Halstatt – an Austrian gem

Back in 2017 on a family trip through parts of Europe I made sure to stop by Halstatt, Austria. I’ve mentioned this in the past, but one way I find really unique and photogenic places to travel to is by searching a country or part of the world and go to google images. It sounds simple, and honestly it really is. That’s how I found out about Halstatt and also about Thun, Switzerland (which I talk about my 3 hour trip there, here).

Hallstatt is a village on Lake Hallstatt’s western shore in Austria’s mountainous Salzkammergut region. Its 16th-century Alpine houses and alleyways are home to cafes and shops; a funicular railway connects to Salzwelten.

thanks google

If you’re after more travel posts on Austria, Switzerland, Sweden or Germany I have a whole tab on my home page where you can find those.

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Halstatt is definitely off the beaten path. From Vienna we took a couple busses, a special train that only goes here and then boat to go across the gorgeous lake.

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It has become more and more touristy, so be worn about that. Although it is most definitely worth the trip if you have the chance. Halstatt is exactly as it seems: isolated, stunning and relatively quiet (if you minus all the tourists). As I went a couple years ago I’m sure it’s gotten even more popular by now. Not long after I went I heard that I think in China they created a town completely based off Halstatt, and I don’t blame them!

It’s just such a photogenic spot with all the ivy filled alleyways and cute shops.

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There is a couple paths to head up steep hills that overlook the whole town – and wowowow.

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It’s one of those places that is so cute and perfect looking that you don’t even think its a real place. I can totally see why so many people flock here to visit.

Although I was just there for a few hours, I can totally see myself wanting to go back and stay a couple nights or something. There were some longer pathways stretching around the lake which I’m sure went past some more gorgeous areas.

There’s just something about a mountainous skyline that just make it so much more fun to look at.

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If you ever end up in Austria or are passing through and are looking for somewhere to kill a half a day, go here. The perfect European experience.

Have you ever been to Austria?

I hope all of you are well! I’ll be back soon with more interesting content. If you’ve read this far I’d love to connect further and get to know more people on here!!!

Lots of love,

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The Best Coffee Shops in New York City

My favorite coffee spots in NYC – so far

As I’m sure you can imagine, New York City has endless amounts of coffee shops, where some are better than others. Even with the amount of times I’m able to take a trip into the city (I’m super lucky that I don’t live terribly far), I still have so many more places to try. So keep up with my coffee journey here as well as on my instagram.

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If there’s two things you take away from this post:

  1. Instagram aesthetic doesn’t always equal quality coffee
  2. If you ever see “Australian inspired cafe” just automatically assume it’s gonna be incredible

Keep reading to see what I rate these spots out of 10.

Coffee n’ Clothes

Noho – 11 Bond Street

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A pretty popular find on instagram with the way you can pick what designer logo to have sprinkled on top of your coffee. I was a bit worried coming here at first, as just because people post about it for its’ looks doesn’t exactly mean quality.

Nonetheless, the barista was very talented and I would totally go back! It was honestly a really good latte.

Coffee n’ Clothes: 10/10 for quality & aesthetic

Ruby’s Cafe

Soho – 219 Mulberry Street A

Northern Noho – 198 E 11th Street

Kips Bay – 442 3rd Ave

I’ve been a couple times (as they have multiple locations) and both times it was suuuuper packed so definitely plan ahead for that!! It is more of a sit down place over takeaway but the food is simple and on point.

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I was so impressed by the hospitality of the staff and how QUICK everything comes out. This is an Australian owned and inspired cafe and it sure shows, in the best way! Australian & Kiwi cafes BLOW MY MIND with how quickly their food comes out and at no cost to the quality.

The first time I went with my brother the server clearly had an Australian accent and she was the sweetest and cared to start a conversation with us. It’s the little things guys.

Ruby’s Cafe: 10/10 for great avocado toast, coffee and quality. The ultimate trio.

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Bluestone Lane

*too many locations to list but you get the gist*

The only real “chain” I’ll mention; it’s also Australian owned and inspired (are you sensing a theme here). With the times I’ve gone here I am always pleasantly surprised with the care their baristas take.

