This morning I got the notification that our flight to Belize is less than 5 days away. I have never been to Belize, and in fact, I have never really been out of the country on a trip like this before, so I am definitely excited. Ah! My first trip to the tropics!
Sitting on my couch watching Blue Planet episodes of the tropics in HD has given me some pretty high standards for the beauty of these places, so I have high hopes for what I might encounter. Also, I totally plan to channel my inner David Attenborough for this trip. However, I am still a little nervous about how it’s going to go.
I am the taxon expert for arachnids and green/red algae. My family thought it would be funny to make me watch the 1990 movie Arachnophobia in preparation for my trip. Let’s just say that I found it…. a little… less funny. I have never really been scared of spiders before, but last night, I had a dream I was attacked by a giant spider, so it is safe to say I am a bit wary.
I have done my best these past few months to ensure that I am prepared for this trip. Aside from the packing and organizing of all the snorkel/rainforest gear, I prepared myself through the taxonomic research, the readings, and the creation of the presentations. I am hoping that I can identify both arachnids and algae in the field. My biggest worry for the trip is that either Dr. Solomon or Dr. Shore is going to ask me about a certain organism and I am going to stare blankly back at them like a deer in headlights. I have my fingers crossed that this won’t be the case! Not to mention, I have had to mentally prepare myself for the humidity we are going to endure. For this trip, I am most excited about experiencing fieldwork for the first time. I have always been limited in learning about the natural world from books, videos, or short field trips, so 14 days in the tropics is something I am looking forward to. It feels like it has been centuries since I first started dreaming about doing fieldwork. Overall, I hope this trip will give me some insight into what a career involving fieldwork might be like, and if this could be a career path for me. I think it will be, but you never know until you try it.
On a final note, I grew up on the Texas coast my whole life which makes me accustomed to one thing: murky ocean water (Thank you Mississippi river sediment!) So, I cannot wait to put my feet into the ocean and be able to see my toes clearly!
Wish me luck!