She’s a blogger, photographer and world traveller, and now Seattle Dredge can add Contiki Storyteller to her impressive resume. We caught up with her to find out about her experience in Costa Rica…
How was the experience working with the Sea Turtle Conservancy?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have come into contact with sea turtles a few times during my travels—I even got to hold a baby turtle in Trinidad & Tobago—but, my experience with the Sea Turtle Conservancy was definitely the most authentic one I’ve had yet. There’s just something about physically getting out there on that dark beach and searching for the turtles that takes you across the line from tourist to someone that is truly there to make a difference. I may not be trained scientist, but if I can share my experience and inspire even just one person to get involved, that makes a difference in my eyes. The sea Turtle Conservancy is great at what they do and I only hope that they will continue to grow and help to save the sea turtle population.
What have you learnt from Celine?
I learned that we shouldn’t focus on the problem, but focus on the people who are finding a solution to the problem. Celine explained that most people will never care deeply about something if it’s not relatable to their immediate lives, but it’s our jobs (as bloggers, photographers, videographers and overall storytellers) to make it relatable and to introduce the issues to those who are unaware.
What has been your #NOREGRETS moment?
The best #NOREGRETS moment of the trip that comes to mind was getting to see Catarata La Fortuna. Because of my asthma, I had decided to sit out on a hike to a local waterfall, thinking that it would be too hard on my lungs to climb up and down 500+ steps in the humid jungle. I knew that it was something I would regret, so at the last moment I jumped off the bus and literally started to run down the steps before I could change my mind. Catarata La Fortuna was easily one of the most beautiful settings of the entire trip, and definitely a #NOREGRETS moment for me.
Who have you been inspired by on this trip?
I was often inspired by the entire group as a whole, just from watching them work and document the trip in different ways. Everyone was so talented in various ways that was hard not to want to immediately start taking better photos, or videos, or vlogging, or singing (ok maybe not—I’ll leave that to Jamie), or inspirational-speech-giving (I’m looking at you, Celine). The storytellers group left me equal parts jealous of their unique sharing styles and weirdly proud of my own.
What appealed to you about Costa Rica?
The easier question might be what didn’t appeal to me about Costa Rica—I mean who wouldn’t want to come here? There wasn’t one thing that I didn’t want to see in this amazing country and have pretty much always wanted to visit. I love that you can go from city to jungle to beach to volcano to semi-arid hills to literally walking in the clouds in the span of a day, all while surrounded by more plants and animals than you could possibly keep track of. I love that it’s a quick five hour flight from home, yet still so exotic and incomparable. Lastly, I love the lifestyle and overall happiness of the entire country.
As a travel blogger you’ve been to some incredible places around the world – how have your past travels compared to the Contiki Storytellers trip?
While I have travelled with many groups of other bloggers/photographers/writers/etc., no other trip has had the same environmental focus as the Contiki Storytellers trip. I was happy to see so many people that excited about working with the STC and the sea turtles with the hope of making a difference. I’ve had this overwhelming feeling for the past year that while it’s lovely to be able to do all of this travelling--I’d love to have more of a purpose behind it. I’ve been hoping to focus more of my travels around volunteering and conservation, and this was the perfect way to start.
This is your second Contiki trip. What would you say to people considering going on a Contiki?
I look at a Contiki as a fairly intense organized adventure. They are usually pretty fast-paced, cover a lot of ground and tend to keep you on your toes in the best way possible. They have a good combination of group activities and time for yourself (or with wifi) and help you experience way more than you could probably do with your own planning. My personal recommendation for any Contiki is to extend your flight dates at least a week after the tour ends. Contiki starts/ends in some awesome cities, and you can use your knowledge from the trip to enjoy a little extra time in your new favourite country. I’ve done it on both of my Contiki trips to Thailand and Costa Rica, and felt like I learned enough during each tour to travel comfortably alone afterward :]
For more from Seattle, check out her blog Seattles Travels as well as her Instagram. Plus don't forget to enter our #contikistorytellers competition to be in with a chance of winning your very own trip to Costa Rica! Check out the competition here.
Prepare to be inspired, here's just a taster of Seattle's Instagram snaps from Costa Rica:
For the full Storytellers tale, tune into Contiki's YouTube channel this Earth Day, Tuesday April 22nd. Subscribe here.