Thursday, March 29, 2012

Adventures in Water Aerobics

Exercise. (insert disgusted sigh). I've never been one for running on a treadmill, lifting weights, ect, ect. I'm much better with organized sports (volleyball, woot, woot!) or fitness classes led by an instructor. The hospital has a fitness center affiliated with it and they offer several classes along with other services like personal training, nutrition counseling, acupuncture, and massages. With my back injury still causing trouble and being on restrictions since July of last year, I figured I'd better dip my toes back in the exercise pool slowly (pun intended). The water aerobics class fit with my work schedule and I figured why the hell not? Let the shenanigans begin.

My first class went a little something like this: First, find the locker room. Change quickly. Then, figure out the damn locking mechanism on the lockers. The guy who signed me up showed me, but like and idiot, I didn't listen thinking I could figure it out on my own. I am a college educated person, how hard could it be? After about 15 minutes of pushing buttons, slamming the door shut, and a few curse words, I finally got the thing locked. Now, I'm about to be late for the class. I rush down the hall to the pool, do the required quick shower before getting in the pool, and try to take in my fellow classmates. I realize that I didn't grab the appropriate aqua aerobic equipment: a giant white foam noodle and what the instructor called "buoys" (which in reality, were a foam version of a hand weight). When I got the bin to pick up my buoys, I discover there are different colors. I didn't know which to pick, so I randomly picked two matching colors. I found out later, these are the "heaviest," and generally not intended for rookies. I waddle my way back to the end of the pool, with my gear in tow.

Enter the instructor.
My worst nightmare.

With a microphone headset strapped to her head, she barks out over the sound system, "Let's MOVE!"

 Oh shit.

She's like the Jillian Michaels of water aerobics. Everyone in tandem, starts running to the other end of the pool. Yes, running. I join the pack and realize quickly, I can't run a treadmill efficiently let alone underwater. "FASTER! Pick up the pace! Come on, knees high," she shouts. Back and forth we go, mixing in random moves like jumping jacks and something she calls the "froggie," where you jump in the water like a frog. This move, in my mind, she uses solely as a tactic to make us look like complete morons. She proceeds to talk about a french dip she had for lunch. How sadistic is that, talking about food while people are working out. Now, when I packed for this assignment, I figured I would need a swimming suit for the beach, not for working out. I actually don't own a one piece swimming suit, so I had my tankini with board shorts along. I learned that for this type of class, you need a one piece suit, no matter how unflattering. While doing my "froggie" jumps, the top of my suit would fly up while the board shorts gave me a wedgie of epic proportions. Graphic, I know, but it adds to the story, trust me.

About halfway through the class I realize I'm one of the most uncoordinated people ever. Jillian is having us to the grapevine across the pool. Hell, I can't do the grapevine on land and make it look good. There is a row of tiles on the bottom of the pool that runs the length. I found out quickly this part is a bit slippery. While grapevining, I slipped and totally face planted into the water. I pop back up, hoping no one has seen this and keep moving. It is at this point in the class that I discover the bottoms of my feet are totally raw. If I ever find the idiot who decided to put that much texture on the bottom of the pool, I'm going to beat them silly with my foam noodle.

Now it is time for us to use our "buoys." I know this because blondie has shouted out, "BUOYS EVERYONE!" My contempt for this woman continues to grow. We take the buoys and do a move called the ab roller. In essence, you float on your back, then pull your feet and legs underneath and behind you, then reverse the motion. In the end, this move made me look like a drunken dolphin. Water up my nose, ass in the air, and a general look of disdain on my face. Yeah, not pretty.

At this point, Jillian seems to think we've suffered enough torture and tells the class we're done and claps with a big smile on her face. I'm thinking, what the hell are you clapping about, you didn't do a damn thing! We all form a line to exit the pool and as I turned to deposit my noodle back in the bin, I totally smacked the instructor with the very wet noodle. Ha! Total "accident." 'In the end, I had quarter size blisters on my toes, eyes red from the chlorine, and a new appreciation for my lack of coordination. I learned to love the instructor, bought a one piece suit and some water shoes. Now, I wouldn't miss this class each week!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hunt is On

"The Basin"
Back the White Mountains I went on Saturday, on the hunt for waterfalls. Why do I call it hunting? Most waterfalls in this region are on back roads, hidden among the trees, and usually unmarked. So, like hunting, you need to plot out your trails, be prepared for quick weather changes and rugged terrain, and keep a keen ear to hear the rushing water. I got a taste of waterfall hunting when my mom and I vacationed in Duluth, MN. There are tons of waterfalls near Lake Superior. It became quite a thrill when we would finally stumble upon a beautiful waterfall.

