With much love, Australia

Here I am. Almost to the end of the line. My journey in Adelaide is at its close and it is heart breaking. I can’t even begin to describe everything I have seen in the land down under, the amazing people I have met and gotten to know and the once in a life time experiences I have had.

It is bitter sweet thinking about my time here, knowing that if I ever come back to South Australia it will never be the same. That’s the beauty of memories I guess, to keep them treasured in your heart forever, just as they were when you left them. I have a lot of memories all over this world but, I know that my stories from Australia are truly one of a kind and I got to share them with twenty six wonderful individuals, not to mention two of the coolest professors that I know.

The last theme of the week ever for my time abroad is America. It’s my home, the place I began this journey and the place that it ends. You can travel the whole world but nothing will compare to your home. I will admit, I am excited to come back to my family, friends and horse but, at the same time, that means I am back into a routine and reality. No more spontaneity or Australian accents. Its school, riding, working out and applying for scholarships and jobs. Not that either of these lifestyles is better than the other, they are just both different and have their own unique qualities. I will always feel so fortunate and blessed though to have had this experience of living in a city and studying abroad.

I have truly stepped out of my comfort zone here; I have gained skills and experienced things that I could have never discovered in America. I am so excited to share all of my stories and travels with family and friends as soon as I arrive.

One of the hardest things that I will have to face though when I come back to America is answering the question “So what did you do in Australia?” I do not think I could ever sum up this experience in one sentence. Not only did I visit four Australian states, Kangaroo island, see all types of wildlife and landscapes, try many different foods, travel over 12,000 miles to and within Australia alone but, I have learned and experienced more things about myself and the world around me in two short months then I ever have in a year.

I gained confidence from travelling alone and with my friends, I learned to be independent from my life in America by literally moving from the little town of 40,000 people in San Luis Obispo to moving into a city with over one million people. I learned how to be a little spontaneous and pick a destination but not know what I was really going there to see, I have also learned how to slow down and how to appreciate living in the present. One of the greatest things though that I have come back with is an even stronger appreciation and global knowledge of agriculture.

I want to do a separate post about this because my findings were truly an inspiration to me. I was privileged to visit one of the largest dairy farms in South Australia, interview a local farmer at the Adelaide farmer’s market and take an extensive tour of the Adelaide show grounds.

My perspective of Australia and the world around me has forever changed for the better. You really never know where your life will take you or the incredible people that you will meet along the way. This experience would not have been the same without my amazing friends and professors. I can never thank them enough for making this one of the best experiences of my life.

The adventures will still continue, back in America or wherever these same old boots take me.

Theme of the week: Better late than never?

Heart racing, chest tightening, panicked state of mind- is it adrenaline? I wish. This is anxiety. That is one of the details left out when you choose to become a perfectionist or an over achiever. Everything has to be in the plans, it has to happen at the right time, at the right place, with no surprises. Also, being late is not an option.

My whole life I have always been driven to do my best, to push myself to the max; sometimes it’s scary for me to think about how much I can put on my plate and after I am always left asking, can I do better? Can I handle more? My world has always been on a nonstop track to the future; I am a really practical person, every decision I make in life has a benefit or purpose for my future. Time is my most valuable treasure- if you know me, I think one of the most awful things I can imagine doing is wasting time. Before college I never really had a problem with time or time management; I always had everything planned and scheduled. Then college happened. I moved away and left the comforts of home and went to a university with thousands of people that I had never met before. I essentially had to start over and make a brand new set of friends. I had no clue how driven these people were or what their motives were in life. Suddenly, everyone wasn’t on time with me and I had to start adapting to their time. This is where my time has now become of the essence.

I have learned how invaluable time really is, but not in the sense of having everything planned to a “T”. After almost three years of college and living with some of the greatest people, I have actually learned how to slow down, how to take a minute and just breathe. My roommate of two years, has probably had one of the greatest influences on me in this foreign concept. She is probably one of the least pressured people I know- she doesn’t get anxiety, she doesn’t worry about time, and she has taught me how to step back from a situation when plans don’t go accordingly.

This is something that is really hard to do- to stop the anxiety. Some peoples’ minds aren’t programmed like that. I used to drown myself in worry and stress, trying to make everything and everyone stick to the plan. I used to think that the more I worried about something, maybe it would turn out even better because I was supposedly so caught up and passionate about it. I have learned though that you can’t plan or worry about everything in life and not everyone wants to do what you think is right. Now, I can at least say I do not put as much unnecessary pressure on myself. It also helps to live in a town that is nicknamed SLO, everything really is much slower and relaxed- it is so refreshing!

So sometimes, life is going to throw you a curveball. And when it does, it sure is nice to be able to stop yourself and take a few breaths. Don’t drown yourself in worry; I love the quote at the bottom of this post, because when you think about it, it’s so true.

Sometimes, it really is better to be late than never because not everything works out perfectly- we just have to be prepared to handle whatever God throws us in this life.

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“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”                 Matthew 6:27

The Purpose and Necessity of Livestock Production

These three brothers are doing some amazing things in telling our story to the world. Not only are they sincere, honest, hard working farmers, they also speak the truth and have done a lot of research into their topics. Thank you for promoting American agriculture and farmers. My own agricultural post is soon to come! Stay tuned!

