Did you ever feel as though you love what you do, but feel as though there has to be more out there? There has to be more than just waking up, going to work, coming home, doing chores and then repeat every day. I started to have those feelings for a while and I woke up one morning and said to my husband, “Let’s make a change, let’s do something different with our lives”.
We are at a point in our life where we don’t have anything holding us back; no mortgage and no kids, so in December of last year I decided to QUIT MY JOB to become a Travel Occupational Therapist. In January, Steve and I put most of our belongings in a storage unit in Philadelphia and filled our small Nissan Sentra to the brim and road tripped across the country to California to start my job as a Travel OT. It has been such an amazing experience so far.
Here are the 5 reasons why you should quit your job and start the amazing journey of being a travel therapist or nurse! (from this point on, known as a “traveler”)
1) See The Country:
By being a traveler you are able to see our wonderful country. A lot of the times when we vacation, we go abroad, but being a traveler you are able to explore what our country has to offer. Every weekend is a vacation! We have been able to see and go to places that we never thought we would. We have visited Disneyland, travelled the Pacific coast Highway (PCH), drove on historic Route 66, Big Sur, the Alamo, Nashville, Tucson, Phoenix, the Hollywood sign, San Francisco, and so many more. We got an annual National Park pass and visited Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Sequoia, and Yellowstone later this year! In September we are going to road trip to our next location and planning to see Salt Lake City, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Milwaukee and Chicago! It has only been 7 months and I feel like we have visited a lifetime full of places.
2) Learn New Skills and Build Your Resume:
With being a traveler, at times we are placed in different and new work settings. You are able to learn so many different skills in these different settings. My background was a cancer hospital and outpatient hand therapy. Since I started being a traveler, I have evaluated children who are autistic, acute care, and Neuro OT. Many people think that you don’t get much help and get thrown in. That may be true in some placements, but I have had some great mentors who have taught me some great new skills. I have learned about pediatric evaluation tools and different specialized techniques like Neuro INFRAH, graston and kineseo taping. I have worked with so many different types of patients and people and my resume has grown and become very diverse. I have learned more skills in the last 7 months then I did the last 3 years.
3) Meeting New People:
I have worked in 2 hospitals so far and can truly say I have been welcomed with opened arms. I have gotten great training and mentoring. I was surprised how many therapist were willing to teach and show me the ropes.I have made life long friends in my first 5 month placement with other OTs and Speech therapists. Currently I am at a placement with a lot of other travelers. It has been great to be able to go out and sightsee with other people who have the same interest and mentality.
4) Immersed In New Cultures And Foods:
Food, Food, Drinks, and more Food. One thing I have loved about being a traveler is being emerged in new cultures and trying new food. I have had the best ramen in little Tokyo in LA, BBQ and hot fried chicken down South, Danish food in little Denmark of California, Solvang, and delicious Mexican in Arizona. We have been able to go to a Chinese new year festival, wine tours in Sonoma, many different brewery tastings and visited and ate hot dogs in many ball parks. We have seen so many different cultures and people living and visiting different places. Cultures are different as well, the West Coast is so much more laid back than the East Coast. I replaced my heels for comfortable and stylish flats.
5) Save Money:
This is a big one! Originally, I thought everyone was full of bologna when they said you make more money being a traveler. I didn’t really see it. Now, 8 months later, I have gone back and done finances and have seen that my husband and I have been able to save a lot more money than we did when we weren’t traveling. If you are able to get a good company to work for that people has your best interest at hand, you will get more non taxed than taxed pay. That helps greatly with the savings. Going to different places in the country you learn how to stretch your housing stipend to pocket the rest. Case in point, if you do it right, you can really be able to put a good amount of money away!