Waterfalls also provide a photography enthusiast such as myself the landscape amazing pictures are made of. Usually surrounded by greenery and jagged rocks, the roaring water is a sight to behold. Standing at the bottom of a 600 foot drop of water makes a person realize how small they are in the scope of nature. I can't imagine a better way to spend a Saturday than humping my camera gear up miles of rugged trails to behold a beautiful cascading waterfall, carving through the woods of the White Mountains and completely undisturbed by the hand of man.

My co-workers have gotten into the habit of asking me what my plans each weekend will consist of. Like my last adventure to the White Mountains, they disapproved of my venturing into the wilderness alone to hike. But I tell them surviving in the woods is simple: you make either really smart decisions or really stupid ones. I just try to always make a smart decision. For example, the best trail I took on Saturday was the Beaver Brook trail. With an elevation change of 1200 feet, a trail that fell off on the sides to the river bottom below, and several required crossings of the rushing river bed, this trail was by far one of the hardest I've ever hiked. Now, the clue that the trail would be rough was evidenced by the sign-in book and warning signs at the start of the trail incline. It is never a good sign when the trail requires you to list an emergency contact and warns of potential "tragedy" ahead if you are not careful. For all my "moms" out there who worry about me, no I obviously did not fall to my death nor did I push the limits of my own safety. This is where the smart vs. stupid decision comes into play. I would consider myself a relatively experienced hiker and know when something is not worth the risk. The trail, which in the summer months would be do-able, was covered with ice and snow. I realized the trail was impassable with the gear I had after about a half mile and unsafe to do alone. So I turned back with the notion that I would conquer this "Everest" another day. But, I came away with some spectacular views of the lower waterfalls as the fruits of my labor!
The warning sign

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Yep, its official, my hair is on fire

I've "dyed" my hair before with a henna dye from one of my favorite stores ever, Lush. They sell organic and vegan shampoos, soaps and perfumes.


Henna dye is all natural and isn't harsh on your hair. I isn't drastic, generally just brings out the natural highlights in your hair and makes it super shiny. I usually go a shade darker, but the sales girl talked me into a shade she said would just bring out the red undertones in my hair. Apparently, I have A LOT of red undertones in my hair! At first, I thought, it isn't so bad, you can't really tell. Once I got outside and into the sunlight, it looked like my head was on fire! I was a red head. It became official when a patient said that she was happy to be in the company of a fellow red head.

After (5th day)

So, still deciding if I will go back and get a shade darker or live the wild life of a red head for a while.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

For The Travel Virgins

I was asked by a friend and former classmate of mine to divulge why and how I chose the particular travel agencies I contract with. Instead of typing it up for just one person, I figured I post it for anyone else who was interested. For those of you with no interest in travel nursing, this may be a pointless post, but some may want to read it just for the hell of it. But for those trying to blindly swim their way through the huge sea of agencies, I hope if this is helpful.

I'm very organized and logical. So, when choosing an agency, the first thing that made sense to do was make a list. What were the most important qualities I wanted in an agency? I ranked them in order of importance. Some suggested attributes, in no particular order, to research about an agency:
  • Pay: how often, what gets deducted, do they do direct deposit, what if there are errors
  • Housing: company funded, or do they pay a stipend; do they find the housing
  • Assignment selection: do they staff the area of nursing I specialize in, do they seem to have enough assignments regularly, do they staff the areas of the country I want to travel to
  • Benefits: do they offer travel reimbursement, health/dental/vision, 401K, completion bonuses, referral bonuses, tax advantage programs (this one make take some research or speaking to an accountant, I'm just lucky I have my very own accountant! Thanks Mom!)
  • Reputation: are they well established, are they certified, what do other travelers have to say about the company
For me, I knew that I was a very specialized nurse and needed a company who could find assignments to match my skills. I also knew that the reason I went on this adventure was not to rake in tons of money, but to enjoy my time on assignments and see various areas of the country. So for me, reputation and assignment selection ranked higher than other things like pay and benefits.

