WWOOF Australia: Day 1

In the spirit of this summer being about risk-taking and adventure, I chose to WWOOF in Australia. For those not familiar with WWOOF, it is an acronym for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Basically, you are given food and accommodations in exchange for farm labor. In addition, you are given a wealth of knowledge of how farms operate and how to incorporate sustainable practices into your daily life.

As someone whose experience is mainly in the corporate sector, me wanting to do this may come as a surprise. Especially because I own more handbags, shoes, and makeup than I can count – I am a “girly girl” who enjoys luxury and I don’t care who knows! However, I am deeply passionate about animals and would much prefer being in the country than in the city all the time. I also care about my environmental footprint and you will find me recycling everywhere I go. With a month away in Australia, I thought now would be the best time for me to take up the farming trade.

Side note: July and August are the winter months so I advise NOT coming in these months! I had little choice in the matter. 40-50F degree nights here aren’t bad to handle for a Bostonian like me though.

Now, let’s get to today’s activities:

Clean up wallaby poop. Someone has to clean them up! The poops are quite small but you have to develop an eye for them because they can blend in.

I don’t mind cleaning up for these babies, especially since they are so cute and it’s so important to their health! Too much poop/bacterial exposure could cause fatal disease.

Prepare and weigh milk powder for baby kangaroos. With milk, it’s important to mention that kangaroos are lactose intolerant! If they have milk like we do, they will go blind. This special powder is similar in smell and texture to Similac that human moms use to feed babies, but is totally different!

The babies are currently taking 500g per bottle feeding, so a scale is necessary to measure (bottom right below container).

Pick grass for wallaby’s. Small wallaby’s have milk like kangaroo’s but the older ones like to munch on yummy grass. I am to pick grass from the bush nearby, every day or two.

Ruby is showing me how high she can stand. She is so sweet, but can be very naughty. She loves nibbling on my shoes.

Cuddle kangaroos. Since these babies are apart from their moms – they are either injured and/or orphaned at the farm – they mainly spend their days in a cloth pouch and held close. This mimics the pouch that mom kangaroos have. The babies who want to exit the pouch cannot walk properly and mainly rely on mom to keep them close.

Not the best photo but earlier in the day when I took this, they still weren’t used to me. They are still learning my smell. You can tell how Jirra at left is in a little sack, cozy with pillows.

All in all, I learned a lot today about farm life and Australian wildlife care – much more than this post is covering. However, in the days ahead I hope to share some of the most exciting parts of this experience.

I will learn more about the wildlife on the farm which includes kangaroos, wallaby’s, chickens, a variety of birds including a a 65-year-old cockatoo, an echidna, platypus, and wombats. I will also learn about composting/how to create rich soil, and how to care for gardens.

I am very much outside of my comfort zone, but loving the lessons I am learning so far.

My Arrival to Australia

For this summer, I chose to spend a whole month in Australia! My mother is a native Australian who has lived in the U.S. for over 30 years (she met my dad at age 18 in Australia and quickly moved to the U.S. after they married). Both of my parents have told me that a visit to Australia requires more than a month to visit “properly.”

With everything there is to do in Australia and with the long flight, my parents insisted that I would need longer than a couple weeks. The problem…how would I ever be able to take this time off from work? Since I am in between jobs, now was the time to take this trip of a lifetime!

Before an extremely long nap after my flight with Milo.

The trip to Australia from Boston is arduous – about 25 hours of time in the air, not including layover time. From the start, my flights with United Airlines were a disaster. My travel over included my itinerary changing, staying on the tarmac on a hot plane for hours, getting off said plan because it was on fire, missing a connection and spending a night in San Francisco, even a bomb square in my terminal.

My plane itself from LAX to Melbourne also didn’t have any TV’s working, or light to read (a 14 hour plane ride). Bottom line: things happen and sometimes everything that can go wrong will. Having a sense of humor is key.

After making it to Melbourne in the morning, I spend nearly a whole day sleeping, eating with family, and then going back to bed for the night. Even with sleeping on the plane, a voyage to Australia takes the life out of you. Luckily, I was had my uncle and his family waiting for me – along with their beautiful cats.

