Hawaii Project Revisited, 1998 / Back to Free Stuff
MT IN HAWAII!! That's right! Why not set up a nice condo or two in a great vacation site like Hawaii for MTs who are on-line to telecommunicate. They have the lines in now for 800 numbers even though it is a little more expensive. You can then book yourself over there for at least two weeks to a month and all the equipment will be set up for you, basically, so you can transcribe at night and lie on the beach during the day... or visa versa? And not just Hawaii... The Bahamas? Any great place that has a phone set up. The computers will be there, you just bring along your software, load it in and have fun.
Mind you, this will have to be a "working vacation". But get this, you pay for your own expenses and plane fare, but since you're going over too, uh....hmmm! WORK... IT'S A TAX WRITE OFF!!!!! The whole trip. And you all know what problems MTs have with taxes and writeoffs!
It will brighten up our day and give us a break and we can still work while we're there. Perhaps a major MT service will set something up for their own transcriptionists who might be alone and want a vacation. It can be an incentive for high producers and a vacation at the same time.
The idea is that you can work full-time but while you're there, you'll have time off to visit the islands, do what you want on your spare time. Anything can be worked out, i.e. work for three weeks and use the condo for one week if you would like. I think it is a great idea, especially for loaners. If enough people are interested, maybe one of us...(hmmm...) can move over there and set it all up in a great place with your own bed and bath or even a separate office and private accommodations, etc. I think it is a great idea.
ANY CHANGES OR MODIFICATIONS? Let's have fun! Let's face it , it's hard enough doing this work and we all need more incentives! We're coming together as a group now and you know we can afford it and need the writeoffs. Besides, I used to live in Hawaii and it's fabulous....
THE PERFECT "WORKING VACATION"! Let's kick this around and see what we can come up with. I'm ready to go! HAVE KEYBOARD, WILL TRAVEL!!!!
Vacation transcribing in Hawaii! what a wonderful idea! I wish I had thought of that. Actually, it's me again. I lived in Hawaii for years so I'd thought I add some basic concepts to this idea.
BASICALLY, the only problem for just jumping up and going to Hawaii to transcribe for a month or two is a place to say and transporting all your equipment and books and, of course, your CHAIR!!! It's generally not practical unless you're going to stay a long time. Then there's the issue of the phone.
SO ULTIMATELY, the basic "service" would provide these "non- portable items." It will provide you with a desk, a phone outlet, an extensive collection of medical reference books (shared by all) a decent chair and a MONITOR! Who wants to transport a monitor? If your setup is simple and you want to bring your diskettes then no problem with providing for a computer. But a CPU is easy to transport. They are so small now you can bring it in a regular suitcase.
Thus the idea would be to come over with your CPU and your keyboard, pack it well. And everything else will be provided for you to telecommunicate.
A little bit about Hawaii for those who haven't been there! It's PURRRFECT for transcribing. IT's beautiful, it's warm, it's friendly. It will make you WANT to transcribe. There are nothing but high-rise condos and office buildings with views and they have overbuilt them, especially in Waikiki. A lot of condos have been converted to offices.
I would like to see one of these very nice condos converted that will give you a "Room with a View" with your own desk and cubbyhole, a chair and reference materials. You will have 24-hour access so you can work as little or as much as you want. You can take all day sipping on Mai-tais and take breaks on the lanai overlooking Diamond Head. Walk down to the beach during the day and keep pinching yourself to make sure that you're not dreaming that this is all at the Government's expense!
As far as accommodations go, there's every option and combination in the world available! You can improvise all you want. Two or three MTs could get together and decide to stay for three months and they can set themselves up in their own condo nearby or something. If you want to come over with your family, just set up your own accommodations, but the "office" will be wonderful, a converted condo with a view. Even if you just rent your own small room (which could be arranged through the service), the office will have a refrigerator, stove, microwave, etc. in a separate room for you to relax, cook, etc. The rest of the time you can spend having fun in the islands!
Now that's the basic service: A desk, a phone, a monitor, a place to stay(optional) and a place to work with a great view; ALL DEDUCTIBLE FROM YOUR TAXES!!! You can stay as long as you want to. Six months? A year? But you don't have to relocate and move all your belongings over. This will be a lot cheaper than if you live alone because it is EXTREMELY expensive to live in Hawaii. But if two or three get together, $1500 (500 each) can pay for an incredible condo with a view.