I started applying with different agencies toward the end of December. I lost count of how many I talked to, and in retrospect, applying with so many did not work in my favor necessarily. However, I learned quickly that there were companies that stuck out among the rest in either a good way or bad way. Now, most of my close friends will tell you that I'm a stickler when it comes to accountability. If you say you are going to be somewhere or that you are going to call, you better or I may take it as a sign of disrespect. No, seriously. So, when agencies made big promises, I was automatically suspicious. And when they never followed up, returned calls as the promised, or came through on any of the promises they made; they were immediately written off in my book.

Through this trial and error with agencies, I learned that the recruiter you talk to can make or break your experience with that particular company and, ultimately, your experience on assignment should you sign with them. They are your lifeline to the company. They help coordinate everything from your housing to the mandatory drug testing to problems with your paycheck. Getting a good recruiter is key, no matter which agency.

The stars aligned I think when I found not one, but three great recruiters who worked for great companies. The recruiters were prompt in returning my phone calls/emails, were friendly, knowledgeable and eager to find the right assignment for me. I was particularly impressed with one of the recruiters when she said you tell me where you want to travel. I responded by telling her I was flexible given my specialty, that I didn't expect to find an assignment right where I wanted to be. She told me no, that she needed to know my ideal locations to travel because it was her job to make it happen.

Having about three agencies, give or take, working to find assignments for you is a good number. Each assignment is individualized, or at least it should be. You could sign with Agency B on your first assignment and Agency Z on your next. So, having a few companies searching for assignments only benefits your cause. The recruiter I have now is awesome. He is constantly checking in, making sure I'm doing okay and there isn't anything I need. He takes delight in hearing my successes and helps guide me through when I'm having a rough time. He even gave me pep talks before I left for my first assignment, giving me the confidence that I could, not only do it, but be very successful. I feel like he has know me for years and I love knowing that he is there for me no matter what. While I signed with this company, the other two recruiters from my other companies were supportive and check in from time to time to make sure I'm doing well on my current assignment, while of course, keeping in touch for when I'm ready for the next assignment.

Sorry for the lengthy and wordy post, but I'm hoping it is helpful for those needing the info. If there are any other particular questions, feel free to leave a comment here or message me on Facebook.

Now, those who are not travel nurses but kept reading, thanks for sticking it out! As a reward, I'll post some pictures later this week of my accidentally red hair resulting from a henna hair dye session gone rogue!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Taking on the Fighting Irish: Part Two

After my adventure with oysters, we moved on and walked along the harbor on Fan Pier. Dotted along the path were plaques outlining the history of the area. What I didn't know, was that millions of tons of dirt were hauled in to make Boston what it is today. Originally, what is called "the back bay" was all water. In the later part of the 19th century, train cars filled with gravel and dirt would come into the area multiple times a day. By around 1910, the project was completed. With streets lined with Victorian Brownstones, this area is now known as one of the most expensive housing districts in Boston.

We walked along the harbor until we reached the "Irish" part of town. This was signified by several Irish pubs and lots of rowdy Irish people. The lines to get in the door wrapped around the block and there was green as far as the eye could see. We proceeded to Faneuil Hall. Originally a meeting hall in 1742, it now houses several shops and restaurants. This was the site of several speeches made by Samuel Adams and other revolutionaries encouraging independence from Great Britain. On this particular day, it was, like most of the city, packed with drunken Irish festers. There were several street performers out, hoping to make a few bucks. We stumbled upon a group of young ladies doing Irish dancing outside the hall. There was also a speech happening in the state building across the street about the importance of buying products made in America. Jeff and Cindy told me it was a treat to be able to go inside the building as it is usually close to the public with the exception of tours.
The woman's voice you hear so enthusiastically in the background is Cindy!

Then it was off to a local violin shop so I could drool over the beautiful violins that lined the walls. I had a hard time not picking one up and cranking out a tune for old times sake. Across the street was a beautiful church and we couldn't resist taking a peaceful moment in all the craziness of the day to see the inside. With a huge organ in the front and scripture lining the walls, it was lovely.

I hope everyone enjoyed their St. Patrick's day!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Taking on the Fighting Irish: Part One

Bahston. Aka: Boston.