After spending a day resting up, I spent the following day going to local places that were relevant to my mom’s life. The highlight was the church where my parents got married in a town called Ascot Vale.


In addition to light sightseeing, we indulged in a Melbourne favorite: coffee. Melbourne should really be the coffee capital of the world because cafe’s are everywhere!


For the next month I will be covering more Melbourne highlights and gems from traveling, including coverage of exhibits and my life away exploring the Aussie countryside.

A Look Inside the Automobile and Fashion Museum

Every year, I obsess over the Met Gala in New York City and take a trip there every year to check out their latest fashion exhibit. I always thought that this would be the ultimate fashion experience but that all changed this month when I went to Museo Automovilístico y de la Moda (Automobile and Fashion Museum) in Málaga, Spain. With over 200 pieces of haute couture from over the ages, this museum will not disappoint!

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What set the exhibit apart is that alongside the fashion pieces were cars  from the same point in time. Cars and clothing both tell us so much about society – how we are advancing and how we are taking risks, for instance. Due to the pairing of cars and clothes, this exhibit is truly one-of-a-kind and you could pass hours learning about the exhibits.

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I believe this is a Benz used in a James Bond film. Check out the mannequin – can’t you imagine the driver wearing something like this? 

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This car was designed and painted by Sonia Delaunay, cofounder of the the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colors and geometric shapes.

Though these cars look better in person, they are truly unique. They had hundreds, many of historical significance and others of cultural importance, such as a psychedelic car driven by John Lennon. Moreover, they had cars driven by many Hollywood celebrities! However, my favorite part of the exhibit (despite loving cars and cars shows), was the fashion.

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Caught on camera by my boyfriend, in a room entirely dedicated to haute couture. 

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Fashion in the style of Doris Day. 



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This is one case of hats but there was an enormous room filled with hundreds of glamorous hats! It was one of my favorite rooms to explore. 

The fashion on display was completely break taking and these photos, as pretty as they may be, do not do the museum justice. The size of this museum and the quality of these pieces. I strongly believe there is something for everyone in this museum and you can learn more by going to their website: https://www.museoautomovilmalaga.com/en/


Impressions of Málaga

First stop in my travels this summer is Spain. It may sound adventurous but for me, Spain is my second home. My plan was to only go to new places but after comparing prices and considering that my boyfriend/travel companion had never been, I knew I wanted to show him where I have some of my best memories.

The last time I was visiting, about two years ago, I stayed in the north but this time around, I wanted to be in the south – in Andalusia. In my opinion, Andalusia, is where the Spanish culture and best cuisine is from. This bias stems from my experiences studying in Granada (in the south), where I first lived in Spain. There, they say that Andalusia is the heart of the country, and I believe it to be true.

Instead of going back to Granada, I chose to go to Málaga for the first stop in our Spanish tour. I have never been but in recent years, I hear that Málaga has really changed. They have invested in their museums and tourism has soared.

In total, I spent 5 nights in Málaga. Many have told me this is an excessive amount of time to stay in there but honestly, we had plenty to do. Spoiler alert: it is metropolitan but it is also on the beach.

Here are the top things to do when you are in Málaga:

Go to the Alcazaba. This is an ancient fortress and though the Alhambra in Granada is better, I repeat: this is an ancient fortress! We don’t have anything like this in the United States – not as old as in Europe, so this is a must. If you have the time also hike up the Castillo Gibralfaro (Gibralfaro Castle). The ancient fortress is directly adjacent to the castle so you can spend a day trekking back in time

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One view from inside the Alcazaba.
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Bring your walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. It looks like a leisurely walk up, but it was more a hike!

Head to the beach, known as Costa del Sol, or Playa de la Malagueta. It may look like any old beach from this photo, but it is cool to know that the beach is directly across from Africa. Alongside the beach, there is a lot of places to get food and refreshments.

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See the birthplace of Pablo Picasso or at least go to his museum. The French can claim Picasso all they want, but this city is where he is from so if you are an art buff, this is a must.

