Best Travel Spots to Spend Your “Funemployement” Exploring
What’s better than traveling for work?! Traveling for vacation! As a former travel nurse, I was drawn to the freedom travel nursing gave me for ‘FUNemployment’ between my assignments. Travel nursing allowed me to explore the United States, but my time off in between contracts gave me the chance to explore the world! Read on to learn about some of my favorite places visited between travel nurse assignments.
Bali takes the cake as my favorite place to travel because it has such a diverse array of activities to partake in! Whether you are in a zen spiritual mood or ready for an exciting adventure, you will have endless things to do here. One of my favorite day adventures was waterfall hopping. There are tons of waterfalls to hike to and swim in in Bali! I highly recommend going on a guided tour with a local guide who can take you deep in the jungle and provide a wealth of knowledge along the way. They are also comforting to have around when scoping out where it’s safe to cliff jump!
Another highlight of the trip were the monkey forests. Yes, there are multiple, and my animal lover heart was so happy that I had to visit more than one! The monkey’s are absolutely adorable, and ingenious. You will find locals perusing the grounds with food that you can feed the monkey’s with while they take a picture for you (for a tip, of course). The monkeys’ intelligence is comical; watch out if you wear any sort of hat or glasses as they’ll take it and use it as collateral until you give them food! As long as you go in prepared (and don’t look them in the eye!) you’ll get a good laugh and some exercise while walking through the forest watching them interact with people.
Culture and Cuisine
To visit Bali is to truly immerse yourself in a culture that exudes love and acceptance for all living things: people, nature, animals, food, you name it. And to say that the Balinese are the kindest people in the world, is an understatement. I felt this from the moment I was picked up from the airport when the driver kept thanking me just for visiting their country!
I just so happened to be visiting during Balinese Ceremony and was invited by an Airbnb host (who was the priest of the temple in that town!) to participate in the celebration. I had no idea that my $20 per night (everything is insanely cheap here!), gorgeous villa stay would include an evening full of colorful costumes, music and dancing surrounded entirely by locals who made me feel like family. It was incredibly inspiring to meet people who are so genuine and welcoming to complete strangers!
You could accidentally leave Bali healthier than when you arrived. Every meal - food, smoothies, or juices ordered was not only aesthetically pleasing, but also made with love. The culture’s gratitude for food provided by the land was clear in the preparation and presentation of dishes.
One of the wildest, and surprisingly delicious, things I’ve ever tried was the cat poop coffee! The infamous Kopi Luwak specialty coffee comes from a Balinese creature who eats ripe coffee cherries and excretes the coffee beans. Don’t knock it until you try it! The locals said this was a must do, and I am so thankful I went for it because I got to try a whole flight of Balinese coffees (coffee lover heaven) while enjoying this incredible rice field view!
Visiting Rome was a bucket list trip that I cannot recommend enough. It’s a history buff’s dream come true, but even if you’re not as into history, it’s still sure to impress. The architecture and design of the buildings, cities, waterways, etc. is absolutely astonishing. It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that people had the ability to construct enormous buildings with such intricate detail, that many years ago!
Must see monuments in Rome included Trevi Fountain, The Colosseum, and Sistine Chapel. My favorite activity here was a bike tour throughout the city, led by a local. This was the perfect way to both see the majority of, and learn about the city at the same time, which you could spend days doing!
Verona was a last minute train stop decision that did not disappoint! It was one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been. The bright blue waterways running through the ancient city with medieval style architecture was simply stunning. Strolling through the colorful alleys you’ll see (and smell!) patio style restaurants teeming with people enjoying tapas style food.
Remember the story of Romeo and Juliet? This adorable town is the set of this Shakespearean couple’s tale. The balcony where Romeo professed his love for Juliet is hard to miss with the flock of tourists gazing upward. After visiting Verona, you can easily understand why the story was based in this quintessential romantic city!
It may take some planning and research (which us travel nurses are pretty good at!), but embarking on these trips is totally worth it. I found that I would return to work feeling renewed and ready to go after these big trips abroad. Another bonus is that immersing yourself in a new culture helps you grow as a person and makes it easier to relate to more of your patients! So, what are you waiting for?!