Posts in Mindful Travel
A Love Letter to my Future Sailboat - Week 5 in Tonga

One of my big goals is to sail as much as possible, in the very near future. I’m trying to manifest that with positive thinking and affirmative action. I took a sailing course in the San Juan Islands in June with my family (photos below) and fell even more in love with the concept of harnessing the wind’s energy to spend time on the best thing in the world (the ocean).

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Respecting the Locals: How the Cultural View of Whales in Tonga Has Shifted - Week 4 in Tonga

Another busy week is whirling by, filled with bouts of spitting rain and random bursts of sunshine. The sun is always teasing us, staying out just long enough to dry our towels and our salt-stained clothing before it ducks behind a cloud and we have to run around frantically collecting our laundry before the next downpour.

Island weather, it turns out, is a fickle friend. And I love it! Some nights it’s a bit chilly and we are bundled up in blankets, drinking mulled wine and nibbling on our sacred stashes of dark chocolate while watching movies. Other nights, we’re sweating and draped on top of our bedsheets, wishing for the soft whir of a fan next to our ears and some sort of reprieve from the hypnotic buzzing of the mozzies.

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If You See a Flipper, Tell the Skipper - Week 3 in Tonga

You’re looking at a brand new Master/Engineer Class 6! A.k.a. I’ve obtained my basic skipper’s ticket. I just finished the last stage of my skipper’s course, which consisted of a fifteen minute verbal exam with an officer from Tonga’s Marine and Ports Division. This whole process has been going on since May - I took a three week course in Nuku’alofa on the main island of Tonga with 25 other skippers-to-be. My friend Thom and I were the only two palangis (Caucasians) in the class, and I was also one of two females (REPRESENT). I really enjoyed learning with and being around my Tongan classmates. Everyone was welcoming and very kind!

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Getting our Feet Wet for Whale Swims - Week 2 in Tonga

Things have gotten busier around Sea Change this week! More and more guests are arriving, and a somewhat spontaneous wedding ceremony was held last Saturday alongside a Tongan feast. It’s nice to see some new faces around the property, and with each new group comes more bubbling enthusiasm, different stories, and fresh conversations to be had. I’m excited to meet and chat with a lot of these people out on the whale swims this season. It’ll be interesting to see what their experiences with whales have been prior to this visit. I imagine a lot of them might be seeing whales for the first time? Who knows!

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Moving Off the Grid - Packing Green for a New Adventure in Tonga

There is a crazy new adventure on the horizon! One of my best friends and flatmates, Fi, and I are heading up to Tonga to work with humpback whales for the austral winter. I’m so thankful that for the last four years, I’ve been able to spend at least one season with my favorite cetacean species. Humpbacks are such incredible, majestic creatures to encounter on the water. With their extra-long pectoral flippers, inquisitive eyes, and acrobatic nature, they never cease to delight guests on a whale watch (or make me scream).

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Five Fun Facts About Dusky Dolphins & Why I Think Swimming With Them is Ethically A-OK

I haven’t written in a while and I feel like I want to share what’s going on in the marine world of dusky dolphins! I’d never really heard much about the species before I moved down to Kaikoura (they’re just found in the southern hemisphere) and I thought all my bros and ladies up in the northern hemisphere might be a bit curious about the dolphins that have been an almost-daily part of my life since moving down to New Zealand.

First off, here’s why marine mammals rock: they live in the ocean full-time but they have to BREATH AIR. Do you know how inconvenient that must be? These animals have risen to the challenge with the help of evolution and they are rocking those blowholes and myoglobin-rich muscles like nobody’s business. Eight minute dive for a dolphin? No problem. Me? Dead.

Five Crazy Fun Facts About Dusky Dolphins

1) They are part of the genus Lagenorhynchus, which contains six species total. They all share the characteristics of a relatively short rostrum, stocky body shape, and a schnazzy body coloration made up of bands and stripes in multiple hues. Like rainbow dolphins. Magic.





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With No "Quick Fixes" in Conservation, How Do Environmentalists Find Balance Between Happiness and Meaning?

I’ve been feeling the need lately to share the confusion that’s been going on in my head, so this post is a bit more of a journal entry, with plenty of relevance to eco-living and the challenges we “green dreamers” face. I hope that by elaborating on my own thoughts, I might reach someone else who needs to hear that there is another human being experiencing the same emotions. The world is encountering a new level of challenging times right now, and I personally recognize and feel this more and more as I get older, experience the world further through travel, and engage in more and more inspiring conversations with people from across the globe. We are all handling the challenges (whether they involve social injustice, climate change, pollution, food shortages, and other sticky issues) differently, because we are all unique individuals with our own brains and different wiring systems. I tend to feel most strongly and passionately about the “eco” side of things; that’s just where my heart lies. I still get angry and flustered and hurt when hearing about other issues - but one girl would go crazy if she poured all of herself into too many concerns.