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This spot is really good if you’re in a pinch and haven’t really heard of any other coffee shops around.

Bluestone Lane: 8.5 for consistency and quality

Kaigo Coffee Room

Soho – 120 C Lafayette Street

Brooklyn Heights – 139 Bridge Park Drive

The barista really nailed the micro-foam and as you can guess that is super super important to me. I really appreciate milk frothed to be really light but not too airy – the perfect balance. I definitely want to go back here as it’s been too long.

Kaigo Coffee Room: 9.5 for care & precision

Partners Coffee

Greenpoint – 125 N 6th Street

Greenwich Village – 44 Charles Street

Koreatown – 160 5th Ave

Midtown – 81 E 45th Street

This is one of the few spots in Brooklyn that I’ve been able to try. Not only are they a more well known roaster, they also kill it in the cafe scene; I couldn’t even get a table when I went. This would be the perfect spot to go to if I had some computer work to get done.

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Partners Coffee: 10/10 for quality and atmosphere

Hutch & Waldo

Upper East Side – 247 E 81st Street

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Yet again, another Australian owned & inspired cafe!!! This spot was an even mix between takeaway and sit-down. It’s a pretty small place but there was outdoor seating too (and lots of cute pups)! This is a good solid option if you’re in the upper east side looking for a good stop. It’s not too far from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hutch & Waldo: 9/10, its a good spot but not as good as Ruby’s Cafe in my opinion.

Saltwater Coffee

East Village – 345 E 12th Street

West Village – 126 Waverly Place

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Okay guys, I’m laughing at myself. I don’t mean for this post to turn into all Australian inspired cafes but those Ozzies genuinely slay the rest of the world with their coffee culture.

Saltwater honestly was incredible. It’s a small spot with minimal seating but it’s so bright and welcoming that all is good in the world. Barista’s slayed the micro-foam. Any coffee spot with a flat white on the menu usually is a good sign of quality baristas (as a lot of people don’t know, or care to know what a flat white is).

According to google, “A flat white is a coffee drink consisting of espresso with micro-foam (steamed milk with small, fine bubbles and a glossy or velvety consistency).”

Saltwater Coffee: 10.5/10 for quality, care, incredibleness (is that a word?) & aesthetic

Paper Coffee

Koreatown – 44 West 29th Street

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It’s the ultimate mid-town stop. Great coffee right in the center of a lot. My friends were even amazed by their chocolate chip cookies; so if a nice gooey, warm chocolate chip cookie paired with insanely good coffee is your vibe then this place is made for you.

Paper Coffee: 9.5/10 for convenience and quality

Remi Flower & Coffee

Midtown – 906 2nd Ave

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I guess the best way to sum this spot up is it’s a flower shop first and a coffee shop second. Their coffee was good but in my opinion I felt this place is really only popular because of the instagram aesthetics and stunning flowers. I would still recommend to give this place a visit, but it’s out of the way from a lot.

Remi Flower & Coffee: 8/10 mostly for aesthetic. The coffee was good but in a place like NYC you need to be incredible or it just doesn’t cut it for me. Also it could have been an off day for the barista so I wanted to make sure to mention this place regardless. I definitely will go back to give it another shot.

Have you explored New York City?

What are your top NYC coffee spots?

If you’re on the look-out for more coffee content head over to my instagram or check out some similar posts I’ve done:

A guide to Portland, Oregon’s coffee scene

The 3 things I look for when choosing a coffee shop to spend my money at

5 things you NEED to make the best coffee at home

Thanks so much if you’ve read this far. I appreciate it so much.

Lots of love,

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The fear that no one will read your blog

Why haven’t I been blogging?

On top of nothing exciting happening in my life recently thanks to quarantine, there is the fear that people don’t care enough to even read what I’m putting out.

I’m sure if you’re reading this, that you have been in a similar boat at one point or another (or even now). So welcome to the party!!!

