Atlanta, Georgia, USA downtown city skyline.
Travel Travel February 12, 2024

A West-Coast Traveler’s Experience in Atlanta, Georgia

When my AMN recruiter first pitched Atlanta, Georgia, to me, I was skeptical. “The rates are great there right now, and I have a lot of travelers who rave about their experiences there,” she told me. 

Born and raised in Los Angeles, I had never ventured that far east. Atlanta — don’t they call it “Hotlanta?” I hadn’t heard much about Georgia, but what I had heard did not convince me that my husband and I should load up our Prius and drive the 32 hours it would take to get there. “Hmm, maybe something a little closer to home,” I tell her. 

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Thinking that settled it, I didn’t give it much more thought. That is until my husband started researching more about the city. Forever the nerd, my partner of eight years, who can work remotely when we travel, excitedly asked me the next day, “Did you know the Georgia Aquarium is the only one in the United States with whale sharks?” A moment passed, and we looked at each other. “Well, no. Honestly, I can’t guarantee that I’ve ever thought about whale sharks before.” 

Well, that 39-foot-long aquatic animal had snuck into his heart, and I was not going to hear the last of Atlanta. “Hey,” he starts the next day, “check out this gorgeous apartment on Furnished Finder renting for $1700 in Buckhead. My buddy tells me it’s a super cool neighborhood in Atlanta.” I look at the floor-to-ceiling windows, pristine kitchen, walk-in closet, and not to mention access to a gym and swimming pool 24/7. “Dang.” (Who cares about a hot climate when you can dip into a swimming pool whenever you want?) 

I hop on Google Maps and check out the neighborhood. It’s within walking distance of coffee shops, running trails, and Poké restaurants. “I’m calling my recruiter.” Fast forward one month, and we’re lugging our suitcases through the gorgeous entryway and up to the 17th floor of our immaculate apartment in Buckhead, Atlanta. I look out of those glass windows and catch my breath. “Are we in a forest?” Used to the concrete jungle of Los Angeles, I cannot believe how many trees I can see from my living room. 

Hospital orientation the next day, I soon learned that the hospital I was assigned to is a national leader in cardiac surgery, neurosciences, and transplants. I’m so impressed by my coworkers and management, and I immediately fell in love with my patients with all their Southern charm. As much as I’m open to picking up extra shifts, I never do, as there is too much to explore on my days off! Rooftop bars with live music, breweries with novel beers I’ve never tried, rivers calling us on inner tube expeditions, and parks on the lake ready for a BBQ. 

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We discover Ponce City Market — the coolest multi-level, indoor market off a bike trail, complete with a carnival experience on their roof. “Yeah, the assignment is going great,” the reluctant convert in me assures my recruiter. “Is there any chance the hospital wants me to extend?” Before you know it, friends back home start to catch glimpses of our adventures and ask to fly out for a visit. We enthusiastically welcome them, excited to show them the places we’ve discovered. 

Together, we enjoy the pool, the food, and the vibes. We indulge in a Waffle House breakfast and then hike off the calories on Stone Mountain. Rich with a complicated history, we tour Atlanta’s museums and walk downtown. We took a weekend trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and ate the best hot chicken sandwich of our lives at Hattie B’s. Our friends fall in love with the area and are sad when it’s time to leave. Fast forward a few months, and our time to go also comes — on 4th of July weekend. My husband and I bought a bottle of wine and a pack of Red Vines and took it to our apartment’s rooftop by the pool. We settled into one of the outdoor couches as fireworks erupted over the city.

I sit there thinking of how lucky I am to have a job that pays me to have these new experiences. That night feels timeless, and I don’t remember exactly when the fireworks stopped, and we headed back in for our last night in Atlanta. The following morning, we lugged those same suitcases back down the elevator, loaded the Prius, and began the long drive home. (And yes, in case you were wondering, the whale shark was worth the 32-hour drive.)

Begin your journey to Atlanta or countless other locations across the country by applying from the form on the top right of this page. 

Search allied travel jobs in Atlanta from the link below. 

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