THE WORK: Let's face it. There are ten million doctors who dictate to the ten million transcriptionists who do all the work. All the hospitals, HMOs and transcription agencies simply sort themselves out in the middle. Thus a few agencies who never run out of work might be set up to be online and if your company doesn't have telecommunications, you can work for an account over there, whether local or on the mainland. Each case can be worked out.
As far as I'm concerned, since it's TOTALLY, 100% deductible, I see myself going back and forth all the time for months at a time, but I'm single and with no ties, other than to my keyboard and monitor. I think this is a great idea, especially for us loners living at home with our parents who just want to get away but can't afford it but don't have to RELOCATE. Maybe some huge agency will set it up initially and offer the work to transcriptionists who will commit to a minimal line count and to a minimal stay of 3 months + or so. There are just so many options. Experienced MTs only, of course. "50-pack" years or more? I don't see why it won't work.
What's also nice about Hawaii is that you can get out and walk. The moment you step out your door you're in a resort and one continuous shopping center lined by beautiful beaches. So when you get to your BURN OUT point and the psychiatric term for "computer-oriented" begins to apply to you (you'll know when you can't remember how to spell it) -- then just pack up your CPU and the keyboard and get on a plane and take a break with no strings attached, and work where it is warm from a room with a view. Your own desk and phone and monitor are waiting for you. You can sleep on the floor of the office or stay at the Sheraton -- it depends on how hard you want to work. AND THEN....TAKE A BIG DEDUCTION OFF YOUR TAXES! This is a business trip you know. If you're itemizing you can deduct it under travel or "medical" -- any doctor will write you a note saying you needed this trip!
I'm ready to go! Am I being realistic or am I just surfing here? Let's take advantage of telecommunications and the tax laws and have some fun for all those years we've put in.
Julie V. in Alaska-ready to thaw out and melt away on Waikiki or Sunset Beach!
I'm open for suggestions, job offers, sympathy, etc. I don't have any equipment at home but will buy it in a heartbeat as soon as I get a clear picture of what I need. (I'm typing on a 1988 Amstrad 640K that my son bought for 50 bucks -- and the keyboard still has a better feel than my new one at work.) I drive 35 minutes one way, partly on gravel roads, to work every day. Hawaii is sounding real good about now.
Would I be better off to work for a transcription service initially? Not sure how much independent work I could get locally (SE Ohio). Would appreciate phone numbers for good transcription services.
I've been an MT more often than not since 1973, learning mostly on the job, with experience in surgery, radiology, etc. Thanks for any input!
As a matter of fact, if someone wants to "set up" the place; I'd be delighted to manage it for 6 months to a year, relinquishing to another "single" who would like to do the same thing.
Carrying a CPU is really easy - I am housesitting in the Atlanta metro area now and am borrowing my friends' monitor, having brought my Microsoft Natural keyboard and my 'puter - did the same thing last month while I was housesitting for a couple weeks in NC nearer my home. I could do this kind of travel with ease, being single, and really like having the opportunity to visit friends and family I seldom see because we live a distance from one another. If necessary, I would carry my monitor, but it seems that is the unwieldy part of the system.
On another note - good chairs are hard to fit to some of us who have odd backs and" long-term sitters' disease." Such a condoffice might need two or three to fit different physiologies.
I now wonder if anyone else would be interested in the "project"?
I don't want to live over there either, but the change is great. The key is to have been set up with an intercontinental agency that uses 800 numbers. If you have that already, then it is just a matter of a phone. I know you'd love it and what you are requesting is precisely what I had in mind.
As far as chairs and monitors go, that would be part of the service, and to also provide medical reference materials, things that are a pain to pack. Plus you need a good desk. Thus, all the MT would have to pack is their CPU and keyboard (which could fit in any suitcase packed snugly, of course) and that's it. Individual arrangements can be made on an individual basis as far as accommodations and the office-condo is the ideal thing. You've been to Hawaii so you know it's great. A great office with a view, maybe five or six stations for short-termers and a set-up in private condos for those wanting to stay for more than a month.
