Travel Lifestyle & Culture

Travel Nursing in an RV (A Visual Intro)

Russ Mortland, RN
July 7, 2020
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Have you been scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest lately? Maybe you’ve been watching TV or talking to your travel nursing friends or maybe you’ve been wondering how to save money, travel more and shower less? 

Likely you have noticed the growing trend of tiny living and all the hashtags that come with it and wondered: “Is there a nurse who lives the lifestyle that could tell me all about it in a relatable and down to earth way without trying to sell me something?” 

Hi {insert waving hand}, I am living the lifestyle and have no inventory of stickers or t-shirts with my insta handle on them to sell to you. 

russ mortland RN standing front of mountainscape giving the thumbs up travel nursing in an RV

Part I - Travel Nursing in an RV

In the first part of this series I am going to share my story of how I found myself living the RV travel nursing lifestyle and hopefully provide some inspiration to those of you who’ve considered pursuing this lifestyle! 

Russ Mortland RN and three kids hiking on dirt trail with trees in the background travel nursing in an RV

In the Summer of 2016, I was up late at night binge watching YouTube videos when I discovered a family of five that was traveling full-time in their Airstream camper. The proverbial lightbulb appeared over my head as I continued the sidebar spiral of “recommended videos” about RV living

For those of us nurses who have worked night shift, we know that our 2:00AM ideas and dreams don’t seem so great in the light of day. However, this idea turned into an obsession. Later that night, I woke my wife and pitched my idea of living full-time in an RV while working as a travel nurse. 

airstream RV on desertscape with mountains shrouded in clouds in the background travel nursing in an RV

I share all my late-night ideas with her including my desire to buy a tortoise during our sophomore year of nursing school, or the time I wanted to start a line of alpaca knitted boots and for some unexplained reason call them “Yaks.” 

The point I’m trying to make is that it’s practically second nature for her to nod and smile as soon as my eyes become saucers and I yammer on like a toddler after cake. She was seven-months pregnant at the time, and we owe so much to those influential hormonal fluctuations that prompted her to say, “YES!” with very little lobbying effort required... or maybe she just wanted to go back to sleep, but either way, it worked!

little girl stepping out of airstream door with mountains and grassy field in the background travel nursing in an RV

Making Plans and Getting Started

This obsession would quickly lead my wife and me to decide not to pursue CRNA school and instead dive into a researching frenzy to see if we could make our dream our new reality. 

Fast forward a couple months, add one more baby, and you’ll see us draining our life savings, taking out a significant personal loan, and wiring that money to a man in California we’ve never met, who claimed to have an Airstream that we had never seen. 

large truck and airstream rv parking underneath large tree with grassy field in the foreground travel nursing in an RV

Even our precious two-week old baby, Arlowe, knew it was a questionable plan. (She has since recanted.) In a six-month span, we went from house hunting and school planning to Googling stuff like, “Where does the poop go? How do you safely tow a travel trailer? How to make avocado toast? How much does it cost to stay at an RV park? Mobile internet options?,” and “Birkenstocks for the whole family?” 

There is an overabundance of RV-lifestyle information on the web, and it can be overwhelming to sort through. The advice I provide is based solely from personal experiences and insights collected over three and half years of traveling full-time in our 240sqft home. Quite unlike the scrub section for men, there are endless options for how to go about this lifestyle. 

russ mortland children eating melon on the steps of their airstream travel nursing in an RV

The decision to become a RV travel nurse is one of the most personally and financially rewarding decisions we have made as a family, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, not even a multi-million dollar boot company called Yaks.

Next time… 

Part II

YouTube inspiration and hormonal impulses aside, there were many practical reasons to dive into travel nursing. Coming soon!

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