A B O U T ~ A L I C E
She’s always been a drifter, so it was inevitable that in her wanderings Alice would fall in love. The unpredictable part was that it wouldn’t be with a dreadlocked Argentinian artisan or an unkempt Spanish backpacker.
Setting off at 18 with a backpack and a deferred Arts degree behind her, Alice’s desire to figure out what to do with her life set her on a trail that would lead to over 50 countries, a passionate love for the ocean, and a career as a marine biologist.
She joined the pack of other expats who found drifting around Europe preferable to the settling down, relationships and serious life decisions that seemed to be all the rage back home. Her goal was to reach 21 countries before she turned 21, and of course, once she’d done that there was no stopping. Funding her travels consisted of working whatever random jobs she could find – from renting skis in Whistler to Stewardessing super yachts in France, to dishwashing in Brazil, to Segway tour guiding in Rome.
On such an amazing planet, with so much to explore, it was inevitable that she’d fall in love with it.
Currently, Alice is in French Polynesia, sailing around the Tuamotu Islands researching plastic pollution in fish and spending her spare time free-diving with sharks.
Alice in Wanderland
Just for a moment, everything stops. The whole world stops spinning, gravity ceases; it’s just him and me. Floating. Wondering. I stare deep into his eyes, he stares back. Eye to eye with a one-tonne baby humpback whale in the deep blue seas of the Kingdom of Tonga. An eternity (or possibly a moment) later I’m on the surface, grinning and laughing, with a slightly hysterical twinge, feeling the pure joy that comes with those all-too-rare moments when life pauses to appreciate the marvellous, ridiculous, awe-inspiring place you’ve somehow ended up in. It took a lot of drifting to get to this point: waking up in random and sometimes regrettable places; sewing up holes in my backpack; working ridiculous jobs; picking up the basics (‘thank you’, ‘bathroom’, ‘beer’ and swearwords) in several languages – Spanish, Nepali, Moroccan, Japanese… and the ubiquitous art of mime; falling in love; getting giardia, sea ulcers & miscellaneous tropical parasites; missing friends and family and loved ones; and general aimless wandering. But gradually the drifting became more purposeful. I found that place (in the ocean) and that thing (protecting it) that finally clicked. Nothing makes you want to save the ocean more than falling in love with its inhabitants. From being that clichéd Aussie backpacker, I eventually wandered smack bang into becoming another cliché – the late 20s drifter who ‘found themselves’ through travel.
A few years earlier, as a backpacker bumming and drinking my way around Europe, I wasn’t really that into the water. Life generally found me drowning myself in boxes of wine in Barcelona or steins of beer at Oktoberfest. Meeting amazing people, falling in love with places and friends and guys, and then getting that itch to just keep moving. A series of events, unexpected, a little bit strange and sometimes mildly terrifying (as all the best travel adventures are) led me off the backpacker trail, into the world of ‘volun-tourism’ and into the deep blue sea.
It started at a hostel in Chile, where a girl with scars down her arms from a close encounter with a puma informed us about a fun place to volunteer. This led to volunteering in the Bolivian jungle with a bi-polar ocelot, which of course led to camping out on a beach in Greece monitoring baby turtles as they made a mad dash to the star-lit sea. This led to befriending a dive instructor for a cheap dive course, and a return to university to study biology and conservation (only 6 years after taking that initial 6-month break from my studies). Volunteering while travelling not only made me feel a bit productive and useful, but also introduced me to a whole new side of travel – staying for longer in one place, getting to know locals and the area more intimately, and getting the most incredible experiences with wildlife. The feeling of having your eyebrows groomed by a friendly Capuchin monkey in Bolivia, or helping release a rehabilitated ant-eater in Guatemala, or lying face down in the sand and catching eggs being laid by an endangered leatherback turtle in Costa Rica. Having that connection with a baby whale, staring into its eye and having it stare right back at you. For me, that’s what it’s all about. Travel, life, all of it. It’s about finding those truly awesome moments, where you’re literally in awe about where you’ve ended up and the random incredible magic of life.
Travel, life, all of it. It’s about finding those truly awesome moments, where you’re literally in awe about where you’ve ended up and the random incredible magic of life.