An Occupational Therapist's Story: Traveling as a Necessity
For most travelers, they have chosen the somewhat nomadic career because they want to fulfill their sense of wanderlust and explore the country. For Michelle Rodriguez, a traveling Occupational Therapist, the decision to become a traveler was based more on necessity. Michelle’s husband, George Cabrera, is a Drill Sargent for the United States Army so becoming a travel therapist made sense as military families tend to move around. She has been a travel therapist for eleven years now, and the past four have been spent with Supplemental Health Care.
I can honestly tell you,” Michelle explains, “that Supplemental Health Care has been the best agency I have ever worked for. They go out of their way to find you the right placement for your needs which makes things so much easier.”
Currently assigned in Columbia, South Carolina, when new orders come in for her husband, Michelle works with her recruiter to find an OT assignment near where her husband is stationed. She has worked in school settings, elderly care settings, and outpatient. Even though the U.S. military is dictating when and where the family will be traveling to, so far it has worked out extremely well for the happy family of four. Michelle recalls the assignment she had in a school system in Washington State as one of her favorites to date.
“While it is not always the case, when I worked in Washington the staff really welcomed me in and treated me like one of the family. It was so beautiful there, and everyone was so nice, I wouldn’t mind going back someday.”
No matter where George is stationed, they enjoy exploring the areas and learning about the local culture. They always make a point of googling all of the main tourist attractions in an area so they can be sure to see as much as possible while they are there. During a two year assignment in Alaska, Michelle recalls being able to see the Northern Lights and experience the beauty that was all around them.
“Traveling has worked out so well for us. It provides me with an opportunity to earn extra income no matter where my husband gets stationed, and it provides me with the flexibility to be available to take care of our children,” she explains.
Michelle stated that her husband might be getting a transfer to the Virginia area next, so when that happens, she will be reaching out to her recruiter to get the ball rolling for her next assignment. Virginia is one of the places they were hoping to be going because they have a lot of family and friends throughout that area of the country.
When asked about what advice she might have for others who are considering travel therapy as a profession, she was adamant about the importance of understanding exactly what it is you need in life and your career. She recommends looking at traveling from all angles to see how it will fit in with your plans, from considering 13-week assignments to working in schools where the assignment can be short-term or for the whole year, and even extending when offered.
“There is so much flexibility that it is really important to consider what you need and how traveling can help you get there. There are lots of opportunities!”