The Vagabond RN, Entry 1: First Impressions

55049171-FEDE-46AE-97F6-36089D03F214Recently I went out on a limb and accepted my first mobile nursing assignment. It’s something I’ve considered doing for a while. I loved my first assignment so much I said yes again when the second assignment came. And again on the third. And the fourth. It looks like regular travel is around the corner.
I’ve read a few books on vagabonding. It has been reported that experiencing other cultures and ways of life can be quite enlightening. For me, it certainly has accentuated my already existing love for humanity and experiencing life to the fullest, and I’ve only dabbled around the southeastern United States. Here are a few interesting experiences and points of consideration from my first round of assignments.
  • I’ve forgotten something at least moderately important on every trip so far. I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes. Rather than make a brand new travel list every time I leave home, I had the brilliant idea after forgetting a last set of contacts on this last adventure to laminate a permanent list than I can write on with a dry erase marker. Rinse. Repeat. Yeah, you would have thought of that shit after the first trip, right? Well, welcome to the wide world of ADHD. What can I say, my brain is far from normal.
  • If you’re feeling squirrelly and want to try, say, transporting a firearm through the friendly skies, have some lube ready, and tack on AT LEAST an extra 45 MINUTES onto every airport you plan to frequent. If you’re in a LARGER airport, you’ll find yourself in a special line amongst patrons with some weird-ass luggage: oversized duffle bags getting casually dragged across the floor, big enough to hide bodies in; backpacks tall enough to pack away a few AK-47’S; a half dozen preteens under the presumed supervision of another kid who looks like she just flunked her driver’s test. Lock up your heat in a secure case, with a TSA approved padlock, unloaded, with ammo packed in its original container. Brownie points for a cable or clip which renders your shooter unfireable during transport. Fail any of the prior points and, well, have your lube ready.
  • If you’re looking to score some flying experience, look no further than Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Cut your teeth here, and I guarantee you that damn near any other airport will pale in comparison. Navigate through ATL a few times, and Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR), for example, will feel like a kiddie ride at Krustyland. If airports are zoos, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is bottle feeding milk off the teet to baby goats in Mountain Town Bed & Breakfast. ATL is every carnivorous animal led by a stray polar bear named Ice Box, executing a bloody coup at the start of the nuclear apocalypse. As far as I’m concerned, ATL is the fucking Ninth Circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno. Master it, and you’ll be Russell Crowe in Gladiator prior to any arena battle at any other airport.
  • Always draw your own conclusions. You’re going to hear things about people and situations before you’re exposed to them. It takes practice, but exercise your ability to hear things without buying into them. Experience things for yourself. Decide for yourself. Have confidence that you assessed and drew your own conclusions without being biased by other people’s opinions. This goes for people, places, time periods, religions, etc. Well, except for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. That place is seriously the devil’s fucking nightmare. I’d rather give a gorilla on quaaludes with weeping rectal warts an elbow-deep prostate exam. But seriously, draw your own conclusion there too.
  • Have a look at two recent contrasting experiences from the road. In one case, two fellow nurses and I had a gun flashed at us in a routine traffic situation. Two angry guys apparently felt that we cut them off. We disagreed. No shots were fired and we had a good story to tell. In another instance and another town, some of us took a beach day and found a parking area with beach access. A sweet older lady approached, tapped on the window and gave us a paid parking pass for the day. We thanked her profusely. This is a great place to reference a philosophy that I’ve picked up over the years. Essentially, it involves visualizing good things that happen as astronomical planets in my mind, while visualizing adverse things that may happen as grains of sand. I speak a lot about stellar experiences and the good things in life, and I speak and think little on the bad things. That’s not to say I ignore them, which can create unhealthy coping. Rather, I try to minimize and let them go. I’ve found an interesting change in my perception from this practice. Focus on good, and good you will see. Focus on evil, and evil you will see.
Final Thought Salad
There’s plenty of good in this beautiful world. People are amazing. Human connection is a wonderful thing. Heartache isn’t permanent. If you want something, ask for it. Get over your fear of being told no. You’re not made of glass. I get complimentary travel upgrades regularly, simply by smiling and asking. Life’s an adventure. Get after it. Cheers.

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