Samantha Thompson: Adventures of a Travel Nurse

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Samantha is a 28 year old travel nurse who loves traveling the world, reading and music. She is married to a travel nurse and partner in adventure. She describes herself as a bubbly person who loves to make other people laugh. Her biggest flaws? Overthinking and getting in her head. One of her most relatable quotes is “I like too many things and get all confused and hung up running from one falling star to another until I drop” by Jack Kerouac.

Her enthusiasm for life is infectious, and we hope you enjoy reading her interview as much as we enjoyed getting to know her!

How did you get inspired to live a life full of outdoor adventures?

Growing up, my family moved every 3 years, which was a true love/hate for me. I loved seeing new places and making new friends, but I hated leaving the friends I did make and feeling lonely when I got to a new place. And also, honestly, I would start to get a bit bored after living somewhere for a year. So my goal during the years we stayed in one place, or when I was the new kid and feeling lonely, became adventuring to find new things. Those adventures took away any boredom and loneliness I felt. fast forward 20 years and that’s exactly what I’m still doing now.

Being a travel nurse, you are able to move around and live an adventurous life, as well as make such a positive impact on the community. What do you love best about your job?

Travel nursing! How I met my husband! When my real life started!The best thing to ever happen to me and my favorite topic to talk about. I love my job for SO many reasons. First of all, I love being a nurse, travel or no travel. I love talking to my humans, I love taking care of my humans, I love being there for the tough moments and I love getting to be there for the success stories as well. I love travel nursing specifically as it allows me to see the world while still responsibly paying off my personal mountain of student loans. More than that, travel nursing has made me a stronger nurse, capable of working in specialties that I had no experience in before. Being a nurse gives one an incredible perspective on life, I don’t ever take my health for granted. I am very aware of how lucky I am, and how short this glorious section of my life is. I’ve learned countless, and I mean endless, life lessons from my patients. I’m talking advice on everything, from my youth to my health to my marriage and my mindset. That is my absolute favorite part. My patients, those sweet angels, give me much more than I think I could ever give them.

Where are some of your favorite adventure destinations so far, and why?

I did a year of travel nursing in Hawaii (that was the longest amount of time that my husband and I have lived in one place together), so of course Hawaii ranks very high on my list of adventure destinations! The endless hiking and beach hangs cannot be touched. Living on Oahu was the best work/life balance I’ve ever had. Who wouldn’t be happy with mountains to their left and the ocean on their right?

Cappadocia, Turkey is also super high on this list! The landscape is truly unreal, like nothing I had ever seen before. The second you see the towering pillars and cones and those smooth ridges and plateaus, you want nothing more than to climb all over it. Paris, France is a forever favorite of mine, I’ve been to that city over 3 times! I never get tired of walking those streets.

Alabama Hills in California is another spot that makes me absolutely giddy. You’re literally right next to Mt. Whitney, one of the most gorgeous views I’ve ever seen, while also feeling like you’re in the middle desert. It’s an absolute dream. Thailand, Cambodia, Norway and Australia are also gems that I love. This is a hard question for me as I love everything I see more than the last thing.

You are currently in California. What are some of your favorite hiking or adventure spots in the state, and where are some places you would like to explore?

Ohhhh California, an adventure mecca! Again, and I cannot say it enough, Alabama Hills is my favorite place in the state! I can’t get over it, the view is just so intense and you are all up in it! As I type this, I’m on my way home from Death Valley, which became a very fast favorite! I’ve never seen so many stars in my entire life. The park was huge, humbling and otherworldly. The central coast really took me by surprise, I didn’t think I would love it as much as I do!

I love San Luis Obispo and Carmel-By-The-Sea! Obviously Highway 1 and Big Sur! I loved San Fransisco and Lake Tahoe! Yosemite is beyond dreamy and only an hour from where we’re living, so we get to go there as often as we please! Which is so very prime. The same holds true with Sequoia, so very close to home! With winter coming, I’m really looking forward to revisiting those parks in the snow! Goals I still have for California (and some that are coming up so soon!) are: HARRY POTTER WORLD! (which we’re doing for Christmas!) Joshua Tree National Park,  Channel Islands National Park, Pinnacles National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park and Redwoods! After that we’ve hit up all of CA’s national parks, which is an added bonus to our adventuring!

You and your husband were recently exploring Europe. Where did you guys go, and how did you guys choose your destinations?