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See the Roman Theater. Before arriving to Málaga, I envisioned the Roman Theater being far away in the middle of nowhere. No, it is smack dab in the middle of the city, like the Colosseum in Rome. They light it up at night too so it is always stunning to see.

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El Pimpi. Also known as the restaurant owned by Antonio Banderas, I saw this covered on CBS Sunday Morning months ago and completely forgot about it. It is also is a few feet away from the Roman Theater (see #4). This isn’t any old bar, it is a sprawling restaurant that has is a hub spot for late-night drinks. What’s better: those drinks are GOOD. I don’t remember what I ordered but it was adorned with white chocolate on top. Yum. This is what my boyfriend ordered. Photo Jun 14, 6 39 28 PM

If you enjoy museums, reserve a block of time to go to them. If you aren’t into museums – I get it. I prefer to experience the culture of a country outdoors, without curation. However, Málaga has over 30 museums and likes to be known as a “City of Museums.” There really is something for everyone.

I know I mentioned the Picasso Museum but there are so many others (one on wine, another on flamenco, the list goes on…). If you have varied interests and hobbies, you might be surprised at what is offered for museums.

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At the Interactive Music Museum in Málaga.

I had an incredible time in Malaga and if you were to take a few days to visit, you would have plenty to do. From a walk along the beach, drinks at El Pimpi, or a hike up an ancient fortress, you too would make unforgettable memories!

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Whether you’re near or far from home this summer, happy exploring.

I Made a Big Decision

When I first started working for my current employer four years ago, I knew I wanted to be there long-term, growing a business I loved with a great team. I got to do just that and I am so grateful for those years. In the back of my head though, I frequently reflected on my time living in Europe and how one day, I wanted to not just travel, but to spend an extended period abroad.

You see – I have never been one to sit around in a resort. I love to learn new languages and learn about different cultures. Fast forward to present, I realized that now is the time to do this. I wanted to do this especially because I am about to begin another graduate program – an MBA.

I am no stronger to new adventures. This is me, on a week-long volunteer trip in Germany back in 2016.

Not even a month ago, I graduated with my Master’s in English (which I covered in my last post). I had loved going to school while working full-time but the thought of doing another two-year program while working full-time made me overwhelmed. This led me to make the difficult decision to resign from my job. This week is my final week and the feeling is bittersweet. Change is scary! But I feel like years from now, I am going to look back and be happy that I chose this path.

Not everyone is in the position to quit their job, to travel, or to even go to school. I know I am in a position of privilege and a part of me is motivated because I am aware of the position I am in. However, I worked a lot and I planned a lot and am proud of that. My goal is to continue to give back to my local community so that more people are in the position to make similar choices.

In the meantime, I am taking prerequisites before business schools begins in August – statistics, macroeconomics, and microeconomics. Wish me luck!

I’ll share where I am in the world soon, as well as more on my MBA program and my move to another state for school.

If you could take a gap from work, where would you go and what would you do? Staying local is an option. 

Lindo Puerto Rico

This holiday season, I decided last-minute that I was going to Puerto Rico. To be able to book a last-minute trip anywhere I know is not something that anyone can simply do, so I feel fortuitous to be able to do so.

I had originally thought of going to Puerto Rico in March during my birthday month but after realizing I had leftover time from work that I had to use or lose, I made the most out of my time off.


Puerto Rico was a my top choice out of all of the other places I had considered because I wanted to travel to a plan that is very warm, relatively cheap, and a place where I would be fine to travel solo to. Puerto Rico basically fit this criteria, though if I go back, I would prefer to go with a friend!

What did not surprise me about Puerto Rico is that the people were in general, extremely warm (as warm as the climate!). For instance, my first day I got a little lost on my way back from the beach and this elderly woman pulled me close to her so that I could share her umbrella. I am not so sure if people where I am from would consider doing this with a stranger!

One downside to Puerto Rico is that if you are a woman walking alone outside -in the daylight or not-you can expect to be catcalled. I learned this within minutes of stepping outside my front door. Another downside is that walking outside at night was not safe, based on conversations with locals. It sounds like a common sense but in Puerto Rico, you have to remain extra vigilant. These two things aside, Puerto Rico is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited and I would love to go back again to explore the island further.

