Downsides of Travel Nursing

I remember talking to Jon last winter right after we got married and telling him that we’d see how this next winter goes with my mood. I’ve told him before that I think that the older I’ve gotten, that I have seasonal affective disorder now (instead of just being depressed all the time). Last winter was tough, and you’d think right after an engagement and a secret courthouse wedding, we’d be happy! But I struggled.

I had a fantastic summer and I’m having a rough winter! This assignment isn’t quite like Massachusetts. Mass was awesome! The weather was wonderful, it was prime hiking season so all the hikes I did alone still felt safe due to having a fair amount of people any day of the week, I was really able to explore on almost every day off, minus a few rainy days here and there, and all the parks were very easily accessible. Portland isn’t the same. The sunny days are a rarity. I find the rain forest to be a bit scary to hike in alone, especially since it’s the off season and nobody is out hiking during the week. The state parks have all kinds of crazy rules about parking around here, and since I live on the Oregon/Washington border, I need separate types of passes in both states.

Despite all of that, I know I’m still unbelievably lucky to be traveling. I got to see so many things on the drive out here and Jon and I are about to drive down the California coast and back to Georgia together! I love the job I have out here. I am glad to be living with a friend from college! I still see some beautiful sights out here and still get to explore, even if not as often as I’d like!

But I’m just feeling kind of flat lately. I wouldn’t say depressed necessarily. I still feel more positive than negative overall, but I guess that “positive” is really just more like “even.” Not depressed. Not really happy, just not depressed. I miss Jon like crazy and am dying to see him right about now! I feel lonely. I’m tired of traveling for right now. (Side note: I know that this is a temporary feeling and I am not giving up on travel nursing.) I am so ready to be at home with Jon, cuddled up on our couch with him and the kitties, going to my own gym, making dinner for both of us, and hanging out with my friends. I miss Atlanta. I miss knowing where the hell I’m going and where I can park! I miss my life at home.

I was supposed to go to Vashon Island to see my sister today. I spent the day exploring Seattle since her flight didn’t land till way later in the evening, and then decided to get to the ferry terminal early since I read there was no parking lot at the ferry terminal (seriously, wtf). I couldn’t find anywhere that would let me park overnight! I mean, I did, but 2 miles away. I didn’t want to pay to take my car over to the island because I had no reason to pay for it. I just wanted to park my car and not have to walk back 2 miles tomorrow, up and down hills, through the constant drizzle! My sister told me that she landed (from Texas) and by that point, I was so frustrated with the whole thing! I was going to go stay with her and her fiancé’s family, but I was just getting so bummed out and I didn’t feel like dealing with parking or taking a ferry or walking back to my car tomorrow!

Finally, I just asked if she’d be upset if I went back to Portland (this was at 9:45pm). She said she really wanted to see me but understood. I feel so bad for letting my mood get in the way of seeing my family, especially since I only see her once a year usually, but I’m just over this! I’m tired of traveling, tired of being without my husband, tired of not having my cats, tired of looking for parking, tired of always paying to park, tired of exploring alone, tired of not having friends to hang out with… And I’m not somebody who wants to hang out with people when I feel down. Actually, I would have been fine with seeing my sister and wish I could have, but I didn’t want to deal with family members I hadn’t met before and the pain in the ass ferry.

So I called Jon and I cried. Thank god for my husband that answers my phone calls no matter what time I call him (I am not such a good wife- I get really annoyed when he calls me when I’m sleeping but I can’t help that I’m a grumpy sleeper!). I cried for a good 30 minutes about how much I miss him. I can’t wait for the next 14 days to fly by. I miss him so incredibly much. Then I had to get gas and looked at my reflection in the window (in the dark) and thought I didn’t look too bad! So I walked inside and made lots of eye contact with the guy working there while I tried to figure out if the door marked “Employees Only” was the bathroom (it was), only to find out I was looking like a hot mess when I saw my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Jeebus.

I’m home now (well, to my Washington home). I feel okay now. Still just ready to get home (to my Georgia home). I still would not trade travel for anything and am still so glad that I’m doing it. I’m not the type of person that needs to have her husband around all the time (clearly, I’ve left him at home for the last 6 months) at all… I think with this weather and the season (ugh, dang season) and all this birth control mess (and now getting my period back- pretty much exactly on time too), I’m just needing some comfort, and there sure isn’t much comfort when you’re traveling alone! I’ve been fairly isolated from anybody close to me for about 6 months and I’m really looking forward to an end to that, at least temporarily.

(Also, I promise I’m not just posting this to complain publicly! But I post tons of awesome pictures of my life and it makes it look like travel nursing is the best thing ever- which it kind of is- but there are days that aren’t so awesome too and since other travelers can read this, I’m just keeping it real!)