Whitney and I have been discussing our plans for future travel assignments over the past couple of weeks. We have several areas throughout the country that we would like to explore, but we know that our options will be limited by the fact that we are both trying to find outpatient physical therapy jobs. We will be further limited by the fact that it will be in our best interest to avoid extreme climates while living in the camper (very cold temperatures are not fun as we found out this past January, and I imagine very hot would be just as bad). We also want to minimize the distance between assignments so that we can make the trip in a weekend and avoid taking extra unpaid time off of work if at all possible. Less importantly, we would like to try to visit all 50 states before we finish traveling. Cost of living in different areas of the country is also a factor that we (mostly I) like to consider, but in the grand scheme of things is not very important. I try to value experience more than finances, even though I forget that occasionally. I decided to try to sit down and make a rough outline of our plan based on all of these things. Here’s what we have so far:
- Massachusetts then Virginia: Now-September 2016
- Georgia or Florida: September/October 2016-April 2017
- Michigan, Wisconsin, or Minnesota: April 2017-September 2017
- Texas, New Mexico, or Arizona: September 2017 -April 2018
- Montana, Wyoming, or Idaho: April 2018 -September 2018
- Arizona, Southern California: September 2018-April 2019
- Washington or Oregon: April 2019 -September 2019
- Arizona,Southern CA, or Hawaii: September 2019 -April 2020
- Alaska, Washington, or Oregon: April 2020-September 2020
This list is purposefully vague due to the fact that ultimately where we go will depend on job availability in the states at that time. We will have to be as flexible on location as possible in order to accommodate our needs for outpatient jobs and two jobs within driving distance of each other. So far we have gotten pretty lucky with our assignments, but we realize that at some point we both may have to take jobs in settings that we are less comfortable in. Whitney worked in a skilled nursing facility for about six months while we were in Virginia which was not her first choice. We are both open to this if need be due to the fact that we know that this will broaden our knowledge base and experiences and ultimately lead to being better physical therapists overall.
You may notice that I have done my best to plan to go to warm climates in the winter and cold climates in the summer. This is probably the most important factor for us, so we are going to base everything else off of that.
You may also notice that our end date coincides with the date that is projected to be when I reach financial independence based on my recent estimates. Believe it or not, this was not planned. We have intended to travel for five years since we graduated, but only recently did I really decide that I wanted to aggressively pursue financial independence. It happens to work out very nicely since this should be a transition in my life anyway. Although Whitney isn’t as focused on achieving FI as I am, she will undoubtedly be in a very good financial situation at that point as well and will have a wide array of options in how she wants to continue her career. It’s also at that point that kids may be an option (I’ll be almost 32, Whitney will be 30). But we’ll see where I’m at then- I’m skeptical since I can still barely take care of myself, ha.
We are very excited to make our way across the country and see what the future has in store for us. So far we have only taken assignments in Virginia and Massachusetts and we will be coming up on one year of traveling in June. Still a lot of ground to cover, especially if we want to try to see all 50 states. We have already been able to see so many cool things while being in the Northeast; it’s hard to imagine all that the rest of the country has to offer. Part of our interest in travel was to determine where in the country that we want to settle down and spend our lives. We are strongly biased toward Virginia since both of our families are there, but we are also both open to change.
What do you think of our plan? Is there an area in the country that you would recommend? Thanks for reading!