I had originally started my trip to California with the goal of traveling most of the year, and spending summers at home in Michigan. It definitely didn’t turn out that way! Although I would still ideally love to be traveling much of the time, there were so many reasons that I changed my plans. Primarily, because I fell in love with an amazing person who stole my heart and even made me want to get married (something I swore I’d never do!). She couldn’t leave her town, so I more than willingly moved there.
But that wasn’t all… my daughter didn’t turn out to be the type to do well with full-time travel. While she loved trips, she wanted to “go home” more than anything after a week. When she realized we were staying in California, it set off years of “I miss Michigaaaaaan!” crying spells. She still tells me, 3 1/2 years later, that Michigan is still home. She has a lot of anxiety, and moving didn’t help that one bit. In fact, it set her back a lot in terms of hard behavior… so there was no way I could keep moving around with her. She’s my heart, my everything, and I’d do anything to give her the stability she needs to be happy. To this day, she still wants to go back to Michigan, but she also loves her home here. She’s a total homebody! Who knew?
Then there is work. I seriously cannot do travel nursing… I’m just not flexible enough to keep learning different systems, different rules, different places that things are kept. I only somewhat enjoy and get satisfaction from my job when I feel a sense of mastery and can move up in the hierarchy ladder. So when I went to Stanford, I decided that would be it for me. I’m staying until the bitter end. And it was 100% the right decision! I love my unit, I love all of the experience I’ve gotten, I love being part of committees and doing charge nurse. For the first time in a very long time, I like my job and feel invested in it.
So, I don’t travel around the world for now (well, no one is at this point, thanks to ‘rona). I do get to experience beaches, cliffs, forests, hills, and all of the varied ecosystems around the Bay Area! I’m also close to one of my favorite cities ever, San Francisco. And I make the best money a nurse can make, on top of it all. I don’t have a big old farmhouse withe nooks and crannies like I’d like, but I still have my lake cottage and I have big goals for it. It will be my dream escape as I redo it from top to bottom. We have taken lots of trips to national parks, Disney Land, and Washington (my wife’s home state), and once we can move around again, I’m sure we’ll travel farther out once more. (Hello, cheap flights to Hawaii from the West Coast!)
And lets be real… one day all four of our baby birds will fly the coop, and we can travel and do whatever we want. Hopefully with our grown up kiddos, too!