This month's Empowered Women Empower Women series features a blogger who is living life her way and doing everything she loves to do while still helping people everyday through her work. She is a nurse by trade and a blogger by passion. What happens when you combine those two plus her love for visiting new countries... you get a travel nurse/blogger. Enjoy reading all about Redeat Wondemu's journey.
1) Tell us about your journey? What made you decide to pick up and leave your safe and comfortable job to become a travel nurse/blogger?
Hi! And thanks for this opportunity to share my adventure with you and your readers. I’ve always moved around as a young adult, and I still love traveling. The idea of working and traveling at the same time was very appealing. As a travel nurse/blogger, I still am a Registered Nurse; I just added the travel and blogger aspect into my life. Being a travel nurse still means I work at a hospital, but unlike a staff nurse that stays permanent, I am contracted by an agency and travel to different States filling vacancies that need temporary nurses.
In regards to my blog, the reason I started blogging was that I wanted to share my travel stories with family and friends. In the beginning, it was hard to update everyone about my whereabouts, and hence came the blog. Eventually, I realized that other people were finding it resourceful as well. Shared stories help us feel connected. These days, I write because it enables me to express myself and it’s very freeing. When I was in Boston for a travel nurse assignment, I started the habit of writing every morning before work. That discipline of writing my reflections was a grounding moment. I realized that I should continue to write my thoughts and share it through my blog.
2) What are some of the hurdles you experienced when you first started as a travel nurse/ blogger and some that you still experience today?
As a travel nurse, I’ve had good experiences.I have to say working with people though is the hardest part of my job because certain personalities at work are difficult to deal with. I’m a very chill and tolerant person that tries to give people the benefit of the doubt and believe in making peace which usually works. In situations where it hasn’t, I’ve typically tried to talk first, then ignore their negativity before ultimately, escalating it to management.
For me, every hurdle is an opportunity to learn a lesson. I have to say the older I get, the better I have become at dealing with obstacles, but also it’s because some things don’t bother me like they used to. These days when an issue arises, I try to deal with it before it erupts into something big. I think people can be hard to deal with sometimes, but if you dig deeper, you can figure out why they are the way they are so a little bit of soul searching, and patience usually fixes unnecessary drama.
3) What do you wish people knew about a travel nursing? Pros/ Cons
First the Pros: As a travel nurse, you have the opportunity to choose where you want to work and when to go. Personally, travel nursing gave me the chance to do what I'm passionate about outside of work. I've been able to travel freely, spend quality time with my family, and take time to learn skills I'm passionate about (like learning how to cook Italian food in Italy and brush up on my analogy photography skills in Germany), and volunteer in 8 different countries with Operation Smile.
True, traveling is not for everyone, but if you've been thinking about it for a longtime (you know who you are), go ahead and try it. As always, don't burn your bridges if you leave a permanent position. If you try traveling, and it isn’t for you, you’ll have plenty of staff positions open to you when you come back, and maybe even in the facility, you were at before. Something I've learned this past year as a travel nurse is how resilient I am. I've taken skills from everywhere I've worked. I can honestly say I communicate better, understand other people’s perspectives better and listen better. It’s helping me to be a good nurse and a better human being as well.
In regards to the cons honestly, I don’t have much to say. Choosing this lifestyle has been significant for my personal life, my relationship, my finances, my physical and mental wellbeing. I guess one thing I would say to you is you have to be ok with the whole 'being away' aspect, but even with that, you can manage by going to visit your family and friends or have them visit you. I’m sure they would love that.
4) If there was one thing you’ve done that you could go back in time and change, what would it be?
Interesting question, but honestly nothing. I feel that every step I’ve taken has gotten me where I am right now and I am utterly grateful. The one thing that was so hard for me was losing my dad six years ago. He lived in Ethiopia and I was in Chicago. For years, I would visit him since he couldn't travel. He was my hero and the person who inspired me to travel. I’m so grateful for the years we had together before he passed away. He even paid for me to go to the Semien Mountains when I was a broke college graduate. He pushed me to be who I am, and I am so grateful for the legacy he left me (which are too many to mention here).
5) Where do you see yourself in 5years?
In five years, I would love to be a serious photographer to tell you the truth. Sharing different images and stories that move us to do good work in this world. I would also love to continue with my nursing profession, but mostly doing volunteer work. I was on a surgical mission in Jimma University with Operation Smile in March 2019, and it was a fantastic experience. I realized a lot of work needs to be done, and my role would be best utilized if I was teaching and collaborating with Jimma University and Operation Smile. I also have an apparel store where I design t-shirts, if that still exists in 5 years, I’d like to utilize the funds to empower women/nurses in Ethiopia.
6) How do you manage to handle it all- traveling/blogging while still helping countless people all over the world?
Wow, well I am currently sitting by the poolside in Bangkok while writing this. I don’t share this to tell you how fancy my life is, in reality, I am always using every travel opportunity as work. I came here for my yearly check-up since Bangkok has excellent medical facilities. I was in Ethiopia two weeks ago in Jimma, and I have to say, I don’t stop working wherever I am. I find time to do what I love, which is to share my stories with people, take care of people as a nurse either through volunteering or travel assignments, take photos, and find time for self-care, family, and friends. I try to use my time wisely and have goals each month, so I can get things done.
As you know my name is Redeat which means God is my helper. I feel that's my calling- that I help other people and bring value in their lives as well. So wherever I am in the world, you’ll probably find me working, working, and working.
7) In your eyes, what’s your most significant accomplishment?
Spending quality time with my dad before he passed away. Second, being so darn resilient and ambitious. If I have a goal in mind most likely, I’m working hard to achieve it.
8) What advice do you have for someone that wants to become a blogger or a travel nurse?
Just do it! There are some misconceptions about being a blogger or even a travel nurse, but don’t be overly cautious about giving it a try. If you want to be a travel nurse or a blogger, find yourself doing things that will get you there. Each day write, collect ideas, apply, etc. one day you’ll achieve your goals, and you’ll feel proud of yourself when you see how many people benefit by your simple act of faith.
9) What are things you do to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed and/or to keep a balanced life?
I pray, read my bible and other self-help articles, meditate, work-out, take my vitamins; I’m a vegetarian, so I try to eat healthy as well. Even though I don’t think I consistently do this, I try my best to be on top of it. I also practice self-love and self-forgiveness. Sometimes as women we are so hard on ourselves. I try to treat myself and tell myself that it's ok to take a break sometimes.
10) Do you have any last words for our readers?
I just want to say thank you for this opportunity. I see Habesha women doing amazing work all over the world. Sharing our lives, talents, and passion helps us grow and become better. So Thank You!
For those interested in saying hello, asking me further questions, or following my many adventures, you can check out my blog and subscribe to receive monthly newsletters. I’m also on social media and would love to get to know you as well so you can hop on over and say hello. Have a wonderful week.
I hope you enjoyed reading Redeat's amazing journey and more importantly I hope it has inspired you. Make sure to subscribe to her blog - Simply Red8 so you won't miss out on all her adventures.
Please be sure to stay tuned for monthly featured posts from other empowering women. Contact me if you would like to share your story and empower our readers. As always, I'd love to hear from you.