I’m a National Geographic Explorer

One day I came up with an idea. Another day I told that idea to National Geographic. And one day last week they thought that idea was worth a large sum of money. Today I am excited to share that with you all!!

Come spring, for two months I will travel the length of the country, from the coasts of Texas and Louisiana up to the boreal of forests of northern Minnesota, in order to tell a story that speaks to the beauty of nature and the common bond that migratory birds and humans have with the land, including the struggles we both face living in a modern world. To get a better summary of the project, read this earlier post.

I am so beyond excited! I am working with an extraordinary woman who is the road manager for StoryCorps. Her skillset will help us access the personal stories that will allow us to better achieve our goal of understanding our relationship with the land and how that relationship has changed due to our actions against the land. I will also hire a photographer to document the sights of our journey and really bring the project to life. This person has not been identified yet.

But I am also quite nervous. I’ll have to leave both of my jobs for two months to do this, which means I’ll have to prepare others to take over in my place. This is going to be a ton of work. I also plan to move in with my girlfriend at the end of May. This is slightly complicated because I’ll still be on the road then. I’ll have to have my house packed up in March before I leave and trust her to be able to handle the pressure of finding a place for the two of us and move our stuff into said place.

And then there’s the pressure of performing up to the standards of National Geographic and myself. This project has major potential to inspire people to get outside and become advocates for the outdoors. It also holds potential to allow people from across the country, from all walks of life, to see each other in a familiar, friendly, and empathetic light. In short, this project can help heal us and I want to do everything I can to achieve this.

This is also a huge opportunity for myself and my career. If done correctly, who knows what opportunities come next, but hopefully options that fit my skillset and passions. This is my attempt at something that is akin to a Science/Nature paper. I have to get it right and treat it as such.

Enough worry for now. It’ll get sorted out with time and dedication. For now, it’s time to let all of this sink in and realize how fortunate I am to be able to chase my dreams. I’ll keep you all updated throughout the process.