When I started traveling as a healthcare professional, I just did it. I took advice from others who had traveled in the past, made judgement calls, and went out into the unknown. The journey has been filled with ups and downs.
In my first year of traveling, I had two contracts cancelled. I lost thousands of dollars from ending short-term leases early. I had no money in savings. I used my money to buy things like gold jewelry and brand name shoes instead of putting it in savings. I knew what it meant for a bank account to be “in the red”. I ended up living on a friends sofa and out of my car while waiting for a new contract.
I learned that some recruiters will lie to you and say anything that you want to hear. Others will be honest. Assignments will test my limits. I learned how to negotiate and to stand up for myself and my patients.
During tax season, I did my own taxes. I called TurboTax for assistance filing multi-state returns. Two years later, I got a $7 bill from my home state IRS because I underpaid by a couple of dollars. Still not sure how I messed that one up. Sent in a check and decided to pay a professional to do my taxes from then on.
I came home after only four months on the road. I felt like I had failed.
Yet, eight years later, here I am. I learned from my mistakes and kept on going.
I am seeing a disturbing trend in the market. A trend in which travelers have become so dependent on knowledge and preparation that it hinders them from actually going out and living their dream. Some spend too much time researching logistics. Some are overwhelmed with anxiety. Others spend so much time obsessing over what is the “right” or “best” thing to do, that they end up doing nothing.
There is this desire to find the best company, best recruiter, best assignment, best pay, best benefits, best apartment. What does that even mean? What is the best?
There is this sense of having to know everything and being prepared for everything.
A sense of dependence.
I admit to being a part of this. In creating forums, resources, and communities I have helped to create increased dependence in the traveler community. So now what?
In the ever changing world of travel, you have to go with the flow.
If you want to do it, go out and do it.
Things are not going to be perfect, but that is what life is and what travel is about. It is about rolling with the punches and experiencing new things. A failure one day could lead to a success another.