Dare to Dream Physician Travel Podcast

Ep 114 Zero to Six: Lessons I Learned from a Year of Extraordinary Travel and Working as a Doctor, Part 1

October 16, 2023 Dare to Dream Physician Episode 114
Dare to Dream Physician Travel Podcast
Ep 114 Zero to Six: Lessons I Learned from a Year of Extraordinary Travel and Working as a Doctor, Part 1
Show Notes Transcript

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Welcome back to another episode of the dare to dream physician travel podcast. I'm so glad you're listening to us today And if you missed us last week, I wanted to let you know and also reassure you that this podcast is not going anywhere. I just had a busy few weeks. The previous week I went to this amazing physician conference. And really appreciated that time to recharge, to re energize, to re envision what I want to dream for the next year. And the, the weeks leading up to this retreat was also a very busy time, and so I just wasn't able to get an episode out last Monday. And if you thought, oh no, what happened, I really appreciate that you make us part of your routine. And I assure you it's my intention to keep putting out weekly episodes. At this retreat, one of the things that I committed to do going forward is to get that eight hours of sleep every night and to get up earlier than my usual time and do a morning routine where I get to practice meditation and have a spiritual routine and really, get to focus on living out what's important to me, living out my dreams every day. and I know you're going to love this week's episode. I was a little bit hesitant to record this episode and I'll tell you why. sometimes when we get a chance to sit and reflect and look in the past 12 months, all these feelings and so many things come up. And I had an opportunity in the last week and a half to really just reflect. And I'm actually really amazed at what I've done in the last 12 months. And so I wanted to share that with you. And as you hear me sharing this, I want to put a caveat in that I at first didn't want to share this because I didn't want people to listen and say, wow, why does she get to do that? And, you know, I can never do that. I want you to listen and actually hear how. any doctor can do this. I want you to be inspired. I want you to be encouraged. and I, I truly want to inspire you to live your travel dreams. The story really started a while ago about a few years ago my My family. Family really likes us national park. so i got this book by national geographic on National Parks in the U. S. so we flipped through, and yeah, we've been to, you know, places like Yellowstone, I've been to Yosemite National Park, you know, these are all just beautiful places in our country. and I happened to flip to a page, that says U. S. Virgin Islands National Park. And I looked at this entry in the book, and this thought came up, that I just made a note of. and the thought was, we're not the type of people that gets to visit that kind of national park. and it was not an intentional thought, and I just had that recollection, the truth was that's where my mind lived for many years. So, fast forward a little bit, in the fall of 2022. We were in the grieving process for my dad's passing. He had stage four metastatic cancer for four and a half years Being able to spend that last six weeks with him at the end of his life, was so meaningful. but yet, I felt like we were ready to have a new chapter in our life. and where we were at that time was... My husband and I often dreaded travel with kids, whether that's flying on a long plane ride or a long car trip. It just seemed like such a mountain to climb, like such a big deal to do. I had let my own passport expire many, many years ago. And our three kids, never got passports. and I had not left the continental U. S. since I started medical school, which is back in 2005. unless you count, I think we had car trip to Canada. It was probably to a town that was an hour away. And remember, I work in Vermont, in a town that's just minutes away from the Canadian border. and I couldn't recall going on a vacation that was more than a week long. Maybe if you added in the weekends, it was maybe a week and a half. I did take a sabbatical between. The end of my fellowship training and the, the start of my first attending job. but the idea of taking two weeks or more off, when I'm employed, when I'm actively working as a physician. just didn't really, didn't really cross my mind. so, fast forward, now, We're in the middle of Of october 2023. Three And, we all have passports, including my kids. We have many passport stamps. the kids are pros at traveling. My kids year, they were... Age 6, 9, and 13. And don't even think twice about going on a cross continental flight. even if I am a solo parent with the three kids. While working in an employed physician position and serving as a medical director to a thriving department and meeting my RVU goals, I also went, in the past 12 months, on six trips outside of the continental U. S. We were blessed to do some of that travel with just the immediate family and some... We were able to go with our extended family, like my aunt, uncle, and mom, and just created lifelong memories, memories that I am just so grateful for. Grateful that I could gift to my kids and I know that it will make a long lasting impression on them for the rest of their life. And it's a, it's a legacy. I think of this year and starting this travel lifestyle as part of my legacy building for my kids, and my family. So, where do we go? I did not sit down and plan this whole year because when we, when we went on our first trip, I wasn't sure how it was going to go. So. This was pieced together throughout the year. But we started with, the us Virgin islands at the end of October. Then