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ok, serious talk now:

Blogging takes a lot more to put together over an instagram caption. It’s not only a platform to express things in more detail, but it requires a lot more planning. I guess that fear of thinking no one actually cares what I’m blogging about stems from the amount of time it takes to put together a post.

I give bloggers SO much credit. They pour so much passion, time and energy into a piece of content that they hope people will care about. But at the same time, you cannot guarantee that people will care or bother to read what you’re typing out.

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Also with the state of the world right now I’m sure the blogging scene is a bit oversaturated.

That’s where I need to make that mental connection that yes, it does take time but am I passionate about what I’m trying to get across?

-for the most part that answer is yes

I guess I just need to tune in more on what’s important to me and what’s going on in my head. All this extra time at home has definitely opened up my emotions a bit so that explains my last couple posts.

I hope all of you are well! I’ll be back soon with more interesting content. If you’ve read this far I’d love to connect further and get to know more people on here!!!

Lots of love,

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Taking the next stop in photography

I’m not a photographer, nor do I have fancy equipment; I admire those that have a great eye for it. I occasionally post content I’m proud of over on my instagram.

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Within the last week, I whipped out an old camera of mine. I wanted to see if myself and my instagram followers could even tell the difference between my Iphone camera quality and my camera. Spoiler alert, they could tell.

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Since then, I’ve been trying to use my camera for more of the photos I’m taking stuck home in quarantine. The camera I’m using that I got maybe 3-4 years ago…. is the Nikon COOLPIX L830 16 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 34x Zoom NIKKOR Lens and Full 1080p HD Video (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer).

I also don’t really use any equipment other than my tripod (which I 10/10 recommend as it comes with the bluetooth remote & also an attachment to use for your Iphone).

Selfie Stick Tripod, UBeesize 51″ Extendable Tripod Stand with Bluetooth Remote for iPhone & Android Phone, Heavy Duty Aluminum, Lightweight

It’s super easy to use and it was super reasonable. Anyway, other than that I don’t use any equipment as I’m just starting to figure it all out.

Any tips? Lets chat!

Mainly, what prompted this, was wanting to create better quality photos for brands and other products that I love. For example, this post where I talk about my favorites, I hope in the future to provide better quality photos to go along with it. What’s funny is when I first started this blog over two years ago, from the start I chose to use my camera to get better quality photos. For example, this post where I talk about some of my travel packing essentials.

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Anyway, kind of a mini blog post here. Get excited for the better quality content to come.

As always, thanks for reading. I’ve been appreciating all the support so much.

Lots of love,

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The Quarantine Tag: how I’ve been spending my quarantine

Recently some youtubers I watch (Carly & Erin) did a video on a quarantine tag, so I thought it could be kinda cool! Also this is a mini get to know me better.

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Let’s do this:

how are you attempting to maintain sanity – by trying to take things one day at a time!

are you quarantining with anyone – yes my family (parents and younger brother)

show & tell: show off anything and everything you’ve made/accomplished during quarantine – lots of puzzles, banana bread, a couple tie dye diys

favorite quarantine meme – the marine biologist in me is cackling

last person you texted – my boyfriend, I said “hiiiii”

last person who texted you – a friend of mine from college, she said “Yes!”

who is the last person you video called with – my boyfriend! we played a ticket to ride (the board game) online together

what are you most excited to do when it’s all over – go to workout classes again (specifically indoor cycling) & coffee shops!!

do you have any quarantine goals – to prioritize my mental health, wherever that takes me

most consumed snack or food – Trader Joes chili lime tortilla roll chips or cookies I’ve baked

what substances are you using/abusing? lots and lots of coffee

what has been the worst part of quarantine? feeling stuck and trapped, and losing a sense of daily purpose

what has been the best part of quarantine? quality family time, and more time to work on my online brand presence

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what is the meaning of life – WOW ok. Um.. at this moment, just to keep breathing.. and I think I can handle that.

if you could go anywhere right now where would you go? – New York City! I’d love to just walk around.

what is your daily average screen time – eee I’m scared….

last thing you purchased – lots of lululemon! If you saw this post my contract with them expires soon so I need to stock up with my employee discount!

