4 Countries and What I’ve Learned

Madalyn Trombley
January 23, 2018

"Adventure is out there!" Exclaimed two young explorers, in what can be considered one of the best Disney Pixar movies to date.

Indeed, adventure is waiting for us anywhere.  As a young explorer about to venture on a semester long journey to New Zealand, I thought I would share some lessons I've learned from previous travels to other countries.  This advice comes from a photographer's perspective, but can be applicable to many situations, behind a lens or not.

And so begins: 4 Countries and What I’ve Learned From Them

The first country on the list is the USA, my home country.  This photo was captured on the beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts and emcompasses the necessity of waiting for the perfect moment.  Do not rush to accomplish something nor delay, but instead find the right moment.  I had to snatch my camera away before the ocean’s waters could reach my lens, but I also had to be patient for the waves to arrive, or risk snapping a photo of just sand.  Waiting for the right time often captures the best memories.


Next up we head down south to Costa Rica to appreciate the importance of looking up! This photo of an adorable, wild toucan was photographed in La Selva Biological Station where the animals roam and fly free of wires.  Without looking up, we would have never spotted the toucan, watching us silently from the tree tops.

Heading north, we make a stop in Ireland. This photograph emphasizes the beauty of leaving no trace.  A popular saying among hikers and tourists, yes, but an important one nonetheless.  This photograph was taken at the top of one the most extreme hikes I’ve ever undergone. I built a rock tower at the top, one among many built before me.  However, it is important as hikers that we leave nothing behind, and instead preserve the earth’s natural beauty.  

While still in Ireland, here we appreciate wildlife from afar, without taking selfies with or feeding the exotic animals.  Here a wild puffin looks around before taking flight on Skellig Michael Island, a small island off the coast of Ireland which only allows a few hundred tourists on the island per week. The climb is steep and there are no ropes or anything to prevent falling.  However, the risk is well worth the climb; wild puffins nest on the island during breeding season (we went in June!) and since there are no natural predators on this island, the adorable birds are not afraid of humans.


Next we fly to China, across the Atlantic. The first photo was captured in Shaanxi, China, home to the Terracotta Army.  What we gain from this photo is an appreciation of knowing how the food we eat is made.  In the second photo, taken in Beijing, we open our minds to trying these new foods. Trying new things is an invaluable lesson to learn while abroad.  Whether it be sampling new foods, speaking new languages or hiking far distances, these photos capture the spirit of travelling with an open mind in the pursuit of adventure.  

Lastly, we arrive in New Zealand.  What have we learned here? I am not yet sure; but I am excited to see what the host country of the adventure capital of the world has to offer!

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Madalyn Trombley

<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:2.35pt; margin-right:12.3pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin-left:5.0pt"><span style="line-height:115%">One fun fact about myself is that I am not sure the exact date of my birthday! Before I was adopted, I was a baby in China and my parents could not keep me because of the one child policy. Therefore, as was the way of many families in China in the 90s, I was left on the steps of the police station. When the police found me, they estimated my age. This estimate is the age on my birth certificate and on every official document. It is interesting to think about my birthday being one day before it is written, or maybe a few days after!</span></p>

Home University:
Ithaca College
Farmington, CT
Environmental Studies
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