If you're reading this, you probably know me personally. Or you're one of my lovely blog followers, in which case you still know me preeeeetty well. And so, friends and readers, you probably also know that more than 50% of my brain is dedicated to animals. I work with them, I write about them, I even freaking DREAM about them. (Let me tell you about the time I dreamed that Giggles the Binturong still inhabited the Waystation - but in, like, giant form - and had escaped from her enclosure...)
So. To put it simply, I love animals. And as an animal lover who's also majoring in biology, I've dreamed about exploring the Galapagos Islands ever since I found out in elementary school that there even WERE such things as the Galapagos Islands. But there's been a problem: unless you're already in the Galapagos, it's really frickin' hard (and EXPENSIVE) to get there.
Enter Caltech. This year, Caltech is offering a new class in evolution that - and here's the part where I made my boyfriend laugh at me by literally jumping up and down in my chair when I found out - features a mostly paid-for trip to the Galapagos as its conclusion.
Begin Hallelujah chorus.
Now, I said MOSTLY paid for. There's still the catch - I have to cover my own travel expenses, including plane tickets. Yeah, that can rack up to $700. And that's if you're estimating under conditions where the world is kind to you. I'm a college student eking out a living by writing freelance who's going to graduate in March and would very much like to keep those $700 of her life savings to make a down payment on an apartment as part of her hobo lifestyle prevention plan in addition to, you know, pay for all that ramen she's going to be sustaining herself on. And you know, $800 is a LOT to ask for from parents as a graduation present, and they'd probably just raise their eyebrows and hand me a stack of crinkled monopoly money anyway, since that's the only kind of big bucks they can afford to be dropping right now too.
So, friends and readers, that's where you all come in. While my soul does actually cringe at asking you all for monetary support, it's kinda the only fundraising option I've got right now. No, I'm not expecting you all to start throwing $50 bills at me (though if you'd really like to, please, go ahead), but you know, I'd appreciate some fives or even tens from you all. And I'm not even asking you to do it completely "for free" - oh yes, there IS swag involved. You can check it all out under the rewards info.
So, you blessed people that have made it this far in my soliloquy, let's address the beautiful case that I end up with more money than I need to cover costs. What am I going to do with the extra funds? Well, not give it back to you, sorry. But I AM planning to use it as capital to fund a future book project I've got in mind, a project that blends the themes of conservation and biodiversity with the structures of sci-fi and fantasy. The book project - which I've already donned "Other Worlds" - includes ambitions to feature Galapagos photography passed through the hands of graphic artists, to show you a fiction that is uncomfortably close to fact, and to donate proceeds from the book's sales to Galapagos conservation organizations.
It's gonna be good, guys.
But in order to do all that, I've got to get my butt over to the Galapagos. I hope you all will help make that happen.
Thanks for the love, you all.
... and I like the money too. ;)