What happens when you life turns in a direction that you never expected?
For me, it all started with a chance meeting with a blogger in Antigua Guatemala – Johnny Vagabond. Known as ‘Wes’ to his friends; he was a great inspiration to me. Wes and I met by chance on the streets of Antigua during Samana Santa (Easter Week). We became fast friends and ended up joining each other on several travel excursions over the following year.
Wes will never know what an inspiration he was to me because his life ended much to early due to sickness. For those that know him, please know that he affected my life in great proportions and for that, I’ll be forever grateful for both his friendship and keen advice.
When I met Wes, I’d been travel nursing for several years and had recently began Independent International traveling as a solo back-packer. I was seeking something new in my life and Wes was exactly the inspiration that I needed. We spent many afternoons sitting at sidewalk cafe’s in a multitude of international destinations with a glass of wine, discussing the business of blogging.
I wanted to do something to extend my travels and make a little extra income as I enjoyed traveling on a personal level. As a travel blogger, Wes taught me that I could do this and TheGypsyNurse.com was born July 1, 2012. By December 2013, I was experiencing a lot of the ups and downs that any entrepreneur is all too familiar with…I had to take a long hard look at what was happening and De-Stress!
Business is BOOMING!
For all of 2013 through 2015, The Gypsy Nurse (TGN) continued to grow and consume more and more of my time. I kept putting off traveling in an effort to keep my head above water with my new business. I loved that I was affecting the lives of others and helping them in their careers as a travel nurse, but I was losing myself in the process. By January 2016….I was done! At this point, it had been almost two years since I’d taken time for me to do what I started this endeavor to be able to do…TRAVEL! I was trying to manage a hugely successful business and social network; alone and I was drowning. My stress level was off the charts and I was losing connections with both my family and my personal friends because I just didn’t have ‘time’.
In January of 2016, I made the decision to move forward with some major changes with TGN and by April 2016, TGN has partnered with private investors. I will continue to remain a part of the business, but I won’t be the primary decision maker. The business will continue to operate as it always has, the only real change is that I’ll have assistance and can perhaps get back to living my life to it’s fullest.
In April 2016, I made the following announcement:
You all know that I have been operating the Gypsy Nurse as a ‘one man team’ other than the much appreciated Volunteer assistance of our Ambassadors and our recently hired Project Manager, Rachel Altum.
As we have continued to grow rapidly over the past three years, I have had deep desires to be able to provide you with even more tools and support that I haven’t been able to bring to fruition…until NOW!
I’m excited to announce that The Gypsy Nurse team is expanding! I will now have help on the back-side of the business all of that accounting and tech stuff I don’t particularly like doing!! This will enable us to bring Better Tools, an Enhanced Website, and more TIME for me to do what I love most…interacting with you, the traveler community! Our new team members have deep expertise in a variety of areas including operations and digital media. They also share my vision of bringing you an UN-BIASED place to communicate, learn, share and collaborate.
This is an exciting time for The Gypsy Nurse community and I’m thrilled to share it with you. We have some really great things being designed and built specifically for you, based on the requests and feedback that I’ve gotten via our Network group. The Network group members are very near and dear to me and I truly appreciate each individual member that helps in our goals of fostering an environment of Collaboration, Camaraderie, and Community.
Stay tuned as we begin to roll out these great NEW features and tools for our Gypsy Nurse Community! See announcement HERE
What Changes Can Gypsy Nurse Members Expect?
Marketing & Advertising
Agency contacts in regards to sales and marketing will be moving to our new Sales Manager, Kathia Camacho-Aponte (firstname.lastname@example.org). As our new Vice President of Agency Sales, Kathia will serve as your main point of contact for sales or service-related inquiries going forward.
Kathia brings many years of sales and account management experience at senior levels to this position and You will find her to be extremely responsive to your needs and easy to work with.
I love interacting with my social media following, but…it’s been life-consuming. There are literally days in which I don’t leave the front of the computer in an effort to keep my head above water!! In an effort to free up some of my time, we now have a social media team that will be adding members to the groups, answering questions/email/messages, and helping to provide direction to members seeking information/advice. You’ll see ‘me’ interacting online but it’s not necessarily me behind the name. I have full confidence in the social media team that I’m working with and anything that needs my direct attention will be brought to my attention.
I can’t tell you how many features that have been burning in my head that I’ve been dying to bring to you! Ideas are nothing without a means to bring them to reality. I’ve stressed over this more than you can imagine. The BEST news in all of this is that these ‘ideas’ are now becoming REALITY!
With the inclusion of private investors, TGN will now be able to begin to implement some of the great tools and ideas that I’ve wanted to bring to you for the past 3 years! We’re already working hard behind the scenes to get these features in place. We’ll be rolling out these items as they are available throughout the coming months.
Do I Still Have your Attention?
I truly hope that you’ve read through all of this as this has been a major (and difficult) decision for me. As I write this there are tears that well up in my eyes. TGN has been an exciting endeavor. The lives that I feel have been touched will forever be a part of me. I’ve made some wonderful friends along the way and hopefully given something to the community that will continue for many years to come…
Now…it’s time for me. I’m ready to find myself again. Ready to travel again. Ready to re-connect with personal friends and family that have been so supportive yet neglected during the past four years. The tremendous support of my loved ones has been unparalleled and I can never express how much that support meant to me.
So although I won’t be spending the bulk of my time on TGN, I’ll still be a part of the community that has been my family for the past four years. I’ll still be committed to bringing you the support, information and tools that you have trusted and relied on.
Now….WHERE NEXT? Stay tuned to find out….
QUESTIONS from Readers
I’ve received some QREAT questions on this via the Gypsy Nurse Network and have edited this article to address:
Q: Now that you are being backed by a larger company does this means our information will be available to them?
A: Yes, but nothing different than it’s always been. TGN does not collect and share your information and this will not change. Anything you post to the groups here on FB is public, and we don’t share any personal information.
Q: Will I start receiving phone calls and emails from even more recruiters? If so is there a way to opt out of this?
A:See answer above. TGN doesn’t collect your personal information. We will be implementing some great new features that you can ‘opt in’ but will never sell your information. More on this coming soon!
Q: I hope it doesn’t water down the content or make things more corporate on the page. Part of the reason I enjoy this page is because it has offered a lot of unbiased opinions and view points with travel nursing. Now that you are backed by a larger company will content begin to be skewed towards whatever company is paying the bills?
A: Not at all! I’m actually going to have time to write more for the website!! Content will come through me for editing/approval.
Q: Who is the new owner/admins?
A: I’ll remain as one of the owners of the business partnered with a private equity group (NOTE: This is a group of private funders, NOT a Staffing Agency). The administration of the FB groups remains unchanged with myself, social media manager, and the Ambassadors continuing to moderate and answer your questions just like always.