As the end of summer draws closer in North America, the southern half of the hemisphere is bidding farewell to its winter season. There, Kaelyn Lynch, one of our newest CEN writers, is looking forward to warm weather. She lives in Western Australia and works as a divemaster, leading groups of scuba divers.
Since childhood, Kaelyn says she loved reading National Geographic and all types of science books. That early interest sparked her desire to “experience everything there is to explore in the world.” After graduating from the University of Miami in 2014, she set out to do so, and along the way, she’s been making an impact through extensive international work.
Kaelyn traveled to Indonesia after college to work on sustainable ecotourism, and community development projects. She implemented a marine education and dive guide training program to promote environmental stewardship and bring benefits of tourism to the community. She also taught management, budgeting and communication skills to the local people to help better protect their native land from destructive activities. Prior to her time in Indonesia, Kaelyn also spent six months in South Africa helping to establish the Sisters4Sisters organization, a nonprofit that works to rehabilitate women who have been affected by domestic violence.
In reflecting on her experiences, she says that she’s always wanted to use her passion for writing to help tell the stories of these communities. She’s also seen herself grow immensely. In the past, she described herself as someone who planned down to the exact minute. Now, she has become much more adaptable and flexible when plans change. She’s learned to rely on her instincts and be confident in new situations. When she initially left for Indonesia, she thought it would be a six-month stint, but now, 15 months later, she’s living in Western Australia with no plans to return to the United States anytime soon. She says, “I have no idea where life will take me and things have changed, but all for the better.”
Needless to say, Kaelyn will be a great asset to the CEN team in that she has seen firsthand many of the issues and challenges that CEN works to overcome. She hopes to contribute this unique perspective in parallel with her passion for writing to help tell the stories of the CEN community.
While in Australia, she hopes to brush up on her surfing, photography and gardening skills. She also hopes to apply for a storytelling fellowship with National Geographic to go back to Indonesia, where she would be tasked to highlight the lives of the people there. She says it would be a great way for her to dive deeper into the local people’s stories and see how the community has changed since she was last there.