Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Adventure Begins...sort of!

I had planned to start an Australia Blog so our friends and family could track our progress during our sabbatical, but it seems appropriate to begin it now since the first big hurdle has been crossed.

First, let me back up. The Fusco family has a huge sense of adventure and love of travel. Busy lives of work and school have a funny way of interfering with that travel experience and time. So, several years ago, Tamara and I began to toy with the idea of taking a prolonged working sabbatical....somewhere. While exotic locales like Spain seemed likely candidates early on, it became clear that most places finding work as a physician was nearly impossible due to their laws and requirements for training in that country. But it also became clear that there is a big need for physicians in Australia and New Zealand. I met with a recruiter from Australia about 4 years ago in New Orleans at a medical conference and we began making serious plans to take our family on just such an adventure.

But there were many obstacles to clear. No physicians at St. Johns had ever taken such a prolonged sabbatical before with plans to return...who was gonna pay, would they want us back, what about insurance and retirement and so many other administrative issues. We answered their questions, assured them we wanted little more than our tenure to remain and our jobs back when we returned. Both Tamara and my partners have been exceptionally agreeable and helpful and assured the "suits" at St.Johns that they want us back. Medical Executive Committee eventually OK'd that may have been the first 'true' hurdle...but we were doing this with or without them...the experience was just too important to forgo.

While we'd expected to go to Hervey Bay, Queensland based upon my encounter with the recruiter in New Orleans, things slowly fell apart there and my position/opportunity there was lost. I started searching around and there were many other opportunities that came to light. One, in Port Macquarie, New South Wales percolated to the top because a fellow ER physician who'd worked as a Locum Tenens in my ER at St.Johns is currently working there and recommended the location and the job. After a series of emails and a few phone calls I was, finally, today formally offered a position there starting in late August 2010!!!

We're all quite excited to know where our 'home' for 6 months of the 9 month sabbatical will actually be. It really makes the trip feel "real" for the first time. There is a ton of paperwork for the job, an unbelievable amount of red tape to cut through, and lots of other planning (fun and otherwise). We'll have a house sitter while away and that needs to be nailed down as well. But the adventure is beginning and we could NOT be more thrilled.

And yes, we expect and want visitors...details will follow.

In the mean time, I highly recommend everyone install Skype on their computers who wants to talk with us while we're away and send us your skype name once you've done so. It'll be great to keep in touch, but phone calls are super expensive and skype, with video, is free!