Locums for a Small World Blog

The winter bucket list for locum tenens doctors who double as photographers – U.S. edition

Posted by Everett Fitch

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In the thick of winter it’s easy to stay inside after a long day at work. It can get pretty darn cold outside after all. If the choice is to either stay inside with a hot cup of cocoa or layer up and head outside for a brisk winter walk, most will opt for the hot chocolate. But getting your heart pumping and a burn going on in your calves is good for you.

Try a winter hike up in the mountains. If you don’t have mountains nearby then go for a winter walk around your neighborhood, or a winter stroll through the city. To partake in such a meditative activity is to feed your mind and body with new stimuli. You’re able to see your surroundings in a new light outside the familiar routes you take. It may even change your perspective a little regarding the coldest season of the year, too.

While you’re at it bring your camera along on your trek. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or an expert, all you need is your unique, artistic eye and a touch of enthusiasm. Are you completely new to photography? Do you want something with a little more pixel power than what your smart phone can offer? Then check out our recent blog about the best digital cameras of 2016.

For those already armed and ready with your cameras we’ve compiled a winter bucket list of photography hotspots across the U.S. – from national parks to iconic cities. It’s time to trade in those awe-inducing summer photos that so often invade our social media feeds and replace them with wintry wonder.

Denali National Park, Alaska

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Alaska doesn’t see much light during winter. But that doesn’t mean you can't still enjoy the landscape. Denali hosts some of the most dazzling winter scenery in the whole world. Not just on the ground, either, but up in the sky, too. The northern lights dance and dazzle miles above the Earth. Though this hypnotic phenomena can be fleeting if not periodic so be sure to have your camera handy.

To learn more about activities like dog sledding, cross-country skiing and stargazing check out the National Park Service. Oh and remember to bundle up. Temperatures can drop to -40 F. It’s always a good idea to let someone know when and where you’re going as well.

Sequoia National Park, California

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Those same tall, red, towering trees you see during the summer are still there in winter – except now they’re more vivid, more commanding and proudly alive in their space. The pure whiteness of the snow gives these trees even more arresting color.

Immerse yourself in the silence of these sequoias by snowshoeing or cross-country skiing (with camera at the ready of course). Check out this handy guide to learn more about some of the activities you can partake in during winter. Depending on how much time you have – from a few hours to a week or more – you can go for a hike in Giant Forest, go sledding at Big Stump or take a long, arduous (but rewarding) journey to Pear Lake Winter Hut and camp overnight. Be sure to reserve the hut in advance.

New York City, New York

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New York City is never short of inspiration. It serves as a muse for many photographers with its iconic architecture (e.g., Flatiron, Chrysler, Woolworth, Empire State, Brooklyn Bridge).

There aren’t many hiking trails in town but what it lacks in that department it more than makes up for in its stunning succession of skyscrapers on almost every street. (In fact, Kurt Vonnegut once called NYC “Skyscraper National Park” in his novel Slapstick.) You’ll have a hard time pulling your finger off the shutter no matter if you’re in Times Square or Central Park. Just remember that the winter wind can be bone chilling in NYC, so grab your warmest jacket.

What else is there to do? Take a photographer’s stroll (that means leisurely) from Manhattan to Brooklyn along the eponymous bridge’s walkway.

Salt Lake City, Utah

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We couldn’t think of a more fitting city for you to visit during winter than our very own (other than NYC). We’ve got national and state parks galore that are a stone’s throw away. Plus Salt Lake City serves as the perfect basecamp for skiing and snowboarding – seeing as how Snowbird, Alta, Brighton and Solitude are about thirty minutes from downtown. Don’t forget about the abundance of hiking trails up Big Cottonwood Canyon, Little Cottonwood Canyon and Millcreek Canyon, too.

Still there’s more to this cross-section of Utah than the great outdoors: plan a night out on the town and see the Temple Square lights, go ice skating at Gallivan Center or simply stroll around downtown with your camera in hand and capture the wonderful architecture.

Don’t you think it’s about time that winter got as much photography love as the rest of the seasons? With all these bucket list winter trips don’t forget to bring your trusty camera along with you.

Throw your hot chocolate in a thermos and head outside. Capture all the idyllic snow-blanketed scenery that you can. And enjoy the cold as much as humanly possible. Get your layers on then see what locum tenens assignments are available across the U.S. right now with the click of a button below.

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Topics: Denali National Park, Alaska, New York, Salt Lake City, Utah, California, New York City, photographer, winter, bucket list, photography, Sequoia National Park

Global Medical's top 10 states for locum tenens doctors to explore in 2016 (pt. 2)

Posted by Everett Fitch

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2016, for you, should be a year of new experiences. It should be full of long hikes and aging under the sun with those close to you. Endless white lines dotting the road should be your compass from time to time. Looking down in awe from your airplane window at waves breaking and clouds rolling in over mountains should be an experience you start planning right away. When whatever type of landscape or cityscape you’re most captivated by calls to you this year, you should go.

