So here I am, absolutely thrilled to report that I’m currently well into my second high season of guiding in the tropics of Central America. Last year, it was along Costa Rica’s Golfo Dulce and now I’m set here on Isla Bastimentos along Panama’s Caribbean archipelago, the Bocas del Toro island chain.
It has been an eventful and winding road and I am so grateful to how the stars have managed to aligned to find myself living and guiding in the tropical rainforests and gaining more and more experience and knowledge about the world I live in every day, every hour, every moment. To wake up to the sounds of raucous parrots and squeaky hummingbirds, walk by sloths greeting the morning light on my way to breakfast and spend my days sharing my love for birds and tropical biodiversity with inquisitive travelers curious to share in my knowledge as we explore and discover together is a gloriously fulfilling way of life. Over my years spent studying and living in the tropics, I’ve cultivated an ever-growing base of knowledge that I can take from and share with others not just about the birds but also the plants, trees, insects and so much more of the overflowing life that fills these lowland tropical rainforests and how it all coexists in a complex network of relationships and connections.
Looking back, I think fondly of my years working in the field with birds in remote corners of the United States as contributing many of the building blocks that prepared me for this way of life: adaptability, an open mind, working and living in small tight-knit groups, constant curiosity, constant questioning, constant learning.
I’d originally worked as a field tech biologist with the intent to become a true biologist. What I didn’t expect was to feel the need to come out of the field to share what I’d been seeing from within. That led to my master’s degree in journalism followed by two years writing for environmental publications. But that kind of writing was too formal to me, so I went back into the field and, on an uninhabited seabird nesting island 23 miles off the coast of Maine, I started this blog.
Connecting my writing, photos, videography and experiences in nature is how I feel I reach the most people and by reaching them, I hope that I am offering new perspectives and perhaps a better understanding of not just how beautiful this wild world is, but also how vastly important it is. Over the years I’ve found myself further drawn to the tropics, the dripping biodiversity of the lowland rainforests capture my heart in a way that nothing else does. My grandmother, Grandy, took me to the tropics for my first time ever in 2002 as a high school graduation gift. When we got home to my parents, my first words were, “I’m going to live there one day.”