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Ever since I was five years old, my dream has been to go to Australia. This summer, my dream is coming true.

I can’t even believe it. I’ll be spending 20 days with National Geographic Student Expeditions traveling to Sydney, camping in the Outback, hiking through Daintree National Park, and best of all snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. Plus, my friend from Alaska will be there, too! So stoked.

When I was in Athens, Greece on a National Geographic Student Expedition this past summer, our leaders thought it would be fun to take us on a street art tour of the city, as Athens is known for its beautiful street art to cover up the grey, abandoned buildings. This one particular piece stuck out to me. My friend and I were able to find some lines we liked—such as “school fuck” found in the bottom right hand corner—but didn’t bother to read the entire piece, for we were in too much of a rush to keep up with the group. However, I took a picture of the whole piece so I could read it later. I know the motorcycle is there, but you only need to read a little of it to realize how great it is. Here are the first few lines:

one hope one quest enjoy every fuckin’ minute unstoppable. open your eyes and you will see: have as much fun as possible we don’t need a think first ….. refuse tension

I miss Alaska.

That’s me, obviously, on the far left. That guy on the far right is Roman Dial (ecologist, adventurer, professor, father of modern day pack-rafting) from National Geographic, and he told us that if you take your hands and place them in the air like he is, caribou might think you have antlers and that you are one of them. Then, you can either approach them slowly, or sometimes they’ll approach you.

So, we did this every time we saw caribou during this one 4-hour bush hike in Denali National Park one day last July, and ended up getting really close to some of the animals. It was awesome for animal nerds like myself, even more so because I got some great pictures of them.

But yeah, I miss this trip a lot. Alaska is my favorite place in the whole world.

Also, this was the same caribou a few minutes later when we had gotten too close.