What does this National Geographic Magazine have to do with some SQUEAAALLLL worthy news?

When I was 14 there were two things I wanted more than anything: to have my own stack of Nat Geo magazines and to be a marine biologist.

Neither of these things happened, but those dreams have lived deep in my cells and in my soul for 30 years.

I’d visit my friend Kelly’s house in 8th grade and throughout high school – and there were two things that ALWAYS happened when we gathered. We’d cook a Tombstone Taco frozen pizza and eat the whole thing drenched in ranch dressing AND I’d head to her parent’s stack of Nat Geo magazines to thumb through the latest issues, or look through the past issues.

I remember going home and asking my parents for a subscription. They gently said no, that we couldn’t afford it (and that was the reality of the situation at the time). So, I lived vicariously through the marine life in the various editions, learning everything I could about marine ecology. I even convinced our local library to give me the back editions. Oh how I coveted eventually having my own stack of magazines in my bedroom.

When I hit my sophomore year of HS, I remember telling my dad I wanted to be a marine biologist. He looked at me and said, “That’s not a good choice, there is no ocean near here.” (We lived in rural Illinois.)

I’ve shared this conversation with my therapist many times – the way my dad was so land-locked in his vision, didn’t think outside the walls of his own comfort zone, and how numerous conversations of this nature have impacted me to be a wild adventurer and explorer of the world at large.

I tabled my dream of being a marine biologist – because honestly there was no one in my small town who could support me to pursue this path or in finding the resources. I went on to be a teacher – and no matter what subject or age I taught, Nat Geo was a part of my lessons and classroom, as well as teaching about the ocean and its biodiversity.

It’s funny how things will come full circle when you reframe your dreams. 

I shared with my travel agent, Natalee, earlier this year about my “lost” dream but with a renewed vision. She went to work searching for me — and last Monday I said YES to the trip of a LIFETIME (for me).

In January, I am headed to the Galápagos for a 14 day ecological tour of the West and Central Islands aboard the Reina Silvia Voyager. I will spend 7 nights at sea, and my days with a Certified Galápagos National Park Service Guide, snorkeling, kayaking, and encountering incredible wildlife throughout the trip. We are even going to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island! We will observe and study marine iguanas and flamingos, paddle through mangroves to spot turtles and seabirds, and swim alongside sea turtles and sunfish while snorkeling, observe sally lightfoot crabs and iguanas on Bachas Beach, and take a wildlife walk in North Seymour to spot sea lions and blue-footed boobies.

I’ve cried tears of gratitude multiple times this past week — this is one of the highest rated National Geographic/Jane Goodall curated Galapagos itineraries and is filled with education!

What’s a dream that has lived in your heart for years? Do you have the courage to re-envision it, and take action, so you can make it happen? 

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