By Rachel Weisend
In December 2018, I found out I was selected to be a part of the first LOREX cohort and would be conducting a two-month-long research exchange in Lismore, Australia in early 2020. At the time, this felt like a lifetime away. The next thing I knew a year filled with dissertation research, LOREX orientation, planning meetings, grant applications, and teaching flew by and it was time to depart!
Traveling from Corpus Christi, Texas, USA to Lismore, NSW, Australia involved a 4-hour drive to Houston, a 17-hour flight to Sydney, a 10-hour layover, an hour and a half flight to Gold Coast, and an hour and a half drive to Lismore. After the initial flight, I was able to make my way out of the airport to fight my jetlag and explore Circular Quay.
Traveling from Houston via Sydney allowed for a quick break from the airport to explore Circular Quay before catching a flight to Lismore.
The following days in Lismore consisted of settling into our house for the next two months, going through orientations and safety training at SCU, and walking around getting oriented with the town. We learned quickly that public transportation is nonexistent and that walking/biking would become our best friend.
Walking to SCU takes about 25 minutes roughly. Lismore is a small city with loads of hills and very limited public transportation. Luckily the walk is beautiful!
I met with one of my collaborators, Dr. Judith Rosentreter, and discussed a rough timeline for the next few weeks including our sampling schematic, previous and future work, and scheduling field trips and use of lab equipment. We had previously discussed most of these topics, but the proximity to the work made it easier to plan and conceptualize. Part of what I have learned from this experience so far is to be willing to be flexible and adjust plans.
Upon our arrival, we were informed that Australia Day would be observed on the following Monday and that we were quickly approaching a three day weekend. Since Lismore is 45 minutes away from the coast, the three of us jumped at the opportunity to head to Byron Bay for the weekend. Being flexible for the win!
Scenes from Byron Bay! Keiko, myself, and Angelique went to the coast to celebrate the three-day weekend. Shown here are some views from our trek up to the Byron Bay lighthouse to watch the sunrise.