World Tour Part 1 - Toronto
Attending four conferences in a matter of 6 weeks in three countries is not a task to be undertaken lightly. But it does make for an extraordinary adventure. So I thought I'd document some of the amazing things I got to experience both academically and personally on my whirlwind world tour.
My first stop was the Animal Behavior 2017 conference being held at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. A collection of biologists representing almost every taxa, from birds, mammals, fish, reptiles and insects. We all shared one thing; a keen interest in the behaviours of animals. It was my first time experiencing a phenomena that I've spoken with colleagues about before; when you finally get to meet that person/s whose work you've cited embarrassingly heavily and idolise profusely... only to realise that although they are everything you expected them to be scientifically, they are also just really cool human beings. Most notable for me was getting to see Mike Ryan present on the many discoveries he has made in the realm of acoustics and other behaviours over his career. And then to witness him receive the lifetime achievement award from the society, and the ensuing standing ovation as the admiration from all those present swept through the auditorium, was the true highlight for me.
But my trip to Canada wasn't just about going to the ABS conference. I got to tick off a whole bunch of animals on my "seen in the wild" bucket list. Chipmunks, groundhogs, raccoons, red cardinal, harbour seals, marmots, bears, and best of all, ORCAS!!! I got to see Niagara falls, and it didn't disappoint! I could have stayed there for a week just admiring its raw beauty. And then there was my hike up Whistler mountain with my new Swiss friends, experiencing breathtaking views whilst being simultaneously freezing because of the high altitude and 3 metres of ice, and also sweating profusely because it was a gorgeous summer day and we were hiking up a mountain :)
From the conference, to the people, to the wildlife, Canada was an awesome start to my World Tour!