We’re sure you’ll find some form of serenity in one of the destinations below. 

No more delaying: here’s part two of our Top 10 States to Explore in 2016 list.

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#5: West Virginia - John Denver was right. This place is "almost heaven."

We're willing to bet you've never seen rolling hills and unbroken mountains greener than the ones housed in West Virginia. In fact, we're positive - because if you have and you’re a lover of outdoor adventure then you wouldn’t have ever left these boundaries.

Why are we so emphatic? Well, because these very hills and mountains are the life-blood of this state; they provide the backdrop for every adventure, little or big. They’re right there in the background while you cliff-dive at Summersville Lake in central WV. They're jutting over while you fine dine at Market Vines Grill and Wine Bar in Wheeling. And they're your front-and-center focus while you whitewater raft down one of the oldest rivers (ironically named New River) on the continent.

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That’s right, welcome to the wild and wonderful world of West Virginia. The aptly named Mountain State is known as the outdoor recreation capital of the east. Many DC residents venture here on weekends and holidays and we can understand why. It has more rushing rivers, winding trails, snow-drenched ski resorts (Snowshoe Mountain), deep caverns, wild forestland (Monongahela National Forest) and fishing lakes within its borders than any of its neighbors. Not to mention there are amusement parks (Camden Park), spa towns (Greenbrier), museums, farmers' markets and art crawls galore. It doesn't matter if you're an athlete or an urbanite, we guarantee you’ll immediately fall in love with any portion of this heavenly state.

We realized we could’ve taken the easy route and just posted every last lyric from John Denver’s classic love song for West Virginia - “Take Me Home Country Roads” - but then we would’ve been deprived of the joy that comes from professing our own love. Hopefully our words were just as potent as JD’s, you know, enough to convince you to drop what you’re doing and take a locum tenens assignment in ol’ West Virginia right now.

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#4: South Carolina - A time-warp of quiet, oak-lined streets and raucous silvery beaches


Take a minute to describe your perfect day. We're willing to bet every last thing you listed can be found in South Carolina. If your solace can only be found high up in the mountains then venture to the bluest and largest of lakes, Lake Jocassee. If your happiness depends on crashing waves and amusement parks then stay put in the Southeast's most famous and raucous beach town, Myrtle Beach. Or if you’re looking for more of an island getaway then try Hilton Head, Kiawah or Seabrooke.

East to west, South Carolina’s landscape is a gorgeous climb: it starts with glinting Atlantic beaches, rises up to the Piedmont, and then settles high in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's simply a stunning place. We weren't the first to figure that out though. Notable socialites such as the Goodyears and the Vanderbilts realized the potential of SC long ago. They partied hard and indulged in all the beautiful weather this green land has to offer.

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Author Pat Conroy is just as enamored with South Carolina. He pens his love often and we know why. The lush south is full of Spanish moss-draped cypress and gum trees. It exists in a time-warp of quiet, oak-lined streets and beaches where kids learn to "pick a blue crab clean." Small-town charm like this endures all across this state - and with a history that dates back to pre-revolutionary war that's saying a lot.

Then there are bigger cities like Columbia - the graceful capital with brilliant botanical gardens, history-rich state museums, and the 50,000-acre playground known as Lake Murray. If you want something with a little more shoreline, go coastal, all the way to Charleston. This city’s history is as captivating as its silvery sands. It has been burnt, buried, and marched on, plus weathered many-a-storm. Still, it has graciously incorporated its battle-torn past (i.e., Civil War) into its tourist-treasure present. Visit South Carolina for a uniquely rich experience.

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#3: Alaska - The Land of the Midnight Sun

There are places so incredible that when you visit them the only thing you're thinking is how can I live hereAlaska is one of those places. It screams epic from mountain to coast. Here, waves crash against glaciers. Glaciers crash against mountains. Mountains crash against sky. And people you can't call anything but salt of the earth call its vast expanse home.

Drifters, dreamers and pioneers populate this wild unknown. They’ve been drawn to these shores where nature and culture are inextricable. They’ve found miles of labyrinthine forest and tundra; golden towns filled with onion-domed churches left over from Russian settlers; groves marked with native totem poles; and swells of wildlife dancing around boomtown architecture.

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Yeah, you'll find it all in Alaska. Watch herds of caribou storm in the shadow of Mt. Denali. Experience summer’s midnight sun on Flattop Mountain. Or see winter’s Northern Lights with the best front-row seats, Chena Hot Springs. This place fills your lungs with air so crisp it’ll feel like your first breath - something those of us in the “Lower 48” can’t appreciate until we experience it firsthand.

