On a morning just like any other, the owner of the clinic where I worked brought me into the office and had me sit down then unexpectedly offered me a promotion. I didn’t expect him to offer me a promotion and certainly didn’t expect a substantial raise of 10K effective immediately. You’re probably thinking, uh, no brainer, take it. Well there were many factors leading to my hesitation to accept, but at the center was my desire and preparation to begin travel physical therapy in the coming months. About a year and a half later, I haven’t looked back and thought “what if?” once.
Many people face the question of when to begin traveling. Some advocate traveling as a new grad while others suggest gaining experience first. Each of these have their benefits and drawbacks as I’m sure you’ve been reading in a travel group on Facebook or in a blog post made by another traveler or in speaking with a traveler. In my journey, I was interested in traveling before I even applied to PT school, then before and after graduation, and again before leaving my first PT job.
I elected to take permanent jobs for the first couple years out of school, but not in a traditional sense. My first job was across the country in an area where I didn’t have any roots and had only been to visit once. My second job was yet again across the country in the opposite direction; however, this time I went back to work in the area where I had attended PT school. In both cases, I was relatively on my own to build roots in a different area where I knew few people.
My first job was in a small clinic about an hour southeast of Seattle, WA. I asked a lot of questions as a new grad interviewing for jobs in various parts of the country including: Colorado Springs, Seattle, South Florida, and Maryland; however, I must admit I had no idea what I was doing or where I’d go. I made the decision to go back to the NW and live on the west coast after having been there once to complete a clinical outside of Seattle while I was still in school. It was a great experience, but the already large company was purchased by an even larger company and many changes were coming. At the same time, I was increasingly missing Florida, where I attended school, so I accepted a job and returned to Florida.
In Florida, I worked for a small company with a focus on one-on-one treatment. The company had many experienced clinicians who ended up leaving the company in the several months after I started and many changes occurred. During this time, I ended up roommates with one of my former classmates in PT school. We ended up in a relationship and began reviving each other’s interest and passion for traveling. We purchased an RV several months later and began traveling a few months after that.
Many things came up during the time we were preparing to begin traveling including the discussion I alluded to at the beginning of the post in which I was offered a substantial raise and promotion. In both of my first jobs, an offer to become either a clinic director or lead therapist were on the table. I turned down the first opportunity because I wanted to move back to Florida; I turned down the second opportunity because I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to begin traveling with the woman who would become my wife. In addition, I wanted to enjoy the multiple benefits that travel work has to offer. To name a few that were on my mind at the time:
In summary, we’ve been able to maximize our savings and meet financial goals by paying off bills that would have taken us much long to pay off while working permanent positions. I’m sure you’ve heard of the pros and cons of travel healthcare work, but the truth is the list of benefits I mentioned above are short compared to everything travel healthcare work has to offer. As with anything, there are pro’s and con’s and there are certainly cons and deterrents to working as a traveling healthcare contractor, but for my wife and I, the payoff has far outweighed the cost thus far.