The Peterson Farm Blog

  • Is it necessary to use livestock products for human use and consumption? 
  • Should I feel bad when I eat meat because an animal died to become that meat? 
  • Why can’t animals be set free to live as long of a life as possible?

Livestock animals (Cattle, Horses, Chickens, Turkeys, Pigs, etc.) have been a huge part of human existence since the beginning of our civilization. Humans have used animals for meat, milk, eggs, labor, and clothing for thousands of years. But is it necessary to use livestock products? Must we kill innocent animals? Why can’t we just rely on fruits, veggies, and grains to feed and clothe the masses?

Livestock Infrastructure Produces Billions of Pounds of Food and Products

Meat, milk, eggs, and thousands of other food products come from animals. Animal products are found in a vast amount of foods consumed today. Furthermore, animal by-products are used extensively in…

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Oh the places you will go

It has been a while since I posted about what I have been actually doing here, it might be easier for me to say what I have not done! There is definitely never a dull moment in the life of a study abroad student in Australia, so let’s recap on some of my experiences.

Probably one of my most unforgettable and favorite places in not only Australia but, maybe even the entire world is Melbourne. Eight of my closest friends here and I decided one week to take a four day trip to Melbourne, only a week and half in advanced to plan and the next thing we knew we all had round trip flights and a Great Ocean Road tour booked. This was also going to be my first experience ever in a hostel. I had no clue what a hostel really was like until I went to Melbourne but, I can tell you that it was the most interesting and different place I have ever slept at in my life. That being said, I wouldn’t have stayed anywhere else because that would have changed my whole experience in Melbourne!

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The 12 Apostles

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Adelaide to Melbourne!

A common saying we have had here in Australia is “We are doing it all!” meaning we have to see and do everything that we can during our time here. This was no different in Melbourne. We saw the Remembrance Memorial, went up the Eureka Sky Tower at sunset, ate some great Greek food, some of us saw the Australian Open, we went to Brighton Beach and saw the famous bath houses and went to a couple museums and the aquarium.DSCF4378

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 Great trip with great friends

My favorite part about Melbourne was not necessarily the city itself (which I did love because it was the perfect combination of Sydney and Adelaide minus the beach front) but, I fell in love with actual state of Victoria after seeing shipwreck coast. I had mentioned this in a previous post but, I have never seen a more quintessential scenery of farmland. The agricultural community along the coast of Victoria truly took my breath away. If someone had offered me a job to work on one of the number of dairies, cattle ranches or sheep farms there I would have taken it in a heartbeat. From the green luscious pastures of grazing livestock your eyes then dawn upon a beautiful valley that meets the ocean; there is no place in the states that I could compare it to. If you know of one let me know though! Or maybe not because that will give me yet another reason to come back to this beautiful country.

After returning from Melbourne, I have had adventures at some of the beaches around Adelaide back in South Australia, specifically Glenelg, Henley, and Semaphore. We have also gone to the little German town of Hahndorf a few times where I have found one of my favorite leather smith shops in the world! My senior project class and I had the opportunity to attend a day at Morphettville Racecourse and see some Thoroughbred horse racing. I have always wanted to attend a race like the Kentucky Derby back in the states, so this was a really fun and lively experience for me! I have also been to the Adelaide Zoo and the South Australia Maritime Museum.

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Favorite leather smith!

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Glenelg Beach sunset

The adventures never stop for this country girl. I am so grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity. It is a bittersweet feeling having my time here in Adelaide come to a close soon but, more travels await! Oh the places we will go.

How do you learn?

As students we are in a classroom from the time we are 5 years old until we are about 22, sometimes older. It’s all we have known and all we have ever done. But that’s just it, the majority of what we “do” is sitting in a classroom, listening to people talk to us, reading from a textbook, or researching on the internet. Where is the actual doing? Where is the real learning? Do you want to know where it is? I can tell you- it’s at Cal Poly. It’s in the rows of cabbage at field 25, its out at the horse unit in the arenas, it’s at the dairy at 3 a.m. during a double milking shift. It’s where students are actually doing things, they are experiencing real world situations outside of a classroom setting.

I believe that some of life’s greatest lessons can’t be taught in a classroom or read from a textbook, you have to literally experience it. I am so blessed to say that I have had the opportunity to do just that, from being in 4-H and raising livestock to packing up my life and studying abroad in Australia with Cal Poly.

You can apply our Cal Poly motto of “Learn By Doing” to any aspect in life. Being here in Australia, it wasn’t the actual act of traveling here that I have learned things, it has actually been through that spontaneous Melbourne trip, the random beach adventures, and the decision to just buy a train ticket to go and see what I can find there. Travelling has oddly enough taught me confidence. I learned confidence by taking that chance to plan a trip and have no clue what exactly I was going there to see but, doing it anyways. If you know me, I am a big planner, so just randomly buying a plane ticket to a foreign destination that wasn’t in the plans is a pretty big step.