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#2: North Carolina: Mountains of natural beauty and the rest is history

North Carolina has a history of making history. Over thirty years before the Pilgrims made it to America, a group of English explorers claimed Roanoke Island as their home. Centuries later, two famous brothers, the Wrights, launched the first ever powered flight in the town of Kitty Hawk. Fast-forward a few decades and you’ve got Greensboro at the helm of the Civil Rights movement. We bet you could step foot anywhere and kick up dirt left over from the birth of this country.

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It’s easy to see why so many settled here. People of Scots-Irish descent to Moravians to Cherokees saw trails to be blazed. And North Carolina - today - wouldn't be the same without them. Grandfather Mountain holds the Highland Games’ Scottish festival every year. Historic Salem illuminates a living history of Moravian architecture and cuisine. And Native Americans are honored in the “land of the blue mist” (AKA Smoky Mountains) through exhibits, museums and historic paths.

Everywhere from mountain to piedmont to coast you’ll see the East’s biggest ski resorts; the South’s most famed golf courses; and the country’s tallest lighthouses. This state’s history and natural beauty will awe you in its every crashing wave and cobblestone street.

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#1: Texas - Shine on in this big-and-bright state

Texans are proud. Why shouldn't they be? They've got a sky that won't quit and a world of contrasting country that respectfully puts other states to shame. It just feels like home everywhere, no matter if you're in the Panhandle Plains or along the Gulf Coast.

Texas is always redefining itself. True, Old West heritage still reigns and if you look up to the night sky you’ll see that big bright diamond canopy this state is known for, but things are changing. Houston is more cultural and culinary than it’s ever been with new galleries and gastronomic experiences. Austin is tramping ever-forward as the Live Music Capital of the World. And gone is the sports-only reputation of Dallas: welcome to an architectural wonderland known for its thrilling nightlife.

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Remember, Texas is big. The roads here are arteries that give life to epic trips across massive land. If you’re ever tired of city, then find a beach in Corpus Christi. If you’re ever tired of coastline, then head to Big Bend National Park in Far West Texas. This state has it all.

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Did you miss part one of our Top 10 states for locum tenens doctors to explore in 2016 list? You can find it here. If you want to dive right in and see what opportunities are available now, just click the button below.


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Topics: Texas, Alaska, North Carolina, United States, South Carolina, West Virginia, Top 10 States 2016

So long "Lower 48" and thanks for all the traffic jams

Posted by Everett Fitch

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Alaska’s unique. It’s also intimidating, eclectic, striking, gorgeous and awesome (in the truest sense of the word). And not solely for its landscape—for its people, too. I’m sure it’s because of the spoils travelers come and locals stay. You’ll find all stripes here. Drifters, dreamers and pioneers populate this wild unknown. Why? They’ve been drawn to these shores where nature and culture are inextricable. They’ve found miles of labyrinthine forest and tundra; golden towns filled with onion-domed churches; groves marked with totem poles; and swells of wildlife dancing around boomtown architecture. Imagine…all that’s just a taste of this vast expanse. Actually, to be exact, that’s just a taste of some 663,268 square miles. Jump-start your locum tenens adventure in the Last Frontier with this region-by-region, life-list-worthy guide.

FAR NORTH

If you want to truly go north, go to Barrow. It’s at the very height of the US, and it’s worth the trek. Locals and tourists love this place for many reasons—the open space, the fresh air, the revealing land and sky. Thousands of nameless lakes, rivers and streams punctuate this flatland; a land that strays unabashedly for about…ever. And a near-infinite horizon softly crashes against the Chukchi Sea just north.

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Come see the midnight sun (which doesn’t set from May to early August); stand at the top of the world at Point Barrow; learn the ways of the largest Inupiat community in Alaska at their Heritage Center; sight polar bears and snowy owls on a tundra tour; witness the most magnificent showing of the northern lights; or dine on muktuk (whale blubber which is boiled, pickled or eaten raw with hot mustard) at the Nalukataq Festival. Whatever you come for, you’ll leave with plenty of bragging rights.

INTERIOR

Roughly the size of Vermont, Denali National Park is impressive. Or at least I’m impressed. How could you not be? Welcome to a six-million acre wild land located 120 miles south of Fairbanks. There’s one single artery of a road that runs through this park. It provides access to trails which provides access to lakes, too-tall mountains and teeming wildlife. Most come to see the continent’s highest peak, Denali (AKA Mount McKinley). Others come to spot the “Big Five”: moose, caribou, Dall sheep, grizzlies and wolves. Still others come simply to experience that big, bright diamond canopy. I’m talking about the starry sky, of course; it’s something else in Denali National Park.

