Is there a doctor on board?

Those are the words you dread hearing when you finally settle onto the holiday flight with a glass of red and a mind-numbing movie. Just after you’ve spent a frenetic week sorting out your needy patients and doing the reports you can no longer ignore; just when you think that you can stop being The Doctor with all the associated expectations and responsibilities.

But what is it like travelling with a bunch of doctors?  Well, for a start, there would be someone to share the load if you did have to help out an ill passenger.

Better still, you can enjoy your bucket-list holiday destinations without having to pretend you are a tax inspector, as one of my colleagues does when he goes on normal tours. You don’t have to hide from the lady with the green hat who is determined to regale you with the details of her recent surgery and just quickly ask your opinion about her medications. 

What you can do when travelling with a gaggle of quacks, is let your hair down and share some really special moments with friends and colleagues.  You can dance wildly at a private performance of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club in Havana; you can enjoy an enchanted evening in a temple in the Cambodian jungle; you can join a conga line atop Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio; make a sunrise champagne toast to your friends after hot air ballooning over the Masai Mara.

And, on a more serious note, you can participate in high quality continuing professional development in a relaxed and interactive environment, sharing knowledge and skills with colleagues.  You may have some remarkable experiences such as meeting Dr Katherine Hamlin at the fistula hospital in Addis and doing volunteer clinics in places like Kenya and Cambodia.

Over the 20 years that I have been organising Unconventional Conventions it has been wonderful to see many hundreds of doctors enjoying these marvellous places and events with a strong sense of camaraderie.