About Me

Tara with “Chico” a Scarlet Macaw at the Tambopata Research Centre

G’day!  My name is Tara and I am passionate about two things-parrots and travel!  I’m originally a California girl who is also now a Aussie based in Brisbane.  Having two passports is pretty cool, trust me!   The travel bug bit me hard in my 20’s and I spent most of the 80’s and 90’s backpacking around the world on some pretty crazy adventures.  Back in those days, there was no internet and the Lonely Planet guidebooks were my Bible.  Somehow I managed to cross the Silk Road from Hong Kong to Istanbul, cross Africa from top to bottom and halfway back up again and backpack through South America all the way back to the USA……………..and I lived to tell the tales!  I also developed an interest in scuba diving and have been to some pretty amazing places such as the Great Barrier Reef, Sipadan, Palau, Sharm el Sheikh to name a few.  My main interest in travel was experiencing new cultures, seeing the sites and visiting wildlife in its natural habitats.

I first became interested in frequent flyer miles back in the 90’s and my first ever miles card was a United Mileage Plus Visa that I had for a couple years until I moved to the Middle East.   Although in the 90’s I was traveling mostly on exotic airlines such as Ethiopian, Egypt Air, Ariana Afghan (yes, really!), Emirates, Royal Nepal, etc; I did manage to rack up some travel on United’s partners and usually managed a free ticket every few years the old-fashioned way-BIS (butt in seat).

I met my husband, Ina in the Cook Islands and soon after marriage, we moved to Australia.  During my vagabond years, I was never able to have a pet and I desperately wanted one.  Our landlord wouldn’t allow us to have a cat, but he would allow a small bird so we bought a cheeky little cockatiel.  By this time, the internet had taken off and forums were all the rage.  Through my research, I learned more about birds, especially parrots and grew our feathered family to currently 11 small parrots.  I also joined the World Parrot Trust and started learning about the desperate situation of some of these beautiful birds, how they were being cruelly torn from their native habitats, crammed into small boxes and shipped all over the world.  I also found a way to marry my two great passions-travel and parrots into avian ecotourism and have been traveling the world to see parrots, other birds and animals in their native habitats ever since!

Not being blessed with a high income, but having a vague notion of frequent flyer miles, further research online led me to FlyerTalk where I read and read and read and learned all different kinds of ways to maximize my miles and points to get us to these exotic destinations where we can see wild parrots.  Being a dual citizen gives me access to both American and Australian credit cards and frequent flyer/guest programs and I have around 20 or so that I keep track of on a spreadsheet I designed myself.  There are many ways to acquire miles and points and I am not the one who is going to be a deal killer and reveal all, but what I will do in this blog is tell you how to maximize the usage of miles and points so you have more expendable cash for those who need it most-the ecolodges, local guides, restaurants, artisans and research projects you will encounter on your own eco-adventures.  So sit back, enjoy the blog, and I can guarantee you will be in for a bumpy ride……………..but you will love it!