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Welcome back to another episode of the dare to dream physician travel podcast. I'm so excited that you're here to join us today, whether you're driving to work or driving home or taking a walk. I just want to dedicate this week's episode to celebrate. Freedom to celebrate specifically the freedom of movement. Uh, at the time of this recording, it's about to be the 4th of July. And this year on the 4th of July, it's just a time for me to reflect how grateful I am to be a citizen of the United States. And the freedoms that I have as a us citizen that I take for granted. Most of the time that on today's episode, I want to reflect upon and celebrate First first, I want to share that if you have not listened already. A year ago on the 4th of July. This amazing interview with Dr. Shahzad bot to. Wallah came out. We called it living the American dream. And it was just a phenomenal story. Of how Dr. Bhatt. is. Embracing being a us citizen and living the American dream. And he is just a really amazing person, but interviewing him. Really helped me remember and appreciate. How my own family especially my father, really acted out of courage to seek, immigration to the us, and eventually. us citizenship for my father, my mother and, me. I'm just so grateful. So, so what, what is, what is freedom so I looked it up in the Webster dictionary and. Freedom is defined as the quality or state of being free. Such as the absence of necessity coercion or a constraint in choice or action liberation from slavery or from the power of another. And so freedom is, is not easy to define. But once, once you have it, it feels so fundamental and it feels so natural. That it's actually really easy to just take it for granted. Yeah, if you don't have it, you're in for it. And you may even shift your life. And risk. Something or even everything to get it. And. Specifically this week. I really want to reflect on and celebrate freedom of movement. So what are some examples of the freedom of movement? I just came back from a trip, visiting a friend in Pennsylvania. It was a six hour drive and we decided a month ago, I college your union. At that point, we had not seen each other in person for five years. Since the last reunion. And, we made a plan to, to see each other. She lives in New York city. I live in Vermont. And, she also, has a second home. In Pennsylvania. So we plan to meet up in Pennsylvania. It's about a three hour drive from her and a six hour drive from, from my home. So on a Saturday morning, my six year old daughter and I, um, got up really early and we drove six hours. Um, we got there. Before. But right before the afternoon, and we spent about 24 hours a little bit over 24 hours, and then I drove back on a Sunday. And it's almost like it's nothing, but yet. There are people in the world that don't have that freedom to move around from point a to point B. one is that there might not be transportation. the fact that I have a reliable vehicle that allows me to do this drive. The fact that there are roads. That are reliable that are safe. I don't have to worry about either the road conditions. Can be roads that easily flood or the roads that are the territory of gangs or other groups, that may not allow you to pass. Or you may be. At risk of being robbed There are places in the world where those things are a real risk and people don't feel like they can travel because of the risk. And I also have to remind myself that as a woman. There are many places in the world. We're a women, which is half of the population may not be able to move from point a to point B easily on their own. even if there is a car in the household, they may not have been giving the chance to learn how to drive. They may have to seek permission from a male guardian in order to travel. So it it's, it is. It's really amazing. So my takeaway from reflecting on this. Very fundamental and basic freedom to just move from point a to point B. Is. To just move, you know, as I please. On a weekend for on a day trip on a weekend trip. Um, without much planning without much without having to register or apply, even to go on a whim is to really embrace that freedom of movement to be in places. So I could visit people who matter to me, I can visit people who are important to me. Um, like I was saying this same friend who I'm very close to. I had not seen her for five years before that. And so I'm just really grateful that I can, I have the freedom to visit her. And because, you know, this is the 4th of July week. I also want to reflect. on The freedom that I took to drive 11 hours. I'm with my kids and spend the last six weeks of life with my dad. And during those six weeks, um, it included the 4th of July last year. And I just have this. Very special memory spending the last 4th of July with my dad. At that point he was he had trouble going up the stairs. Um, so we got him a hospital bed and so he mostly, spent his days at night in the living room. We watched the DC fireworks on TV together. It was just really, really special. my kids. My kids, my, um, my mom, my dad. We all just watched the fireworks together. At that time. I, I knew that this is probably going to be the last 4th of July that we get to spend together. And I just looked around the room and I just had this moment of feeling so, so grateful to have that, that time with my dad. So yeah, the freedom to move. Um, may we all, may we all embrace