I think if this gets set up right, there will be more than enough takers and you can make lots of money and have free rent! You're only problem would be trying not to get dizzy by the revolving door of MTs coming over! I'll keep your e-mail address and stay in touch. In fact, anyone who is interested just e-mail me a note and I'll start a list which I will share with everybody else. There is no reason why even some of us can't start pooling together. Remember, the key is you need a hook-up with an agency for this initial phase. Once someone is set up over there, like yours truly, then probably a hook up with more than one agency will be available for EXPERIENCED MT's. Anyway, that's the plan.
Thanks for your reply. There are lots of MTs who have answered and are READY to hop over. I think there are enough people to pull something off. In fact, there is talk of a grassroots conference group going over and really getting hands on on what could be done. This would be a business deductible trip and since you expressed interest in managing, you definitely would be included.
In the meantime (if you want anything done....] and since I brought it up. I'm starting a LIST from my e-mail address until I can set something up on the WEB for ANYBODY INTERESTED. And I'll make the list available to everyone, maybe do a little mixing and matching and maybe some of you can go over real soon. Then you can give us some feedback.
There have been enough responses, I think, that some of you might want to buddy up and go on over, if you can agree on a length of time. Remember, anything over a month and you can basically set things up yourself if you already are working for a company. There are tax deductions and with one or two more people you can rent a fabulous place in Hawaii and have some company.
That's the whole idea. Plus you can pay for your trip while you transcribe. For instance, one person may want to stay three months, another two and another one. But together, you can schedule it right and share the same fabulous condo. The more people you have, the more options you have. As they say in Hawaii, HANG LOOSE!
From Larry: A bio? Are there any samples on your Website. Let's see, there is nothing to tell really, I get out of San Quinton next month and plan to transcribe in Hawaii...what else is there to tell? Transcribing from Prison is a great way to make money!!!
JUST KIDDING! You're right. Formalities. In fact, as far as the Hawaii idea goes, I think it's going to look more like a "tour group" service that matches up compatible individuals and assists them to arrange their individual, tailor-made trips based upon the general resources that register with the service. It really could be done all on-line.
There is always a fine line to be drawn between money and work and your health and certain things, such as grief, have their own toll to take at it's own time.
I'm, male, 46, and have a daughter and a grandson. I have been transcribing since 23 and have a wide background in hospital, Radiology, Ophthalmology, Rehabilitative Medicine. I used to prefer operative reports but now have gotten addicted to ER reports, which are fast and easy and very profitable because their nature allows you to use your macros extensively. I'm single and used to like to travel a lot but have become a home body. I'm a Christian (JW) and specialize in Biblical prophesy and chronology and have been concentrating on the Persian, Neo-Babylonian, and Assyrian periods primarily but this has extended to other areas since another specialty is eclipse-dating. I have an electronic eclipse canon which actually charts any eclipses in the distant past or the future and by comparing these eclipses with ancient sightings it is possible to restructure and correct some of the dating discrepancies for the ancient past.
I used to be a real estate agent but NOTHING compares to the ease and convenience of medical transcription. I work for a large agency so I can call my own shots and create my own schedule (two agencies, actually). I'm truly the personification of FREELANCE. I've worked in Texas and California for the same ageny so I know how great it is to telecommunicate. It would just be nice to be a little more portable, but you really do need some bulky essentials, i.e. your computer and monitor and a good chair, your books, etc. Thus the idea of a remote site that would provide those things, even if you rented them and provided your own lodging.
I lived in Hawaii for about 5-6 years off and on and it's the perfect place for transcription, especially single women. It's always warm, a small place and relatively safe (though the world is getting violent everywhere; it's not the place it used to be) but it is one big touist place so you can walk around and relax. It's very at-home transcription oriented, especially since you wouldn't have to depend upon the local economy which is tight and they don't pay what some mainland accounts pay. It's just wonderful over there. You don't need a car, the bus service is great. You can just transcribe all day and make lots of money.
