Travel Nursing With Kids: Meet The Family Who Sold Everything To Travel
by Brittany N. Garcia, BSN, RN, CPN, CCRN (Travel Nurse)
Do you ever feel like you are just going through the motions and are yearning for something more? This is exactly what led my husband, Nick, and I to discover the world of travel nursing. We had just gotten married, purchased a house, and had a beautiful baby girl.
We were living a good life but felt like we still needed something more.
We were working opposite schedules and passing our daughter back and forth so that we didn’t have to pay astronomical childcare costs. In addition, we were still slowly trying to pay down our mountain of student loan debt, along with two car payments and a mortgage.
Ultimately, we found that we were just working to survive and not really living our lives.
I vividly remember the moment Nick approached me and said, “I have a crazy idea, please promise me that you will consider it”. That was when he told me we should quit our jobs and I should consider travel nursing. My immediate thought was absolutely not! I loved my staff job. Selling our house and moving around the country didn’t even register as a real opportunity. I dismissed the idea for weeks, but the more I began to think about it, the more I was intrigued and really wanted to do some research.
We started "googling" questions…
After some serious “Googling”, I became fascinated with the whole concept of traveling but was still skeptical. I couldn’t comprehend leaving home and hitting the road with a baby. I still had a ton of questions I needed answered.
- How was I going to support a family with a contract job?
- What about insurance coverage?
- What if a hospital cancels my shift?
- How do I ensure I will have another job lined up?
- Will I make enough money to support a family?
- How does housing work?
How we got started in travel nursing
That being said, Nick and I made a long list of all the questions we had, created a budget, and interviewed potential agencies. I must admit, that I put them through the wringer. I was armed with pages full of questions, while also asking recruiters for references prior to moving forward with an agency. This process took us about 3 months. After we found the agency and recruiter that checked all our boxes, we moved forward in the process. Before we knew it, we were diving head first into this new world.
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Our family and friends thought we were "out of our minds!"
Ironically, the hardest part wasn’t the decision or the preparation, it was breaking the news to our family. We had nonchalantly sprinkled it into conversation during our researching phase, but I don’t think anyone took us very seriously. When the moment came to tell everyone, they unsurprisingly thought we were out of our minds.
However, they were very supportive after hearing our goals;
- To pay down debt and
- Spend more quality time together as a family
We sold everything
In what felt like time spent in extreme fast forward; we sold our home, most of our belongings, paid off both cars and Nick’s student loans with the money we made from the sale of the house. Then we moved in with my parents for a brief time before we hit the road for my first assignment.
We left with one car and a suitcase for each of us…that’s it!
I think I pinched myself a thousand times the morning we began this journey. I was just so full of excitement and anticipation. We are now 2 years in and still ecstatic about our decision.
Image Source: Instagram @goinggoinggonegarcias
Perks of travel nursing
Travel nursing definitely has its pros and cons, however, I think every situation is what you make of it.
- I love the adventure of traveling the country with my family, not knowing where we are going next coupled with the excitement of exploring a new city.
- It has also been a huge blessing to be able to comfortably support my family, pay off a huge portion of our 130k student loan debt, and still have money to save for retirement and Izzy’s college.
Cons of travel nursing
- I will say that the constant and short-term moving situation can be a little lonely and difficult.
- It’s challenging moving to a new place, not knowing anyone and being “the new guy” at work.
- It can also be frustrating going through a learning curve at each new hospital. For example, hospital orientation, learning the charting system, policies and standards of care, are new at each facility.
We have no regrets
If given the opportunity to do this all over again, we wouldn’t even hesitate. The places we have seen, the people we have met and the experiences we have had, make it all worth it.
So many times, in life, people think they need material things to make them happy, but we have found the opposite while traveling. We have each other, our car and the open road. It's so liberating!
It is such an amazing feeling to be able to come home after a shift and have my loving and supportive family there waiting for me. We honestly feel like we hit the lotto.
Work 3 days and adventure of days off
I work my 3, twelve-hour shifts per week. Nick stays home with Izzy and the rest of the time we get to spend together exploring unfamiliar places. In the last 2 years, we have had the opportunity to live in:
- Little Rock,
- Los Angeles,
- and Seattle.
These few locations aren’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the places we have visited during that time.
Lucky to be married to “Dad of the Year”
Image source: Instagram @goinggoinggonegarcias
I must give Nick major credit and nominate him for husband/dad of the year. He flawlessly transitioned from full-time working father to stay-at-home dad when we began traveling. I 100% know that I could not do this without him.
He is my rock!
He cooks all my meals for work, cleans, does laundry and most importantly takes care of our daughter. Taking care of a child is a full-time job on its own and he handles it like a seasoned pro. I work my shifts while he keeps her busy with her preschool workbooks, trips to the park, or some of the many activities she participates in while at a new location.
He is my manager, my motivator, and my emotional support.
"JUST DO IT!"
If I could borrow a slogan from our favorite sports brand to give some advice to any families out there considering travel nursing, I’d say “JUST DO IT!” You only live one life, so make the most of every moment you have. As nurses, we know how precious and short life can be, so why not live it to the fullest and take on this amazing adventure with the ones you love!