Travel Life

Hey, y’all!!
I completed my first travel assignment! WOOOOHOO! I made it!! I learned SO much during my time in Washington, both professionally and personally. I loved being back in the hospital and getting to explore such gorgeous country! I was ready to get back to my family in Oklahoma, but I was NOT ready to leave Washington! I completely fell in love with the PNW while I was there. I will absolutely be going back for vacation, and who knows, maybe another travel assignment! 

Although I was homesick, I was determined to make the most of my remaining time in Washington! I went on as many hikes as I could, found a lavender farm, drove around the Olympic Peninsula solo, soaked up all of the gorgeous sunrises in my backyard, got scuba certified, took a trip to Mexico and Nashville, and celebrated my birthday!

Sequalitchew Trail birthday hike with Chipotle and cupcakes

Staircase Hike 

Sunrise from my back yard each morning

Quick vacation to Tulum, Mexico

Incredible views from Mt. Baker

Lake Cushman, Washington

Jardin de Soleil, Lavendar Farm, Washington

Lake Crescent 

Seattle skyline from Alki Beach 

I decided that if I was going to drive half way across the country, I was going to make it count. So I planned a road trip of as many highlights between Oklahoma and Washington as possible and hit the road (with all my belongings crammed into my car.) It was a packed 5 days, but I got to check some major stops off my bucket list! I’m so excited to share these with y’all!

Avenue of the Giants, Redwood Forest, California

Toketee Falls, Oregon

Arches National Park, Utah

Crater Lake, Oregon

The moon over northern Nevada 

What now?
I’m continuing to search for a position in Tulsa, but haven’t had much luck thus far. I’ve taken the opportunity to devote time to my two businesses, spend as much time with family as possible, complete some continuing education courses, and soak up all the things that I love about home! I’ve been able to spend time at my parent’s lake house, pick up my niece from school and take her to the fair, go to Vegas for convention for one of my businesses, attend baby showers for some of my closest friends, and I even took a trip back to Nashville for a wedding! I’m able to soak up all of life’s sweet moments that I would have missed if I weren’t at home. I’m incredibly grateful for this time! (I’m also excited to see where I’ll travel next!) 

Baby shower celebrations

My sister and mama

Fall in Oklahoma is my FAVORITE!

Fair day with 2 of my nieces

Teaching the art of "fort building"

Gala time in Vegas!

If I still haven’t found anything at home after Christmas, I’m hitting the road again with Hawaii and NYC in my sites! Stay tuned to see where I’ll go next!


[Almost] 20 Free Online CEUs

The idea of getting CEUs is usually a really exciting one for me! I miss soaking up all of the info that amazes me about this field like I got to do every day in grad school. But then, once I'm in that auditorium, my grad school PTSD kicks in and I'm reminded of the parts that I didn't love so much too. My eye lids get a little heavy and my ADD kicks in. 
So, I'm a BIG fan of online CEUs! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the ASHA Convention and I can't wait to see everyone in LA this fall, but for the summer, I'm going to soak up all of the info while poolside with my pup! 

Here are 4 ways to get [almost] 20 FREE CEUs this summer! Get 'em while they're hot!!

SLP Summit is a semi-annual online conference with TONSSSS of ASHA approved CEUs!! Go to to check it out! 
This conference is from July 31st-August 4th.
Attend the live session or watch the replay (available until Friday, August 18, 2017.) You have the chance to get 15 CEUs FOR FREE!!

If you’re familiar with the #SLPBloggers world, you’ll see a few familiar faces! I’m super pumped about this one!! I love that you get SO many different perspectives over SO many different topics while racking up SO many CEUs for FREE!! Yall, it doesn't get better than this!! And I can do all of this by the pool? Done. I signed up! And I cant wait!!

Northern Speech Therapy tons of great CEUs available! Here are a few free CEUs when you use their code: ASCT17CEU. Each account may use the code once. Code valid until 7/31/17

#e131 Social Language Training for Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities by Rosslyn Delmonico, MA, RSLP, CCC-SLP for .6 CEUs

#e155 Eight Behavior Treaching Strategies for Treating Childhood Apraxia of Speech by Nancy Kaufman, MA, CCC-SLP for .4 CEUs

#e64 Simultaneously Improve Speech Intelligibility, Enhance Phonological Awareness, and Develop Language/Literacy Skills with Orthographic Instruction by Keli Richmond, MS, CCC-SLP for .4 CEUs

#e134 “R” Made Simple: Methods That Address the Challenges of Pronunciation, Spelling, and Dialect by Nancy Geruntino, MA, SLP for .3 CEUs

