As travel therapists, we are so incredibly fortunate to be able to embrace a lifestyle of flexibility. As we embrace flexibility by changing jobs and moving between cities and states every few months, we also inherit the flexibility of being able to take as much time off each year as we want to. As a new traveler, I didn’t immediately realize this being one of the many perks of choosing this career route.
Exactly one year ago today, I finished up what was yet another amazing travel assignment to take the summer off to travel internationally. Yes….I intentionally took the entire summer off! After working consecutive travel assignments for a year and a half, I had saved up enough money to not only support myself while unemployed for the summer months, but to travel to places that had been on my bucket list for years. As I reflect back on the past year, I cannot believe how many amazing places I’ve been able to go and the incredible experiences I’ve had. Travel therapy has not only afforded me the opportunity to grow as a clinician in a field I love, but has facilitated the opportunity for me to live out an amazing adventure that I am so incredibly grateful for.
As I take some time to reflect over the past 12 months (both the highs and the lows), I cannot imagine what my life would look like if I hadn’t pursued travel therapy. I’ve met so many incredible people and have gotten to travel to more places in a year than I could have ever dreamed of.
Just for fun, here’s a breakdown of my travels (for fun) in the last 12 months…..
While in Ireland, we visited Dublin, Kilarney, Kenmare, Cliffs of Moher, and Gallway. From the Ring of Kerry to the Skellig Rock, what a beautiful country with amazing people. This trip had a little bit of everything.
Never did I imagine ziplining for the very first time on the highest ziplines in all of Thailand and then white water rafting immediately after in the same day, to volunteering and playing with elephants the very next day! I could not get enough of the authentic Thai food in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phuket, or Koh Phi Phi. I was awestruck by the incredible talent of the fire dancers and the enthusiasm everyone brought to their job while we visited Thailand. It made me realize even more than what I blessing it is to have a job in which I truly love what I do. Thailand was a place of many first times for me, including snorkeling in which we saw some baby sharks and hanging out with wild monkeys on Monkey Beach!
We were lucky to spend a few days in Siem Reap, home of the world’s largest religious moment in the world, Angkor Wat. Pictures do not do this gem justice! The people in Cambodia were friendly and compassionate. We managed to get 2 massages in one day while there. We had incredible food and enjoyed the nightlife.
While we only had a 13 hour layover in China on the front-end and back-ends of our trip, we made sure to venture out of the airport (and get our passport stamped). It was fun to explore the city and eat an authentic Chinese lunch prior to embarking on our 16 hour flight back to the U.S.
CRUISE TO BAHAMAS & GRAND TURK
Going on a cruise has always been on my bucket list and it finally happened this year! Aboard the Carnival Sensation, my sister and I celebrated a friend’s birthday while also visiting the Eastern Caribbean for the first time. In a way I am truly grateful for, we celebrated a friend’s birthday that I met through traveling – Miranda’s. Miranda was my recruiter as I began my travel career and she always took the best care of me. It’s incredible how a phone business relationship can turn into a true friendship.
LAS VEGAS – TRAVELERS CONFERENCE
This past year, I’ve been so lucky to meet up with and network with numerous other travelers. We have a great community and are so lucky to have the support from one another. It was fun seeing old faces, meeting social media acquaintances for the first time in person, and making new friends. The night we ziplined superman style over Fremont Street is something I’ll never forget.
CRUISE – JAMAICA AND GRAND CAYMAN
It’s been a long time since the whole family was able to take a real vacation together. It can be very hard to coordinate schedules and traveling allowed me to make this a little easier since I can choose when I start a new assignment. We went on a family cruise to Jamaica and Grand Cayman after the Christmas holiday. It was beyond cool to spend New Year’s on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. That is one lido deck party that I will never forget.
NEW ORLEANS – APTA COMBINED SECTIONS MEETING
Both CSM and New Orleans has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I was lucky enough to check off both this year. I had so much fun playing in the exhibit hall with all the fun PT toys at the conference, eating amazing food, spending time with friends, exploring the French Quarter, and listening to live jazz music on a river cruise. This trip was made even more special because I got to spend much of my time there with other travelers.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – PALM SPRINS, TEMECULA, AND SAN DIEGO
Prior to starting my current assignment, I had the opportunity to finally visit California. One my best buds Mandi (a travel PTA) was on assignment there and I was able to take some time to visit her. We went to the wineries in Temecula, ventured up to San Diego where we saw the adorable sea otters, and explored Palm Springs. Even my little furry travel buddy Olivia made the trip from New Jersey to California.
CHICAGO – CHICAGO SPRING HALF MARATHON
Since beginning my travel career, I have also picked up running. In the time I’ve been traveling, I’ve ran four half marathons, all in different states. My brother lives in a Chicago, so we decided to run the Chicago Spring Half Marathon together just as we had the Columbus Half Marathon in the fall. As always, Chicago was a fun place to visit. The architecture cruise never gets old (even if the sky decides to open up on you for most of it).
I cannot believe that I was able to do all of this traveling (outside of work) in just 12 months. I’m so unbelievably fortunate! I’ve gotten used to this incredible scheduling flexibility and realize that I’ve occasionally taken it for granted. What job allows you to take that much time for leisure travel? Oh wait, a career in travel therapy! I can’t wait to see where these next 12 months take me!