This is 2019
Updated: Sep 26, 2019
A review of my year so far and a sneak peek into what I have planned. It's a long one, sorry.
Let's go in order, because otherwise I'll just ramble. I am thankful to have travelled far, and to have lived outside under the sun as much as possible.
New Year's Eve 2019 found me in Chile with my family, a few days away from a ten-day road trip with my sister through the Patagonia region. Pictures galore, but I'll refrain myself to just one. I saw a glacier for the first time in my life, I experienced the Southern Ocean winds as I was driving our little van across 2000 km of Chile and Argentina, and I hiked one of the most stunning 12-mile hikes I've ever seen. Jaw-dropping scenery left and right, but a whisper in the back of my mind told me I could see places like this much closer to home. "Yeah, this is cool, but Yosemite is just as cool and you haven't been there in years!" or, "Is the carbon footprint really worth this?". Ideas I'll likely discuss later on in my blog.
I called Walnut Creek home for the beginning of the year. I worked at the pool where my grandpa used to swim his laps, and I lifeguarded for the same aqua-size class that my grandmother used to be the social butterfly of. They remembered her fondly and working there made me feel close to both of my grandparents.
In April I turned 24, a rather awkward age that I am classifying as the beginning of my 'mid-twenties'. Weird. I celebrated by visiting Pinnacles National Park, which is a quick 3-hour drive away from the San Francisco Bay Area, and a place that I had never heard of. The park is known for its help repopulating the California Condor. We think we saw one while we were hiking around, but it might have just been a big turkey vulture. Who knows.
The end of April was Earth Day! I started this website a few months earlier and hoped to have it up and running by Earth Day 2019 in order to start generating followers. BUT. That didn't happen. Either way, I reached out to my two yacht clubs to organize trash clean-ups. We picked up around 400 pounds of trash! See the story in the Earth Year Stories tab.
May saw me pass my US Coast Guard Six-Pack Captain's License test and fly to the Caribbean to work as a sailboat captain with kids for the summer. BroadReach is a US-based company that has programs all over the world for middle school to high school students. The Caribbean portion is based out of St. Martin, in the Leeward Islands. We lived on catamaran sailboats all summer and I worked alongside dive instructors and marine biologists to help the students pass their PADI open water diver courses, learn about the ocean, and about living on a sailboat. I learned a lot about the dive industry, and about catamaran sailboats (and how dependent they are on their engines). My coworkers were all incredible people and I hope to meet many of them again in the future.
August added another national park to my collection, namely Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah. I also purchased my first national parks annual pass and am excited to find excuses to escape from my life to go camping and hiking as much as possible. Canyonlands has three distinct sections, and we spent most of our time near 'the Needles' – beautiful geologic features that had my not-so-inner nerd going crazy every time I saw some cool stratigraphy.
Now it's September and I'm all moved into my graduate student housing on campus at UC Irvine. I'm starting a five-year doctoral program on Thursday! I'm joining the Earth Systems Science department here on campus and my research will focus primarily on oceanography. For my scientist friends, I hope to use paleo-climate data to constrain the evolving global thermohaline circulation since the LGM. Basically, I'll be spending most of my next five years behind this laptop.
The next few months will see me starting my first year as a graduate student, mostly focused on taking classes and getting immersed in the Irvine culture. I hope to keep the website going, to fill it with lovely stories and facts, so that its eventual goal of being a resource for change-makers in 2020 can be realized.
Lastly, in December of this year, I will be joining the phenomenal group of women over at eXXpedition (www.exxpedition.com) as they embark to sail around the world. I will be joining them for ten days, as the boat sails from Aruba to Panama, to participate in a plastic awareness campaign as well as onboard micro plastic research. The trip cost me a bucket-load of money and I would love any sort of financial help from all you lovely readers who made it all the way to the bottom here. Exxpedition was my inspiration for starting this website and is my small contribution to trying to make the world a better, healthier place. I am extremely excited to be joining them at the end of the year, to meet more like-minded women, and to participate in such an enormous effort. It will be an incredible end to my travel-filled life-changing year, thank you for reading about it!
Link to the fundraiser for eXXpedition:
Peace, love, and sunshine. ✌🏼💙☀️