I’m headed back to the tropics. I love saying that.
And it’s different now, because, while I’m going to be working in a position nearly identical to that of this past year’s experience, I’m definitely undergoing a different kind of excitement leading up to it. I want to say that my emotions this time compared to how I felt in the weeks approaching last year’s departure to Costa Rica are somewhat muted, but not necessarily in a bad way. Ultimately, there’s a lot less unknown this time around and that in itself makes the greatest difference toward how I mentally approach the next experience. The excitement is still there, but this time it’s patiently simmering deep within and not constantly buzzing right at the surface. Maybe that buzz was tinged with a bit of anxiety: Am I made for this? Will I be able to give the guests an experience to remember? Or will they find out I’m a fraud? Honestly, a year later, I think the difference is simply this: Confidence.
I’m a guide.
I love saying that because it’s true. I guide people into the forest, into the depths of the mysterious, verdant, dripping rainforest. I listen intently for my beloved tropical birds, identifying species as I hear them calling or singing among the leaves, knowing where to find different species based on their habits. Rustling branches high above immediately alert me as I alert my charges that we are in the presence of monkeys and I describe how the different species forage differently and how that affects their movements. Rustling in the underbrush and a fleeting, sharp mechanical bark as a shadow darts off into the thick cover causes guests eyes to grow wide and I assure them that the unknown isn’t nearly as scary once you can ID that distinctive sound as a large rodent called an agouti, something I like to describe as a groundhog on stilts.
I love to explain the fascinating symbiotic interactions between species and how this complex network of green is a system that functions more intricately than any human-made creation and offers ecological services, products and life-giving resources that humankind would not exist without and how we have so much more benefits to be uncovered as still so much is yet unknown.
Giving people an experience they didn’t expect, walking down a path where tiny brilliantly colored frogs hop to tell them that yes, the tropics are beyond beautiful, but that beauty is just the superficial. Underneath is where lies so much more to the story, a story that many might have no idea exists in the first place. That’s why I’m here, to help tell that story.
Okay, who turned up the buzz? …PANAMA!!!!!