Staff Corner: From the remote desk of Cara Simon
Current location: Co. Wexford, Ireland
Sheila’s question to Cara:
Who would you most like to swap places with for a day?
I’ve been thinking about this question for a week, no joke, and found it to be the most difficult to answer. I’m definitely overthinking it, as I often do. I started thinking about a specific person to switch with, someone famous, someone not so famous, a friend, a family member… but nothing was coming to mind.
I did think about how fun it could be to be an animal for a day – like being a dog, where someone feeds you, walks with you, plays with you, the cuddles and plus all the sleep one could dream of… but decided to not write about this either.
While I’m pretty pleased with how my life is turning out so far, there are times when you wonder “what if” I had followed one path and not the one I’m currently on.
I came up with two different careers which are very much a lifestyle to write about:
Marine Mammal Scientist
When I was getting my MSW with SUNY Stonybrook, I started taking Undergraduate Marine Science classes while also interning at the aquarium in Long Island. I loved my classes and the hands-on experience I gained from them. Plus, the fieldwork on the Long Island Sound was the highlight. At the aquarium, I first started volunteering doing boat tours describing the local sea life, flora and fauna in the region and helping out in the indoor exhibits. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve watched Finding Nemo.
Then I applied for an internship with the Mammal Department. I observed the training sessions for the sea lions and seals. I spent A LOT of time defrosting fish… like a lot of time. I felt like a fish, scales on my arms and always a lovely odor about me. I also helped with cleaning animal habitats, feeding the reptiles, the penguins – we had a bunch of tortoises and even baboons at the site, so this was an extra bonus interning there. I nearly accepted a job there, but decided to finish my Master’s and see where that path took me.
I would love to spend the day with someone who studies large sea mammals, though whales or dolphins would be my interest. There’s a woman in New Zealand who has a special relationship with an Orca pod, Dr. Ingrid N Visser, that I always found fascinating:
I would love to spend the day with her or her team on the North Island. Pretty amazing research, their relationship with the Orca pod and also all the outreach they do to educate people on marine life is magic.
Who wouldn't want to work with sea mammals?
The other career I would like to switch in for a day is with a National Geographic Photographer or really any wildlife photographer.
I did some classes in undergrad for photography and have always been passionate about the field – the art and creativity involved. I really enjoyed myself with the little I dabbled with it. I follow a few National Geographic photographers – this fella, Paul Nicklen – he is one of my favs. I am always blown away by the purity of nature and the wildlife he and other wildlife photographers capture. I’ve often thought about the idea of this job would be quite inspirational, perhaps very isolating but quite unique in the places you go and the untouched earth, nature and wildlife you experience first hand.