By: Jessica Aebi, M.S., CCC-SLP
“Hi, I’m Jessica. I am a traveling speech therapist.” I never get away with that introductory line. Everyone always wants to know more. Well here it is…
“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” -Oprah Winfrey
I am living the life of my dreams. I have found a way to do the two things that I love: speech-language pathology and traveling. More importantly, I have found a way to strengthen my faith, increase my reliance on God and confirm who I am, His child. Sounds good, right?
Well here is the back-story…
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my delivered, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” — Psalm 18:2
I graduated from Harding University with my undergraduate degree in 2013 and with my graduate degree in 2015. Once I had that beautiful diploma, I wanted to have an adventure. I wanted the beach! So I applied every place that was less than 30 minutes from the beach in South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida. I eventually found my first home and adventure in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Zorro, my furry friend, and I packed up and moved from Arkansas to Myrtle Beach. I finished my clinical fellowship there and ended up staying for two years, but something was missing. I had the adventure of moving to South Carolina two years previously, but I needed some more adventures!
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller
My soul was not satisfied. I knew I wanted to make a switch from outpatient pediatrics and gain some adult experience. I thought about moving home to be near my family and my two cute nephews, but I knew if I didn’t embark on another adventure I would regret it later.
Then I found travel therapy. It was the perfect opportunity to travel and to experience a variety of adult settings. Through my initial Internet research, I met a wonderful speech therapist that was traveling in Hawaii. She answered so many questions and helped me get started on my journey. Let me tell you, there was a lot of questions that needed answered before I started to travel.
“He who asks a question, remains a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” –Chinese Proverb
Since starting my travels in May, I have only been in two locations: Massachusetts and Maryland. I have had the opportunity in the past six months to travel to a variety of other places: Las Vegas, Boston, Niagara Falls, Baltimore, Washington DC, Mount Washington (NH), and Philadelphia, just to name a few. I have seen mountains and deserts, the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. I have also gained experiences with different settings in healthcare. I have worked in the following settings: long-term care, acute care, short-term rehab, adult outpatient, pediatric outpatient as well as in radiology for modified barium swallow studies.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” — 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
More importantly, I have learned so much about myself. I have learned how to be more independent, how to stretch past my comfort zone, and how to make quick and fast friends. Most importantly, I have learned that God is always taking care of me. He is always watching over me and He is always giving me opportunities to share His love with my patients, their families and all the other wonderful people I have met as a traveling speech-language pathologist.
I have a list of frequently asked questions and a list of resources to start your investigation if you are thinking about becoming a traveling therapist. This information is posted as “The Need to Know Before Becoming a Traveling-Speech Language Pathologist” on my blog: theadventuresofjess.blogspot.com. Also, feel free to email me with any questions or comments at email@example.com.