Following our dreams

Happy new year, everyone! I am one week away from officially completing my first speech therapy travel assignment. One. Week. Wow, where has the time gone?

I still vividly remember when I was graduating with my master’s, off to start my clinical fellowship right away — off to start my first “big girl job.” I actually ended up staying at that job long after finishing my clinical fellowship and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

Fast forward two years. I was homesick, frustrated, and so broke. I thought it over, submitted my resignation, said my goodbyes, packed up my life, and moved back to the Midwest to spend a summer reconnecting with my parents and my siblings. A couple of months after moving, I decided it was time for me to fulfill a dream I had in mind ever since I was in grad school: travel therapy.

I set my mind on the realization of that dream. In between time spent catching up with my family, working on my paintings, and maintaining my long-distance relationship that summer, I was researching travel therapy staffing companies, deciding where I would want to go, completing paperwork, doing phone interviews, working out contracts, and figuring out how to dissuade my mom and dad from worrying about me when I start a new job ... on the road. There was so much excitement, nervousness, and uncertainty in me all at the same time.

At last, everything lined up and I accepted a 13-week assignment at my first choice in the Boston area. Yes!

I had nine days to pack up all my “stuff” into two small suitcases, donate clothes I no longer wore or needed, donate my heavy piles of haven’t-opened-again textbooks, shred years’ worth of academic and clinical paperwork, drive about a thousand miles from Chicago to Boston, complete all my remaining requirements as a new hire, and find housing.

Whew. Sounds overwhelming, right? But I made it happen. I had set out on a minimalist lifestyle. I had taken the first step in making my travel therapy dream come true. And it felt wonderfully liberating.

Now — five months, two contract extensions, and a wealth of new knowledge, friends, and experiences later — I am preparing to embark on a cross-country road trip from Boston to California for my next assignment, scheduled to start in early February.

More updates on my adventures as a new travel SLP to come. Until then, may this new year bring you laughter, good health, and the courage to follow your dreams too.

With love,