Large Irish population + St. Patrick's Day = General Mayhem

I braved the city on Saturday with Jeff and Cindy to take in the flower show and a few other sights we missed on our trip last weekend. The Boston flower show is an annual event held at the Seaport World Trade Center. I was leery when Cindy first offered to bring me along. Although I love gardening, I didn't think a full morning of flowers would capture my interest. I was proven wrong with the first few steps through the door. It was amazing to see what people can do with flowers and greenery. Hats, shoes, tiny landscapes, and large gardens filled the building. There were tons of vendors with everything from seeds and bulbs to lawn furniture and shower heads (yes, there was a shower head salesman at the flower show. I don't know why.).

After we had soaked up enough of the beauty at the flower show, we headed down the street to a restaurant on the water called "Legal Seafood." The restaurant was very popular and had an awesome view of the harbor. It was here that Jeff convinced me to try raw oysters for the first time. Now, some people know of my texture aversion with foods (canned peaches, bananas, ect, ect). So, you can imagine my thoughts when I saw the oysters come to the table. But, I always say, I'll try any food at least once. They were awesome! Topped with a little Asian ginger sauce, I slurped em' down! What I did not know is that you can order oysters ala carte. For example, this restaurant had oysters from about 10 different parts of the country. We tried two kinds from Washington state and one from Massachusetts.

My guide to eating oysters.
Step one: Eye up the enemy

Step two: be brave!

Step three: slurp it down

Step four: Decide if it will stay down.

Stay tuned for part two of my adventure in Boston on St. Patty's day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Boston, baby!

This week marks the fifth week of my thirteen week assignment. My recruiters are already talking about looking for the next assignment! I'm excited to see what the next adventure will be, after a short "vacation" at home. Its funny how my vacations have become spending time at home!

But, after only five weeks in New England, I made it to Boston. I've heard many great things about the city and was excited to see them firsthand. My lovely landlords, Jeff and Cindy, offered to take me to the bustling city of Boston on Sunday. It was primarily meant to get me aquainted with getting in and out of the city, but I was so busy taking in the sights, I'm afraid I absorbed very little of their instruction!

Our first stop was a small, but fully packed, bakery called "Flour." Jeff and Cindy know the owner who is a renowed baker in the Boston area apparently. I got to taste why she holds such a title. The sticky buns were amazing and everything else looked equally good! After that, we headed to the theater district to check out symphony hall and the conservatory where we took in some music from student musicians. We hit up a quirky little Indian resturant/store. This was authentic Indian food. Walking in, the smell of curry and spices wrapped around me like a warm blanket. The shelves were stuffed with spice mixes, rices from around the world, and produce essential for traditional Indian dishes. Can you tell I love Indian food? I picked up a few spices, and with our bags in tow, we took a short walk down the street led us to the Museum of Fine Arts. After a tasty lunch, we meandered through some of the exhibits including the antique photography exhibit. The museum was beautiful, an exhibit in itself.

The day was so beautiful, we took a stroll in the "fens," a marshy area with running/walking paths by the water near Fenway Park. The day was beautiful, the sun was shining, and the sky was clear. At least, until the fire broke out. That's right, a full on brush fire. We were walking and I looked up and saw a huge cloud of black smoke engulf the blue sky. As we walked closer, we saw the massive flames devouring the marsh. Birds and other wildlife were fleeing, sad to see. Soon the sirens came screaming down the street and the entire area was shut down so the firefighters could do their work. It was amazing to see how much the entire city was affected by the few streets that were shut down. For a while, it was bumper to bumper in some areas.
My tour guides were very knowledgable of the history of Boston and the pointed out all kinds of landmarkers and gave me the background on them. It was evident they had a passion for the city. At the end of the day, it was awesome to see the city and I can see why so many people have told me it is one of their favorites. But I realized, like I have when visiting other large cities, I'm a country girl through and through. There is something about being in a bustling city that makes me anxious and uncomfortable. I feel so out of my element. We discussed this over lunch, and my friends found it curious that I would feel more at ease alone, hiking the trails of the White Mountains opposed to being surrounded by others in the city. As they say, you can take the girl out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girl!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Into the woods

Picture this. I was hiking in the forest today. Just the peaceful sounds of the wild surrounding me. Fresh fluffy snow covering the trail. Babbling brook. The whole nature thing. What do you think I saw?

A Packer fan. Yes, that's right, they are everywhere apparently, including the middle of the White Mountain Forrest. As I was hiking today, I met a man hiking the trails wearing Packer gear. We of course struck up a quick conversation, he was from Maine, and we dished to each other our love of the Packers. And then we moved on. He was one of the only people I saw today. Of course, that was not the highlight of the day, but interesting nonetheless.

