of the structure and conveniences you left behind at home, but the payoff is worth it.