Travelling Europe - The benefits of being a locum

My good friend Christabel came to me one warm Queensland day and asked if I wanted to move to London and travel.  I’d recently been successful for a permanent Speech Pathologist position at the Gold Coast Hospital, but temptation got the best of me (as it tends to usually do). After much deliberation as to whether I needed to be sensible or not, I decided to pack my bag and head abroad. People still ask if I’m crazy and that giving up a view of the pacific from my wards to look out at the various unsexy shades of grey London was silly. The past 3 years have been a whirlwind of earn, travel, earn, travel, repeat etc. My naïve mind had an expectation to stay in London for three months only after an elaborate few months of travelling Europe and Northern Africa. The opportunity to experience the world and other cultures so easily continues to be a massive advantage and has been a heavily influential factor to staying so long in the UK.

In writing this blog I had to reminisce on the countries I have been fortunate enough to visit in the past few years. Being a Locum has given me the opportunity to duck off for a cheeky weekend away, go home for Christmas or pop wherever I want to for however long. Thinking about my travel, I see the below and realize I have also been fortunate to travel to a number of these places multiple times. There surprisingly have been few travel fails (including an accidental trip to Avignon in France, a trip to hospital in Turkey and packing the same clothes as Cat). Here’s ‘my London list’ and a few snaps from the past couple of years living in London:

Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Nubia, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arabic Emirates, United States of America, Vatican, Wales.


   Often I think about a number of my friends at home who are working very hard, in stable jobs and relationships, buying properties, starting families and so on. Although this all sounds very sensible, my experiences living and working abroad have been invaluable and I don’t regret a second of it. Getting out of my comfort zone is no longer as terrifying and I have developed new confidence and independence, which is useful both personally and professionally.

Of course, my time hasn’t ended. I have somehow been appointed “team leader” slash organizer of approximately 12 other orphaned crazy Australians (plus one or two UK locals and a scraggly Saffa to increase inclusivity) who have recently asked me why we haven’t been away together in a while. Being a Locum has ended for me and now I have to be more of an adult, I tell them.  They know me too well though, so our looming trips include a trip to Brighton, Poland, Slovenia and a relaxing vitamin D filled week of bliss in Greece. We have joked that Greece should be aware that a number of rare albino whales will be beaching in July. I’ll also be heading home for Christmas.

So, if you are contemplating leaving the sandy shores of Australia and making that big jump, being a locum in the UK and travelling Europe is well worth it. Don’t waste all your time in London. It’s very easy to spend every weekend in England and drink your liver into oblivion, but get out. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s at your fingertips. 


Gen Howard


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