we went to Maui Hawaii in January. And at the end of March, we went to this off the beaten path island called Eleuthera and The Bahamas. And then in early may we took a short trip to Puerto Rico. In late may, early June, we had a milestone trip, cross the globe. The kids went to a new continent to Asia, to the island of Taiwan. Which is just fabulous. Finally in August, we went on this amazing adventure to Australia. And I didn't plan it this way at first, but we ended up having an island theme where we were visiting six different islands around the world. And it was just so, so amazing. It's almost hard to believe that we did this. And if you were to tell me a year ago, That we were going to do this. I wouldn't even have believed you. But that's the amazing thing about starting to live your dream and staying in momentum is that you start to live a little piece of it and you start doing more and more and things become more doable and more possible. And everyone, everyone grows as a result of this. I have grown so much through this process. Not only in traveling, but just in my personal growth journey and my kids have grown leaps and bounds. They become so good at traveling. And even my husband, he doesn't have as big of a travel bug as I do. And yet he's really appreciating just the family time, the quality time and he's also embracing the adventure. So. What i want to share for the rest of this episode is how how did we do this cause that's what a lot of people ask me. so I've talked about this ever since the beginning of my podcast even before we had switched to being a travel podcast and that is to start with a dream. For me, it started with a whisper of a dream, a dim vision that was inside my head, a very quiet question of what if we could do this and And just based on that dim vision, that soft spoken question in my head, I started looking and acting and then we booked our first trip. So a few weeks after my dad passed away, like I said, I got this feeling that it's time to maybe try traveling again as a family. we didn't have passports. so when I was planning our first trip, I knew I wanted to go somewhere where passports were not required, but I wanted it to be somewhere we had not gone before, where it was a little bit beyond our comfort zone, as a traveling family. so the first thing we did was we went ahead and applied for passports because even though this next trip, I wasn't sure that we could get or passports in on time. I wanted to have it ready for future trips. so I was minding my own business and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, This house popped up on my feed and a physician had shared a house rental, and this house, this villa looked amazing. I'd never seen anything like this before. I hadn't really looked for anything like this before. This house was, in the U. S. Virgin Islands. and it had a pool, it had this gorgeous view of the Caribbean sea. It described the house as being secluded with privacy, and it had two jacuzzis. And they thought, wow, that, that is pretty amazing. That's really remarkable. Could we maybe go there? And so I found the house and went to the website and looked at their dates, looked at the dates that were available. And the house was available for 13 nights in late October, early November. And he thought, wow, that would be really perfect. And so I showed my kids, two of them really excited. One of my kids, the kid who tended to be really set in his ways, despite being only age eight at that time, was not happy at all. Took a lot of convincing for him to even consider going. I showed the pictures and the listing to my husband and he was really excited, by it I knew that I didn't want to wait too long, I knew that if I had this vision, I had to go and live it. I had plenty of PTO, so, I talked to my practice manager, this was in August and so this was about two and a half months in advance, and she was really supportive and we made it work. We made those states work. We were able to put those patients at the time. I think I was booking patients six months in advance, but we were able to move around some of the other times that I had blocked off and move those patients there. So I reached out, I booked the trip. Oh, and then I should also mention at this time because I didn't really have a travel budget. we hadn't gone on any major trips, and I wasn't really all that concerned about a budget, We were financially responsible. We were saving for retirement Saving for investments and We could certainly move different buckets to make a travel budget, I wasn't planning, you know, three or four or five trips for the year. so, for those who don't know, the U. S. Virgin Islands is very expensive and this amazing villa that we stayed at was also really pricey. Since then, I don't think I've booked. A vacation rental for the same price again, but it was still affordable. We're still being financially responsible and really the highest priority was to go on a trip that's outside of our comfort zone, have an amazing time and start living this very dim vision that I had that was, that only existed in my head at the time. And so two months came by. In late October 2023, I just remember the excitement that I felt as we got ready to fly to the U. S. Virgin Islands. It was a very long trip. We started in, I think, the Burlington, Vermont airport. Which takes two hours to drive to from our house. And then we, had a layover, I think it was in, Newark, and then from Newark we flew to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, but we didn't end there because the house that we rented is in St. John, which is a different island from St. Thomas, so then we got to the airport in St. Thomas, and it was, you know, 80 degrees, so much warmer, so sunny, so different