Locums for a Small World Blog

Global Medical's top 5 regions for locum tenens doctors to explore in 2015

Posted by Everett Fitch


We’re all explorers in one way or another. And we all have a great story or two to tell from our travels. We bet there are places you’ve recommended to friends and family and they’ve gone to these same places simply because of the passion present in your travel-borne stories. When you recount your epic tales with such force others can’t help
but journey to the same soil. We'd like you to think of the below as a collection of brilliant travel recommendations from a friend.

Now we know it’s not an exact science when it comes to choosing top destinations. In fact, it’s not even a science; it’s more of a feeling. Over the years, we’ve heard stories recounted by doctors who've returned from locum tenens assignments near and far. We’ve also done a bit of traveling ourselves. It’s about time we turn these quiet observations into a loud manifesto for all to hear.

We've compiled a list of beautiful regions from around the world that deserve notice (based on first- and secondhand experience). And you deserve to see them—if not today, if not tomorrow, then someday. Without further ado, we give you our list of top 5 regions to explore in 2015:


#1 Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada

Should we lead with something that has more bravado, more grandiosity? Believe us, Vancouver Island has just as much verve as any other island—perhaps more. For starters, it has one of the most diverse ecosystems the world over: we’re talking marshes, meadows, rainforests, rivers, bogs and beaches (take a stroll along Mystic Beach in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park at sunset and you’ll set a personal record for the highest number of awe-induced exclamations in a given day). There are a slew of towns and wineries scattered throughout this Pacific Island, ripe for exploring, too.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

Head to Hot Springs Cove in Maquinna Provincial Park for a world-famous soak—it’s worth it. The springs fall down a cliffside into dozens of coastal pools. And the ocean water mixes in to make the perfect temperature. Many tour companies provide day trips to Hot Springs Cove paired with other mini-trips like whale-watching and hiking.


#2 The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia

Welcome to the world’s oldest tropical rainforest. Over 135 million years of rainfall has shaped this explosively fertile land. Life moves at an infinite pace here and you can feel how ancient it is with every step. Some noteworthy facts: “The Daintree Rainforest contains 30% of frog, marsupial and reptile species in Australia, and 65% of Australia’s bat and butterfly species. 20% of bird species in the country can be found in this area. And it all lives in an area that takes up only 0.2% of the landmass of Australia.” This cross-section of land is truly a scientific and natural marvel.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

If you really want to appreciate the Daintree Rainforest (really breathe it all in), take a tour with the some of the original inhabitants, the Kuku Yalanji people. They’ll show you around their home, Mossman Gorge, and you’ll learn how they’ve survived for centuries off the land. Take a Dreamtime Gorge Walk. If you’re lucky you might get to take a dip in the crystal-clear Mossman River.


#3 Marlborough Region on the South Island of New Zealand

There’s nothing so beautiful as the surrealism of the Marlborough Region. You’ll be held captive by its sharp elegance for years. Blenheim is a must if you’re a wine enthusiast. Havelock is a must if you’re a seafood lover (hint: dive at the opportunity to try green-lipped mussels). And D’Urville Island is a must if you’re a lover of all-things outdoors—you’ll see all sorts of birds, plus it’s a great jumping-off point to visit Marlborough Sounds.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

Take a day-trip in Queen Charlotte Sound. You can cruise across the almost see-through waters and spot marine life. Then jump ship, tramp the eponymous Track and catch ridgeline views of the Sound. This way you get the best of both land and sea. Choose from a one-hour trip all the way up to full-day cruise.


#4 Yellowstone National Park by way of Wyoming, Idaho or Montana

Home to half the world’s geysers and some of the biggest land mammals (think grizzlies and bison), no national park screams the American West as loud as Yellowstone. It may seem chaotic but trust us, it’s pure harmony. Everything in Yellowstone is broken and rebuilt day and night—it’s a wonderful, kaleidoscopic ecosystem. Its stunning natural grittiness and bold beauty is unparalleled. That’s why it has so many tourists knocking at its door (more than three million each year). It’s a good thing we shaped up and gave this magnificent land national-park status. In fact, Yellowstone was the first national park in the US, it was signed into law clear back in 1872.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

We’ve all heard of Old Faithful. Don’t get us wrong, it’s great and you shouldn’t miss it, but you’ll probably be vying with hundreds of other tourists for a front-row seat—especially at peak times. If you want commanding views of Yellowstone, hike up Mount Washburn (it's a 3.2 mile/5.1 kilometer-hike one way). You’ll see all sorts of wildlife, forest, geysers, meadows and the forever-sprawl of Hayden Valley.


