Hello, world! (Travis)

Since this is my first post on this blog, I think it’s the right time for a bit of an intro. So, here goes.

I’m an aerospace engineer by education. But I’m a whole lot more than that by lifestyle and hobby. I’m a mountain biker, road cyclist, a climber, a mountaineer, a backpacker, and a budding triathlete. I’m an environmentalist, a conservationist, a liberal, and I recycle. I love animals, I grow my own herbs, and John Muir is my hero. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I’m never quite as happy as when I’m giving my time and energy to an absouletly worthy cause. So, I volunteer.

5 years ago, I studied abroad with a Cal Poly program called Poly at Sea. I spent three months on a 500 foot ship with Cal Poly and CSU Maritime Academy students, touring the South Pacific. Our last stop was the Palmyra Atoll, a small coral island south of Hawaii. The Nature Conservancy has staff on the island 365 days a year, working tirelessly to restore the island to its pre-WWII state (the military effectively destroyed the island using it as a staging area in WWII, as they do.) When I got home, Quincy and I applied to work with the Nature Conservancy on the island. Time after time, they forgot who we were, lost our applications, asked us to resubmit resumes, and so on. To make a long story short, we found that the Nature Conservancy wasn’t our route. (Note: I don’t say that to shame the Nature Conservancy or deter anyone from trying to volunteer with them. They’re an incredible organization, and we should all thank them for and help them with their work. But, it didn’t work out for us.)

So, we started looking into spending a summer volunteering in Australia. Unfortunately, and I think we were a bit naïve, and we weren’t willing to commit to buying plane flights until an organization would commit to hosting us. Of course, organizations that need volunteers generally don’t have the resources to commit to such a relationship. So, those plans fell through as well.

Shortly after, our friend Lindsay applied for (and was accepted to) the Peace Corps, and she got the gears turning in our brains. And so we applied. After a gruelling three year application process, we were turned down. Like the Nature Conservancy, the Peace Corps wasn’t our route. (And again, I don’t mean to insult the Peace Corps. I love what they do, but it’s admittedly hard to place two applicants of different backgrounds together.)

To quell our desires to volunteer, we both started volunteering for an organization in Morro Bay that rehabilitates injured, orphaned, or otherwise distressed wild animals (plug: please check them out, and donate if you can!) What I thought would be a laborious and dirty job turned out to be the arguably the most rewarding experience of my life. I can probably thank the wonderful people at the Pacific Wildlife Center for a good part of the inspiration for this trip. I’m sure my experiences with PWC will be very clear in the coming blogs, so I’ll leave more explanation for later.

But despite our incredible experiences with PWC and our happy lives in Morro Bay, it’s time for a change. Quincy and I both love to travel, and it’s time to put ourselves outside of our comfort zone and dive into the Australian wet (not literally, there’s crocodiles.)

In short, life is awesome, and it’s time for an adventure!


~ by stormcellar on August 3, 2010.

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