By Michael Dorausch, D.C.
We’re approaching October and coming to a time when many chiropractors take off for year end travel. Nearly every DC I know takes a break away from the office during one (or more) of these upcoming weeks: Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, and New Years. While times like these out of the office can be fun, in practice I discovered it’s important these aren’t the only vacations we take.
Vacations are important to celebrate office and life wins and to keep oneself from burning out. Dr. Fred Schofield mentioned taking vacations for better living back in 2008, and he was right. Besides chiropractic relicensing, major holidays, and family commitment events, our plan has long been to take four vacations per year.
For many years my spouse and I would make plans in December for our four vacations the following year. Our rules were simple, take four 4-day trips (ours were Thursday through Sunday), in four new locations (places we haven’t traveled to before), ideally one for each quarter of the year. Also, for us these were no-kid, adult-time trips.
Travel could be by vehicle or air. We live nearby a major international airport (LAX) so for us, either option worked. As a weekday practicing chiropractor, this setup worked well since I could see patients Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then take four days off.
The idea of going to new locations each time came after a few years of hitting the typical SoCal vacation spots. Palm Springs, Las Vegas, San Francisco, etc. After a few years of trips not being what they were, we began getting creative, and came up with what for us was a phenomenal plan.
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My wife LOVES NFL football. I’m a fan too but she’s a fanatic (like I’m a fanatic for chiropractic). Every year, at least two of those 4 day trips were centered around going to see NFL games in cities we hadn’t visited yet. We typically did Thursday morning flights out, but sometimes took Wednesday night red eyes (especially for East Coast travel).
We visited NFL stadiums throughout the USA. Baltimore, Oakland, Dallas, Miami, Denver, San Diego, Pennsylvania, Ohio, you get the picture. Every trip was unique, and even when the games were bad, the trips were good.
We didn’t stay at fancy hotels, instead we tried to stay near enough to a stadium that we could walk to the game, and take in the local vibration. The hotel bars were always packed with fans (typically for the visiting team) and that was fun too. We’d enjoy dining at places locals ate, visited many local coffee shops (preferably independently owned businesses), and got plenty of walking in.
Camping became another common four day trip we’d plan every year. I really got into finding the most desolate off grid camping locations in California that I could. I developed a method for doing so by reviewing old army maps from the 1920s to 1940s, and seeing if those places still existed. It was amazing the discoveries we made. Looking back, these became our most favorite trips.
The four trips a year mantra became a central theme in my practice. By the time a patient was with me for 90 days, they knew I was going on vacation somewhere. Internally, it set me up for success. You’re always fired up to be back in the office the week you return, and seeing an entire weeks volume in three days (the week you’re travelling) was amazingly powerful. So that’s two guaranteed high energy weeks.
Looking back, I’m in an attitude of gratitude for listening to others, and developing this approach towards a balanced life and practice.