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A Travel Nursing Love Story

January 31, 2019

Travel nursing datingBy Crystal Gustafson, RN

I am not an expert in dating. In fact, I have probably made more mistakes in the realm of relationships than I care to admit.

Finding love as a travel nurse was happenstance. The purpose of my travels was not to find my next mate, but to find myself. I also came to the understanding of what I wanted in a partner and it just so happened that this person came into my life.

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A Casual Conversation Changed My Life

I was on a travel assignment in Tucson, Arizona where I met a personal trainer who used to live in Los Angeles. I knew that L.A. was my next destination so I asked my trainer if he would give me some phone numbers of people who could show me around L.A. I had no idea how life changing this would be.

Meeting Him

After my travel assignment in Tucson ended, I was off to my next assignment in Los Angeles. After getting acclimated at my new hospital, I decided to call the contacts my personal trainer gave me. One of those was Mario.

When I first met Mario, I cannot say that it was love at first sight. In fact, it took a few months for him to grow on me. Luckily, my assignment in L.A. was five months — if it was any shorter, I’m not sure we would have connected.

Mario had the qualities I knew I wanted in a partner: a kind heart, a humble background, easy on the eyes, and someone who goes to the gym as much as I do. He was exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for. He turned out to be my forever love and we are now happily engaged.

Why Travel Nurses are Set to Find Love

I would like to tell you that finding love on the road is more glamorous than it sounds, but the reality is that it is like a trucker’s memoire. Depending on where you stop, it’s sometimes lonely, other times exciting, and in the end, a long haul.

Travel nurses tend to be energetic and adventurous at heart, which makes us extremely vulnerable to new relationships. I mean who wouldn’t want to hang out with an educated, well paid, adventure-seeker who only works three days a week?

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Tips for Finding Love on the Road

  • Don’t Make Finding Love Your Primary Purpose for Traveling. Having tunnel vision will only take away from your experience. Use this adventure to get to know yourself instead. Learning to be happy with yourself, by yourself is a skill that is difficult to master and there is no better way to learn then to spend some time alone.
  • Understand Your Vulnerabilities. As a travel nurse you will be vulnerable, especially if you have just left a long-term relationship. You are in a new city with a new job and most likely no friends around. You will find yourself lonely at times, which can set you up for getting involved with someone who may not be good for you. I recommend writing down a list of characteristics you absolutely need in a partner (aka deal breakers). Carry this list with you on all your travels. When you meet someone, break out the list and make sure they meet your expectations. Don’t let loneliness blind you into to love.
  • Keep an Open Mind. The perk of being a traveler is that you are exposed to a lot of interesting people, ethnicities, and cultures that you may have never been around before. I have found that being exposed to different cultures and viewpoints helps emphasize what characteristics you like and don’t like in a potential partner.
  • Stick to Your Plan. If you have always wanted to travel to California and your first assignment is in Texas, then make sure you get to your destination. Do not stay in Texas just to see where a relationship might go, especially if it has only been 13 weeks. Go to California. I promise, Texas isn’t going anywhere and neither is your potential partner. If he or she can’t maintain contact with you for 13 weeks while you travel, then it probably wasn’t going to work out anyway (advice courtesy of my friend and fellow travel nurse Shauna Simpson).
  • Don’t Look for Someone to Settle You Down. If you want to settle down, then do it on your own terms. Establish the type of life you want, then find a person to share it with (also courtesy of Shauna).

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New Locations, New Perspectives

Becoming a travel nurse was a game changer for me and my relationships. I hadn’t realized how naïve and insecure I was when I was living at home in Colorado. I had lost myself in my previous relationship and had no idea of who I really was.

Spending time alone was the best thing I did for myself and was pivotal in meeting Mario. When I met him, I was vulnerable but open minded enough to allow our relationship to blossom. Because of my experience in previous relationships and with people I met on the road, I knew what I wanted and that strength was enough.

Mario and I have had our ups and downs (what couple doesn’t!), but I am happy to say that we are now both in this for the long haul.

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crystal-gustafson-holding-menuCrystal Gustafson is a Critical Care Registered Nurse who spent time as a travel nurse in various states including Arizona, Texas, Florida, and California. She has recently accepted a system wide float pool position with Exempla Healthcare System in her hometown of Denver, Colorado and has a blog about prevention and education in healthcare. You can learn more about Crystal at Google+ or you can visit her blog at http://grassrootsprevention.blogspot.com/.