from what was happening in Vermont at that time when in, in, in late fall, it was really just, just getting there was so amazing and then, from the St. Thomas airport, we had to We had to get a taxi, and then we had to get on a ferry to go to St. John Island, and then when we finally arrived in St. John Island, we got picked up by the car rental company to then go pick up our rental car. And then we started the adventure of driving to the other side of St. John Island to get to our vacation rental. Needless to say, it was a really long day and I, my husband and I were so tired. My kids were so tired, but we did it and it was really, really amazing. And I've done a podcast episode on our trip to this, US Virgin Islands. There's so much more that can be said about the experience that we had there. But I will just say of how amazing it was to have that moment where we stood in front of the US Virgin Islands National Park sign and to remember. to realize, wow, we are here, the entire family is here, the three kids and us, we are here, and I just remember how I looked at the entry in that National Geographic book and thought to myself, we're not the type of people that would visit that park. We just, it seemed so out of reach at the time, when I was sitting in a room in Vermont, going through that book. And so that was, you know, that, that was the beginning. That was the first trip of many. And it was just this moment of feeling how amazing it was to have a dream become reality. And it's the same thing in other parts of life, when you imagine something in your dreams, and then you start to act toward it, you start to work toward that dream, you plan it, and You make it happen and the moment of reality where you are standing in your dream where you're living that dream and it's just amazing and I just will say the reality of the dream is even better than the imagination and part of that is a choice because you know, I could have we could have stayed in We could have been really discouraged by some of the lessons that we were learning. Like, wow, that was too long of a travel. And we were all tired and cranky and hungry. But we recovered in a couple of days. And, and we were here, we were in paradise and we, and we chose to focus on how, Wow, look at those Caribbean waters. I had never seen the ocean like this before. I had never seen aqua blue water. I had never seen the visibility of the water where you can see from from all the way to the bottom I'd never seen the, the coral. I'd never seen tropical fish. It was just out of this world and, seeing our first sea turtle, It was the stuff of dreams and, it still has such a big impression on me. And so, so, so that was when we started having momentum. And, and here's an important decision. Here was an important decision that I, in retrospect, that I made at the end of that trip. And there's no right and wrong, there's no right and wrong here, but after such an amazing experience, I I thought to myself, Oh yeah, I'm going to book this again for next year. we're going to come back. We're going to come back. We're certainly coming back and we're going to use the exact same car rental company. We're going to rent from the exact same house. We're going to work with the same people. and honestly, that would have been really amazing. That would have been really amazing. That was my first reaction. That was my first plan. I paused for a moment after thinking that, and maybe over a few days or a few, a couple of weeks, decided that what if, what if I don't do that? What if I try something new each time? What if I, what if we branch out of our comfort zone, because now going to the US Virgin Islands is very comfortable, and we go somewhere we've never been before. And we see something new, and we just have a new adventure, what if we do that? And that ended up being what we, what I chose to do, and, and I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful. And like I said, There's no right and wrong answer. I think you could, you know, if I had decided to go back to that same villa and rent the same vacation rental and do the same exact trip a year from now, it would still be amazing. but there's something, but there was something else I think that I really wanted that I didn't quite even recognize myself yet, I didn't even say to myself because it seems so out of reach, which is I want to see the whole world. I want to I want to travel. I want to bring my kids and see the whole world. and There is a very, as your kids grow up, there is a very limited period of time when you can really make an impression with them, where you can really influence them, and it's, it's, it's shorter than we think, and being that my oldest child was, was 13 at the time, it's only 5 more years until he becomes an adult, and so that was the first part of the decision that I made. And so I, even though it was really easy to book that trip again, while they had openings and I had my choice of dates, I didn't do it. I didn't do it. Okay, so that was number one. Start with a dream, even if it's a very quiet dream, even if it's just a question of what if we could do this? What if we do this? And then go and book it. Go and book that dream. Find, find something that's incredible and book it. Okay. So when I first planned out this talk I thought I was just going to do an episode and I realized that I had so much to talk about that I'm going to split this into two episodes. So that wraps up part one of my story from zero to six lessons, I learned from a year of extraordinary travel with my family while still working as a doctor. And if you liked this week's episode you're going to love next week's episode so stay tuned for part two It will be dropped next monday on the dare to dream position travel podcast