what are your most used apps & websites? Instagram most definitely

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last song you listened to? the new song by PVRIS “Gimme a Minute”

best movie or tv show you watched recently – I’m terrible and don’t have the attention span to watch movies or get into tv shoes. I really just watch youtube

whats the last game you played – Nintendogs on my DS (as you saw in my quarantine favorites post) & more recently the app Bakery Story. It used to be my life back in high school.

last google search – something about instagram planning tools (I found an adorable one on etsy if you’re interested)!

last phone note – my last instagram caption

last youtube video you watched? – By Carly & Erin their quarantine tag that this post is based off of

what do you miss most about life before the pandemic? – not being scared or turned off by getting physically closed to people, them thinking and treating you like you have a disease

what is something new you’ve tried or done during this time? – yoga, breath-work & meditation and its been so worth it

are you reading anything good? – sadly no, but i should

what are you grateful for today? my family’s health

where was the last place you’ve gone to that isn’t home? – Trader Joes! I only had to wait in line to get in for 30 minutes so that’s a win.

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what is something new you’ve learned during quarantine? that it’s completely okay to slow down & take time for yourself.

most absurd/ridiculous thing you’ve done during quarantine?

a fear? not having exact updates regarding my masters program

a wish? to let myself live in the present

does anyone you know have/had the virus? – thankfully no

aaaaaand that’s the tag! If you do something similar tag me!

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how to find validation within yourself

Validation: Why do I care so much what people think?

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I’m going to be honest, I have no clue yet. I’m writing this so maybe future me can have a little journal entry to look back on. I am no expert, just another face trying to make sense of all this.

That first statement on its own was hard enough for me to say. For the longest time I was so sure that I didn’t care what people thought and that none of it mattered to me. But at the same time, it’s not black & white.

Yes, I do care what my loved ones think of me. I whole-heartedly do not want to disappoint the people I care about. I crave their approval deep down.

“When we urgently aim to please other people, we’re seeking approval of self from outside sources. And whenever we reach for something in the outside world to give us what we should be giving ourselves, we set ourselves up for disappointment.”

psychology today

This quote hit me hard because I have been living it almost my whole life. I externally seek validation and get my hopes up; this makes me more susceptible to disappointment: it’s that little gut feeling I have when I feel like my instagram followers don’t like something I posted about or it’s the feelings that consumes me when my mom isn’t the happiest with me for not doing my dishes right away.

I am looking for their approval, and I get engulfed with disappointment in myself that I’m not perfect.

I think the biggest thing here is not only a confessional to myself, but a reminder that we are not perfect (cliche but true). Finding validation within ourselves takes time. It’s a long process.

Step One: It all starts with self-awareness.

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But the biggest first step is self-awareness & remembering that you are in control of your own life.It can make us more proactive, boost our acceptance, and encourage positive self-development (Sutton, 2016).

Self-awareness allows us to see things from the perspective of others, practice self-control, work creatively and productively, and experience pride in ourselves and our work as well as general self-esteem (Silvia & O’Brien, 2004).

Positive Psychology

Realizing that we are in control and we each have the power to reset or relearn how we see things. I’m going to start my “self validation journey” with this first step and go from there.

Join me on my journey by hitting that follow button. We’re in this together.

Lots of love,

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber: the ULTIMATE German Day Trip

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the perfect walled-German village in Northern Bavaria, right off the Romantic Road.

Not sure if anyone else does this but when I’m first researching into places to visit, I immediately go to google images and click on the prettiest, most photogenic places. Based off that I find some great options to start.

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When visiting my brother studying abroad in Berlin, we spent a decent amount of time roaming around Southern Germany in Bavaria. One of our stops was Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and yes I found this adorable village from google images.

The village is very walkable once arriving at the train station. It has become a decent tourist stop, but there’s enough alleyways and gardens to escape to and it all makes up for it.

The “walled” aspect of the village is still pretty well preserved. You can walk around most of the perimeter to get good views.

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Endless cute photo opportunities.

cute cafes to have a good morning coffee!