#5 The magnificent three (St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, USVI)

Hmm, what to say, what to say…The year-round 80° F (27° C) weather should be enough to persuade almost anyone to spend a few days on a US Virgin Island. If not that, then maybe the glassy, blue waters and the sun-stained beaches will. What we’re getting at is these islands are the very definition of picture-perfect. St. Thomas offers 32 square miles (82.8 square kilometers) of sailing, snorkeling and sightseeing. St. John is 60% Virgin Islands National Park and 100% ideal Caribbean getaway. And St. Croix is chock-full of culture (Spanish, English, Dutch, French, Danish, and American). Its festival and arts scene is on point, too. Visit Christiansted and Frederiksted for a unique glimpse of Danish-Caribbean history.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

Three words: Magens Bay Beach. It's on St. Thomas. If you’ve been to any US Virgin Island, you’ve most likely heard of this idyllic stretch. It’s lauded as the most photogenic (and swimmable) shore in all the Virgin Islands. There’s more to it than sunbathing and swimming though. Hike the Magens Bay Nature Trail and catch views like you’ve never seen. You’re also welcome to rent a kayak, paddle boat or sail boat and live it up under the Caribbean sun.

In the everlasting words of Kerouac, "There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars." And in our words, no matter what, this new year, be sure you take time to create new experiences. Be sure you take time to tell new stories. Be sure you take time to explore anew.

Happy 2015 travels!

Topics: Yellowstone National Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Queensland, Daintree Rainforest, Southland, USVI, St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, Australia, New Zealand

For those about to camp...we salute you

Posted by Saralynn White


We do a lot of storytelling about creatures from down under—echidnas, koalas, cassowaries, kiwi birds, penguins, kea parrots...they’re a fascinating lot. Perhaps it’s because some of them, like the Tasmanian devil, are in danger of disappearing. As much as we love Australia (and New Zealand), I’m gratified that we have spectacular creatures living right on our home soil. And since we’re heading into camping season in the Northern Hemisphere (‘tis the season for visiting U.S. National Parks) I think it’s time we covered critters right here. This is, after all, "where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play."

bison-plains-americaA Mountain Goat in Glacier

Yellowstone National Park is known as the American Serengeti and when you see the sprawling landscape and rich wildlife—you’ll know why. This 2.2-million-acre national park has the largest concentration of mammal species in the lower 48 states (nearly 70). Wildlife aficionado and contributor to National Geographic's The 10 Best of Everything National Parks book, Bob Howells, says the wildlife in Yellowstone on his first visit “blew him away...the national parks are the envy of the world."

At Glacier National Park in Montana everything is bigger—even the sky. The Blackfeet Native Americans call it the “Backbone of the World”, and its glacier-carved mountains, 200 lakes, and pristine forests are a testament to the moniker. One of North America's largest grizzly populations makes its home here, along with mountain lions, lynx, moose, mountain goats, white-tailed deer, and more than 270 species of birds, including bald and golden eagles.

quail-in-grass-united-statesBlack Bears in Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Head south to Saguaro National Park in Arizona (named after the giant cacti that symbolize the American West) and you’ll see Darwinism at its finest. Here, only the fittest (and strangest) survive. Flora and fauna have had to adapt to the wildly swinging temperatures and incessant drought. Jackrabbits here cool off through their huge ears. And javelinas can eat prickly pear cacti without the prick. Saguaro is also a reptilian paradise: desert tortoises and regal horned lizards roam freely alongside Gila monsters and Sonoran mountain king snakes, and they all live in harmony with roadrunners, American kestrels, and Gambel’s quail.

Farther east you’ll find “them thar bears” in Tennessee, at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Spot some of the park’s famed 1,500 resident black bears; it’s also one of the few refuges for elk and white-tailed deer east of the Mississippi River. There are a lot of smaller residents, too, like the hundreds of thousands of synchronous fireflies that put on an incredible display.

whale-jumping-united-statesA Red Fox

For animals beyond the four-legged variety, go to Acadia National Park. This Maine-coast archipelago covers nearly 50,000 acres from mountains to foothills that meet the sea. Red foxes, beavers and long-tailed weasels call the forest home; porpoises, seals and humpback whales inhabit the surrounding waters. There are also nearly 350 species of birds in Acadia: American kestrels, broad-winged hawks and Peregrine falcons (among others) all pass by Cadillac Mountain every season.

Of course, there are 53 other U.S. National Parks where the wild things are, too. These vast swaths of pristine nature have afforded protected habitats for creatures to live in since President Ulysses S. Grant signed Yellowstone (the first national park) into law in 1872. Today, U.S. national parkland comprises 52 million acres and is home to some 5,399 species of vertebrates. If you haven’t seen the PBS/Ken Burns documentary series, The National Park “America’s Best Idea”, it’s a great start—“You'd be hard pressed to find something that was a purer expression of the democratic impulse, in setting aside land, not for the privileged, not for the kings and nobility, but for everybody. For all time.”


Oh, and do I have to say it? National parks aren’t zoos, so be sure to follow park guidelines for viewing animals! Ask park rangers for the latest information and brush up on your wildlife viewing skills before you go. To catch a glimpse, consult literature and rangers for the best spots, and use telephoto lenses, binoculars, or spotting scopes. Last: plan your park visits around prime viewing hours—dawn, dusk, and after dark.

Who's heading to a U.S. National Park this summer? We'd love to hear all about it.

Topics: U.S. National Parks, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Acadia National Park, America, United States

Locums for a Small World Blog

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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