#e001 Introduction to MBSImP- A Standard Protocol for Assessment of Swallowing Impairment by Bonnie Martin-Harris, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, ASHA Fellow for .6 CEUs
(This is the one I chose and I cant wait to dive in!) is WILDLY popular, so I’ve learned!
Choose from a selection of 1-2 hour courses and enter promo code SPFREE17 at registration. With their subscription you get 350+ courses/over 25 topic areas, live webinar, video, text & audio formats, ASHA approved CE provider, and course completion certificates provided. I  am looking into buying their yearly subscription ($100 for a year of unlimited online CEUs) and I think this will be a great way for me to test it out! 
Anyone have any recommendations?

ASHA's 8-month Case Studies Program
ASHA offers a free case study CEU course each month through August! Their August 2017 course is Enhancing Pretend Play Skills in Preschoolers with Autism by Linda Watson, EdD, CCC-SLP for .05 CEUs. 
(I’m really excited about this one as well!!)

You can find the link for this here!

I hope y'all find something that fuels your fire for this field! I'm truly amazed by the science of what we do and the impact we make in the lives of our patients. I was awe-struck throughout all of undergrad and grad school as I learned just how incredible our work is and CEUs help me find my fuel again when I'm starting to feel "the burn." 
Enjoy the rest of your summer and enjoy your free CEUs!

So, you want to be a travel therapist?

If you follow me on social media, you may have seen that I’ve recently moved from private practice to a travel job that placed me in a hospital setting! So, I want to share about this incredible experience!

How in the world do you get a travel job?
I researched and dipped my toes in the water with several companies before I took the plunge! I actually had been looking for PRN work and I found one company, particularly the recruiter, who I loved and felt comfortable trusting with my future. We talked about what my goals were and why I was looking for PRN work. I reallllyyy missed the medical side of our field, and needed to supplement my private practice income (no shows = no pay in private practice.)

There were three main things that influenced my decision: location, setting, and pay. There’s most likely not an assignment available that matches your exact location, perfect setting, and desired pay that also lines up with your timeline. I decided that setting was most important to me because I REALLY enjoy the medical setting and wanted to gain more experience there. Pay and location were tied for 2nd. I gave my recruiter a few cities and states that interested me and she started looking for a hospital setting there. The assignment truly was perfect for me! Half peds outpatient, which I had plenty of experience in, and half adult inpatient, which I wanted more experience in! The location and pay were both in the range that I was okay with.

So you found a position, now what?
I did a phone interview a few days later. The hospital offered the position the following morning and needed an answer by the end of the day. Things happen FAST with travel companies! I hung up, prayed like never before, and opened my Bible App. The verse was about not being a slave to anything of the world, and I knew I needed to let myself be free to travel, be free from material belongings, and be free from the fear of leaving a life that I loved but knew I had outgrown. I called my recruiter, asked 1000 questions, and accepted the job. I hung up the phone and cried a little when I thought about telling my current boss. I was leaving not just a job, but families, and littles, and my work family who I love SO MUCH! But, I was ecstatic about the opportunity to travel and explore new settings, and push my limits a little more than I was comfortable with at first!
One of my babies in Nashville

Some of my work fam at my clinic in Nashville

Then what?
I told my work family that I was leaving, and cried some more. A lot more. I told my families and my kiddos, and cried again. I put on my big girl pants and busted my tail for the next 5 weeks. I sold or donated everything I owned except my clothes. I jumped through (what felt like) the hundreds of hoops to get licensed in Washington in 5 weeks (this usually takes 8-12 weeks..) I found a hotel in a town not too far from the hospital to live in until I found something more permanent. And I did all of the things in Nashville that I had been waiting, for some reason, to do. My sister came to Nash for my last weekend and helped me pack up. I stopped in  Springfield, Missouri, to pick up my new puppy, Betty White and then in Oklahoma to grab my mama and the four of us took off!
Betty White
I’m a little more than half way through my 18 week assignment. Even with almost 2 months left, I feel like I’m not going to have enough time here. Washington State is one of the most gorgeous places I’ve EVER been! Where else in the world can you be surrounded by oceans, and mountains, and rainforests, and volcanoes all at the same time? (I’m sure there is somewhere, but language is my thing, not geography!) The people here are very different from home, but different doesn’t mean bad. I’ve heard that Nashville is a melting pot of people, but after experiencing Seattle and Portland, I realized Nashville has a lot to learn about melting together. It’s truly a more open and accepting place than I had ever experienced, and I dig that! There are people of all nationalities, genders, religions, and TONS of different languages to be found in the great PNW!
I found a great little town that is about 40 minutes from the hospital. The drive is a little long, but getting to have a lake and Mt. Rainier in my back yard negate any  extra driving! Plus, the drive is a great opportunity to call my mama and check in! 