Let's see, what else? I did real estate for a while so I know something about the law and taxes and I self-published two books related to real estate so I have a little idea about what it takes to "perfect" something, that whole tedious effort when you're doing yourself, but what an EXPERIENCE! I like computers and am now learning my way around the NET and the WWW and trying to get a hold on what new ways it can be taken advantage of. I think it's the most incredible new service out today because it puts you in contact with EVERYBODY EVERYWHERE and it's just great. I tend to be very... private. I appreciate my privacy. I used to work in the entertainment business and was around a lot of people and that was a great life for a while but I'm not concerned with that now and have an aversion to the public. I managed a singer whle I was in Hawaii, a transcriptionist who had this beautiful voice but was afraid to go out and sing and since I was performing there I got her her first break in the show I was in and then she went on to sing professionally and she got me interested into singing (I was an actor) and that's just a pasttime. Even though I think I sing "okay" for some reason, I've lost my passion for the stage. I'm much more keyboard oriented. Oh yes, I do play the piano and used to write songs. Research is really my area of expertise and being a MT has allowed me the lattitude to do that. But now my research project is pretty much complete and I'm publishing the results and getting requests to post articles all over the place, including for transcription.
And now, it looks like I'm going to be a travel coordinator for Transcription Hawaii! That's it, basically.
I'm aware that matching personalities is a DELICATE situation. So that's why I suggest that if there is a HOW-TO on going over, who to contact, where to get set, then people can register their name and a bio and people can contact each other, feel one another out, set up their own dates, etc. and then go over. If I were there I know just how I'd set up the service and there would be no problem. Not much is required, but that's another project I hadn't contemplated; it would have to be profitable or compatible with my lifestyle. I love Hawaii, but I also loved Texas and I love where I am now. MUST BE OLD AGE!
Training and orientation time has to be considered for short stay. Ultimately I think it's just a matter of selling the idea and getting the resources together, a couple of participants in Hawaii and people can sort themselves out. It's already happening, someone has a condo (timeshare) and has made it available.
The tax issue can be resolved. As you stated, you can create a conference. I have a friend who teaches Medical Transcription. There is no reason why there can't be an ongoing specialized course offered over that that you and schedule to take if writing this off as educational/seminar is easier. But it must be good if it is making us feel this guilty, right! (laugh) So what, we've earned it.
Thanks for the tip about transporting and shipping equipment. My parents are in Texas with an extra bedroom and I'd love to pack up and visit for a month and work. You know, between trips to Hawaii, right?
The response has been great! Big surprise? Things are already coming together. That is, there is someone who has a timeshare in Hawaii who likes the idea, so. We may be getting close already. Also, some are interested in perhaps setting up a work "conference" to discuss net-related transcription, the remote work station set-up etc. which also would be tax deductible.
I plan on talking with some people in Hawaii and seeing what their working market is like (they may be recuiting and might be interested in setting up a "Temp desk" in their office with an option to do your own work after doing some of theirs. There are just lots of possibilities.
Also I will be talking with an instructor about setting up an ongoing Medical Transcription Related Course that you can sign up for if you go over on your own just for vacation to help write off the expense as an educational deduction. Lots of incentives to go over to Hawaii.
I'll post the details in a few days, middle of next week at the latest. But looks like we'll be asking for SIGN-UPS before you know it. In the meantime, keep the FEEDBACK UP. And thanks for all the replies.
E-mail me with your posts if you need specifics or have questions about "taxes" which is an issue. Thanks.
Just a note. I looks like this "IDEA" of mine is becoming reality and we are about to get serious here. Of course, this forces me to plan an unexpected trip to Hawaii, right? But others are in touch and what can be offered to the "public" in general will be posted, even if it is just a couple of us getting together at a planned time and going over to save expenses. Informal group trips are always an option if we can get synced. I hope so. I'm sure ready to go and save some money.
This service is not about a tax debate but about therapy. A chance to get away and offset expenses, the taxes are optional. The training and education aspects of the trip will help.
Individuals can set up their own trips, but for the possible service I'm thinking it can be structured around an in-house, hands on, month-long "training" opportunity to be exposed to medical transcription and remote transcribing while actually working for a specific company in a supervised environment. That ends all tax deduction problems. The entire trip is completely written off as a package deal. It could be structured around a two-week minimum, one-month deluxe package.
'COME TO HAWAII TO TRAIN' You will be paid for the work you do. What could be simpler? Of course, some of us need more training than others, right? Isn't this just a joke because of some tax rules? But this is completely up front and even "trainees" can come over. I don't know if they will make much money, but...
