July 2, 2017 marked the two-year anniversary of The Jaguar and its Allies. But since I was in Belize I missed the date, and for the past month I have been focused on recounting my experiences there. As such, I am just releasing the anniversary post now.
As with this blog’s one-year anniversary post, I would not like to spend much time dwelling on stats. My follower and view total has continued to grow, and I would be lying if I said this did not matter to me. However, I find it more important to reflect on the past year – and on the future of The Jaguar and its Allies.
Looking Back to Look Ahead
My posting frequency declined during the school year, as did this blog’s traffic. The types of materials I published also changed. I released fewer science-oriented pieces, and focused more on travel and news-related ones. This was largely out of necessity; I simply had less time to spare. I also was not traveling when I first started this blog, and now I am. This has given me more topics to write about.
Speaking of traveling, it is amazing how it can change people. Living in the jungle for three weeks, with limited phone and internet access, encouraged me to think. I realized that writing is more important to me than I previously acknowledged. During the first year of The Jaguar and its Allies, I spent large amounts of time reading articles about big cats, human psychology, and conservation social science. I would then distill this information, and share it with all of you in a way that hopefully made sense. This brought me great satisfaction, and I want to do more of it in the future: in one form or another.
The Seeds of Change
I also discovered new interests while in Belize. During the second half of my time there I was mostly on my own. This is when I was traveling around the country to speak with jaguar conservation experts, hoping to find opportunities to conduct my master’s research.
This was a stressful time. I did not have definitive plans, I did not know where I was going, and I had no idea what was going to happen. But I felt like I was in my element. Traveling; meeting new people; learning about conservation; taking notes; imagining how I would write about it – I enjoyed this. I want to do it again: but in a bigger, more organized fashion. But how? When? Where? I have some ideas, but they are in their infancy.
At present I have more immediate concerns. I need to finish this master’s program, and I do not want to neglect this blog as much as I did last year. I need to write, and The Jaguar and its Allies gives me a way to do this outside of academia. In addition, people have occasionally told me that they learn things from my posts. This is the greatest compliment I can receive.
I do not know where my life, or this blog, are heading. I am not the same person I was two years ago, and this will doubtlessly affect this website. I want it to be bigger, more educational, and more impactful. The Jaguar and its Allies has the potential to reach people who would not otherwise feel connected to big cat conservation or the social sciences, and I want to see it realize this potential. However, I am not entirely sure how to make that happen.
Together, we will have to wait and see what the future holds.