& open courtyards to have a classic German Schintzel.

The town is kind of known for their Christmas Museum and Shop (which we walked by but didn’t go in) & also everyone seemed to be obsessed with these cookie balls?

They looked and sounded incredible but I’m pretty certain they weren’t dairy free so oh well!

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If you are planning to travel around Germany I would definitely recommend Rothenburg ob der Tauber for a classic touristy experience.

Don’t you just love the aesthetic of a European village?

Lots of love,

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The Best Photo Spots in Berlin

A little throwback to a trip to Germany I took just over a year ago to visit my brother studying abroad in Berlin. I did get to travel around the country a bit and see so many gorgeous castles but I was also really impressed with Berlin. Stay tuned because I definitely have a list of my top coffee spots in Berlin as well. I was suuuuuper impressed with their specialty coffee culture.

Okay, back to the photo spots.

Overall, I spent around 4-5 days in Berlin alone so I had some time to venture around. If you’re interested in other European adventures I have them all here.

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The East Side Gallery

Probably the most obvious answer but there are so many gorgeous murals miles down to choose from. Depending on when you go and what murals you choose (as some are more famous than others), you can get a good spot to take photos.

These are some of my favorites.

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Bradenburg Gate

If I’m being honest I didn’t realize that this landmark was in Berlin until I arrived late at night from the airport, looked up, and saw this massive gate.

As this is a really popular landmark, getting a photo can be hard. This is why I decided to take a different angle and get down on the sidewalk. Genuinely a gorgeous site in person; it’s also really stunning all lit up at night.

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The International Spy Museum

If I’m remembering correctly the admission price was kinda pricy but it was a very interesting museum. Lots of interactive portions and puzzles to solve. The lighting overall was pretty dark but they had cool backdrops.

They had this area where you could dress up in “spy clothes” and pick a backdrop.

I was feeling fancy so I even just picked a random wall! wooo!!

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The Streets

Like most European cities, the architecture really lines the streets. Pretty straight forward but it makes a decent photo opportunity.

Coffee Shops & Cafes

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m definitely going to dedicate a whole post to Berlin’s coffee culture but they are some super cute spots. This one (Bonanza coffee) had a cute little window spot.

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In the short time I was in Berlin those are my favorite photo spots. I’m sure there are some great ones that I missed. Check back for more posts on my trips across Germany.

Have you been to Berlin?

Lots of love,

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i tried that trending whipped coffee (but made it vegan/refined sugar free)

I tried this trend a little while ago but it was definitely something different! Basically if you haven’t seen this all over social media its Dalgona Coffee/Whipped Coffee. Theres only three ingredients and it originated in Korea I think.

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All you need is:

  • hot coffee (or I used hot coffee, my favorite coffee right now is Deovcion over in Brooklyn)
  • instant coffee (I used trader joe’s instant colombian coffee)
  • some sort of sweetener (I was planning on using coconut sugar but didn’t realize I was out so I used maple syrup for a more natural sweetener)

All of the recipes I’ve seen recommend equal parts of all three of those things (I did 1Tbsp each). All you do is throw it in a bowl and whip it, or if you’re lucky use an electric mixer! It took a while even with my electric mixer for the consistency to turn foamy and airy.

I used a liquid sweetener which does work but if I used normal cane sugar I easily would have gotten a thicker foam (but you do you). I was curious to see if I could take my own spin on what was going around.

I would say overall this was a successful experiment. You could easily adjust the recipe to fit your dietary preferences.

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Although, the real question is did I actually like it?

To answer it quickly: nope!

My main reasoning is the whip itself (which they say to pour it over some kind of milk and ice) is really potent. Me using hot coffee instead of hot water definitely contributed to it, but mainly it’s cause I never put sweetener in my coffee. I’m use to either black coffee or something like a flat white but I’d have it as is with just the milk and the espresso.

If sweeter, trendier coffee is your thing, then yeah try this out.

Or even if you’re super bored and looking for an easy DIY, then yeah try this out.

Let me know if you’ve tested out this trend and if you liked it below!

