Wonder to Wander

posted in: Kristen Dunn | 0

Allison Doran or also known as “Dory” is a sea sister who has let the ocean shape her life. We want to share Dory’s story to show how if you follow your passions it can take you down roads you’ve never dreamed and can change the way you see the world.


Adventure has been a part of Dory ever since she can remember. Growing up on a lake in Folsom, Northern California offered Dory so many nooks and crannies to explore. Dory’s sisters and friends would spend a lot of their time together looking for new rocks to jump off, swimming in the lakes, and taking photographs of whatever they found. During school, Dory wanted to find ways to stay near the water and one of her friends suggested that since she was so tall she should try out for the Rowing team and she fell in love. Rowing brought her to UCLA where she competed on the Rowing team and decided to study Environmental Studies and Geography.

“My Junior year in college I became sick and had to stop rowing. It was super isolating not seeing my team every day and not really being a part of a group, but then one of my friends from the Rowing team, Chloe Kijoima, took me out surfing. As I became less sick, I became better at surfing. Soon I couldn’t stop surfing.” – Dory 


Surfing gave Dory a new outlook on how she viewed the environment. She started seeing the waters differently and taking photos differently.

“While out surfing I started to notice just how much trash was floating around, which other people can’t see when they are walking along the boardwalks. The more I became exposed to the trash, the more I became aware that it’s not right. A lot of people just aren’t exposed to the trash and the environment to know that something is wrong. Once you’re aware, you have a better understanding.”


Dory took this new awareness and has turned it into motivation. Not only is she using her career as a way to protect the environment, but she’s also using her art to preserve the environment.


“I rarely take photographs of people’s faces. I like to conceal the faces because it feels more thought provoking and draws the focus more towards the environment. I want people to see the whole image, not just another selfie.”

You can find Dory working on the Leo Carrillo, Malibu creek restoration project or hiking through the terrain finding new spots for photographs or out surfing! Dory has become such a dear friend to me and helps me become more aware of how I can be more active in conservation and take a look at my surroundings. Trust your passions and follow them, you never know what or who you might find!

Find out more about Dory:



All photography by Allison Doran “Dory”