Greetings from the Pacific Northwest

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polaran
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:07 pm

Greetings from the Pacific Northwest

Post by polaran »

It seems a proper introduction would be useful as I poke around the forums. I'm not necessarily pursuing ERE as fast as possible, but more the ability to accumulate assets while pursuing the life/adventures/career that interest me on my own terms.

I'm a 28 year old female, currently working as a veterinarian and pursuing a PhD. As a vet student, I became rather enamored with the idea of wildlife veterinary medicine - a career that can include flying in helicopters and darting large animals for radio collaring/translocation/sampling as well as significant international travel. It's led to some cool life experiences like climbing 100+ foot trees in the Amazon to access parrot nests and relocating rhinos out of heavily poached areas in Africa. As a student, I found plenty of opportunities to get involved as a seasonal assistant for a project, or to volunteer and apply for small grants/fellowships to cover travel expenses and salary. For the few full time jobs with NGOs and agencies, a DVM/PhD is generally preferred. I didn't want to let my $30k of vet school debt capitalize while working for peanuts in a PhD program, so I practiced for a few years first. I paid off the student loans, saved a decent proportion of my income, and occasionally volunteered my skills on wildlife projects during my vacation time. Practicing full time for ~10-12 years would have been the fastest path to FI, but I wanted to pursue my preferred area of interest sooner, so for better or worse I returned to graduate school. I took a few months off between leaving my job and starting the program to do a long distance (~2600 mile) backpacking trip, which was one of the best experiences of my life. It hits many of the same high points as fieldwork - outdoors, very physical, minimalist living, and a tight knit community. I plan to work a few more thru hikes into my life at some point.

Right now I do my research and coursework during the week and work relief shifts two weekends per month for additional income. It's about a 50-60% paycut from before, but still very good for a graduate student. I'm hoping to engage here with like minded people and tighten up my budget - I'm reasonably frugal and a decent saver, but there's room for improvement. Numbers may follow in a journal later on.
Last edited by polaran on Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:20 am, edited 4 times in total.

George the original one
Posts: 5366
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Greetings from the west coast US

Post by George the original one »

Interesting career!

nacho
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:27 pm

Re: Greetings from the Pacific Northwest

Post by nacho »

Welcome!

Where was your backpacking trip? 2600mi == PCT thru-hike?

Dragline
Posts: 4436
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:50 am

Re: Greetings from the Pacific Northwest

Post by Dragline »

Cool. I have a sister who is a vet who has developed a specialty in her spare time operating on sea turtles. See: http://spacecoastdaily.com/2015/10/brev ... ia-chadam/

She also has a very interesting business model that you might wish to consider at some point -- she is essentially a door-to-door vet with no office. She partners with a groomer and then go to client's houses to clean up Fluffy both inside and out.

polaran
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:07 pm

Re: Greetings from the Pacific Northwest

Post by polaran »

Thanks for the welcome, everyone!
nacho wrote:Welcome!

Where was your backpacking trip? 2600mi == PCT thru-hike?
Yup! I spent a lot of time calculating the cost/lost income from quitting 5 months early and debating with myself on whether I should do it (especially since I was already taking a large income hit afterward). I'm so glad I decided to go for it. Now the question isn't whether I'll do a do another thru hike, but when the best time to do so will be.
Dragline wrote:Cool. I have a sister who is a vet who has developed a specialty in her spare time operating on sea turtles. See: http://spacecoastdaily.com/2015/10/brev ... ia-chadam/

She also has a very interesting business model that you might wish to consider at some point -- she is essentially a door-to-door vet with no office. She partners with a groomer and then go to client's houses to clean up Fluffy both inside and out.
Very cool! I think that developing a business which gives you the flexibility to volunteer or accept lower pay for zoo/captive wildlife work on the side is a great option. I'm really enjoying relief work, where you are typically an independent contractor who arranges shifts within existing clinics. It gives me many of the lifestyle benefits of a business owner without the cost of a practice. If I were to return to small animal work for my primary source of income, I would consider a small mobile practice such as your sister has to help keep a steady flow of work. My goal post-PhD is to end up with either a federal job with excellent salary and benefits, or work internationally for an NGO where modest salary is partially offset by extremely low COL and extensive built-in travel

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