it and to take the time, to go to a place and spend time with people who really are important to you. And don't wait. if it's important to you, make the plan and him put it in your calendar. If I had not made the plan at our recent college reunion. To do this, honestly, we may not actually see each other for another five years. Um, so, so one of the things I'm hoping to do is, is make the next plan on when I'll see my friends. And so our daughters got to play together. She has a two year old my six-year-old daughter. And her daughter just had a blast playing together. They were hugging and laughing and spinning around. And it's just so, so precious to see our kids. Playing together and enjoying themselves. So The second point I want to reflect on is something that I was reminded on my recent travel to Taiwan. As I shared, I recently went to Taiwan, which I promise I will do a separate episode on to talk about that experience. My kids and I traveled to Taiwan and met up with my mom who traveled separately. One of the conversations we had with our tour guide. One of the fun things was comparing what life is like in Taiwan. W what life was like in mainland China. Now, of course, it's been a really long time. Since we've visited mainland China, but some of the rules and regulations, before we emigrated to the us from several decades ago, haven't changed on mainland China. So my mom was asking, you know, what the system was like in Taiwan, and whether they have. The same regulation. And so what she was asking about Is a regulation called who Cole, Which translates to registration. It's a completely foreign concept to Americans. But if you. We're a citizen living in China. I sort of ruled everything. And so who Cole or in Cantonese knows how is a system of household registration, that was used on mainland China, whereby each households or a family. Would have a registration record that identifies, that family, to be a permanent resident of an area in China. So that's usually like, uh, the city or the province. But it's very specific. So even if you were, born in a province, your family is from Uh, rural area and you're born in the rural area. Your Hilco your family registration is in the rural area of that province. Um, so that would prevent you to move into the city. So like here, I live in the Northeast kingdom. Which is, sort of the most rural part of Vermont. But if I had decided. Um, Hey, I want to move to Burlington. Uh, which is the largest city in Vermont. The government would have absolutely no say in it, the government could care less. Right. I mean, as long as I paid the taxes of wherever I reside, I am free to decide on where I live. That's not the case in mainland China. So just this freedom, to decide on where we want to reside, is actually, really amazing. And you don't realize that this is a freedom until you hear about., places where this is not a freedom. Um, and so the takeaway I have. Um, specifically for physicians is before you sign a contract be aware of. Any non-competes. I feel very strongly about this, you know, part of adulting, being an adult, especially as a physician is you are going to be signing contracts that have. That have implications for your life. It's not just implications for your word, but they're actually implications for your life. And one of those items on the contract is the noncompete. You want to read over your entire contract? Um, very, very carefully, but especially anything that talks about non-compete because non-competes or potentially taking away your freedom of residence. If you do end up leaving your current employer, which chances are most people do. That may control where you can work, which means you either have a really long commute, like one or two hours long, or, you'll be forced to uproot. Your family and move somewhere. And so just be careful of the non-competes. And one of the things to be very careful of as most medical institutions now have more than one location, you have to be careful. What the non-compete states as. Even if there's a certain mile radius, it may be a certain mile radius for all of their satellite branches, not just the location where you're working on. So don't blindly signed, especially contracts with non-competes and to take it very, very seriously. If you're thinking to yourself, Hey, I really want this job. I don't want to be a troublemaker. I don't want to cause a fast, I don't want to draw attention to myself or be perceived as someone who's disagreeable. I'm just going to sign, just remember. This freedom of residents, freedom of where you can live. Is not something to be taken for. Granted. It is an amazing freedom that we can exercise in this country. And just remember that is not the case everywhere. So don't Don't sign your freedom away. The third example of the freedom of movement that I am personally so grateful for, especially because this is a travel podcast, is the. The freedom to travel. Um, I, I just remember, I remember from the interview with Dr. Bottle Walla. Paula. That aired on last year's 4th of July. That, that, you know, getting his us passport was the greatest thing that happened to him. And ah, I just felt chills down my spine as, as he said that. And I didn't even feel that now as I'm recalling that part of the conversation. And. And the reason why I feel that way is because it's true. I was a naturalized us citizen as well, but most of what my family had to sacrifice. Was, um, done