Today I ventured into the White Mountains. My co-workers thought I was crazy to brave the elements of the mountains and hike alone. But, being a semi-experienced hiker, I was well equipped for the day with my hiking boots, Smartwool socks, granola bars, water, and my camera. Standing at the foot of the mountains can make a person feel very small and insignificant. It is enough to truly take your breath away! There was no itinerary today, just drove. I plan to return to the White Mountains as there is much to see: roaring waterfalls, mountain vistas, and unspoiled wilderness.

Do you think each person is only allowed a certain number of truly amazing days. If that is true, I'm using mine up rapidly.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Putting on my dancing shoes

I'm an observer. When people first meet me, I tend to be quiet and reserved at first. I like to watch people, get to know them, see their behavior and how they treat others before I let them into my life. That characteristic can both help and hurt me on these assignments.

After getting to know my colleagues at the hospital, I've learned they are kinda cooky, funny, and genuine people who only want to help others. They have made every effort to get to know me and understand my background, while making me feel like I've worked there for years. Today we were talking about living in Wisconsin and my deep love for the Green Bay Packers and Donald Driver. For those who don't understand why I love Donald Driver in particular, let me enlighten you.

My aunt Tina is an amazing women. She is one of those people who when she walks in a room, it lights up. People are drawn to her energy because she loves life. She is a mom of five kids. She is an amazing artist and I couldn't even begin to describe how beautiful her art is. She makes me want to be a better person and be better at what I do, every single day. She also has cancer.

She met Donald Driver because they share the same Baptist church in Green Bay. He asked her to paint a mural in his house, she obliged. They struck up a friendship, and over the years Tina became close with him and his wife. When Tina got cancer, Donald did a lot to help fund her treatment. Last April, my cousin helped organize a benefit for her and Donald donated several items for the auction, including four tickets to any game of the last season in his private sky box. My mom and I bought two of the tickets and had the pleasure of meeting his wife, kids, brother, and mom. They, like him, were wonderfully kind, generous, and down-to-earth people. I shed tears when I hugged his mother because I couldn't begin to thank her for raising such a great son, so willing to selflessly help others.

I told this story to the people at work today. They apparently fell in love with my love for Donald Driver and with the kind of man he is. We talked about his new adventure on Dancing with the Stars and they promised to vote like crazy for him. They also decided to do a little photoshopping. Little did I know, I'm Donald's new partner on the show.

Man, I have really nice arms, but blonde is not for me!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Black and White

This past weekend was a half bust. Saturday, it poured rain outside, on top of the snow. I did have the experience of having to shovel off the storm door to the basement in order to do the laundry. That was a first! Laundry, cleaning, and cooking were the adventures of the day.

Sunday was covered with clouds. The best thing to do was go to the beach, funny enough. The waves were huge and the surfers were plentiful. The skyline was dotted with people in black wetsuits, waiting to catch a great wave. Maine was the setting for my Sunday excursion.

First stop was York. It was here that I discovered one of the most dangerous stores, EVER! It is called the Stonewall Kitchen. Packed to the brim with sauces, mixes, mustard, jams, and syrups, I could do some serious damage to my bank account there. I sampled a bit of everything including their spiced rum chocolate sauce and with no sales tax, the deal was even sweeter at the checkout! I bought a few things and wrapped them up to send home for the parental units to try.

After I finished stuffing my face, I headed north to Ogunquit. Yeah, I can't pronounce it either. It was here that I shot most of my pictures of the weekend. Home to a 3.5 mile beach, this picturesque town has drawn artists for over a century. I walked the beach and headed to the walking path that follows the coastline called "Marginal Way." The views were spectacular as I watched the waves crash violently against the craggy Maine shore. Since the day was overcast, it was the perfect time to brush up on my black and white photography skills.

Then it was on to the Kennebunks. Kennebunk and Kennebunkport are two little quirky towns connected by a very short bridge. Packed with shops and restaurants, I can see these two towns being flooded in the summer with tourists. However, like most towns in New England this time of year, they were pretty deserted. This causes some problem when trying to find a restaurant to eat lunch, since most are closed for the season. However, I found a cafe, had some lunch, and once again, headed to the beach where I shot my only suitable color photos of the day.

