As my first year of travel nursing comes to a close – when I really sit down and think back – this one year of traveling went by in the blink of an eye. I honestly cannot believe it has been 365 days since we started this amazing adventure! If you would have asked me a year ago where I’d think this journey would have taken me I would never have fathomed all of the experiences, amazing places visited and fantastic people met.

Perhaps the most exciting constant in all of the hospitals and cities along the journey have been the fellow coworkers, family and new lifelong friends I have met along the way. But the one question that constantly arises is:

“How long will you do travel nursing for?” 

Up until now I have consistently responded with I’ll continue to travel until I get sick of it.

However, recently I have reflected upon this response. Now this statement may or may not be concerning to my family and friends. But, I wonder why there needs to be a specific end date on this journey. Does it give more or less meaning to the journey? Does it help rationalize the insanity of our transient lifestyle? Does it cause more or less happiness? Strength to get through to the end date? Do I even need to have a response?

“…focusing on an end date misses the point of this particular journey.”

Of course situations can always change (and always do), feelings can change, however it occurs to me lately that focusing on an end date misses the point of this particular journey.  One of the main lessons learned throughout the past year is to embrace change, not only through traveling but in life. Growing up n Naples, FL, I stayed within 20 miles of my home my entire life and was somewhat regimented in my daily and yearly routines. I love my hometown and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I am always struggling to deal with breaking out of my comfort zone in new and different ways. Our travels and explorations have been mostly unplanned and have been in a “fly by the seat of our pants” sort of way. I do believe that I am getting better at adapting constantly even though there are days I question myself why am I putting myself through all of the stress of moving every three months and adjusting to a new job every 13 weeks. But the challenges keep my mind fresh and thirsty.  However, I am so thankful for Kollin as his special brand of goof ball is my constant throughout this crazy adventure.

If there is a moral  have picked out of the last year it would be that:

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place to stay but nothing grows there” 

I am finding comfort with the fact that there is no right way to do life. Thats the amazing thing about finding joy in the journey. I do believe that everything happens for a reason and it’s all about perspective and how you react to change in your life that will make you stronger. Sure you may hope for things to go a certain way, but life is like doing a jigsaw puzzle. Some people like to dump out the puzzle and begin by flipping over each of the pieces. Some start by completing the border first. Some just dive right in and start matching pieces. Some people may think “I hate puzzles” and struggle through it. Some start from the center and work their way outwards. The incredible thing is no matter which path you take the puzzle will be completed and you will finally see the amazing picture you were aiming to create the entire time.

The past year of travel has definitely taught me to accept change as it happens.  Right now, for me, its through travel and nursing that I have found my joy. So, now when I’m asked that question how long will you do this travel nursing for? – I will reply simply:

“…as long as I can”.