How a Nurse Quit Her Job to Travel the World
Side note: This is not at all a diatribe or manifesto on why you should quit your nursing job. These are just some steps I took when I made that decision. After all, that wasn’t my plan at first. I actually took a leave of absence that led to other wonderful opportunities that, in order to pursue them, required me to quit at the time. This is just my story. And nursing is great… really!
Unless you’re independently wealthy or you’ve racked up years of savings to spend at whim, you may have some careful planning ahead of you. For me, it was making the decision to use my skills and talents (many which I picked up during nursing) to start my own businesses. And, since I can work online, traveling becomes so much easier!
People who work online and have the freedom of destination are often called digital nomads, and the term is growing on me as I work harder and harder to enjoy this type of lifestyle. Also, if you’re a nurse who’s looking to start your own business, this may be an option for you as well if you love the idea of travel.
If the idea of designing your own nursing lifestyle seems tempting to you and you want to explore your options and get help to support you in your goals, start here.
As a “digital nomad”, I revel in the idea that I can use the power of online communication and other technologies to work from ideal locations around the world. But, there are a few prerequisites to make this happen— including having more time, the ability to make an income and a certain freedom from the “floor” (or an occasional break, at least).
So when planning your journey to entrepreneurial freedom and lots of travel is important to you, consider a few things. These are the top 7 tips I followed to get me going abroad:
1 – Save Money and Have a Contingency Plan
Depending on the length and projected expenses for travel, start saving extra! If traveling for 3 months, save for 6. If 6 months, save for 9. No mathematical formulas at play, just the typical advice of always having 3 months of additional living expenses saved just in case there are hard times.
And never be in another country without having the ability to return back home in case of social, economic or political strife. If a one-way ticket was booked (as in my case), an extra 3-month savings will get that emergency plane ticket should there be a need to get home quickly.
Another option: start your own business, and strive for location independence when doing so. As a nurse with so many skills and talents, it’s definitely possible. After all, I did it, and so can you! Plus, making an income on the road is a great way to secure constant travel.
2 – Downsize
First, consider selling what you own if the plan is to work and travel indefinitely. This money can no doubt help you travel longer and give you the extra cushion you need. If there are prized possessions that you must absolutely keep, store them with family or friends so you’ll be able to retrieve them later.
And then, don’t renew the lease. Or homeowners, rent out your space. Airbnb is a great option! I have a friend who is doing this with her space right now while she’s in Peru, and the income she’s making is helping to cover her cost of travel.
The key is to travel light when it’s time to take that trip. The challenge should be to reduce everything down to a carry-on. Sometimes less “stuff” can be freeing. And when I left for my 3 month Greece getaway, I packed a backpack and a rolling suitcase. Although it’s not a carry-on right now, before my next destination, that’s definitely my goal!
3 – Be Flexible with Dates and Destinations
Don’t have any idea of where to go? Perfect!
Originally, back in August of 2014, I planned to be in Krakow. I simply loved the city when I visited before. But, by March of 2015, my city choice had changed. The key is, I was flexible and willing to go anywhere my heart desired at the time. And I was flexible with my travel dates. Even though my plan was to leave May 1, 2015… I actually didn’t get going until May 30th. Being fluid in my plan gave me ample opportunity to examine a few destinations, dates, the climates (social, economic and political), cost of living, future working environment and adventures.
Then, once you do have a solid date and city planned, tell everyone. The goal is much easier with accountability measures in place.
4 – Telecommute, Go Per Diem or Agency… or Bust
Okay… this may be the biggest challenge for most who are reading this!
If a you’re a nurse working away from the floor and the need for direct patient contact, find ways to work from home first. Discuss a telecommuting plan with your employer, maybe once a week at first then progress with more time “off” from there. This could potentially buy you additional travel time or just more time to spend it as you please.
If working from home isn’t possible (for example, a staff nurse), try working per diem or agency at first. With this option, you’ll have more time to yourself and it’ll be easier to make a plan. Without having a set schedule, you’ll start to see other options may be possible.
If per diem is not an option and you desire an extended time off from work, save then try a leave of absence. This will give you the extended time you need to either travel, start a business or spend more time doing what matters to you.
If you’re just itching to try something new altogether and you’re feeling the need to move on, do so, without regret. Just make sure you have a proper exit plan in place.
An for those skeptics out there who think none of this is possible: If you think it will work, you’re right… If you think it won’t, you’re still right!
5 – Get Your House in Order
Now this may feel a bit ominous, but if you’re planning on traveling for an extended period of time, plan for the worst. Life insurance, durable power of attorneys, and/or health care proxies, although challenging to discuss with family and friends, are a good idea.
And, it probably goes without saying… Don’t forget to get a passport. Also, buy travel insurance with a medical/evacuation policy included. Often it’s offered when purchasing a plane ticket or even private health insurance companies may also have a policy to fit travel needs.
6 – Register Your Trip
In this case, it’s a good idea if big brother is watching. Register your trip with the [Smart Traveler Enrollment Program] (https://step.state.gov/step/) and the nearest US Embassy or Consulate can contact you with notifications of safety and travel issues in your destination or in the event of natural disasters, civil unrest, or a family emergency.
Never leave home without doing this!
7 – Try a Test Run
Not quite ready to go all out with traveling and/or working off-site or independently in your own business indefinitely? Set a goal to experience another country for 1, 2 or 3 months. See, if in a different environment, if you’ll have the discipline to work while you’re on the road. If anything, just experience the culture, food, and language. At least the money for that trial period will be well worth the trip!
So what do you think? Are you interested in learning how to start your a business, travel the world or just spend more time with family and friends? Check out my new program, Nursing Lifestyle Design. I would love to help you get started!