Traveling solo can sound scary, especially for three months at a time. Have you thought about being a traveling therapist or traveling nurse but the idea of traveling alone is stopping you? That is exactly how I felt when I was contemplating becoming a traveling therapist. I was a single woman in my 20’s and had nobody that I could feasibly travel with. I was scared to leave my established network of friends and family and thought that I would never meet people on the road. I cried as I left my best friends and started driving west alone to the unknown.
Fast forward to the present time. I have a network of amazing friends across the world and a lifetime of unforgettable memories. I have met incredible people while traveling that I would have never met if I did not leave home. Strangers have turned into friends and friends have turned into family. Meeting people is easier than you think and traveling solo can open a door to new and lasting friendships.
Do not let the fear of being alone on assignment stop you from becoming a traveling healthcare professional. Here are tips to help meet others on assignment:
Network Through Friends and Social Media
Meeting people in a new place can be as easy as starting with people that you already know. Perhaps in your new location you have a friend from college, distant relative, friend of a friend, etc. Start by contacting people that you already know. Ask friends if they can connect you to anybody in your new location.
I start networking on Facebook by posting on my personal page to ask if anybody is in the city that I am going to or has any connections. I have met many people this way and also have been connected to roommates and housing.
Connect With People From Travel Groups on Facebook
There is a large network of traveling healthcare professionals on Facebook with many groups divided by regions of the country, professional specialty, etc. The Gypsy Nurse has a large network of regional groups on their website which tend to be smaller and active with local travelers to the region. The conversations tend to focus more on social gathering and connecting in the community versus larger Facebook groups with has more discussion related to the industry and traveling.
For example, “The Gypsy Nurse: Hawaii Travel Nurses” is a group where I met close friends in Oahu. Many days I posted to this group, “looking to hike tomorrow, who is interested?” and people would reply and friends were made.
Do What You Are Passionate About
When you are doing what you enjoy and you are passionate about your energy attracts those with similar interests. Use that shared interest to strike up a conversation. If you like going to the gym, playing kickball, yoga, painting, etc., go and do that. Smile and be friendly. Talk to the people around you. It is likely that you will have something in commont since you are already participating in a similar activity.
Join a Meetup Group
Meetup.com is the ultimate website for solo travelers. It is a website full of groups by region that have events. Meet up is comprised of special interest groups for every and all interests. Many areas have Meet Up groups for new people in town, groups for singles and groups for people in different age groups, etc. There are more specific groups for hobbies such as hiking, biking, skiing, crafting, etc. They can be small to large groups. Some are free to enter, some have financial or volunteer requirements. Read the group rules and requirements prior to asking to join and follow the guidelines. Personally, I have made awesome friends and have had some great memories through Meet Up.
Find Local Chapters of Associations
If you are an alumni of a larger school, Greek organization or national group member (Kiwanis, Rotary, etc) there may be local chapters in your area that host open events. As a Penn State alum, I have found a local PSU chapter in every place that I have lived. These chapters host weekly game watches for football in the fall and other events that connect alumni together. In many towns, I have made some of my best friends and closest connections through the alumni association.
Consider Having Roommates
Having roommates is not for everybody. If you enjoy shared living situations, it can be a great way to meet other people in the community. By having roommates, I have been able to connect with locals and network in ways that I would have never accomplished living alone. Even if you and your roommate(s) do not have a lot in common, it can be nice to watch a TV episode together, ask for recommendations or gab about your work day in the kitchen.
If you are thinking about traveling but are afraid that you will be alone I urge you to give traveling a try. If I would have let the fear of being alone stop me from traveling, I would never be where I am today. There are so many places and ways to meet others on the road. The friendships that you can make while traveling are friendships that can last forever.