On a trip to Puerto Rico, the positive things you can expect are:

  1. Warm weather all year round;
  2. Kind locals;
  3. Breathtaking sunsets and sceneries;
  4. The only tropical rainforest in the U.S, El Yunque, which i did not go to;
  5. RICO COMIDA (“delicious food)!


You should consider Puerto Rico for your next long weekend getaway.

7 Things that Surprised Me About Germany and German Culture

My 10 days abroad  in Germany were a success. Sometimes my days were dauntingly long but nonetheless, I came out learning a lot more than I thought I would. This is mainly because I spent 6 days of my vacation volunteering at a small village called Laubach (app. 1 hour away from Frankfurt). However, my first impression of Germany continued until the end of the program…

Where I stayed in Laubach. It reminded me of home so much!
  1. The landscape of the northern part of Germany (and perhaps all of Germany), is very much the landscape that we see in New England. You will find lush, green forests and after spending many hours walking with German students in them, it felt at times as though I was in my own backyard.
  2. Frankfurt itself reminds me of my city, Boston. This observation was apparent as soon as my taxi from the airport approached my hotel. In Frankfurt, there is an older section of the city with more traditional German buildings, as well as some of the tallest skyscrapers in Europe. Though Boston doesn’t boast the tallest buildings in the U.S., the buildings were comparable to ours and the city felt just like home.
  3. Germans are extremely organized and punctual. This is not a bad thing and doesn’t seem like such a surprise but after spending time living in Spain where everyone is 15 minutes late, it was a difference experience to be where everyone is 5 minutes EARLY.
  4. Germany isn’t perfect. You hear that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and it’s true. Even with socialized medicine and education, people still still worry about the same things that are worried about here in America like mortgages, juggling work and home life, etc.
  5. There are good German songs. Here’s proof.
  6. Germany is more of a melting pot than I imagined. You may have heard that there are a lot of Syrians going into Germany and as whole, lots of people have been flooding into the country. To an outsider, Germany would seem like a favorable place to move to. Education and healthcare aside, Germany has the top employment rate in the Europe next to Sweden (based on a Statistica finding). The government has also been vocal about allowing migrants into the country. Whether that is a good thing or not is its own debate.
  7. As a whole, Germans tend to value staying in one place and not moving to other parts of Europe. As some Germans explained to me, if a person finds a steady job, they are not too keen to jump from job to job. When I asked about how they felt about Americans, I was told that their was an idea that Americans move around a lot changing jobs, but that we must easily move to different states for work. This is ironic because I would have thought that with European citizenship, a European would be keen on moving to different countries!

Visiting and moving to a foreign country will always be an eye-opening experience for me but what I was not expecting on this trip was that I would connect so well with the German people. The language was so different but the people and lifestyle reminded me of American culture which was surprising. However, I look forward to going back someday and visiting some of my new German friends. Despite what you might think about the “rough” German language and any stereotypes you may hear, Germans are as lovely as the country.

What’s Up Next…Volunteering Abroad!

As a person who has lived abroad in Spain and had the opportunity to travel to lots of different places, people have frequently have said to me, “You must have been to Germany.” The answer has always been “no” with a sigh. When I was studying and later working in Spain, I went to a lot of the surrounding countries – except for a number of countries in northern Europe – but never have been to Germany. So, I am excited to announce that come next week I will be in Germany volunteering!

So, in case you are wondering how this all started…

While I was trying to get to bed at 2 AM one morning and failing, I was on Google randomly looking at volunteer opportunities and stumbled upon a company called Diverbo which places native English speakers in a villa in Spain or Germany for 5-7 days with meals and accommodations, in exchange for speaking in English to English learners. It sounds easy and it is, if you are fine with speaking up to 12 hours a day! I am fine with this and it is perfect because longer placements would be impossible, since I work full-time.

If anyone is interested in doing something similar, you should check out their website and stay tuned because I am hoping to come back with lots of anecdotes and some insight about German culture since I will be speaking to Germans for 12 hours a day for 5 days. 🙂

Me holding my most prized possession.