Angela started her travel journey right out of school with an open mind and an adventurous spirit. Now, several years later she has a fiancé and 3 dogs along with experiences and opportunities that have helped her grow as a PT and as a person.
How did you decide to have an RV for housing and what has been your experience traveling in an RV?
Using a 5thwheel for housing defiantly was not in my original plans! When I first started traveling, it was just my dog and me. She is about 45 lbs so was not very difficult finding housing. Somewhere along the road, I acquired a fiancé and 2 more dogs…..now I have 3 too many dogs and a man child haha! We decided to get the 5thwheel when the 3rddog came along (she was dumped at a campground and followed me home one day; definitely was not in the plans). We knew finding housing with 3 dogs would be next to impossible so did not really have any other options. We take our 3 dogs with us on all assignments! Many people think we are crazy until they see our 5thwheel! It is actually quite large. We never feel cramped and even have room to have friends over for dinner! I must say living in and traveling with the 5thwheel does make things a lot easier in regards to changing locations. Don’t have to pack anything up or deal with finding housing/paying deposits. Have yet to run into difficulties finding a spot at a campground! On the downside, my fiancé did back into my truck with the 5thwheel so now I have to get a new door; back up camera is now in place!
I hear you decided to become a traveling therapist right out of school, what advice would you give to new graduates that are hesitant about becoming travelers?
My advice would be to go for it! It is a complete myth that new graduates should take a permanent job before transitioning into traveling. I feel my decision to become a traveler right out of school was the best decision I made and that it has had a huge positive impact on both my career and my general well being. My first assignment was at an SNF (did occasional outpatient) and it was just myself, an OTA, and a PTA. The OT only came in to do evaluations. I hit the ground running on the first day and had to rely 100% on my knowledge and skills since I did not have another PT or OT to go to (could not 2ndguess myself). I never once felt discouraged or felt like I did not know what I was doing. My first job reassured me that I actually had the skills and knowledge need to be an effective PT. While I was traveling, one thing I also noticed was that a lot of my co-workers were unhappy with their permanent jobs and were changing after about 6 months in. I have never been unsatisfied with my job and know that if I am in at a clinic that I don’t like very well, I will be gone in 3 months so there are no worries! Being a traveler as also given me the opportunity to see how things work in various settings and clinics. I learn new things at every location (both good and bad) and thus have become a better PT as a result. The amount of experience you get from working in new clinics and settings (every 3+ months) is astonishing. It also allows me to take actual vacations every year (more than a week long), so I can do further travels and see the world. Overall the experience has helped me grow as a PT and as a person (welcome to adulthood!).
You have been traveling for several years, how do you choose your travel assignments and do you have a favorite location?
Well….I basically ask my recruiter ‘what next’. He has yet to steer me wrong and I trust his judgment 100%. He knows the type of areas I like to be in (rural areas or areas with a lot of things to do outdoors) and I am not picky about the setting (except acute care, not a fan). I have been all over the states to include Alaska in the winter (yes, I drove there from Nebraska to Alaska!). My favorite location to date has been the eastern shore in Virginia. We had a spot on a 200-acre farm right on the ocean with about ½ miles of shoreline. No neighbors in site! Oregon is also high on my list. Rural areas are definitely my favorite due to the people and due to all of the outdoorsy things you can do! On all of our assignments, we try to get out and see things on the weekends; have yet to be in a location I did not like!
Check out some of Angela’s pictures while on assignment!
Interested in experiencing similar adventures as our traveler spotlight? Reach out to their recruiter, Tommy Taylor, for information regarding current openings!