HOW A JUNIOR DOCTOR, OUT OF FRUSTRATION, BACKPACKED IN 3 COUNTRIES OVER 30 DAYS, 13 STOPS AND A STAGGERING 33596KM WITH RM2OK

Working in hospitals can be utterly frustrating. Day and Night. You begin work when its dark and you get home after its dark. Sunlight becomes scarce. Clerking, following rounds, serving patients, executing every tiny order of the specialist, demoralizing on calls, one off day each week. Tired of this similar routine, I started planning for a “grand finale” to end my Housemanship. Housemanship, is a training of junior doctors after completing 5 years of study. In Malaysia, we’re required to complete this within 2 years, provided no mishaps or bad luck strikes along the way.

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I started working on my ambitious plan 6 months ahead of schedule. It was my 5th posting (out of a total six postings) in arguably the busiest Emergency Department (of Hospital Kuala Lumpur). I started carrying my travel magazines, looking through possible destinations to land in. After days of reading and research, I made up my mind to visit Turkey, Greece and Italy. Duration of the trip, still remained a mystery.

I was sick of my ‘lifeless’ life at that moment; I convinced the hospital management to allow me to take the maximum leaves possible based on my eligibility. Apparently one year of service qualifies you for one month of unpaid leave. I chose the entire month for the vacation! Selfish and crazy, but true..

I started reading blogs of other travelers who accomplished similar journeys, and made customized arrangement myself to suit my interests. I spent about RM300, buying 3 quintessential Lonely Planet guide books, tailor-made for each country of interest. The publisher may be famous for a reason, and it was apparent based on the qualities the books had in them. Very highly recommended, absolutely wonderful companions!

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Reviewing fellow backpackers’ itineraries gave me strong ideas on how to weave a thorough, lengthy trip around these countries. Mind you, the following questions are a must to yourself, when planning:

1.What is your interest. What do you want to see. What do you want to do
2.How many places you can squeeze in a day; then see next:
3.How many days do you want to spend in one country
4.How to travel from one town to another
5.Where to stay
6.How to go to your hotel/hostel from airport/bus station/ train station
7.What to feed your tummy

GET YOUR BOOKINGS DONE, STEP BY STEP

STEP 1: BOOK YOUR HOTEL.

When you have listed a place to travel, the next step is to book a place to rest at night. I used BOOKING.COM for all 3 countries I went. This app helps me to get organized. When you have more than 10 accommodations, you might pretty well want to consider using this fantastic this app. They will send reminders from time to time, check in and check out times, location and details of the hostels; all at your fingertips. Choose accommodations that are close to town, walkable distance from major attractions and accessible to public transport. Ideal accommodations for me must be clean, quiet and most importantly, free from the scariest creature on earth: the COCKROACH..!! I don’t mind paying more for the hotel as long as I get a good sleep overnight and recharge for my journey the following day. I chose to stay at HOTELS in selected places, such as in Greece, just to get the romantic feeling. In Turkey and Italy, Hostels were all that I could afford, due to financial and availability reasons.

STEP 2 BOOK YOUR FLIGHT / TRAIN / BUS

Scan through the cheapest flights through SKYSCANNER. I suggest you book flights from individual flight websites. This way you can collect points and sometimes a cheaper ticket too. Italy is interconnected through train. Book your intercity tickets months ahead to get the best price. The train tickets can be RM200-300 cheaper if you book early.

STEP 3 WHAT TIME TO GO.

Check the opening hours for your place of interest; for example, a museum. You have to plan accordingly based on the time schedule. You have to decide which attractions you’re supposed to go on weekdays, and which to go on weekends. You don’t want to end up queuing 3 hours under the hot sun just for tickets!

These are the major things to plan for a 30 days’ trip. Housemanship can be utterly frustrating, but there’s no use complaining. You have to make your life meaningful in your own way. Pick up a good book to read during on calls while waiting for new admissions. Have a good chat with your staff nurses and Medical Assistants. Have a good laugh with them. Make CPR a healthy competition. Plan something in advance so that time flies fast. I am not entirely passionate about medical; I hate reading medical books. But I love books. Fill your time with something you love doing. 2 years of Housemanship will become memorable if you tailor it to be..!

