It is often hard for travel nurses to feel a sense of home when they are always moving from place to place for contracts. Travel RNs Tess and Kyle Stecker transformed a 1994 RV into a home that can move wherever they find themselves for work. Now, they live by the motto “home is where we park it.” We talked to them about the RV life, how they got into travel nursing, and tips for first-time travelers.

What made you choose travel nursing?

What made us choose travel nursing was just the ability to travel and see new places while also working. We both haven’t really been to many other places besides Wisconsin, so to have the opportunity to travel more before we are ready to settle down is a dream come true.

What made you choose to live in an RV for your travel nursing jobs?

We have a dog and so we did some research on the cost difference between an RV vs places that accept pets in different states and we realized it would save us so much money. Also we liked the idea of always sleeping in our own bed, having all of our stuff with us at all time and being able to pick up and go whenever we need to.

What are some of the benefits of RV life?

Some benefits of living in an RV is that first you can make it basically like your home away from home. You have all your stuff with you at all times. You get to sleep in your own bed and don’t have to worry about having landlord. We have found that it is cheaper for our life. Living at campsites we have also met so many amazing people that have incredible stories.

How did you turn the RV into a home? Any tips/tricks for other travel nurses wanting to retrofit a van/RV to make their home?

The first thing we did before purchasing our RV was we went to camping world and looked at a couple different kinds of RVs to get a feel for what we wanted. Then we started looking online for some used ones because we knew we did not want to have to take a loan out for one. We did not have any experience with RVs or trailers so once we found the one we wanted we really did not inspect it as well as we should have. For our renovation we knew everything was going to have to get redone. It was a 1994 RV that had lots of water damage and things were very outdated. So we first drew up a sketch of what we wanted the floor plan to be and in the winter did lots of research on what kind of style and products we wanted to turn this RV into our little dream home on wheels.

Some tips for other travel nurses wanting to renovate an RV:

  1. Give yourself time.

Renovations can start out small but once you start going with a project it can turn into something much bigger. When we started renovating we gave ourselves 5 months to get our project done. We did lots of pre-planning during the winter when we couldn’t be outside renovating.

  1. Be flexible.

Things will not always go according to plan. Being flexible and having alternative plans when renovating will help alleviate some stress when you come across unexpected things in renovation.

  1. Do your research.

Like I said before, we knew nothing about RV’s or renovating before tackling this project. With the help of so many resources on Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest, we were able to get some good advice and tips for starting out.

 

What is your favorite place you have been in your RV?

We just started out traveling with the RV so we have not gone too many places yet, but some places we are excited to take to are Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, and Maine.

In your opinion, what is the best part of travel nursing?

Having the ability to work when we want to and taking off when we want. We have our contracts scheduled so we will always have off for Christmas and then we come home for the summer to spend time with family. Travel nursing as also given us so many opportunities to see places we might not have been able too if we didn’t start travel nursing.

What is any advice you would you give to a first-time travel nurse?

Be kind and friendly to full-time staff members. They know you are making more money than them, being kind and helping out on the unit when you aren’t busy will show that you care. Also ask questions! You typically get two days of orientation, which is not enough time to learn everything. Don’t just guess or act like you know something you don’t, just ask questions!

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