Doing this though and being a travel agent for myself has actually taught me to be confident in my decisions. I think when I go back home l am going to be fully prepared to hit the road and start travelling up and down the state with my trailer in tow. It is with this confidence that I believe I will have a new outlook on my future; I am not afraid to take that job across the state or be a jillaroo in the outback. Confidence is one of those skills that is really hard to acquire but, you can find it through the most unique experiences.

Not only have I learned to travel by just doing it, along the way I have learned how to be truly independent, master public transportation in three different Australian states, build up my confidence and create some lasting memories with the greatest friends along the way. So don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone for a little to just go and actually do something and learn from that. Not everything has to be learned from a text book, sometimes the most important things you learn are the things that you experience for yourself.

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The E word

Expectations is a hard word for me, it’s very powerful and how do I say this, unreliable. I don’t like using this word. I am not sure at what point in my life it occurred, probably in high school, but my expectations all of the sudden kept leaving me in disappointment.

I’m not your average person, I will openly admit that I am an overachiever who always tries to find the positive in every situation and in every person. I am very passionate about the responsibilities I have and take my work very seriously. I used to have high expectations for everyone I met, that is probably why I kept being left disappointed. So I began forming this new approach to things, the way I looked at it, if I didn’t expect something and it turned out great, then it would be pretty amazing and I could confidently say I never expected that to happen! And if it did not turn out the way I wanted or to my minimal acceptability level, well then, it was an experience I had and a lesson learned. The main thing I guess I was always worried about was being hurt and being disappointed in someone which would at least to some small degree change my views about them.

Now I am sure you are all shaking your heads saying, why would you think like that? How can you not go into a situation and not have an expectation? I didn’t know how I did it either but, a lot of things have changed since high school. Today is a new story. My answer now is simple. My “expectation” doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because I can have any expectation in the world and guess what, nine times out of ten, I bet you it will never happen the way you expected. I truly believe the only expectation we should have is God’s expectation, what God has planned. What is the point of me having an expectation when I can turn to God and believe in Him and trust Him that with hard work and patience His plan will be fulfilled? I don’t think I can have any greater expectation then that!

So here I am, months away, days away from another adventure of a lifetime- studying abroad in Australia. And so of course, there is that word “expectation”. I had no clue what to expect and if we are being honest, I didn’t want to expect anything! I just wanted God to guide me on this new journey, to teach me and provide me with the lessons that He intended on me having.

And He has not failed me. I am so utterly and completely happy with life. God has done it again and exceeded whatever expectations I had. The people I have met here, the friends I have made, the once in a life time experiences I have had and the places I’ve seen have truly been life changing. I don’t want to bore you all with my inner thoughts because I am sure you are more interested to know what exactly I have been doing, so I will say this: what I have been most impressed with and never expected to see or ever visit was the state of Victoria. I never imagined sharing that visit with eight of my closest friends either. The rural communities along the Great Ocean Road will forever have a piece of my heart. There is no agricultural community in the United Sates that I could compare that coast side to and no picture that I have will truly do it justice. I know that with my faith in God, my boots will take me back there someday, I just know it.

I want to leave you with this: don’t pressure yourself into having this ideal expectation and plan everything in your life to a “T” because I can assure you, it probably won’t end up the way you planned. God has a funny way of working things out. I hope that you can trust in Him to guide you on the right path. You don’t have to go on this journey alone, expect God’s will, take His hand and go.

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Where are your boots?

I have had this blog for almost a month now and have you noticed that I have yet to do a post featuring my boots? I promise they are here with me and with all of the miles that they have traveled, I can never get rid of them now. They have become a token and memory to me of my adventures down under.

Same old boots, new adventures. That is exactly what this experience abroad has been providing me. I am still the same old girl I was when I left the states but, my inspirational adventures have changed the way I think and have provided me with a new perspective on life.

I truly believe that everything in life happens for a reason. We might not know it now but, we will someday. That is how I have been feeling during this trip. Everything that has happened to me happened for a reason. It amazes me and is almost saddening that if event A didn’t cause event B then C would have never happened! Incredible. There are so many people I have met from all across the world that if I hadn’t sat at that one table, or missed that one train, or if I had booked a different hotel I would have never met them. The people you meet in your life, God has put them there for a reason, whether it was to teach you a lesson or provide you with a mentor or give you a new perspective on something.

Lately, a quote has been stuck in my head, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about”. That is so powerful to me. I think everyone is so quick to judge others, I know I am even guilty of that. One of my New Years’ resolutions was to listen more and speak less. Whether I am doing a good job at that I guess you can ask my friends. But it ties into that quote; if you listen more and have a greater open mind about every person you encounter, you will find yourself to be more understanding and kind. It is one thing to hear people during a conversation, it is another to actually listen to them.

You never know who you are going to meet in this world. I sure don’t know where these boots are going to take me next but, I do know one thing. I can make a difference in the lives of people that I meet. It’s important to make them feel valued and always keep in mind that I have absolutely no idea what type of struggle they may be dealing with or battle that they are fighting. I do know how to be kind though and how to listen. And it is in this mindset that I challenge you all to consider, wherever your boots may take you.

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The 12 Apostles part of the Great Ocean Road