Moving to a new city, even temporarily, can be equally discouraging as it is exciting. Many travel nurses find themselves combatting loneliness, endlessly searching for ways to feel a little more at home. Fear not! If you’re currently away from home, family, and friends for your travel nursing assignment, there are plenty of ways for you to feel comfy and cozy.
- Find a “third space”
Home. Hospital. Home. Hospital. If your living space and your workspace are your only two environments while on assignment, you might be missing out on the people and places the city has to offer. Find a “third space” to frequent, such as a coffee shop or a bookstore, and you’ll start feeling like a local in no time.
- Spend time alone
This piece of advice might seem counterintuitive (how can I fight loneliness by spending time alone?), but self-reflection and lone adventures can truly help you come to grips with your new surroundings. It’ll boost your confidence level and make the city feel like your own.
- Connect with people
Alone time is very important, but doing the opposite is equally beneficial in getting to know a new city. Not sure where to meet people? Leverage your existing connections to expand your network – that “friend of a friend” who lives in the area might just become your ticket into new circles and social activities.
- Be a tourist
No matter where you are, you’re probably close to some sort of national landmark or local sports team waiting to be explored and made into lasting memories. Your friends back home will be jealous when they see your Instagram photos in front of Wrigley Field or at that strangely specific museum attraction in your town (Big Foot Museum, anyone?).
- Say “yes” to things
Nobody knows how “tired” feels better than a nurse, but that shouldn’t stop you from having fun when you’re off-duty. Staying inside on a Saturday is definitely a tempting possibility after a hard week of work (especially when your Netflix queue is full), but fun could be just around the corner if you’re willing to branch out and say “yes” to spontaneity.
- Try not to comfort shop
When your social calendar isn’t as packed as usual, many people have the tendency to start shopping for a living. Resist the urge by leaving your credit card at home, and instead shop for things like parks, nature trails and other free attractions the city has to offer.
- Give yourself a break
It’s okay if you don’t settle into your new surroundings right away, and feel a little homesick. Don’t beat yourself up, this is normal. The important thing is not to dwell when you hit a low point, but keep moving forward and give the city a chance to charm you.
- Make plans for the future
Thirteen weeks is a relatively short timeframe, but it can feel like eternity if your only plans include working. Your plans don’t have to be anything spectacular, but something as simple as a dinner and movie, or a leisurely drive to the next town over, can give you something to look forward to. Make plans and follow through.
- Bring a few things from home to your living space
Something as modest as a favorite candle can bring you into a state of ease and comfort. You might be living in an extended stay hotel or you could be renting a room in an apartment during your 13-week travel nursing assignment, but no matter where you are, a few familiar knick-knacks can make a new space feel like home in a jiffy.
Instead of being just another stop on your travels, make each new city the “place you learned _______.” Yoga, gardening, waterskiing, surfing – there’s so much to learn and experience out there, and you have the unique opportunity to take advantage of interesting places offering exciting hobbies.
What are some of your tricks to feeling at home in a new city? Tweet us at @travelingnurses and we’ll retweet our favorite ones!