It’s been almost three years since I last posted on this site. In that time, I left Ecuador, started college, went on my first solo trip (!) where I visited Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco, and traveled to New Orleans for Mardi Gras (the perks of having a sister who lives there means not paying for insanely expensive hotel rooms during peak season). Most recently I spent four months living and studying in Wellington, New Zealand, where I was privileged to travel throughout the North and South Islands alone and with friends.
On my way home I spent two weeks in Australia, hiking, diving, and exploring my way through Melbourne, Townsville, the Blue Mountains, and Sydney. Diving the Great Barrier Reef (we saw three sharks! THREE!) is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Going on hikes to see koalas and kangaroos in the wild (because koalas don’t really want to be cuddled by humans and catering to tourists’ wishes to do so by exploiting animals at ‘sanctuaries’ in the name of profit isn’t really something I’m down with) was also one of the highlights. After returning to Wellington to take my last final (studying abroad in university instead of high school means there’s actual study involved, who’d have thought?) I spent a week road tripping and camping my way from Wellington to Auckland in the middle of November. Because I like to fly in the least direct route possible in order to maximize the amount of time I spend on crowded airplanes (all in the name of cheaper airfare, of course), I extended the layover I had in Shanghai from six hours to six days, and spent a week exploring China’s largest city.
I’m incredibly appreciative of the opportunities I’ve had to explore and see the world, but I know that none of this would have been possible without the extraordinary amount of privilege I possess. As a white, middle class woman in the midst of my college education, I’m more privileged than most. Yes, I have worked hard, both in my education and in order to save money to pay for these experiences, but because my parents are in a position to support me by paying for my on-campus room and board, I’ve been able to save almost everything I make and dedicate those funds to travel. I know that not everyone can do the same, especially considering that the U.S. is currently in the midst of a student loan crisis. The U.S. (and world, frankly) is also in the midst of a crisis of humanity, in terms of the president, police brutality, marginalization of women and people of color, and so many other issues I don’t have space to name. I want to talk more on this blog about my experiences, but also about issues of social and environmental justice, including the importance of climate finance, food sovereignty, and security in all nations.
Tomorrow I leave for Copenhagen, Denmark, where I’ll be living and studying with a program called DIS. While there, I’ll be focusing my studies on sustainability, the environment, and food. I’ll also be living in the program’s “Green” Living and Learning Community, which I’m incredibly excited about. I’m looking forward to meeting other students passionate about sustainable lifestyles and having the chance to continue to live my values while abroad.
This blog is going to look slightly different going forward. While I still cook, and will be cooking for myself while I’m in Denmark, I’m not going to have the time to formulate and test new recipes to go along with every post. I’ll still post sometimes about food and what I eat (okay, maybe more than sometimes, since FOOD), but I’ll also be talking about my life in Copenhagen. I’m going to be exploring the city’s vegan, sustainable, and zero waste food scene (there might be a vegan guide to Copenhagen that comes out of that!). Two of my classes at DIS focus on food policy and food anthropology, so those will probably come up a few times on here. I’ll be trying to travel a bit around Europe (Norway is a definite as I’ll be there for a class trip with DIS). Currently I have too many places I want to go and not enough time to visit them, but I’d like to try to see Scotland, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Croatia, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. There are others on the list but those are currently my tops (vegan and zero waste guides to European cities, maybe?) And while I’m not living with host families this time around, I still want to try and immerse myself in Copenhagen and Danish culture as best I can, while leaving as minimal an impact as possible on the environment. I’m looking forward to biking the city, trying different yoga studios, discovering a new Kirtan community (mantra meditation can change your life, man), and navigating public transport in Danish. I’m not naïve enough to think that there won’t be at least some culture shock, but here’s to seizing opportunities in spite of that and saying yes to whatever comes my way.
So if anyone is still reading this (besides you, mom), thanks for being here.