Lindsay Olsen

Indonesia Instructor

B.A. History, Williams College

Lindsay grew up a child of the ocean. The daughter of an Alaskan commercial fisherman, she was confident at the helm of her father’s boat years before she touched the steering wheel of a car. This early introduction to the mystery and power of the sea inspired a lifetime of curiosity about her surroundings, and has fueled her musings and exploration as she’s traced the watery contours of the globe. In high school she crossed continents on her morning commute to school as an exchange student in Istanbul, Turkey. In college, she took to the water in an eight-woman rowing shell, helping her team win three consecutive NCAA championships. And for the past eleven summers she has returned to Alaska to work on commercial fishing boats across the state, most recently as part of an all-women crew catching sockeye salmon in remote Bristol Bay.

Upon her college graduation, Lindsay was awarded a Watson Fellowship, a year-long grant that allowed her to explore her maritime passions in the far corners of the planet. Voyaging independently to the remote shores of New Zealand, Indonesia, Madagascar, Northern Norway, and the Faroe Islands, she interviewed countless fishermen and villagers, piecing together their narratives into a cross-cultural understanding of the sea. It was on her Watson stay in Indonesia, following a pack of scampering children down a narrow and slippery gangplank in the Bajau village of Sampela, where she first learned of Dragons and their yearly pilgrimage to this remote and mystical place. Impressed by the gumption of a program that would lead students so far off the beaten path, and the intrepid young voyagers it might attract, her desire to work for Dragons was born. She is thrilled to be returning this summer to the astounding biodiversity, rich maritime culture, and warmhearted souls of Indonesia’s vast and bustling archipelago that so enchanted her three years ago.

At her home in Alaska, Lindsay can be found in her cabin in the woods where she recreates her travels with culinary innovation in the kitchen. She currently works as a research assistant assessing the needs of remote Alaskan communities as they adapt to climate change; and is excited to weave these themes into her teaching this summer, as the group visits communities whose livelihoods are under imminent and intimate threat as our oceans continue to sour and rise.