Traveling the world to clean beaches and water – 4Ocean

July 12th, 2017

Kelly Mullen is the Beach Cleanup Liaison for 4Ocean, an organization that removes trash from beaches and the waters of the world.  Her travels make a difference for the environment, but she loves to explore inland, too.

1.Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)

I grew up driving down to Florida every year with my family from Philadelphia so traveling was always just a part of our lives. It wasn’t until I went to Europe (Munich, Zurich, London, and Paris) that I realized I had to find a job that would allow me to travel for the rest of my life. We flew/drove/took a train for 10 days through all of these cities so I really got to see everything in them. The forests in Germany are beautiful, the Alps in Switzerland were breathtaking (and cold), it snowed when I was on the Eiffel Tower, and London was full of spunk. There wasn’t a part of the trip that I was disappointed with.

2.If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?

First, I would go back to Vancouver, Canada and walk around downtown because I love it there and only get a couple hours to explore when I’m there. I would go to Europe and do the coast to coast rat race in Scotland, and Paris because it’s one of my favorite cities, and walk a pilgrimage from Paris to the coast of Spain. I would go to South Africa to swim with the Great Whites and try to wiggle my way into working on research on them with someone there, and Thailand to work with elephants and teach children English. Lastly, I would go to Australia to improve my surfing skills. (I am in South Florida now which is not ideal).

3.What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?

Not having enough money to fund my traveling. In between traveling, I work really hard and will work extra on the side so that I have a cushion for traveling.

4.What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?

When I’m outside of the U.S. the only thing I use is my camera and when there is wifi my email (for work). In the US, camera and Snapchat.

5.What place do you wish more people have seen?

The side streets within Paris. The last time I went my friend had been living there for 6 months so we avoided most of the touristy parts (I had already done them) and just walked around, making random turns whenever.

6.Best advice you have been given and by whom?

“There must be more than this provincial life” – Belle from Beauty and the Beast

7.)When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?

Paris and Vancouver. People always tell me the Parisians will be mean to me but they never are. I think it’s because I walk around with a smile the whole time and a positive attitude so it’s hard to be mean. And in Canada everyone is just really really nice, no matter what.

8.What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?

Seeing/visiting my friends that live in other countries. One is an au pair in Paris, one moved to Spain from Italy to be with his girlfriend, and some from England come to the U.S. for extended periods of time. Seeing people from all different countries going all over the world and being able to establish themselves makes me see that anything is possible and I can do it too.

9.)I travel because….

I love adventure because I love getting lost in cities and finding new things, meeting new people, and getting out of my comfort zone. I could never live a life stuck in my comfort zone.

It is also very liberating. Sometimes you have to rely on limited resources so it’s really exciting to figure things out without any help from technology.

I spent a week practicing the train system in Paris with my friend so when I got to Barcelona it was the real test. And my friend had ended up giving me the wrong directions to get to his work from the airport so I had to figure out how to get there without my phone on my own. It was very liberating.

The only place I have trouble with is NYC subways.

Family trips to Florida instilled a love of the ocean for Kelly Mullen,the Beach Cleanup Liaison for 4Ocean, a n organization that removes trash from beaches and the waters of the world. She graduated college with a degree in Biology and was always interesting in helping the environment. Working at 4Ocean, she travels around the coasts to meet with others from all over the world to teach them about what can be done to stop the pollution in our oceans and environment.

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