It Has Come to This

There comes a time in every young naturalist’s life when he meets a special someone.

It may not be obvious at first. The relationship may start casual, ordinary even. But soon it becomes clear that this person who has entered his life will change it forever. They make him feel like nothing and nobody has ever done before. Something occurs–a single moment where the naturalist knows he will never be the same again. It is a certain proposition:

They offer to pay him.

Me, I had resigned myself to a life of simple volunteerism. One of unpaid “work-studies” and “internships,” buoyed by the occasional modest stipend or travel expense to get by. Over the last several years I worked seasonally, in between the odd manual labor or teaching gig. Sometimes a generous tip from a grateful tour guest would double my month’s earnings. But I have never had the chance to earn real money from doing what I do best: walking through the forest and telling people about things.

All that is about to change.

For the past few months, I have been putting the finishing touches on what I hope will be the first of many self-designed, self-promoted, self-organized, and self-led Costa Rica ecotour travel packages for a private group. Using local contacts and relying on my own skill as a guide and trip leader, I put this whole thing together on my own.

And I’m gettin’ paid, y’all. I’m a professional now.

So I’ll be going silent briefly, since my priority over the next few weeks will be making sure my clients get the best attention and service they can for their money. Which is real. And is going to me. I think? It’s been a while since anyone actually gave me money.

It has been my dream–literally–to one day be able to support myself by doing what I love. My ultimate goal is to eventually run my own ecotour business, preferably focused on education and sustainable business practices that benefit local efforts. Also maybe coordinate with researchers and volunteers. I’ll need a brand and everything. Maybe link it to this site? But all that’s wayyy down the line. For now, I got people coming in. Very special people.

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