What I’ve Learned So Far
- Traveling is one of the greatest challenges and rewards I’ve been blessed to experience. 
- The travel therapy business moves QUICKLY!! Most assignments aren't posted until 3-7 weeks before they need to be filled. So, you have to be ready to move quickly when you find the one you want.
- Talk to ALL the companies! Find a recruiter you “click” with. Be 100% honest about your expectations, they’ll fight for you to have what you want if they’re a good recruiter, but they cant fight for what they don't know about. 
- Be prepared to ditch those pants you’ve been hanging on to since high school and that Crock Pot you got 5 Christmases ago and haven't used. I sold EVERYTHING except my clothes, and a few sentimentals that I sent home to Oklahoma. There’s not room to take a whole ton, and you don't need it, if you’re fitting it all into your car or onto a plane. Anything you don't have, you can find once you’re on location.
- Get a hotel to start! Even if it’s a few days. Areas always look different in person. Scope out the scene online, but be prepared to find something different in real life. Ask your supervisor at your facility if they or any of the other employees know of anyone with a rental that you could lease for your stay! That’s how I found my little boat house!
- Be prepared to be a little lonely. And learn to enjoy the time you have with yourself. It can be hard to be half way across the country from everyone you know. I’ve been fortunate to have lots of visitors for the time I’ve been here, but there have been weekends when the only person I’ve talked to is my dog (yes, Betty is people lol.) I think time alone is some of the best spent time. I love to go hiking or kayaking by myself. (I turn on my location setting for someone at home to track me in case anything were to happen.) As I'm writing this right now, I'm sitting at a restaurant by myself having brunch. (Hart's Mesa in Olympia is worth trying!)
- Be prepared to be the new kid on the block at work regularly. I like the challenge of a new setting, a new facility, new co-workers. Switching assignments every few months will definitely keep me on my toes!
- Dont sit at your desk and eat lunch alone. As an SLP who literally talks ALL day, it’s so tempting to sit at my desk and enjoy some quiet time during lunch. I’ll admit I’m working on this one myself. You only get a few months with these people. Soak up the good they have to offer, learn them, learn their stories. If they’re therapists too, they’re bound to be some really wonderful people. At the end of your travel journey, you’ll have friends all across the map!
- GET OUT!! Go experience every single thing you can while you’re on assignment! My weekends have been FULL of visits to national parks, mountains, volcanoes, beaches, the rainforest, whale watching, kayaking, and some time in Seattle and Portland! I’m exhausted by the end of the week, but I know I only have 18 weekends here and I’m determined to make the most of them! After all, I didnt take a travel job to sit in my house and watch reruns of Friends..
Portland, Oregon

Ruby Beach, WA

Whale watching Orcas Island, WA

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Oregon

Mt. Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier from the sky

La Push Beach, WA

Quinalt Rainforest

World's Largest Spruce Tree in the Quinalt Rainforest

Mt. St. Helens

Olympia, WA

Space Needle, Seattle, WA

Pike's Place Market, Seattle, WA

Freemont Troll

Gum Wall, Seattle, WA

What’s Next?
I’m currently looking for a position in the Tulsa area. I haven't lived at home in 3 years and I would LOVE to be there for the holidays. I always feel like my time at home is too short, even when I’m there for a week. I miss my family more than I could express and I hate that my nieces and nephews are growing up without me there. So, one of the perks of travel life is that I can choose where to go next! I plan to spend the fall in Oklahoma and head to HAWAII in the spring!! I’m not sure which one I’m more excited about!! 
Transition times can be a little nerve wracking, especially if you’re a typical Type A SLP. Like I said, this business moves quickly. In another 2 weeks, I will be in the right time frame to find an assignment that will give me about a week break in between the two. But if I wait too long, I’ll have too long of a gap without pay between them. It’s a “wait and HURRY UP!” game from what I’m learning. 

If you think you’re interested in travel, I say GO for it! It can be scary, but you know what else is scary? Mediocrity, and burnout, and boredom. The time is going to pass one way or another, so you may as well take a risk and give yourself the chance to discover something incredible! If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help! I don't claim to know it all. I’m still a baby traveler, but I’d love to offer any insight I can!

I hope you enjoy watching my journey and maybe take little journey of your own!

Sarah, Short and Sweet Speech

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