Travel nursing has its pros and cons, but the biggest pros of all will always be the hobbies you get to do. Wherever you go, to the mountains or the islands or the tropics, you’ll get a chance to pick up new hobbies or try another form of a hobby you already do. What are 7 easy hobbies for travel nurses you’ll find in almost every city?
Cooking a local dish
Let the locals introduce you to the dishes they like to eat. It might be a new way of roasting fish or a different kind of barbeque spice mix. The best part about learning how to make a local dish is that ingredients are usually easy to find in the area, and you don’t need to exert yourself to find spices, mixes, or sauces you need for the dishes.
Learn from a local instead of a recipe. Let them teach you how to cut the meat, how to choose the vegetables at the market, how to wait for the right level of oven heat. If you’re feeling adventurous, bring your favorite ingredients from your own home and create some fusion dishes while you’re at it!
Biking the city
If you anticipate being in a city for a while, buying and then pawning a secondhand bike might be the best way to go. You could also bring your own foldable bike right there with your luggage, ready to unleash your restless wheels on whatever city you find yourself in.
Why bike? First, you automatically get some exercise in. Travel nursing can keep you up on your feet your whole shift, but good old-fashioned cardio with a cool wind and no patients can be a restful hobby. Second, you get to explore the city without worrying about getting back to your home when your legs get tired of walking. And you might cut down on too much extra shopping!
Visiting antique shops
Maybe not necessarily antique shops. Hole-in-the-wall secondhand stores and pawn shops usually do as well. The best part is that what you find is probably not what you could easily pick up in any souvenir shop. And if you’re very lucky, you’ll find something with a little history to it that someone can tell you about.
Not sure where to start? Markets are always a fun area. Rather than going to large shops, look for smaller stores and little stalls with their own unique sets of wares. You might not find classic antiques, but the search might yield handcrafted or personally designed items that are better to bring home than a generic souvenir.
Backpacking in the local park or trail
There’s more to every city than its clinic and hospital, and sometimes the best thing to do is to get out of it for a while. Research and discover any local parks or hiking trails that can give you a nice, long walk if there are spaces for overnight camping, even better. If camping is your thing, you might already be carrying around your own backpacking gear to make it easier.
If you are an animal-lover or dabble in trees and flowers as well, backpacking will give you a chance to experience different kinds of environments across terrains and countries. Every time you need to move, you can look forward to a new backpacking experience.
Taking a long bus or train ride
Sometimes it’s the movement that matters more than the destination. This might be a weird thing to do for a travel nurse—aren’t you always on the move? But the truth is, you’re always on the move with a purpose, and that’s not any kind of vacation. But if you can find a park or tourist spot that’s quite a ways from the city, a long bus or train ride might hit the spot.
If you don’t particularly want to get out of the bus or the rest stop, go ahead and book yourself a round-trip ticket. Run the whole circuit, go down for coffee and snacks or just stay in the same bus if it’s also your ride back. Let the destination-less movement keep you going.
Trying a local hobby
What are they into where you’re going? Surfing? Skiing? Baking? Karaoke? See what the national sport or hobby is and give it a try. You might not end up actually surfing every day, but a couple of lessons might be fun. Friendly locals can give you a shot and help you understand why they love the hobby so much.
Like with local dishes, let the locals tell you what they love to do. Tourist books and websites can only go so far. When you bike around the city or as you meet your local colleagues, learn a little more about the culture and bonding activities that the locals enjoy. Who knows? They might enter your list of hobbies to hold on to!
Exploring art and photography
One thing is for sure: as a travel nurse, you’ll rarely find yourself in the same place in the same season. Or, you might get to live out 4 seasons of every year in a different place. When it comes to the vastly changing scenery, it becomes hard to explain how different places feel without another medium to help us.
If you have an eye for color and beauty, you might want to brush up and polish your art and photography skills. It might be as simple as mixing color palettes to match what you saw that day. It might be as complex as an oil painting or a beautifully rendered photo. Either way, it gives you an outlet for all the different scenes and skies you see as you travel.
How do you choose your hobby?
It depends on you! You might want a hobby you can carry with you anywhere, like a folding bike or a set of paints. You might want to pick up a hobby in each city you end up working in. Either way, as a travel nurse, there are so many opportunities wide open. Which one are you going to pick?