I moved to Chicago almost seven months ago, and I’ve found many Midwest stereotypes to be true – the people are very friendly, the winters are very cold, the food is crazy good, and the beer is even better. But one stereotype – that the Midwest won’t suffer any severe consequences of climate change – is completely false. While we don’t have hurricanes, and live right next to the largest body of fresh water in America, the Midwest is not exempt from climate impacts – and has plenty to worry about as Earth warms.
During the second half of July, I headed to Chile’s beautiful southern lake region, about halfway between Santiago and Punta Arenas. An inspiring landscape of volcanoes covered in snow, rushing turquoise rivers, green coastal cliffs, and deep blue lakes, it was my first taste of a very different Chilean landscape. I’ve been learning and talking a lot about how many different ecosystems Chile has along its 4,000-km length, but it was amazing to experience it first hand. In my two weeks south, I explored the outdoors, learned about the history of the region, discovered more about my family heritage, and got a taste of the culture of the south. Continue reading “Chile Part 3: Two Weeks South”
After spending the first week of our Brazilian vacation in Bahia, we headed to the interior of Brazil, deep into the Amazon. We flew at night to Manaus, Brazil’s westernmost large city and home to 2.5 million people, and all we could see on the way there was blackness. Even during the night, it was easy to tell how dense and enormous the Amazon was, despite the huge amount of deforestation that is going on. Continue reading “Making Friends in the Brazilian Amazon”
Last spring, I was living on a tall ship that was sailing from Tahiti to Hawaii. On the way, we stopped at Christmas Island, which is part of the nation of Kiribati. While there, we let off two members of our crew so they could fly back to California for other obligations while we continued on our way. Christmas Island is in the middle of nowhere, so they were the only passengers that got onto the plane. Well, the only human passengers. As our friends told us later, they were joined by hundreds of crates of tropical fish. Continue reading “Where Did Your Pet Fish Come From?”
Last Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend Bryant and I decided to break from the traditional dinner-date-and-roses thing and give ourselves an adventurous trip instead. Since neither of us had visited Mexico in years, we headed south to Cabo, but not for the sunbathing and relaxed vacation that many go there for (and I’ve enjoyed in the past). We were in Baja California for four days, and our primary motive was to see two magnificent creatures: a whale and a whale shark. Continue reading “A Mexican Valentine’s”
Last week, my dad, sister, and I visited our cabin in southwest Montana. It was my first time at the cabin in six years, but it felt just the same: peaceful and quiet, and like time was standing still. Our cabin is super rustic – we call it “glamping”, glamorous camping – and we like it that way. Getting up our driveway alone requires half an hour and a four-wheel-drive, and the cabin itself is completely off the grid. There’s no electricity, no running water, and a composting toilet that we affectionately call “The Throne”. The only sounds you can hear from our little corner of the wilderness are the birds chirping, bees buzzing, and an occasional mooing cow in the distance. Continue reading “Montana Pioneers: Miners, Spruce Trees, and My Father”
My Palau adventure has sadly come to an end, but I had an amazing last week in this beautiful place. I was in Palau for a 3-week research seminar on coral reefs, and if you missed my first two posts about this trip you can read them here and here. We were hosted at the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), Palau’s top research institution, which also runs the Palau Aquarium. It was great to meet PICRC’s CEO Yimnang Golbuu and interact with many of the researchers there. The seminar was taught by two Stanford faculty members, Rob Dunbar and Stephen Monismith, and a faculty member at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Bob Richmond. Continue reading “Palau Part III: The Traveler’s Dilemma”
I recently went on a hike with my good friend Meghan Shea to the Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space. It was about a 35-minute drive away, and the fresh morning scent of the forest was exactly what I needed to recenter myself. When you’re living in the suburbs, it is so easy to forget about the incredible natural places that are just around the corner. Even though school keeps me insanely busy, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to make more time for nature. Continue reading “Recent Redwood Reflections”