Travel Nursing: Surrendering to the Unknown

img_6936When my husband and I were engaged we went through premarital counseling with a priest at our church. This counseling involved a lengthy test we each had to take in order to see how well matched we were. When our results came in it noted that we were a very harmonious couple but that we were both highly rigid.

This meant that we got along very well, always sought the peace, but hated going against a fixed schedule, anything unknown. We liked our plans, we liked knowing what was coming, and didn’t react well to sudden change of plans or having to be spontaneous. Our homework from our priest was to go on an unplanned date. We drove around for what felt like forever trying to decide where to eat and what to do. It stressed both us out considerably and we finally stopped and got some sushi.

God has a sense of humor, it seems, that He would take two (mostly me though, if I’m honest) rigid people and give them a really wild, adventurous life full of the unknown.

When we signed up to do travel nursing we were newly married and full of excitement at learning these new skills of flexibility and living three months at a time. I got pregnant two weeks into our first assignment, and pregnancy changed everything. Suddenly, it mattered very much to me which city we lived in and where we lived. I didn’t want to bring my baby home from the hospital to a hotel. I didn’t want to move my baby to new surroundings every time we moved. I knew babies and children do best when they have consistency and structure, and I wanted desperately to provide that for my child.

Thus began our passionate search for a tiny house that eventually led us to our current RV. Now, no matter where we go, we have a roof over our heads (and thankfully the same roof!). Our home is on wheels, and that is a great comfort to me!

We’ve been in the Charlotte area for almost a year now. Our daughter was just five weeks old when we moved north from Florida. Now, we are getting ready for her first birthday. We have stayed here so long because it’s been the best fit for us. Every time a new contract opens up it’s either filled quickly or not the right fit for us. So here we have stayed. But we don’t know if we can stay any longer. Whether we can renew our contract here is still unknown.

Our contract is finished in three weeks. I have no idea where we will be living in three weeks. That would stress most people out, especially women (especially moms), who crave security and predictability. But we have learned that where we live is not up to us; it’s up to God. God has brought us through some really tight scrapes as a family. He always provides a job for us, and He always provides a place to stay. He has been our Shepherd too many years for us to worry about it now. We aren’t really surrendering to the unknown. We are surrendering to God. While He never guarantees a safe, comfortable life, He is always faithful. He’s a much safer place to rest than simply the cold unknown.

I would say in the two years we have been married, we have learned a lot of flexibility. God’s assignment for our learning was a little more intense than that of our priest! We can rest in expectation that God will provide the very best for us.

You can, too!


At Last: An Update on Tiny Living

Have you ever had that sinking feeling when you know someone is about to say, “I told you so?”  You kind of squint and wait for the comment to hit you in the face like a pie.

Well, after this update I’ll be doing a bit of squinting.

If you’ve been following our journey, you know that it has been our dearest wish to build our very own tiny house to take with us on the road as we travel nurse.  We’ve been pursuing that goal for the last year or so.  We found a builder we absolutely loved and together we created a floor plan and design for our would-be home.  We even put down the money to buy the actual physical trailer on which said tiny home would be built.  Then the time came to find a loan to pay for the build.

Groundhog day

But time after time the answer from bank after bank was “No, we don’t do tiny homes,” like Andie McDowell slapping Bill Murray in the face over and over again in Groundhog Day.  It was an exhausting and discouraging process, to say the least.

Throughout the process of tiny home planning and dreaming, we have had lots of people say, “Why don’t you just buy an RV?” to which we usually sigh and explain that while technically a tiny house IS an RV, they are also nothing like RVs.  Tiny homes are extremely well built, far less flimsy than most RVs.  And you get a lot more square footage.  And they’re meant to be lived in, not camped in.  You get the idea.  Also, most motor coach style RVs cost three times more than our house.  So the RV idea was always a giant, “NO!”  Plus I hate how they look on the inside.

But then one day I picked my husband up from a shift at the hospital in Florida and he mentioned one of his coworkers, a fellow travel nurse, lived in a rather nice travel trailer that she and her husband live in that only cost a fraction of our tiny house budget.  I immediately started in on why travel trailers aren’t a good idea: they’re flimsy, there’s no space for the baby, and they look like they were designed by a baby boomer convention (baby boomers – no offense – tend to LOVE dark woods, fluffy leather furniture, and ornate window coverings.  All fine if you live in a 19th Century English manor home, terrible if you live in an RV.  It makes the whole thing look like a cramped, dated cave.  Millennials like myself like our spaces sparse, open, and light — mostly because we’ve been broke since ’08 and we have no wealth to flaunt).

But as the dream of our home-on-the-road started to look tinier and tinier, the idea of a travel trailer seemed like a necessary evil.  My heart sank at the idea of living in some ugly trailer instead of our lovely tiny house.

Enter Instagram.

I follow #tinyhouse and #tinyhomes and a number of other tiny related hashtags on Instagram, if for no other reason than as a means of keeping the flame of hope alive.  A few months ago I stumbled on a photo of a lovely fireplace scene in what looked like a tiny house, only to look closer and see that it was the inside of an RV travel trailer.  My interest was piqued and I instantly began following this woman’s Instagram account.  Then I found more and more people who had purchased an RV and completely renovated it to look like a tiny house.  Do yourself a favor and do a Google image search of “RV renovation before and after” to see what I mean.  I was so excited.

hope gif

My husband and I called our builder to ask if he would be willing to do the renovation for us after selling our trailer (we have neither the time nor ability for a massive DIY like this).  He loved the idea.  Since he already knows exactly what we want, getting something fixed up would be no problem.  Within a short time, our trailer sold!

After weeks of trying to search for just the right travel trailer, we found a nearly brand new one really close by and at a really decent price with a bunkhouse, so the baby has her own space as she grows.  We are hoping to sign the papers tomorrow on the loan and by next week this trailer is ours!

We are not sure of the renovation timeline, but for now we are excited that our “home-on-the-road” is going to become a reality!  Photos will be shared in earnest once we move in!

Now to wait for the “I told you so” comments!