“So who is this gal going through a 180 in her life” you ask?
I’m Danielle, also known as D by friends or Nellie by my family, but I go by Danielle by pretty much everyone. I graduated from UCLA in 2016 with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences…quite the mouthful. But I love the ocean! In the real world I work as a field biologist and have a few species under my belt like tiger salamanders, steelhead trout, and my personal all-time favorite…sea turtles (Hawksbill and Green sea turtles so far but I’m going to add to that list)! And that’s how all of this started. I knew I wanted to work with sea turtles since graduating from UCLA and despite applying for position after position, I never got accepted. Until I did. In St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands! Driving to the airport to leave LA, I was a mess of emotions. I was so excited to be having this experience but I was also terrified. This was the furthest I had ever been from home, for the longest amount of time, and I was leaving my loved ones….but it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Leaving St. Croix to come back home was a whole other set of emotions. I wasn’t ready to come back to the same ol’, same ol’ that LA was for me. I wanted to be with the people that I had in LA, but at that moment in time the city lost its sparkle for me. I truly love Los Angeles, but for now I need something that LA can’t give me. And that’s a new perspective. New experiences in new places. New conversations with new people. So I stopped making excuses. I booked my tickets and will be traveling on my own for the majority of 2019.
Fun Facts about me!
- I’m vegetarian and plan to maintain that for as much of my travels as possible. I chose to go vegetarian on New Year’s Day in 2015 because food choices are one of the largest impacts you can make to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Here’s a quick article by Scientific American touching on environmental impacts of meat production, I will make exceptions for dishes that will enrich to local economy (e.i. locally raised, locally caught, if I am with a host who made the effort to prepare me a local delicacy) but I will stick to my meat-free diet otherwise.
- I am bringing a sketch pad and travel watercolor kit along with me. Art is something that I love but I’ve let it go by the wayside for too long so I’m making a commitment to change that.
- I’m trying to learn Spanish! I’m Mexican-American who grew up with no Spanish at home and that is something I’ve struggled with as part of my identity. I feel a disconnect from my Mexican heritage – I’ve never been to Mexico even though I have family there, but thats about to change since it is the first stop on my international travels!
- I don’t like coffee….sorry ’bout it. Just never got into the taste. I do LOVE tea though so I will still be able to lend some recommendations on coffee shops or cafes that I come across. Also dessert, that is definitely going to be a thing on my travels *queue heart eyes*
- Chaco’s are my footwear of choice waaaayyyy more than they should be. Like I wore them to a fancy dinner my last weekend in St. Croix. I was wearing all black, they were also all black, totally acceptable….right? You’ll be seeing them on my feet in pictures so get ready.
- I have a Canon Rebel T6i and a GoPro Hero 5 that I’m bringing along with me on travels. Check out my Instagram or my Gallery for more photos that I’ve taken.