I am also a current on-shore volunteer with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and in the past was a member of their Operation Jairo campaign in Costa Rica, where I patrolled the beaches in order to save sea turtles directly from the fatal hands of poachers. They even made a documentary about our time there, a Sea Shepherd documentary titled "Why Just One?" I highly recommend you check it out, not just to see a quick glimpse of me patrolling the beach and my name in lights at the end, but to actually learn something about the often insurmountable plight of the sea turtles.
In every country or area that I visit, I dedicate at least 75% of my waking hours to helping the animals at local non-profit organizations. If I am not helping the animals, I am patrolling the beaches cleaning up debris (although, I guess technically that is helping the animals, since ocean debris does great harm to marine wildlife). If I am not patrolling the beaches, I am most likely spending time with the locals learning about their community and culture, as well as educating them about my mission. I always travel solo and do not spend my travel time in bars, shopping, or sunbathing. That is not who I am and definitely not why I travel.
Up until this point, everything I have done on behalf of the animals, I have mostly funded on my own. I have made many sacrifices in my personal life in order to be able to travel the world and help animals. I have nearly emptied out my bank account and downsized my possessions to the point that the only thing I truly own is my modest vehicle. I do not own a home or any expensive jewelry or fancy clothes. I have foregone spending any money on a quality camera and laptop to document my travels and work, because to do so would take money away from my financial resources that I have allocated specifically for my travel expenses and the animals. For at least 9 months out of the year, I bartend at a very popular dock bar in Maryland, and I save nearly every penny I make so that in the off-season I can travel and do charitable work. When I do volunteer work, not only have I spent a considerable amount of money to get there, I also do not earn any money, and yet my regular monthly bills back home must still be paid.
This winter the plan is to do some much-needed volunteer work on behalf of polar bears and gorillas, as well as work with seals, penguins, sea turtles, and elephants again. In addition, I am traveling to Antarctica as part of a research expedition. All of these things are far more expensive than anything else I have ever done, as the majority of these destinations are extremely remote and difficult to get to. In addition, some of them require governmental permits that come with enormous price tags (the highest being $1500 for one day). Even though that permit money goes back into the conservation efforts, it is still coming directly out of my own pocket.
Throughout the years, I have come to know many wonderful people through my employment, volunteer work, and popular online persona, Wander Woman (https://www.facebook.com/galwander/). Some of those same people have expressed a desire to contribute towards my goals, whether through gratitude for being able to live vicariously through me and be a supportive part of what I am doing, or so that I may have the ability to do more on behalf of the animals in the future. It is at their urging that I chose to create this GoFundMe page. Please just know that, should you make a contribution, it is not tax deductible, but it will go entirely towards my efforts to provide all living beings with a better existence on this planet that we all share. Everything I do, I do with purpose, for the animals and for the planet!
- Melonie Truslow/Shoreline Counseling Services LLC
- Mark & Gi Rivers
- Kim Tribbitt
- Drea Lynn
- Heather Langford
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