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The best way to get here depends on where you’re coming from. My recommendation, whether it’s from Fairbanks or Anchorage, take the train. Without a doubt, the most unimaginable views will invade your thoughts for life.

SOUTHWEST

15 fire-capped mountains and about 2,000 protected brown bears embody Katmai National Park. Sure, there’s tons of wildlife and trees and hills and prairies here but if you’re going to bottle these boundaries up in one sentence then read above.

Over a century ago a volcano—Novarupta—erupted here with a force ten times stronger than that of Mount St. Helens' 1980 blast. It sparked worldwide attention. In fact, it sparked the creation of the park. Ash and smoke filled the sky. Temperatures cooled. And suddenly day became night for Kodiak Island off Southwest Alaskan shores.

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You’d think there’d still be nothing but scorched land here. Instead the earth is verdant as ever, glass rivers flow, and sapphire lakes make polka-dotted patterns from a birds-eye view. Come hike or kayak. Fish or sightsee. Or relax in a rustic lodge while the world of Katmai revolves around you. Perhaps one remnant most noticeable from the 1912 eruption is the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. It’s almost if the earth decided to rip itself apart then—in mid-apocalypse—changed its mind. Part of the adventure is getting here: go by jet, floatplane or boat. Here’s how.

SOUTHCENTRAL

Kenai Fjords National Park is somewhere you shouldn’t pass up. I know what you’re thinking. This is the third national park I’ve mentioned. No, I’m not taking you on a national-park only tour. It’s just that all of Alaska is polished with glaciers, mountains and forests so brilliant there was nothing else to do but bestow national park status on most of it.

Ever see a picture of a lone kayaker with her color-splashed steed set against the backdrop of a massive, bleached glacier? It was probably taken here. I imagine this is what most people think when they dream of Alaska. Bald eagles swoop and hunt. Mountain goats climb. Coyotes skulk. Black bears dominate. Killer whales breach. And a load of other marine mammals sunbathe on ice sheets then plunge the depths for food. That’s only naming a few. Some noteworthy things to do: hike the Harding Icefield Trail, kayak Resurrection Bay, take a ranger-led walk around Exit Glacier, or experience a full-day marine tour of the park.

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INSIDE PASSAGE


This portion of Alaska is bountiful. It wasn’t an easy task to share only one place here. I mean, when you’ve got Ketchikan with its waterfront cafes and mist-filled fjords; Sitka with its Russian architecture and unbelievable views of Mount Edgecumbe; and Wrangell with the wild Stikine River and Chief Shakes Island (a totem-pole-filled beauty of an islet), how do you decide?

I came to a conclusion…Juneau. It has a few things going for it. By mere dint of being the capital, it’s travel-worthy. It has awe-inducing scenery, surprisingly interesting city tours of museums and historic sites, and precedent-setting seafood. Perhaps the most important of all, it’s the gateway to so many expeditions. Like 96-mile-long Admiralty Island where wildlife is packed shoulder to shoulder. (Strange, not a lot of people think of island getaways when they think of the Last Frontier.)

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Juneau may not have a drive-in theater but it’s got something even better, a drive-in ice floe. 13 miles from downtown is Mendenhall Glacier. Arrive by your own car or by tour bus. Actually, take the latter. It's best you’re not at the wheel when your jaw inevitably hits the floor. Go to famous Glacier Bay National Park while you’re here, too. Like most of Alaska’s parks, you’ll be flying or boating in.

THIS LAST FRONTIER, THIS GREAT LAND, THIS REBELLIOUS MASS SO DIFFERENT FROM THE “LOWER 48” HAS A MYRIAD OF ADVENTURES...

Many travelers come yet so many don’t know the best ones to take. Most don’t even know the best mode of transportation. How do you choose between car, floatplane, snowmobile (“snow machine” as Alaskans call them), four-wheeler or foot? The truth is some journeys you just don’t—because some journeys might require all. One thing is certain: this place is epic and no one stretch of it supersedes the other. So soak it in. Everything. From the Far North down to the Inside Passage, Alaska is a dream of a state where skyscraping peaks meet wild rainforests and an orb-stretching sky swallows you whole.

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Combine your penchant for adventure with your love for medicine. We have positions all over Alaska that give you the chance to share your medical expertise with salt-of-the-earth communities all while you partake in allor at least someof the above. Take a look at our growing locum tenens opportunities for physicians in the Last Frontier.

Topics: Everett Fitch, Alaska, Great Land, Barrow, Denali, Katmai, Glacier Bay, Last Frontier, muktuk, Mendenhall Glacier, Kenai Fjords

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Twice a month, our inquisitive locum tenens community asks us to tackle topics ranging from cuisine and culture to recreation and entertainment. We also include great storytelling from our doctors. Have a topic you’d like to read about? Let us know.

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