Some people are born with wanderlust. Others have it thrust upon them. And some can’t seem to shake it off no matter how hard they try. I’ve always had this nagging itch that I couldn’t get rid of, even though my life was perfect in every other way. Finally, it was so bad that I felt the need to drop everything, leave my family and friends behind – even my girlfriend – and see if living somewhere new could help me get over this insatiable itch to explore the world more deeply.
It did, for a while, at least. But it didn’t take long before I started feeling the same way again. As it turned out, becoming a traveling doctor was the perfect passport to satisfy my wanderlust while putting myself in a position where I could do some good in the world at the same time.
So how did I do it? Simple. I just started asking around.
I asked everyone – doctors, nurses, medical students, patients – if they had any contacts, resources, or ideas that might help me get started on my new career path. And guess what? They did! There are tons of resources available for people looking to become traveling doctors. But, what surprised me most was the number of people who were doing it out there.
On top of that, there are thousands of people just like me. I’ve met all kinds of folks who are interested in becoming traveling doctors. Doctors, nurses, medical students – even professors and researchers – not to mention the rest of us ordinary folk who want to travel or do humanitarian work but don’t want to give up our careers for it.
So if you’re one of these people who would like to take your career in a new direction that leaves more time for you to pursue the things that matter (like traveling), I’ll show you how you can do it in 6 easy steps below.
Step 1: Take a look at the resources available to you. Think about what kind of career you want to pursue and how much time it would take for you to make a full-time switch. Then, start researching the various options available to you, from certifications and volunteer opportunities to medical schools with smaller residency programs or programs that will allow you to practice as a traveling doctor without necessarily needing any formal training.
Step 2: Decide on a location where you’d like to live. This is going to be your home base during your travels. It’s essential to pick a place where the cost of living is relatively low but where you can still have easy access to jobs. And remember, many people spend their time traveling back and forth, so it doesn’t have to be one set location. You can live in your home base for part of the year and travel the rest of the time.
Step 3: Start investigating possible jobs. You can include any job you’re qualified for on this list, even if it isn’t directly related to medicine or healthcare. For example, some people teach English as a traveling doctor, while others work as ski instructors or even house sitters .
Step 4: Find out which qualifications you need to work in your new location. These are the documents you’ll need to show to your potential employer before they’ll consider hiring you. Next, make arrangements with one or more organizations issuing these qualifications to take their relevant exams. Then, choose the organization that offers the best prices and most convenient dates for you.
Step 5: Get back in touch with contacts made in Step 1. These are the friends, family members, or other people who can provide support during your transition into becoming a traveling doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help. They want to help you – they don’t know-how.
Step 6: Make time for yourself before you make time for anyone else. You can’t be a traveling doctor if you don’t have the time to do it.
Traveling is a huge lifestyle change, especially if you’re used to living a stationary lifestyle. It takes a lot of self-discipline and organization. So make sure that you give yourself enough downtime to work out any kinks that might pop up during the transition into your new life as a traveling doctor.
Of course, there are plenty of other things worth considering before taking the plunge. The first is financial. How defined your new specialty will be playing a huge factor in this, so you’ll want to be clear on how it will affect your finances before you make the switch.
The second thing you should think about is getting your medical certification. This will create the foundation for all the other requirements needed for becoming a traveling doctor, but it can also come with some hefty price tags. You’ll want to make sure that these costs are covered before you make the switch.
Then there are legal issues to consider. While there aren’t many laws governing this type of profession, there are rules and regulations that need to be followed . The good news is that many organizations that issue medical certifications have their own tracking systems for continuing education. You can even take your exams online!
The final thing to think about is a personal commitment. Becoming a traveling doctor isn’t just about picking up and moving onto a different continent. It’s also about dropping your old way of life and changing your entire mindset to fit this new lifestyle.
But it’s also one of the most rewarding things you can do in life, so don’t give up too easily if this lifestyle isn’t right for you right away.