A first-hand account of Ms. Orbuch’s foreign adventures

Back from her travels around the world, Ms.Orbuch, the APES and Biology teacher, has returned to SLVHS to continue inspiring the scientists of the future. Now, Ms.Orbuch has shared her experiences to satisfy many students’ curiosity about her legendary trips.


Q: Where did you go?

A: South Africa, Botswana, Columbia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu, plus some Calif trips.


Q: How was the trip?

A: Awesome


Ms. Orbcuh enjoying her underwater adventures!
Ms. Orbcuh enjoying her underwater adventures!

Q: What did you experience?

A: Scuba diving, ecotourism, meeting fascinating people and supporting conservation of biological hotspots.


Q: How was coming back?
A: Good–love Santa Cruz.


Q: What inspired you to go?

A: A break, refreshment, lots of injuries–so want to go for it before I am too old and broken.


Q: Did you meet anyone memorable? If so, how?

A: Guides in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Vanuatu. They are living subsistence level and trying to protect their environment and share with others. Hoping to support some schools in PNG with textbooks and other assistance.


Q:What did you do on your trip?

A: Birding, diving, natural history


Q:Did your travels change anything about you or your lifestyle?

A: Just supported my trying to live sustainably. We covered our carbon emissions from jet travel the best we could by increasing our solar panels here at home


Q:How long did it take to arrive at your destination?

A: 12 hours–to South Africa and Australia


Q:How many airports did it take to get to your destination?

A: Africa: San Francisco,Washington DC; Senegal: Johannesburg and Capetown; Tanna to Port Vila to Brisbane to Los Angeles to San Jose.


Q: Do you recommend that students travel to where you went?  If so why?

A: Yes–to see a way of life that might be gone by the next generation (subsistence). Many parents where we traveled see their sons and daughters living the rural lifestyle for the city.


Q: Did you miss SLVHS while away on your trip?

A: Missed students–especially some awesome senior women I had worked with since freshmen year.


Q: Did your trip change the way you teach?

A: More relaxed (I hope) and more certain of how and what I am teaching as being important for student success in their lives and preserving key environments and biodiversity around the the world.


Q: What would you want students of SLVHS to take away from your experiences from your voyage?

A: There are 7 billion + people in the world and so many are working hard to just get by–many don’t have the luxuries we take for granted:  electricity, computers, steady food supply.  Yet they have supportive communities.  Don’t take what you have for granted–work hard and do your best, you only live once.


Catching the big fish
Catching the big fish

Q: Was it hard to adjust to the lifestyle/lifestyles during your travels?

A: No–enjoyed experiencing different cultures and loved living on boats for up to 10 days.


Q: Was it at all hard to readjust to this society?

A: No–just upset with folks’ impatience, lack of hard work and taking all we have for granted.


Q: Do you miss your travels?

A: Of course, but I like coming home


Q: Are you happy or proud to be teaching students again?

A: Great to be back with awesome SLVHS students and staff.

-Michael Eckles

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