While growing up in Idaho, I mainly stayed in my home state. I also spent 8th grade through undergrad in Washington, so I hail from the Pacific NW, which is already pretty awesome. I’ll get to the fun places I’ve been, but first, some examples of the beauty where I’m from.
Somewhere in Seattle that really does look like Twilight
The view from campus to Mt. Rainier
Me being one with nature
Actually camping on Mt. Rainier
The trail I always used to jog on less than a mile from my old apartment
Despite not having traveled much before the end of college, I’ve managed to get to some pretty cool places in the last few years. So far, the most unexpected was Australia, where we went to Melbourne, Cairns, and Sydney. We found our favorite koala and wallaby, which I really wanted to shove into my suitcase and take home with me. The prettiest views we had during the trip were on the Great Ocean Road in Melbourne, while flying over the Great Barrier Reef, and while hiking through the Blue Mountains near Sydney.
I went to the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE) Conference in Dublin over the summer, and the conference was amazing for population genetics! I got to hear about some fascinating work and meet awesome people. I also got to hang out in Dublin, which was pretty amazing. We saw Trinity College, went on a James Joyce walking tour of the city, and spent a fair number of hours in the Temple Bar district. I stayed in an Airbnb place that I found very close to the conference center, which was pretty awesome! Brenna, the postdoc that I was supposed to share the place with, had massive travel issues and ended up not being able to make it unfortunately, so I had the whole place to myself. I also went on a run to Phoenix Park, which was super beautiful (much like the rest of the country)! One of my favorite points was Kilmainham Goal, a jail where they kept prisoners during the famine and disease spread everywhere. It was very cold and exposed on the inside. My dad is a deputy warden, and it was interesting from a security perspective how exposed the staff had to have been. Nonetheless, very cool on the inside! Another obvious favorite was the Guinness factory. Everyone is right when they say that Guinness tastes way better in Ireland.
After the conference, a couple girls from Stanford and I rented a car and ventured off to the west coast to see the Ailwee caves, the Cliffs of Moher, and Galway. As the resident driving expert (both of the girls were from NYC at some point), I took to the left side of the super narrow road and managed the roundabouts and mountains. The city was OK, though we had some issues getting out of Dublin, and it turned out that one street that I thought must have been a one way based on narrowness was not. That freaked me out for a second.
We were all super excited to get to Ailwee caves and explore everything. We saw cave bear bones and stalactites and stalagmites that were thousands of years old! They fail to advertise the beautiful views of the Burren from Ailwee Mountain. The hills looked purple when we went by them because of the limestone. It was strange to see bald green hills. We finally made it to the Cliffs of Moher and saw the beautiful view of the greenery and the castles. We walked for a while along the cliffs and enjoyed the beauty. Unfortunately my allergies took over and I had to go back to the car before too long. Overall, it was an awesome trip in a beautiful country with lots of fun sites to see.
Cabo San Lucas
My younger cousin graduated from high school, and since I’ve sort of been adopted into their family for travel adventures, we all went to Cabo to celebrate! We rode on some banana boats, walked down the beach, ran in the ocean, took a sunset cruise where my aunt danced with youngins like there was no tomorrow, and enjoyed the sites like Cabo Wabo. I caught up with Lauren, a friend I’ve known since 8th grade. The only bummer was when my iPhone was stolen. On the upside, the bf came for a whirlwind 48 hours, which was a bit rough on everyone’s liver. So much fun though! We got to go ziplining. Hothot!
When my cousin graduated from high school, I was graduating from undergrad (UW). We decided to go on a big graduation trip to Maui, which was beyond amazing! We got surfing lessons, to go parasailing, to go snuba diving. (Cross between scuba and snorkeling. You have a breathing line run down from the boat but there’s a tank on your back, so you go down ~20 feet.) We got to see some super cool fish and a huge sea turtle! It was amazing. The parasailing was a lot more peaceful than I would have guessed. We saw some dolphins jumping in the clear blue water around the boat. Overall, it was a blast!
Between undergrad and grad school, I decided to do a 6-week biostatistics program at the University of Pittsburgh with the SIBS program. It was a good change of pace, and I met a bunch of cool people along the way. It was also cool to see another area of the country for a longer period of time than I otherwise would have been able to.
I finally got to see NYC during the fall of my second year of grad school. We were only there for ~48 hours, but we saw lots. We saw ground zero, Times Square, Wicked (off Broadway… so fun!), the Museum of Natural History, went to the top of the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Building, saw the Statue of Liberty (from afar, since we missed our boat), run through Central Park, and saw lots of other cool stuff. Now that we have friends in NYC, we’ve been back to visit them, and it’s been super fun. Love that whirlwind city!