The other "service" will just be advice, referrals, and "how-to" including tax tips on transcribing in exotic places by phone and even a website can be set up for persons to hook up with each other to go over -- on their own. This is the only way I see this working now. At the minimum it will involve someone having to manage the service and provide training. But someone is already wanting to do this. If this is set up right, it will be a great service.
I also like this idea because you don't have to have a lot of training and it will include those who don't work for an agency who has service to Hawaii. For those with their own accounts, they will be given the opportunity to utilize the phone lines, of course. In that case, I don't know why some specialized courses in making macros, advanced transcription technique, etc. can't be offered, or even a course in medical billing or something. Then you can just book your time over and work off your ticket whether you want to deduct it or not. No red tape. That's the office.
Then MTs who want to come over in groups can be assisted to get a condo and setup and they can transcribe from their condos. That service will be focussed on providing the furniture rentals, desks, monitors, medical books, chairs, etc. for a flat fee or something.
There is a tax consideration and it must be seriously worked out. But if it is your purpose to go to Hawaii to work then you can deduct the trip. The idea of spending at least a month is so that you CAN have a new environment and see Hawaii ON THE SIDE during your REGULAR time off. So it's not a tax SCHEME. It falls under the category of many deductions. But if you're in business at home and you set up another home, even temporary in Hawaii you should be able to deduct at least SOME of the business expenses.
But that is all really ACADEMIC. Here's why. Doctors and everybody else go on educational seminars! They deduct the entire trip and they are always booked in exotic places. They have worked out a pleasant way to do a necessary business function, which is increase their education which is NECESSARY for them to maintain competence in their field. As professional MT's we have the same option.
Thus it is planned that an ONGOING specialized course in some related MT field will be offered to those wanting to go over to Hawaii and work so you don't have to worry about the TAX angle. You can deduct the portion related to "EDUCATIONAL" expenses and the courses will be legitimate and valuable and they will cost you accordingly, but not as much as your deduction for the trip, of course!
In fact....... you can go over on this one for a week and not transcribe at all and deduct part of your trip which combines vacation with education. Ultimately, even if you can only deduct part of your trip or none of it, while you're there you are working and that itself pays for your trip since if you were there for a month and not working you're losing that money. Anyway you look at it, whether you take the full deduction or not, if you can work at while away from home, it's going to help pay for your trip.
But ALL THE LEGAL details will be worked out so that there is no problem and it may be necessary for you to take a course. On the other hand, for those persons who are not working for a company who is hooked up in Hawaii already, a one-month plan to hook you up with a local agency over there will allow you to work if you plan to stay at least a month. Now that is a COMPLETELY DEDUCTIBLE TRIP since it is necessary for you to go there to work for this company, something you can't do from home.
I live in Washington state and would like to propose another work/vacation spot: the San Juan Islands.
It would definitely have a different "flavor" than Hawaii, but it's a great place to unwind and relax. There's no sunbathing on the beach, though. Summertime is pretty hectic, I believe, but we go there usually in October when the weather is still pleasant and the tourists have, for the most part, disappeared. Should we look for a time-share? I think others could propose vacation spots in their region or perhaps their favorite places... we could have MTs vacations 'round the US.
Of course, the other option is to do what I did; call ahead to fill in for maternity or vacation and once you know you have a secure position just go over and get set up. You won't be working from home, but, you're still employed in a resort. You can still bring your equipment and since you're on "vacation" (that is, you'll work for peanuts...) you can easily hook up with a service and freelance too. But again, this takes a very independent person and they are doing this on their own.
The third basic idea is a group getting together to plan a seminar and going over and writing off the trip. Why didn't I think of that! That's your idea, piece of cake! Or MTs who might know each other and who are very compatible getting together and sharing a house or condo and telescribing if they are already hooked up with a national company which has 800-number access.
And, unfortunately, that's it. If someone wants to develop a service specifically for MTs to come over and provide work or something, that can be an individual project, but you can see that's really a bit more specialized.
From Charles Martin: firstname.lastname@example.org
I think the idea of trading homes for vacations is VERY interesting. Especially with people that had basically identical systems. I live in Venice, California. A great vacation spot. Tell me a bit about Virginia Beach?
How would people work something like this out? What about references and that sort of thing? Insurance on one's equipment? Protection from the cost of long distance calling? (Deposits maybe?) This is more interesting to me than the the Hawaii idea....