We were indeed in Europe! We try to go once a year, but we planned this trip specifically around getting married, which made it pretty easy! We chose to elope in Switzerland, a decision that was first brought to the table by me, while we were working night shift in Virginia, struggling to plan a “normal” wedding. I couldn’t find anything that seemed to fit or represent what our relationship actually is. I was looking at pictures of Switzerland, which were  absolutely gorgeous. I just kept thinking, we plan our life and our vacations this way, just picking a place and going, so why should our wedding by any different? Cody instantly agreed and with a little planning, the Switzerland dream became a reality. The other spots all sort of fell into place around it. We went to Germany first with our friends Kris and Whitney who have family there, and because we figured Oktoberfest would be an awesome pregame for the wedding! We stopped in Innsbruck, Austria after leaving Munich because, why not! It was on the way and gorgeous. After Switzerland we went to the Amalfi Coast of Italy, which is the Instagram dream you imagine it to be!. Our next stop was Santorini, Greece. That was chosen specifically because we talked about honeymooning there our first week of dating. After that we went to Turkey. The drive to get to that country was purely to start branching out of Europe and once I read about Cappadocia I was sold. It was just as cool as you think it’s going to be, the hype is very well deserved. That is a place I know we will return to.

What were some of the highlights of your trip?

The highlights of trip, in this order, are: getting married on a mountain in the Swiss alps surrounded by my best friends, HANDS DOWN number one forever on this trip and in my life. Next, the 927,262 hot air balloons taking off at sunrise every morning in Cappadocia and the incredible landscape they flew over. Third, renting a boat and my best friends fiancé driving us all up and down the Italian Coast. Fourth, feeding all the stray cats in Santorini and Turkey (this was equally a highlight and a heartbreaker).

How many places have you traveled to together? 

Cody and I have been to 15 countries in the three years that we’ve been together. We’ve driven cross country 6 times and lived in 7 different states.

What is it like traveling and adventuring with your husband? What would be some tips or advice you would give to aspiring travel couples?

Traveling and adventuring with my husband is, to me, the very best thing in the world. I never thought my life would turn out this way but I couldn’t be more grateful that it did. Before Cody I genuinely enjoyed spending 98% of my time alone. But it’s so, so nice working and traveling together. We make sure we work on the same days so we can adventure on all of our days off, and it’s great having a built in adventure buddy! Our life feels like one long vacation, with a little work here and there. All of our patients and coworkers seem to love our lifestyle, so they’re always down to join once we get to know them, but it’s nice that even on day one in a new place, we can immediately start exploring.

The best advice I have for travel couples is BE FLEXIBLE! Compromise is a glorious thing. We like a lot of the same things, but not all of our interests our similar. We don’t favor one persons opinion over the other. If Cody wants to go right and I want to go left, then we go both ways. Maybe on different days, but together we’ll get to both things. Be apart while still being together, Cody likes video games and I like books, so I read while he games. Don’t isolate yourselves! We have a lot of mutual friends and couple friends and we hang with others any time we get the chance too! Divide things based on what you’re good at! Cody cooks and I clean, and that works for us. Be polite (can’t stress this one enough!) Talk about everything so there’s never anything to yell about. Treat your relationship as if it’s always in its first month! This is a big big one! We’re together 24/7 (literally) but we’re still the clingiest, snuggliest couple. I feel like we fall more in love every day, as corny as that sounds, but we really have learned how to be together full time, so much so that it feels super strange to be apart.

What are some of your goals in sharing your adventures?

I only have one real goal in sharing our adventures, and that is to show that you do not have to live traditionally to live responsibly! I didn’t quit my job to travel and no one funds my life but me. You can see the world and pay your bills. You don’t have to have a traditional wedding, if you want to run off and scream your love from a mountain top, then go do it! You don’t have to get married and buy a house and have kids. If you want to, then go for it! I support it and I love it. But you don’t have to feel pressured to. We are not buying a house nor planning to have kids and I am constantly questioned because of it. I just want to show that life doesn’t have to be traditional to be dope.

How would you like to inspire other people to get outside and live their dream life?

I guess this kind of goes along with the previous question as I’d like to inspire them just by doing! I just want to be an example for girls like me, who didn’t grow up wanting the traditional dream. I have two cat kids and one sweet husband and we go on lots of trips. My family is small but our life goals are big!

Where is your next big adventure? 

Our next big trip is likely going to be India! The current plan is to keep exploring California (we’re currently on assignment in Fresno), take a mini trip to Mexico in February for my birthday, then back to California to work and explore for a a few months! Cody turns 30 in May and ideally we will be in India for that.

Follow her on Instagram: @sammiefuggindude

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