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A Plastic Paradise - Traveling through Southeast Asia with Eco-Adventurer Jen Worth

Plastic in Paradise

As our boat began to slow and we craned our necks to get a glimpse of the island that would be our next stop, I felt a huge burst of excitement. This was why we came to the Philippines and why we chose a three-day boat cruise from Coron to El Nido in the popular tourist area of Palawan. We were promised crystal clear waters, vibrant coral and hundreds of empty white sandy beaches to explore. So far it had not disappointed. 

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6 Reasons to Pick Maui Snorkel Charters for Your Maui Snorkeling Excursion

I’m sure there are plenty of holiday-makers down in Hawai’i right now soaking up copious amounts of Vitamin D, sipping lilikoi-foam-topped Mai Tais, and perfecting the beautiful art of doing nothing. Is there a better time to immerse yourself in total relaxation than Christmas and New Year’s? Shouldn’t the holidays be about stepping away from the craziness of every day life and just enjoying the beauty of existing? Maui happens to be one of the best places to practice this art form - you’ll get the backdrop of waving palm trees and crystal clear blue water while you’re recharging those batteries of yours.

BUT, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself itching to get into the water after a few minutes on the island. And rightfully so! The water around the Hawaiian islands are warm year round and home to many stunning coral reefs and fascinating marine organisms. Coral reefs are About 25% of the fish, invertebrate, and plant species you’ll find here are endemic, meaning you won’t spot them anywhere else in the world. There are several popular snorkeling spots around Maui that have quite an impressive reputation for good reason - there’s also the allure of the chance of spotting a manta ray, a sea turtle, an octopus, eels, spinner dolphins, or even humpback whales!

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3 Environmental Issues to Care About When you Travel to Maui

So I’ve been on an extended stopover in Maui, visiting some very beautiful, kindhearted friends of mine, many of whom I used to live and work with. I am slowly making my way south towards the Southern Hemisphere, but while waiting for some visa paperwork to process, I couldn’t not stop on the most isolated island chain in the world! Maui holds a special place in my heart because it represents a very dynamic time in my young twenties. I moved out here on a whim (and since then, each subsequent move has become easier and easier) to explore what it meant to be a marine naturalist.

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Mindful Travel, Part 4: 3 Things to Think Critically About Before You Buy a Plane Ticket

The world is essentially a global village now. If you save up the funds and are willing to plan, you can almost go anywhere. Formerly remote and untouched places are changing fast because of our “travel NOW” and escapist mentality that is leading us to escape farther, be more epic, get off the beaten track, snap those wanderlust-worthy social media pics. When I was in college, I was constantly daydreaming over travel Pinterest boards and writing quotes about going out to see the world, experience things, discover myself and learn by immersion instead of just through books and articles.

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Mindful Travel, Part 3: A Day Trip to Lady Elliot Island

This past August, I had the good fortune of flying out to a little island north of Fraser called Lady Elliot. Located off the coast of southern Queensland, it is one of the southernmost cays of the Great Barrier Reef and is known for its abundance of sea turtles, manta rays, reef sharks, and spectacular array of other marine species. The moment I arrived in Hervey Bay, I was surrounded by chatter about Lady Elliot and people who gushed over how amazing it was. Literally, I’d be sitting at the office at work and multiple other crew members from different boats in the harbor would bustle by and stop in for a chat, and inevitably, Lady Elliot would come up. “You have to go. That place is insane.”

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Mindful Travel, Part 2: A Balinese Farm Tour and Cooking Class

Let me whisk you away to Bali - the Balinese Farm Tour and Cooking Class is a half-day tour (morning or afternoon) that picks you up from your accommodation in Ubud and whisks you away to a local market in a neighboring village. A guide meets you there and escorts you around to different stalls, pointing out and explaining the local offerings of fruits, vegetables, and various prepared goods.

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Exploring the Meaning of Mindful Travel, Part 1: Choosing Ethical Tour Operators

So what makes a tourist activity eco-friendly - as in, how do you decide if it’s a responsible choice or not? You want to support locally-owned businesses that are not only reducing their environmental impacts, but are using their tourism platform to help local communities and raise support for conservation. Sustainable tourism has been defined by the World Tourism Organization as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.”

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