What an incredible ride the past year has been. I’ve just returned home after a whirlwind adventure that has taken me around the world in 82 days. I’m simultaneously exhausted and electrified by the things I have seen and done. I’ve spent the past 48 hours drinking in home; sharing meals with friends and family, cuddling my cat, and driving places without needing Google Maps! I’ve found myself seeking out quiet moments where I can let my mind drift back through the sights, sounds and experiences that have filled this last chapter, and I am blown away by my good fortune.
I can’t tell you how often I am asked some variation of the following questions: Do you have a job? What do you do? Did you have to quit to travel? How can you afford to travel? Are you going to find a job when you get home? My answer: “I have the best job in the world! I work for a company called Plan A. I make great money agency nursing and have the flexibility to take shifts as I want or need to. When I want to travel I can, knowing that I will have work when I return”.
This flexibility has seen me through Greece, Turkey and the Philippines since late January. I’m so spoiled by my work with Plan A that I can’t imagine a job that doesn’t foster simultaneous personal and professional growth. My travels took me first to the Greek island of Lesvos where I spent five weeks volunteering as a nurse with Middle Eastern refugees landing all over the island’s shorelines. My love for the caretaking aspect of nursing was stretched and made new here; I soothed crying children, carried old women, found dry clothing for wet people and formula for hungry babies.
Originally I had planned to return home following my volunteer work in Greece, but as February came to a close my plans had changed. Turkey and the Philippines were such an unexpected treat. They happen to be two of the places in the world where I have encountered the most genuine kindness and generosity from locals. In Turkey I sat on a mountaintop and watched dozens of hot air balloons drift across the skyline at sunrise, I soaked in ancient hot baths, I was scrubbed cleaner than ever in a Turkish bath. The Philippines’ marine adventures didn’t disappoint; I came face-to-face with biggest fish in the ocean – the whale shark! I sank to 110 feet below the ocean’s surface and swam through old World War II shipwrecks, and I tried unsuccessfully to keep track of the countless sharks swimming in the crystal clear waters below me as I dove the world’s second largest barrier reef.
When people ask questions about my employment status, they are concerned about money, however my love for Plan A goes much deeper than this – I work for people who love and care about nursing and me. This is more rare than it should be. I’ve been encouraged more than once by Plan A’s founder Sheri Tomchick to continue my adventures. The support to do what I want personally and professionally is life-giving. It inspires me to work hard when I am home, it stretches my compassion and understanding in all situations. My work at Plan A has grown me professionally by its indirect investment in me personally.
Maybe travel isn’t what fuels you. Maybe it is time with your family, working for a cause you believe in, or feeling unwaveringly supported by your employer. I can’t imagine a scenario where Plan A isn’t an incredible employment option. Then again, maybe you are like me. Maybe you dream of travel, and your feet itch for the unexpected and obscure destinations that no typical two week vacation period could provide. In addition to the last three months, in this past year Plan A has allowed me the flexibility (and funding!) to spend one month in Bermuda, two months in Alaska and the Yukon, a week in Cuba, and three weeks in Argentina and Chile. I’ve climbed mountains and salsa danced, delivered baby goats and watched pods of whales swim into the distance. So, I guess the ‘secret’ is out. The key ingredient to my fulfilling life of adventure and spontaneity is my work at Plan A Health Care Staffing Solutions Inc. It really is the #BestJobEver.