I am in Hartford, Connecticut on assignment #2.
I have not once had feelings of regret about deciding to travel- even though there are difficult moments. I have found that I love this and I could possibly become addicted to this lifestyle for a while. I have found that I love entering a new hospital environment and discovering the quirks of various geographical locations. This world is full of amazing things, I feel so grateful to be a momentary participant in some of those amazing (and some not so amazing) things that are happening. There are many moments when I feel like an observer, simply staying on the outside of projects or unfolding drama but the most amazing aspect of traveling is when I have been invited to be involved in things- whether in things happening at the hospital or in peoples lives. I feel so grateful to be welcomed by so many when I am here for such a short time.
I have been here in Connecticut since January 23rd. The time does fly by. My drive from Washington was amazing. If you have never taken a long road trip… pick a destination and just go. I feel so grateful that my parents took us on so many long road trips growing up. It is amazing how many people are terrified of the idea of a long drive. I have seen many a shocked look when telling people I made the drive alone, but I am experienced thanks to my family and was taught how to do it safely. This meant I felt comfortable during the trip because 1) I stopped driving when it got dark 2) updated my family and a few friends frequently when stopping for gas or for the night 3) have a car full of emergency supplies and 4) watched the weather closely. I was definitely nervous taking the trip mid-January, but amazingly missed all bad weather. I think it rained for 1 hr of my entire drive and the roads were almost completely dry. I would have loved to take some more time to cross the country, but was able to stay with Luke in Virginia for a couple days and see where he goes to school before completing the drive to Connecticut.
Connecticut is a funny place. I am enjoying it so far and decided to extend my stay until July because it is an ideal location and I love the hospital that I am at. Most people I have talked to don’t really like living here. The most common complaints are about the weather and the taxes, it seems a lot of people have moved away due to the mismanagement of the city. Everyone has said that Spring and Fall are incredible but the Winter is too cold and the Summer too humid. It is nice to come in as an outsider and see the beautiful aspects with fresh eyes. This winter was incredibly mild so I am told I didn’t get the true feel for what the winters can hold.
I am working at Hartford Hospital, the Institute of Living. The hospital is the second oldest psychiatric facility in the US and is doing some amazing things. I feel proud to work here. There is a wonderful residency program and some incredible outpatient options for patients that are so vital for continued wellness. There are pro’s and con’s no matter where you go and there has been some tension with nurses attempting to join a Union, but I am glad I can be here to be helpful. I am still in love with Psych nursing and have considered returning to school for my Nurse Practitioner degree, but I am not willing to give up travel yet.
One of the reasons this location is ideal is that it about 2hrs from both Boston and New York City. I have yet to travel much, but am looking forward to some trips in both directions. Luke brought some friends out for their spring break and we were able to take a day trip to Newport, Rhode Island one day and go sledding another. My coworkers laughed that a bunch of 20 year old college students would choose to come to New England for Spring Break, but fortunately Luke thinks his sister is cool enough to spend a few days with. We got snowed in one of the days they were here and had a ‘Lord of the Rings’ marathon (extended versions) and made some good snow-day snacks. I loved coming home to a packed apartment.
I have been asked many times why I decided to travel as a nurse. “It seems like it would be hard to get used to a new hospital.” Yes, but it makes me a better nurse and I enjoy the challenge. “Don’t you get lonely?” Yes, but I got lonely at home too even though I am surrounded by loving friends and family. “Why would you leave San Diego and come here?” Why not.
I am excited to continue exploring. I have gone to the Mark Twain house, gone on a couple hikes, spent some time at cute coffee shops, and explored antique malls. There is lots more to do and I am glad it is warming up so I can do them. I bought flowers and a bird feeder for my porch yesterday to welcome Spring and the warm weather. As cheesy as it is, I put a bumper sticker on my car as well that appropriately states “Not all who wander are lost”. I am two months into this assignment and have four left before I decide where to wander next.