I had a good thing going in San Diego when I recently decided to pursue travel nursing. I had an amazing job, incredible coworkers who had become my dear friends, lived close to family, and had several wonderful friendships. I was also struggling with various aspects of my life, including: where to live, whether to truly settle and look at planning to buy a home, transitions of friendships, singleness, and multiple aspects of my spiritual life and church. I realize none of these struggles make me unique, especially as a 25 year old female. But they were real. They are real. So I decided to Travel.
I won’t bore you with every detail that ultimately led me to decide Travel Nursing was the best option, it was something I had always thought of as a ‘nice, but impractical idea’. I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy picking up and moving every three months. I remember in college having conversations about how nice it would be when life was not constantly in transition. I have since realized that I could stay in the same place for the rest of my life and I would never escape transition. So why not adventure.
So here I am in Yakima, Washington. “Why Yakima?” I have been asked several times since my arrival. Honestly, because they called first. I ultimately was encouraged by my recruiter (after talking to numerous recruiters and being bombarded with phone calls) to choose my top three or four states and apply for my license. Then my application would be sent to these various locations that had openings and I would wait for a call. I didn’t have to wait long. Within 2 weeks of receiving my Washington license I had a job lined up. It is a quick process.
My drive to Yakima was incredibly beautiful and necessarily filled with quiet. I stopped in Mammoth Lakes, Yosemite, and Mt. Shasta. I spent a few days with my cousins in Grass Valley, Ca and stopped for a few to visit my sister in Portland. It was a perfect balance of quiet time outdoors and valuable moments with my family. I also got my first take of Powell’s bookstore with a dear friend from college.
And so refreshed, I drove up to Yakima and saw that I was entering ‘the Palm Springs of Washington’. Or so a large sign informed me. Yakima is surrounded by grassy hillsides as opposed to the more often thought of Washington filled with evergreen trees. I found myself frightened and concerned when I drove down the incorrect Yakima Avenue looking for my apartment but was quickly relieved when I pulled up to a very nice 1 bedroom apartment in a good area and was met by a very kind landlord.
I had given away basically all of my belongings prior to moving and decided to travel with whatever I could skillfully stuff in my Chevy Malibu. I tried to move as much as possible into my apartment and get settled in before driving around town to explore. My apartment was nicely furnished with a TV and microwave surprisingly included. It was a nicer set up than I had expected. My apartment is a mile away from a river that runs along the freeway surrounded by trees that were in the process of shedding their leaves for the fall.
Yakima itself has little to offer, but is not far from multiple beautiful places. I have driven to Mt. Rainier national park, spent some time in the Colombia Gorge, and saw the Stonehenge of Washington (which apparently is a thing). I met up with my sister to drive to Seattle and Sequim near Olympia national park. Sequim is apparently the lavender capital of North America – which you know made me extremely happy if you know me well or have ever been in my car. I plan to ski a few times before I leave and explore some of the popular winter spots.
The best aspect of this particular assignment has been the people at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. I was warned prior to starting that I may be treated poorly or given rough assignments as a traveler, but was met with the opposite. Everyone has been so kind to me and helpful as I have oriented to the unit here. The manager called before the holiday schedule came out to make sure I was happy with everything and that he was taking my needs into consideration as he thanked me for being so helpful. It has been such a valuable experience to be on a medical psych unit as well and to become more acquainted with Washington State Mental Health laws. My coworkers have made an effort to invite me to do things and let me know that I am appreciated here.
There have definitely been difficult aspects. I do get lonely and have had a lot of time to fill, so often find that I waste it. I have had to adjust to a 12 hour NOC position, which sometimes doesn’t faze me and other times has me knocked out for a full 48 hours of recovery wherein I feel worthless to the world. I have watched a lot of Netflix, started to chip away at my constantly growing book list, learn more about some things that I am curious about, and picked up a guitar again. Knowing that this assignment is short makes it difficult to invest fully in relationships but has also allowed me to have some sweet moments with people.
I am in the process of deciding where to go next and am excited for what is to come.
Oh, and there is a wild game farm in Sequim where you feed whole wheat bread to animals from your car.