As you may have seen, I had the most amazing time in Thailand. I’ve wanted to do this trip for so long and am so grateful for the experience, but like any keen traveler, I can’t help but thinking: where to next?

Here are some long term (~2 weeks), more expensive trips I have in the back of my mind to take once I pay off my student loans in 70 years. (I drew some inspiration from my Scuba Diving Bucket List post, so check that out too!)

Iceland roadtrip: I have heard nothing but incredible things including from my personal friends who say it’s one of their all-time favorite places. There is so much diversity and I would like to explore it all on this relatively small island. I hope I can go here with my dad and brothers after they graduate next year.

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Photo by redcharlie.

Dive master training: I would like to take a few weeks to get my dive master’s certification abroad. I know a lot of places offer the course for a discounted price if you work at the dive resort so that sounds like a really awesome deal! However, I am not dead set on any particular place to do it in, but Australia sounds most appealing at the moment.

African adventure: I had the time of my life in South Africa and would love to do it again. I would like to see some more national parks, Mount Kilimanjaro, Victoria Falls and scuba dive more on the east coast.

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Photo by AJ Robbie.

Galapagos Islands: Another big scuba diving trip I would like to take is to the legendary Galapagos Islands. They are well-protected so trips are quite expensive, but I can imagine seeing all sorts of endemic species and habitats untouched by human hands will be well worth it.

Machu Picchu: I hate camping and am in no shape to hike such a long distance at the moment, but I’m determined for it to grow on me before I take this trip.

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Photo by Eduardo Flores.

Live in another city (or two) for at least a month: When Jeopardy! record-breaking champion James was asked what he plans to do with his prize money, he said he wanted to travel around the world for a year but live in each city for a month to really soak in the culture, which sounds like quite the experience to me! I’d like to live in Edinburgh, Paris, Berlin or perhaps New York for an extended period of time to get the most of some of my favorite cities.

Finally, as an honorable mention, I am still on the fence about an Antarctica trip. It would be cool (pun intended), but nothing I feel I need to do at this time. Who knows, maybe living in Alaska will spark a love for remote work in the cold and I’ll land a job with the British Antarctic Survey or something and get there for free.

What big trip would you like to go on?

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Here are my top five blog posts of the month:

  1. 7 reasons 2000 Tress is the ideal first festival: A lot of my UK friends went to this lovely festival this weekend and I’m so jealous. I really don’t fuck with tents, but for this festival, I might make an exception.
  2. 10 best audiobooks: This post is so well thought out and really defends why these books are better as audiobooks than read books. I also recommend The Woman in Cabin 10 as a book that has a great narrator.
  3. 8 great day hikes in Scotland: From what I’ve seen, Scotland is gorgeous and would love to really take my time to explore more of it.
  4. 10 places in Iceland you cannot miss: I hope to make Iceland one of my next “big” trips, it looks so lovely.
  5. The most scenic hikes around the world: I really want to learn to like being outdoors more as I travel, destinations such as these would give me a reason to sleep on the cold, hard ground over a comfortable bed.

Science, sustainability and veganism

Travel destinations

Lifestyle

Entertainment

Photo by Andrew Knechel.

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Here’s how my goals for spring went…

  • Work 15-20 hours a week at my part-time job: I pretty much got that at my movie theater job, no matter how much I hated it.
  • Stay away from the snacks at work: I did okay with that. Maybe ate on half my shifts.
  • Secure a full-time job: Yes! As you reading this I’m training for my new fisheries biologist job in Seattle.
  • Hike once a month: Nope. I did manage one hike in Sycamore Canyon, but not much else.
  • Visit one new southwest state/ park: My cousins and I visited Channel Islands National Park for a day hike on Santa Cruz!
  • Read three books a month: I’m proud to say I’ve been more than keeping up with my reading. On average, I’ve reading six books a month this year.
  • Go to the gym three times a week: At first I was keeping up with a routine, but then I got a job…
  • Meal plan and prep: Nope.

My goals might seem a bit underwhelming because I don’t know for sure what kind of time I’ll have with my new, intense job, but here are a few things I hope to keep up with for the rest of the summer

  • During training: wake up two hours before class, use weekends to explore
  • Read three books a month
  • Practice Spanish a few times a week
  • Message family and friends everyday
  • Pay off some debt
  • Stretch a few times a week
  • Apply what I learn in training to do well at my job
  • Blog for half an hour every other day
  • Organize my laptop

Again, I’m no really sure what to expect with my new job and probably won’t know until my first deployment at the end of the month. I look forward to sharing what I can (as I’m recording data to use for government regulations, I can’t give too much away) once I’m in Alaska. I will update my goals at the beginning of fall!

What are your goals for the next few months?

Photo by Ben Dutton.

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Much to my surprise, I got a lot of reading done on my Thailand holiday. Most of it during the 40+ hours of flying I did, but some on the beach and on the boat trip, it was so lovely. If I did nothing except read for two weeks on a boat on a future trip, I’d be okay with that.

As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it
  • (★★): Barely finished it

Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews.

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

415UGa1hIkLRating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, feminism, race, politics

GoodReads rating:  4.40 / 5 (19,200 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Date started/ finished: 1/6 – 7/6

Summary: The author starts by explaining their frustrations with discourse around race from non-people of color and delves into a brief history of how we got here.

Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this read. Short, comprehensible and eye-opening, especially as a former expat of the United Kingdom to learn about their slavery history and civil rights movement.

Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jonny Sun

x510Rating: ★★★

Genre: Graphic novel

GoodReads rating: 4.06 / 5 (25,300 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Date started/ finished: 7/6 – 11/6

Summary: “The illustrated story of a lonely alien sent to observe Earth, where he meets all sorts of creatures with all sorts of perspectives on life, love, and happiness, while learning to feel a little better about himself—based on the enormously popular Twitter account.”

Thoughts: It had a few cute bits, but not “wow”. The spelling also really annoyed me. I still love Jonny’s Twitter, though!

Educated by Tara Westover

81WojUxbbFLRating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, memoir

GoodReads rating:  4.49 / 5 (325,800 ratings)

Medium used: E- book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Date started/ finished: 11/6 – 19/6

Summary: Growing up, the Westovers valued God and preparing for his impeding rapture above all else. Tara had never step foot in a school or hospital or even had a birth certificate until physical and emotional abuse forced her to change her quality of life by fighting her way into university.

Thoughts: This book is so interesting. I was very intrigued with her life and how going to university helped her look inwards and make amends with her family. There were some parts that were hard to read, but I really appreciate the author’s bravery and candor sharing her traumas. However, there were some parts that seemed really hard to believe, such as somebody with no formal education getting into a university with a 50% acceptance rate and graduating with honors. Obviously, it’s true, but I wish she detailed a bit more of her academic struggles once she got to school.

Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley

51EobVielcLRating: ★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, essays, humor

GoodReads rating:  3.75 / 5 (4,500 ratings)

Medium used: Paperback purchased from Antigone Books (Tucson, Arizona)

Date started/ finished: 21/6 – 24/6

Summary: “[C]ollection of essays filled with her trademark hilarity, wit, and charm.”

Thoughts: This was readable and short, but no essays were particularly memorable to me. I’m glad I tried this new genre though and am still open to trying more essays, even by this author.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling

818qWkHcICLRating: ★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, science, politics

GoodReads rating:  4.37 / 5 (46,500 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (bought via Amazon Kindle app)

Date started/ finished: 24/6 – 25/6

Summary: The late Hans Rosling explains why we think the world is wore off than it really is, explains how global trends are changing and how to examine our own understanding of the world for fact.

Thoughts: I had a few issues with this book. First of all, a lot of this book seems like a massive pat on the back to himself and sometimes comes off as arrogant, saying all the TED Talks he’s given, all the awards he’s been granted and how much more he knows than everybody else. As a professor, he also took his students on what I can best describe as “field trips” to gawk at the way people in lower-income countries live, like animals at the zoo. I understand that the author was trying to convey that the world is getting better in terms of healthcare, poverty, quality of life, education, etc., but sometimes it seemed like the author was trying to say that everything is fine and we shouldn’t worry and these problems will sort themselves. Despite these few paragraphs that made me uneasy, my favorite parts about this book wasn’t regurgitating data, but the parts that taught me how to think and read statistics rather than what to think. A very interesting resource created by the author and his family is the Gap Minder.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

the-woman-in-cabin-10-9781501132957_hrRating: ★★★½

Genre: Fiction, mystery, thriller

GoodReads rating:  3.68 / 5 (266,000 ratings)

Medium used: Audiobook (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Date started/ finished: 2/7-3/7

Summary: When travel journalist Lo Blacklock sees something dodgy on the maiden voyage of the lush and exclusive Aurora, she tries to find out what happened and who could have done it?

Thoughts: Sorry, I know the summary is really vague, but I don’t want to give anything away. The cons about this book was that it was slightly predictable at a point, but only because I feel like a few things about the plot have been done before. I also feel like the author held your hand through the book, reminding you what happened every step of the way. However, that didn’t make it any less exciting, I even audibly gasped at a few points. The isolated setting gave it a slightly And Then There Were None feel. Finally, the audiobook narrator (Imogen Church) was amazing. I went into this book knowing I probably wasn’t going to love it (as far as domestic thrillers go, Gone Girl cannot be beat), but I enjoyed it enough.

Other adaptations: Rumor has it there’s a film in pre-production.

Photo by Radu Marcusu.

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During the first week of June, I finished my horrible movie theater job (good riddance), spent time with my family, including making the annual trip to the Pasadena craft market with my grandma, and preparing for my new job in Alaska that starts next week (read more about it here).

As you might have seen, I spent a wonderful two weeks in Thailand this month with my youngest brother, Ryan. I don’t want to make myself redundant, so here are the posts:

Bangkok

Ko Pha Ngan

LiveAboard: Phi Phi Islands

Phuket

The day I got back from Thailand, my boyfriend Diego also arrived for a two-week visit. We have been playing tourist around L.A., visiting Zuma Beach, Universal Studios (I loved Harry Potter World), Hollywood (including Amoeba Records, Museum of Death and Griffith), Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and downtown L.A. For his birthday (which was on the 28th), we went go-kart racing (he won by 0.06 seconds) and saw a rooftop movie in Hollywood (The Big Lebowski, always laughs). We are leaving for my hometown today and look forward to enjoying a chance of pace.

June In Review 2016 || June In Review 2017 || June In Review 2018

What I’m listening to: The Goat by Puppy, Chon by Chon, Social Hazard by Lotus Eater, The Aquabats vs the Floating Eye of Death! by The Aquabats, Why Do They Rock So Hard? by Reel Big Fish, Cuz I Love You by Lizzo, The Skeptic by Tilian

What I’m watching: Hot Girls Wanted, Black Mirror (season 5), Period. End of Sentence, Zombieland, About Time, Catch Me If You Can, Our Planet

What I’m reading: The only Reading Wrap-Up post published this month was #09. I’m about 5 books/ 1 post behind schedule for my reviews!

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