Lots of love,

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Moving to Tasmania for Grad School: why Tasmania?

I mentioned I was going to do this sort of explanation post here and this is inspired by my explanation of why I chose New Zealand to study abroad here.

Quick back story: I graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelors in Marine Science (concentration in marine biology if that matters) last May. The last (almost) year I’ve been living home saving up and waiting to head to graduate school to get my masters.

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Okay now that we’re caught up let’s get to why Tasmania out of all places.

The story starts back in October 2018, my fall semester of my senior year of college. About this time is when I knew for sure I wanted to go get my masters in marine research and I sort of had an idea on what kind of research. I sent out emails to maybe 30 different professors all around the world asking if they had any room in their labs for a masters student. Over the course of couple months, probably over 100 emails including circling back to different people, I heard back from a couple professors.

Along the lines of me wanting to move to NZ for a semester (here) , moving to another country or across the world was definitely in the question for me. When researching what professors to reach out to, I was the most interested in the poles (Arctic & Antarctic). I always had a fascination with the colder, more desolate places (hence, me vacationing to Alaska almost every summer with my family growing up). Those areas were almost always the least studied, and had the most questions to be answered. Furthermore with climate change and all that jazz, the poles are going to be the first regions to be severely affected.

I became determined to research in the regions that still had so many unknowns. I want to conduct my own research that will make a difference in the world (cheesy but true).

Okay, so now we know the cold areas are the way to go, but why Tasmania, Australia then?

Amidst searching for professors to contact, and going through insanely cool publications, I came across the University of Tasmania. For those who are unsure (it’s ok if you are), Tasmania is an island state of Australia. The University of Tasmania has research connections to Antarctica.

How much more cold and desolate could you get than Antarctica?

Many professors in their Marine and Antarctic research department have conducted their very own research in Antarctica, and also have contributed to many publications surrounding extremely interesting topics.

More specifically, the interesting topics they conducted research on was seals. I have grown an extreme love and fascination for seals. It grew especially when I had the insane opportunity to be a summer intern up in Alaska and take care of harbor seal pups and sea otter pups. It’s still insane to me that I got to do that as a freshman in college, a time when I was so naive.

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*these are New Zealand fur seals i saw in Kaikoura, NZ*

Anyway, go past me! wooo!! I came across a few professors at the University of Tasmania who did research on seals, sea lions, penguins, etc. all around Australia, NZ, Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic Islands.

Not only with seals, but will many many organisms, not much is known on how they are, or will, cope with climate change (the rising temperatures, increased storms, etc). Which creates an even bigger need for scientists to have some fun in some and figure it all out. Because if we don’t know, or can’t predict how organisms will cope to the change, we could very easily screw up every ecosystem in existence (dramatic but true).

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So long story short: I have been talking with a professor at the University of Tasmania since October 2018 about conducting my masters degree in Marine & Antarctic research alongside her. More recently we’ve determined that for accessibility purposes it would make the most sense to start researching Australian fur seals in my first year of my masters. Then, in my second year of research, depending on the results of the first round of data, maybe include other species too. It’s taken this long to figure out everything because….

  1. If I want to research seals in the Southern Hemisphere (specifically Australian fur seals), their breeding season, aka their most active time of the year, is in October
  2. It makes the most sense to start my degree at the beginning of semester & Aus/NZ semesters are not Spring/Fall they are semester’s 1 & 2. Semester 1 starts around Feb and semester 2 starts around July.
  3. I wanted enough time before the seal breeding season starts to prep my methodology and background
  4. I needed enough time after I graduated from my undergrad in May 2019 to get a student visa and move across the world
  5. I wanted enough time to breathe

*breathe*

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Hence, I will hopefully still be starting my Masters by Research in Tasmania at the start of their semester 2 this coming July. I am planning to research the baseline thermal physiology of Australian fur seals and maybe their heat flux. –> So how they handle temperature changes & heat, how they produce it, how they get rid of it and how they cope with it.

I think this is the most cohesive way I’ve ever explained all this so gold star for me! I hope this makes sense.

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