The original idea to just pick up your CPU and keyboard and hop over to Hawaii, I'm afraid, has run into some snags. It doesn't seem feasible unless set-up by an individual as a personal business operating out of Hawaii. So that PROJECT, as far as I'm concerned is closed. But the IDEA, the concept, is still a good one. You can still get away and go to Hawaii and still work.
WHY HAWAII? Because it is warm there. You don't need a car. Everything in Waikiki is five minutes from the beach. It's just a great place to get a break and transcribe. If you are a single girl, it's relatively safe. There are lots of people and tourists, lots of shopping, lots of great restaurants, lots of cinemas and shows and lots and lots of bars with sweet Hawaiian music calling you away from your computer. It's still a place you can get out and walk and feel safe. That's the appeal of Hawaii.
I really got the idea of going to Hawaii to work because that's what I did. I called up and volunteered to cover for someone's vacation and went over and worked temporarily for about six weeks. I had friends whom I could stay with and it worked out great. So that is an idea for someone to do if they just want to go over for a short time, no less than a month. If you can arrange to cover for a maternity leave or someone's vacation at one of the hospitals, etc. you will have a job waiting for you before you go over. That will take care of those people who don't have telecommunications with a mainland company. If you do have telecommunications, you should know the expense from Hawaii is much higher than on the mainland so you should be prepared for that. There are lots of millionaires over there who have to go on vacation and they always need somebody trustworthy to housesit for them. If you offer a "Pet and Plant" housesitting service they might find the idea that you will be working at home over the phone very appealing since you will be on site basically all the time. That will work out for you too because they just might throw in the rent for a room and phone line for free. Of course, you'll have to take care of their plants and probably a few pets, but you can't beat the rent! That's just another idea to explore.
Finally, everything is cheaper in groups! Two or three MTs who already work for agencies accessible from Hawaii can get together and rent a nice three-bedroom condo (there are plenty over there). Even if each paid $500, $1500 still buys an extremely nice condo! You'd have to pack up your books and your monitors but it should be a great experience.
These are things that anybody can do on an individual basis if you already work for an agency or even if you don't. You just have to be creative and daring. Furthermore, there are several hospitals on the island and, as I said, they need help temporarily for maternity leaves and vacations. They would be delighted to have an experienced MT come in and help out without the complications of hiring another full-time person. You just have to try and call and set it up. But do it in advance.
A FINAL WORD ABOUT TAXES: Check the laws. Business- related travel expenses depend a great deal upon individual circumstances. The appeal of being able to go to Hawaii is based upon the idea that as a MT, you are in demand and can work temporarily while you're there and pay for a nice vacation or you can telecommunicate and don't have to worry about a local job. The experience will rejuvenate you and get you out of your rut if you're a shut-in.
For those who can manage it, it's one of the wonderful things about being
an experienced medical transcriptionist in a modern world where you can
carry your job with you to anyplace that has a phone. Thanks for all
your notes. Maybe those who are still interested and willing to share a
condo for a month or two can just post a note and see if anybody is
interested. Best wishes to all....signing off the HAWAII PROJECT.
P.S. I'll resubmerge someplace if I can find a cheaper server. That is, after I pay this big phone bill. Those message units do add up!!! I could have gone to Hawaii!!! Well, almost.
I think the Hawaii page and project will continue. The idea is already
sold, it's just people putting it together. Maybe one day there will be a
remote resort just for MTS with a guaranteed tax write-off, but that's a
From Debbie Hahn: email@example.com:
To all you Hawaii-goers,
I just had to jump in and say how jealous I am!! Unfortunately, I still have small kids at home and just wouldn't be able to do this - but I'm getting greener with envy every day reading all these posts and picturing you all in Hawaii..... Guess it will give me something to look forward to when my kids are older!
So you can call hospitals over there, or get the Honolulu paper and check for current ads. But here's a warning: They don't like hiring people who are coming there from the mainland right off because too many people just come and go. So look for "temporary" first. Once you're over there then you can do whatever you want. It's obvious you're not hooked up with a national agency but if you were, you wouldn't have to worry about local support, you could work over the phone and just pay the extra phone bill. Dictaphone equipment comes with a recorder so the actual time on line is greatly reduced!