Pileated Woodpecker visiting my parent's yard in Albany, New York
As a lifelong learner, many of my hobbies center on my love of learning and teaching. Above all, I love to travel. My goal is to visit all 50 states in the USA (my current count is 37). Having grown up in Upstate New York, the first states I visited were on the East Coast. Some favorites outside of my home state are Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. I was most surprised by Montana and Wyoming for their natural beauty, as shown above at Duck Lake in Yellowstone National Park. Internationally, I have visited 13 countries, mostly in Latin America. Outside of the Spanish-speaking world, my favorite country is Haiti for the spirit of its people. My favorite aspects of traveling are the rewards of stepping out of my comfort zone. Most importantly, travel has afforded me the opportunity to appreciate the richness of all cultures and peoples without prejudice. I am always excited to share anecdotes from my journeys with others.
I have various other interests, such as U.S. presidential trivia, which ties into my love of travel. I have visited presidential sites with my family around the country and some of the most interesting ones were James Buchanan's Wheatland in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Grant's Tomb in New York City, and FDR's home in Hyde Park, New York. I am also an avid birder, recreationally observing and identifying birds by sight or their calls wherever I am. I find watching birds and other wildlife highly rewarding because it has taught me to be more sensitive to nonhuman living things and to be mindful of their behavior and seasonal color variations, which have a lot to tell us about climate change.