January 29, 2019

How to Make Friends While Traveling.

This might be a silly topic, but before I started my first contract, there was a lot of unknown. Originally I planned to move only places where family or friends lived. But, life always has other plans and will take you places you never imagined. Cities where you don't know a single person, except those you eventually become acquainted with through work or activities. Travel nurses need to be flexible and open minded. You never know when someone you meet will become a forever friend or even a relationship.

Nursing Friends

While talking to my mom the other day about topics to write about, she asked me how I meet people while traveling. It's not really something that crossed my mind before. I never worried about making friends or thought about how to meet people with shared interests ahead of time. It usually just happens all on its own. You know just by working in a hospital setting that there will be a ton of people you meet. Your "work sisters". People you can talk to and vent your frustrations when it gets busy or stressful. But, it's nice to meet people you have things in common with outside of work too.

"I don't think travelers intentionally seek out making friends, but it is so pleasant when it happens."

I would say, I am equally as extroverted as I am introverted. So I enjoy sharing experiences with people such as spending the day hiking, but I could be just as content seeing a movie in a theater alone or sitting at a local coffee shop all by myself. I don't think travelers intentionally seek out making friends, but it is so pleasant when it happens. Some people could be quite content just working and staying at home on their days off. Again, making new friends isn't something you consciously think about, it just happens.

Each time you start at a hospital, you will go through an orientation the first week. Most of those in your orientation class will be travelers, but sometimes they will mix new hires that are full time staff also. This is great opportunity to meet people that are in a similar position as you, not knowing anyone else either. These other travel nurses are starting the same date as you, so you can be assured that you will have these new friends to do things with for awhile.

"Most of those in your orientation class will be travelers, but sometimes they will mix new hires that are full time staff also. This is great opportunity to meet people"

When I first became a traveler, I didn't think too much on how I would meet people. I totally just assumed I would. Your living situation will greatly influence how much activity you do outside of home. If you have roommates, you may want to get out a bunch. If you live a great distance from the hospital or city, it may take more time to get where you need, which sometimes inhibits you from being social if it's not convenient.

If you are looking to make new friends, these are some of my suggestions for doing so.

  • During orientation, trade phone numbers with people you have become acquainted with. You may only even hang out with that person once or twice during your contract, but it's someone do do things with when you are both free.
  • Join a gym, yoga, or exercise facility. Being active is great for your health. Working twelve hour shifts is exhausting sometimes, so on your days off it is important to do things for yourself that benefits your mind and body. This will provide some stress relief and inner strength. You will meet some great people while doing things you love too.
  • Download the app of the state you are living in on your phone or search online to find the city's website/s. This will help you find fun events and tons of things to do in your area. It really has allowed me to get more involved in city events and not miss anything!
  • Join Bumble to meet friends. If you are single, this is a great way to find someone you may have a connection with and possibly a relationship. Dating apps are for all sorts of relationships now, including finding a new friend!
  • Volunteer. Find places to volunteer in your local community at Volunteer Match. The humane society and animal rescue shelters, national parks, food pantries, habitat for humanity, library, art museums, retirement homes, American Red Cross, and political campaigns all need volunteers in the community to function. Contribute to your city while you are there. Doing good in the world will make you feel good!
  • Connect with people via Facebook. There are so many groups on facebook for travel nurses. See who is in your area and reach out to them. Maybe they travelled to that city just before you and have good recommendations even.

There are so many ways to meet people, especially through social media. Put yourself out there and do all of the things you enjoy, whether it is by yourself or with a new friend. I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of times when I wasn't looking to make a friend, but ended up making a new life long friend. My first day of orientation as a new traveler I walked up to the desk at the health office at the hospital to start my day. I was not given a time, just the place and day where orientation was going to be, so I arrived as soon as the office opened because I was worried about being late. I walked up to the desk and told the guy sitting there that I was a traveler and had no idea when I was supposed to show up, but wanted to be on time. I gave him my license and was told to take a seat in the waiting room. Upon turning around and looking for a place to sit, a women about my age with short trendy hair, clear plastic eyeglasses, and tattoos on her arms and chest looks me in the eyes and says very warmly, "I heard you were a traveler?" We were fast friends immediately. She was so welcoming and easy to talk to, not to mention super "cool". To this day we are very good friends, and I consider her a life long friend. You have connections with people and it just happens unconsciously. It is wonderful!

"The point is, life will carry you lots of places. Put your heart out there and be open minded."

If you are single, you may not be looking for a relationship, but sometimes you will find someone who you have a strong connection with, and its important to see these connections through, especially because they don't happen all too often. I have a couple friends that were on Bumble and dating while on an assignment. One actually moved to a new location and her beau came to visit! I personally have also found a relationship through Bumble recently, which was an unexpected and wonderful surprise. The point is, life will carry you lots of places. Put your heart out there and be open minded. Life gets busy. At the end of a twelve hour day all I want to do is eat, shower, and sleep. Sometimes there isn't room for doing anything else. Which means it is harder to meet people the old fashioned, serendipitous way. Try something new and give it a chance. You may just meet your new best friend or future spouse.


Chrissy Kime, Travel Nurse Blogger - Bug On The Run

I love our community of travel nurses, and I love writing about my experiences. When Furnished Finder reached out to me about possibly telling my story, it was the perfect timing because I had just used their website for the first time. I hope you enjoy it!
You can read more about my travel adventures at www.travelbugontherun.com.