Travel Therapists & Best Friends: Traveling Together Is Twice the Fun
Meeting new friends as an allied traveler is almost a given, but finding a friend who you connect with enough to make your travel companion is somewhat rare.
In August 2015, Adrienne King, PT, and Ellen Remillard, OTR-L, met at the Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8, in Fountain, Colo. Employed by Club Staffing, an AMN Healthcare Company, the two realized they had a lot in common: both are New Yorkers and pediatric therapists, and they love to do a lot of the same things. They made it their goal to work together in a variety of schools located in different areas, especially those that provide opportunities to enjoy outdoor sports.
“While working in the same school and having weekends off, we take road trips to find new adventures,” King said. “And, as we’ve become best friends, we have each other to travel with. We enjoy biking, hiking and camping, and, during this past winter, skiing.” Among favorite hiking and camping sites in Colorado are the Sand Dunes National Park, Quandary Peak and the Manitou Incline, she pointed out.
“The Red Rocks has been my favorite place for biking and running,” Remillard added. “The trails are open and well maintained and you can connect with other trail systems to experience great views at the top of the trails.”
Professional and personal inspirations
“My job is to help kids improve functional mobility and independence and improve motor skills that will assist them to participate in school activities,” King explained. “Among them have been children with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and spina bifida.” She has been inspired by many of her students, including one particular boy with cerebral palsy who is 100 percent dependent on his wheelchair. “It doesn’t stop him from interacting with others, making friends and having fun being the class clown,” she said.
In her occupational therapy role, Remillard works cooperatively with physical therapy colleagues to assist children with movement and strength coordination, as well as mobility, visual, motor and sensory problems. She has also found much to admire in her students, who she has seen face their difficulties and limited mobility with determination and creativity. As she describes it, “Kids are very adaptable and, with encouragement, will find their own ways of helping themselves.”
Flexibility to travel together or separately
Since these travel therapists work in the same department and spend a lot of leisure time together, King and Remillard decided to live independently as a way to give each other personal space; they each take advantage of the free housing options with Club Staffing. Adrienne’s dog, Ike (adopted from a Colorado animal shelter), is their weekend companion.
At the end of the school year, King decided to take some time off to return to her home in Monroe, N.Y., while Remillard chose to accept a summer assignment at a hospital in Danbury, Conn. For the coming fall, they have requested to be assigned together at a school district in a different location. They know that their recruiters, Samantha Clemons and Kristine Mallin, will do their best to meet their mutual needs.
“Kristine is great,” Remillard said. “When I figure out where I want to go for my next assignment, I text her and she responds as soon as she can; when I have a question she gets back to me with an answer.”
“I just completed my first assignment and my recruiter, Samantha, helped me with any issues I came across including answering questions about my contract,” King added.
Their advice for other allied travelers
Traveling and working with a best friend makes it more fun and less intimidating to be in a new place, both therapists agreed. Their recommendation to other allied travelers: do as much exploring as you can during your days off and between assignments, with a plan to see and experience places that are of mutual interest and others you may find along the way.
Considering their shared experience with allied travel jobs, King remarked, “Who wouldn’t want to travel and experience our beautiful country with a best friend?”