on my parents' part. I immigrated to the us when I was a fairly young child. So I didn't have to, aside from being made fun of for not speaking English and looking different and having a different culture, I didn't really struggle with the language barrier and a cultural barrier, you know, I was able to learn English and communicate. And so I didn't have to give up as much, um, to, to get that us passport. But it is, is really an amazing, it is really an amazing thing to have, the us passport representing us citizenship, what that means, the freedoms that we have, but the freedom to travel. Um, so justice, as an example, when we held a passport from. The people's Republic of China. There are many, many places in the world where you can't just travel to freely. You have to send your passport in and apply for a visa. I was just looking this up to go to Singapore, Chinese nationals must obtain. A a visa. Um, through a Singaporean embassy or consulate. But with a us passport, I don't have to do that. All I need is a blank page. So I get the stamp. And that is true in so many countries with the us passport. We can just enter freely. Even entering Canada, which, I work right on the border with Canada and. And with my us passport. I can enter a Canada easily, you know, for the day, but one to two, but if I had a Chinese passport, I would have to get a visa. Asking for permission, applying in advance, asking for permission to travel. So if you're listening to this podcast and. If you, let your passport expire, which is what. I did. or you don't have a passport yet. I would encourage you to go ahead and apply for one. My kids didn't have passwords. Um, we had not applied for passports with my kids until last fall. They all got their passports my passport had expired, so, I had to reapply for a passport for myself. My husband already had his passport and. the moment when these passports arrived in the mail. Um, I just remember just being so happy because I knew that that meant we gained this freedom to travel, that we just, all of a sudden, you know, by. By filling out this application and having the passport arrive. We gained this freedom to travel to most of the world without even have to apply for permission. And so what are the takeaways from that? How can I apply this to my life? What action items can I apply? One is for physicians, um, we want to make sure that we have. How to quit time off. So that if we have the desire to travel, that we have time to do that. Um, I can tell you how many physicians I've talked to who was maybe, mid career or late career and. Thinking, I would love to be able to take two weeks and go to the other side of the world, but I just, I just can't with my work. I have to take call and I don't want to be a burden on my colleagues and. Um, mark would never approve of that. And so when you are looking for a new job or renegotiating your contract, Just make sure, is it important to you to travel is important to you to travel the world and, and make use of this amazing freedom that we have when we hold a us passport. Don't let your work conditions get in the way of this freedom. Make sure that your. Work contract reflects what's important to you. And if right now you don't have enough vacation time or the way that you perceive things are at work, you can't really. Take time off, even though you have the vacation time and paper, you know, what can you do about that? How can you make it a win-win situation? What can you do? how can you make it happen? I'm not saying to be a burden on your colleagues and it may not. you may not be a burden on your colleagues. If you go away. But be creative. If you want to reach out to me for ideas, I'm happy to help you brainstorm. Um, but, but the most important thing is don't take your freedom to move into travel for granted, you know, embrace that because that's not the case with citizens of other countries. and then the other takeaway is I am going to celebrate this freedom of movement as freedom to travel as a us citizen by traveling the world. And I talked about in the last episode, how I do have this plan to see all seven continents by the end of 2024. Last month I went to Asia. On our Taiwan trip. And in August, we are going to Australia. And I just planned and in the process of finalizing a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos. So that will be the first time we go to south America. In the spring of 2024. I'm planning on booking. The other trips. that's the big announcement. I'm so excited. I've never been to Ecuador, never been to the Galapagos and it's just going to be so, so phenomenal. Um, the other thing that I'm going to celebrate with this freedom of movement, the freedom of traveling is, for me, there's nothing more free than being on the water. Especially scuba diving. I don't know if I can scuba dive on every continent, but my other fun to part of my life plan is. As I try to visit all seven continents, I want to either scuba dive or just swim in the ocean in each of the continents. So stay tuned, stay tuned to hear, hear my progress on that too. Hey, this has been amazing. Thank you so much for listening. And I hope this episode. Gave us all a reminder on what amazing freedoms that we have. and gave you some ideas and time to reflect on how you can embrace the freedom of moving in your life. And help you live a more fulfilling and richer life. Have a great rest of the week. And happy independence day.