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ONE MONTH FOOD SUPPLY

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GREECE
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PISA
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CAPPADOCIA
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ISTANBUL TURKEY
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MYKONOS WINDMILLS

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SANTORINI PERFECT VIEW
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TRAVERTINES.PAMUKKALE
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SUPER MESSY 1 MONTH PLAN
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29 thoughts on “HOW A JUNIOR DOCTOR, OUT OF FRUSTRATION, BACKPACKED IN 3 COUNTRIES OVER 30 DAYS, 13 STOPS AND A STAGGERING 33596KM WITH RM2OK

  1. Wow!You inspire the whole profession!..i love travelling too..but not alone..
    planning to visit Italy n Paris one day…
    Do enjoy life while young and healthy girl…
    Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Are you travel alone? Awesome.
    Enjoy yourself. I also love for travelling, but after joining master program, the time limited for us…to continue the activities after become specialist sooner 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You have chosen the best thing to do. Once you start working you will have to wait 10 years before you can make a trip like this.
    Hope more younger doctors follow your footsteps and enjoy life while you can.
    God bless.
    Dato Dr Krishna Moorthy Appalanaidu

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Sir. I’m glad I made it come true. You are right, life has been hectic ever since I resumed working. Looking forward for another trip sometime in the future.. God bless you too and have a good day!

      Like

  4. Thanks for sharing such an awesome experience…i am a doctor as well and i love travelling but havent gone for a long trip for a long time….your tips will be handy since i am planning for a trip next year…thanks again

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, i am inspired by ur story.. I plan to backpack to iceland in the near future. Maybe u can share ur experience in each country u visit in another entry.. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting place u got there Jamil. Maybe u can make a movie like THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY. all the best to you. I will consider writing another entry in detail. Thank you

      Like

  6. Last year i spent 10k including flights for 25 days covering france, italy and the uk. This year i spent 12k 25 days covering london, belgium, germany, austria, checz rep, and netherlands…. I dont use booking.com, use hostelworld and hostelbookers. I dont use skyscanner(they only show flights they get commision from) i use wikipidia of airports to find all flights connecting airports, then individually go thru all flight websites to get a cheaper deal. Both trips require a year in prep. I didnt get the freaking expensive railpass. But if you find out the rail lines u want to be on, you can book supercheap rail tickets as soon as they release the tickets. U have to find out if the company releases online tix 3/12 or 6/12 prior to trip… Research on cards , entrance fees to find out if a city museum pass will be cheaper for what u want to see….. Can save alot on entrance ticket. I found the paris pass, brussels pass and berlin museum pass useful for what i wanted to see… Get all tickets online in their early discounts…. But all these can only work if u stick to a strict schedule. Find out about public transports, how to get from one place to the next, use google maps, google street view, google directions, metro maps, tram maps bus maps etc. Get a complete day itenary, what time to wake up, what metro line to take, what time to line up, how to skip que, how much time needed for each location… Follow itenerary strictly. Can cover alot. U need more than 6 months research. Flight to and from need to buy at least a year in advance or during promo time.. And yeah, choose centrally located hostels, near to metro/bus and location sights… My average spent on hostels is rm 90-100/night… These are decent hostels (except for the 1 i stayed in amsterdam), no roaches, no hookers, just youth hostels… I find the frommers guidebooks very useful… Can download free pirated copies from the internet… Have an ipad. U can store ur itenerary in it, save alll the maps on google maps so that u can view them without internet and it can still give u your position on the map without internet, store guidebooks as well as copies of ur tickets and passes on it…. Thats my experience

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lol… good on you! Did u travel alone?
    I did the same thing with another friend… also 1 month unpaid, 5 countries and spent about the same as you… maybe less cos i did not stay in hotels but kind strangers let me stay with them!!

    Wasn’t it the best.. i am so reliving my experience after reading your post!! So need another round!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow. Good job there! I, myself had the same planned to do what you did once I finish HO. But God had a better plan for me. HE gives me a soulmate and I used up all the money to get married. Lol! But, even better. Now I have a partner to go travel with. In fact, we are going for backpack around Japan in less then 30days!

    Can’t help to hightlight a stunning photo you have up there. Mind sharing what camera did you use?

    Travel for life!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good job there! I, myself planned to do what you did once I finish houseman. But God had a better plan for me. Found my soulmate and used all the money to get married. Lol! And now, lucky me. I had partner to go travel with.

    Cant help to say what a stunning pic you have up there. Mind to share what camera did you use?

    Like

  10. Wow, just wanted to say you are truly inspiring! I’m just like you, a first year dentist burning of passion to travel. Tired of my life being the same every single day. I’ve split my 25 days to 4 long breaks, will be soon traveling to LA and Seattle this Christmas! Good luck and take care.

    Like

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