All in all, not too adventurous of a weekend, but hopefully this next weekend has more cooperative weather so I can get up into the mountains of northern New Hampshire.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Busting out of my shell

Picture yourself going out to dinner. Are you alone or dining with someone? Most people would say you are going out to eat with someone else. That's half of the event of eating out: socialization.
I made a promise to myself I would go out to eat somewhere different every Friday night I'm on assignment. Dinner is very different from lunch or breakfast. Dinner is meant for couples and friends blowing off steam after a work week. Breakfast I could do alone without batting an eyelash, but when you go to a restaurant for dinner, the hostess just looks at you like, "Are you meeting someone here?"

Before I left on this adventure, dining out alone crossed my mind as a hurtle I may need to overcome. It isn't that I'm totally antisocial, but I'm not the type of extrovert who would strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger in a social setting such as a restaurant or bar. Until tonight.

I was about to back out on my promise to myself, but figured, no, you're gonna go! So, I picked the highest rated restaurant in Exeter: Blue Moon Evolution. It focuses on local, fresh, organic ingredients. I was blown away. The service and food was amazing! As a solo diner, I tend to veer toward eating at the bar instead of tying up an entire table. The bartender, Lanny, was hilarious. By the end of my meal he knew I was from Wisconsin, so he was calling me Lombardi. "Hey, Lombardi, how you doin?" (imagine it with a Boston accent).

The night included a film crew shooting a segment for a cable food show and discussions of the author Stephen King's visit tomorrow night for dinner. Misery, Green Mile, The Shining. Yeah, THAT Stephen King. Seated next to me at the bar were a couple who happened to be local restaurateurs. I struck up a conversation and after talking throughout both our meals, we became well acquainted, with the help of Lanny. They had travelled all across the U.S. and gave me plenty of tips for getting around, picking good restaurants, and where not to go. They gave me their card and offered to buy me dinner at their restaurant.

So, moving outside my comfort zone paid off in many ways tonight!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Just like home

What the hell is that white stuff all over the ground? Snow?! No, it couldn't be, its....oh wait, it is March, so snow isn't totally out of the question then.

The time I spent this winter in Wisconsin was awfully mild and my time in New England has been a reflection of that as well. Although, ever since I got to this area and people have learned my home state, they constantly try to convince me that they too have rough winters. It was a hard sell, let me tell you. In general, the weather here has been in the 40-50 degree range with little precipitation.

That all changed last night.

Forecasters were predicting 6-10 inches of heavy snow for my particular area. Everyone was very nervous leading up to the storm. Last night, it began snowing, not even covering the roads, a dusting really. But people were driving about 20 miles an hour in a 45 zone. Yeah. This morning I awoke to more snow. Lots more snow. But, by Wisconsin standards, nothing to panic over. I didn't even need to dig out my car with an ice scraper this morning (and yes, I have done that before). What I will say, the plow system here bites the big one. You couldn't even seen the lines dividing lanes of traffic. The road to the ER at the hospital was so slushy this morning, I was fishtailing as I pulled in.

All day long, since most of the patients now know I'm from Wisconsin, I heard, "Jeez, you must feel right at home," "Guess you get stuff like this in Wisconsin all the time," and "This must not bother you, you're one of those 'hearty' Wisconsin people." Not sure what that last one meant, but I'm not going to read too much into it. At the end of the day, snow totals varied from a few inches to over a foot across the New England states, with my area getting about 5-6 inches of snow.

The storm was the talk of the day in my department today (aside from my curls seen on the right and how I did it without a curling iron. Women and hair, right?). The inclement weather spurred another conversation: why did I decide to come to New Hampshire for my first assignment? Any why would I pick such a small town/small hospital? I was told by some friends, some that are actually travel nurses, that I'm crazy to go to a place that has similar crappy weather to Wisconsin this time of year. To be honest, the weather had no influence on my decision to travel to Exeter. I know this is the driving force for many travel nurses, to go to more sunny locales to escape the frigid winters they are accustomed to. The winter weather doesn't bother me really, so I didn't feel like I needed to escape that, there were enough other things I was trying to escape. I took this job at this particular hospital because I knew the area to a certain degree having traveled there for vacation a few months earlier. I knew there were plenty of things that would interest me to keep my weekends fully booked throughout my assignment. I knew the people in the area were very similar to people in the Midwest: very welcoming, kind, and easy going. I know this is how I will guide my decisions on future assignments as well. I think there is a delicate balance between being able to do the work and being able to enjoy your days off of work.