Life and Happiness

My Three Goals for 2018

Happy New Year, fam!

No lie, 2017 wasn’t perfect for anyone. So let’s make 2018 as baller as possible, shall we?

My friend Evelyn (pictured above) and I decided to sit down on New Years Eve to plan our goals for the year to come. We broke them down into three main categories: personal, professional, and physical health. My goals don’t fit entirely into those categories, but they’re close enough. I’m sharing them here because I need to be held accountable – if no one is peer pressuring me and/or encouraging me, I may end up just sitting on my couch binge watching Law & Order SVU and actually saying  “dun dun” out loud every time a new episode begins.

So here we are. My goals for 2018. Continue reading “My Three Goals for 2018”

Life and Happiness, Travels

When You Become the Little People – Part One

Double suspension bridge on the way to Namche Bazaar

I wrote this less than a week after returning from a 19-day trip to Nepal, where I joined seven strangers from the United States and 13 locals from Nepal on a 14-day excursion to Everest Base Camp (17,598 feet elevation). I should start by explaining a little bit about my background: I am 28 years old, I’ve been camping just twice in my entire life (when I was much younger, and I don’t know if I can even count it), and I have lived at sea level since birth (Houston to DC to NYC and back to DC again). That said, I’m very easy to market to, and I love a good Instagrammable moment.

In October 2016, I was browsing through my Facebook feed and I came across a promoted post by a company I had never heard of before – they were advertising a 14-day trip to hike to Everest Base Camp. To this day, I still don’t know what compelled me to click it, but I did. I started looking through the trip description, and since most of my adventure experiences center around warm tropical climates, I thought this sounded like a cool new experience. I had never heard of this brand before, so I did some more research and discovered that one of my favorite stores, REI, also hosted an adventure trip to Base Camp. I impulsively decided to sign up for it. I told my boss at the time that I would be taking three weeks off of work in October 2017 to hike in the Himalayas (one years notice). She laughed (because she knows me), she said okay, and then I paid my deposit to lock into this commitment just a few days later. Continue reading “When You Become the Little People – Part One”

Life and Happiness, Travels

If we can’t understand it, we can’t care enough to save it: Making the case for travel

Exploring new cultures, new foods, and new landscapes helps breed a new level of acceptance and humility in human beings. Hearing new languages and seeing people who dress differently than what we’re used to helps remind us that there is not always a right way or wrong way to do things. Travel leads to understanding. It has the ability to break down communications barriers and preconceived notions of fear or hatred.

I try to spend many of my adventures in tropical destinations where there are large populations of sharks for me to swim with and learn to understand – the ocean is where I find that I’m able to be most at peace and stress-free. It’s also where I feel that I have the best chance of contributing to conservation efforts. It’s no secret that plenty of people are terrified of sharks, and who can blame them? Did you know that less than 1% of the world’s population has ever been scuba diving? Dr. Sylvia Earle, one of my personal heroes, once said “knowing is the key to caring, and with caring there is hope that people will be motivated to take positive actions. They might not care even if they know, but they can’t care if they are unaware.” Of course she was referring to oceans in this specific instance, but I think this quote stands true for all areas of our lives. If we don’t experience other cultures and engage with people who aren’t like us, we’ll never understand the problems of the world, and we’ll definitely never feel fired up to fix them. If we don’t experience it or see it, we can’t understand it. If we can’t understand it, we can’t care enough to save it. Continue reading “If we can’t understand it, we can’t care enough to save it: Making the case for travel”

Life and Happiness, Travels

Preparing to hike to Everest Base Camp

Jenni Lee and I rocking our hiking boots in Arizona

If you know anything about me at all, you know I’m a water person. More specifically, I spend many of my vacation days scuba diving with beautiful sharks in warm tropical waters.

Another thing you should also know about me is that I’m extremely easy to market to!

Last October, I came across a Facebook advertisement in my feed that promoted an adventure trip to Nepal, hiking to Mount Everest’s base camp. It piqued my curiosity, so I clicked through to the link. As I started reading about this trip, I decided it looked like a lot of fun (and definitely an adventure that would be out of my comfort zone).

I signed up almost immediately. In October 2017, I’ll be venturing to Nepal with REI Adventures to explore the Himalayas!

Continue reading “Preparing to hike to Everest Base Camp”

Shark Diving, Travels

Travel Days Before Dolphins in Bimini

Photo by Paul Spielvogel (@SharkImages)

I’m super excited to join up with some of my diving buddies from around the world this week in Bimini, Bahamas. It’s my first trip without my dad as my dive buddy, so I’m sad that he won’t be here for this one, but he’ll definitely owe me one for making me come on this trip solo. I’ve got my passport, my GoPro, and my mask/snorkel/fins in tow, so as long as the weather holds out, this trip should be fab. I’m going to spend one night in Miami with some fam, and then tomorrow morning I’ll head off to Bimini to meet up with the group.

This time, we’re swimming with dolphins! I’ve never seen dolphins in the wild, so I’m so stoked to see them in their natural habitat this week.

I’ll be stealing my dad’s Instagram account this week to cover the trip – you can follow along at @SharkImages, or follow our fearless group leader at @SDMdiving. Please expect plenty of sunsets, sunrises, stupidity, adventure, dolphins, possible footage of seasickness, and nerding out over conservation efforts. Continue reading “Travel Days Before Dolphins in Bimini”

Shark Diving, Travels

Happy Shark Week!

June 26, 2016 kicks off Shark Week 2016 on Discovery Channel!

As a shark diver and ocean enthusiast, I love this week. I don’t necessarily love it because of the  programming – I think some of the shows sensationalize the idea of shark attacks and make sharks appear more dangerous than they really are – but I love it because it puts sharks in the spotlight and provides an opportunity to elevate the conversation about sharks needing our help.

Here’s how you can take action for protecting sharks: Continue reading “Happy Shark Week!”