Summer Updates

A butterfly. I don’t know which species it is.

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been very active on the internet lately. Here’s a brief account of what I’ve been up to.

My top priority right now is getting my life in order, especially my financial life; I simply have to earn more if I’m going to survive. Thus, I’ve been job-hunting and networking aggressively. I have one promising lead that might turn into a position that I actually get paid for, which I’ll share more about when the time is right.

Furthermore, I’ve recently joined an avocational (public) archaeology group called Firelands Archaeology, or FARC. Dedicated to learning about and promoting the archaeology of northern Ohio, FARC works closely with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

I’ve enjoyed my time with FARC, since it gives me something to do that involves thinking. It’s also been fun to learn about the prehistory of the region I was born in, and to get re-acquainted with archaeological field work.

Along those lines, I’ve started volunteering at one of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s field sites through FARC. My first work day was last Thursday, and it felt wonderful to dust-off the skills I learned through the Programme for Belize Archaeological Project (PfBAP).

When I went to Belize in 2017, I had no idea that it’d inspire me to look for ways to spend my free time scraping holes in the ground in awkward positions; I guess you can never predict when you’ll stumble upon something that feels “right,” so-to-say.

Real archaeology isn’t quite as glamorous as running around the world trying to prove that alien conspiracies are true. I’m looking at you, History Channel. CLE_1055 by Colleen Morgan. CC BY 2.0

It’s not just job-hunting and public archaeology that’ve been detracting from my online time, however.

I’ve also been fooling around with a camera. I bought my first DSLR two weeks ago, and I’ve been practicing with it on the rare occasions when it hasn’t been raining. I’d like to document my upcoming trip to 3 Seasons’ Camp in Quebec properly – meaning with decent photographs – so I have lots of work to do before July 26.

Here’s a selection of my practice photos, bearing in mind that photography is still a new activity for me:

Lastly, I’ve begun to think more seriously about pursuing a PhD.

When I started my master’s program back in 2016, I fully intended to go on to earn a PhD; however, upon graduation, the last thing I wanted to do was more school.

I’ve now had (too much) time to rest, and I’ve realized that not getting a PhD wouldn’t be right. I’m no genius, but my brain does work occasionally, and it’d be selfish of me not to develop my potential further. I’ve therefore resumed my PhD search.

Of all the PhD options I’ve looked at, the Anthropology program at McGill University in Montreal is my current favorite.

McGill’s Anthropology PhD has a strong emphasis on human-nature relations, encourages collaboration with conservation biologists, has a special track for working in the Neotropics (Latin America), and has multiple faculty members whose interests align with my own. In addition, I’ve always loved anthropological texts concerning the human dimensions of conservation, I hang out with anthropologists (well, archaeologists) for fun, and I’ve recently begun teaching myself French.

McGill University at Twilight by Sarah. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sounds about perfect, if you ask me.

Granted, the application deadline for McGill’s Anthropology graduate program is December 15, and I have a lot of work to do before then: reading as much anthropological literature as I can, getting acquainted with McGill’s faculty members, and learning enough French to get by in Montreal. In other words, this fall might be a tad nuts.

So, those are the happenings that’ve been keeping me away from social media. I hope to continue to update this blog regularly, but I can’t promise anything; blogging is never going to pay the bills, and I need to focus on activities that will.

39 Thoughts

  1. Best of luck with either the Phd and or job hunting.
    Money…. the bane of life.
    The archeology sounds interesting, I remember being a gofer for fun on a dig in Cyprus many years ago, it got me interested in rock art and pre-history, hence all my spare time in Oman spent searching their archaeological sites.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks David, money really is the ultimate nuisance…

      Archaeology is definitely interesting. Participating in it is a great way to deepen one’s perception of time, and to get hooked on topics that they never considered before. Archaeology is addictive like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations, doing what we are naturally motivated to do and what we love not only fills your soul, the field will benefit with someone who is passionate that seeks to resolve the issues with compassion and care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They certainly are! The PhD program at McGill has me particularly excited; I recently told myself that I’d only go for a PhD if I found one that fit me perfectly, and I may have done so. Now comes the hard part of making it happen.


  3. Thanks for the update, Josh! You are definitely super busy! I think you can make money blogging but it needs to be in an industry/sector where there are advertising dollars!!! Working on the Jaguar Corridors Landscape Finance Facility has demonstrated to me that there’s not a lot of money in Jaguars – at least yet!

    Nonetheless, I have a few ideas that it might be worth brainstorming about… would you have some time to speak perhaps on the weekend? I’m in Utah. Perhaps early one evening?

    FYI, here’s a rough summary of where the Facility is at now… If you’re interested, I can provide more info when we speak.



    PS – I’m originally from Ottawa – not too far from Montreal! Montreal is a GREAT city? And McGill is a great university

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sid! Some people make money through blogging, but the topics I write about aren’t very profitable. I’d also have to seriously retrofit my blog by switching out all of the images with non-commercial licenses, and that’d be more work than it’s worth. So, I’m looking at other options.

      A phone or Skype call this weekend would be a good idea! I’m free both Saturday and Sunday evenings this weekend.

      I’ve heard nothing but good things about Montreal! I have no idea if I’ll get in to McGill’s anthropology program though, because it looks very competitive and my master’s degree isn’t in anthropology per se. We’ll see what happens…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bienvenue, mon ami. Glad to see you back on the scene! I can totally relate to the money issues – grad school is preventing me from saving much money at all. I agree with you on the blogging difficulties too. Environmental blogs just can’t compete with modeling, fashion, and lifestyle blogs. we have a lot less potential sponsors and its difficult to come up with original images when the environment is uhm…ahem dying. but anyways. Please watch Bones on netflix so we can talk about media portrayal of archaeology!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea, grad school drained every last penny of mine like some capitalistic vampire…all while we ranted about the evils of capitalism in my classes. Ironic, if you ask me.

      Science blogs in general aren’t financially competitive, although there are some noteworthy exceptions. But if we’re going to talk about media portrayals of archaeology, I’d like to talk about Expedition Unknown, Ancient Aliens, that one mummy show, and the other Discovery Network super-programs. Lots to analyze there…lots.

      On another note entirely, will you still be in Wisconsin this coming school year?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Josh,
    What exciting times. And congratulations on getting your first DSLR camera! Your “practice” photos look lovely, and without a doubt will enhance your already wonderful site :)
    Sure, ‘money’ is everyone’s main worry. But you obviously are aware of this and seem to have a keen balance of following your heart while being practical/realistic. Sending you our warmest wishes, you can do it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Takami! Most of my practice photos were horrendous, but there were a few that turned out alright – mostly because I was in the right place at the right time.

      But yes, I hope that eventually I’ll be able to use more of my own photos on my blog, instead of having to scour the internet for other people’s!

      I appreciate your support and confidence! I know what the right way forward is, I just have to figure out how to make it happen logistically and financially.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh geez, exams are awful. There has to be a better way to assess students’ performance than exams.

      At any rate, congrats on the job! There’s nothing wrong with corporate jobs – they can be fulfilling, and we all need to survive somehow!


  6. This is a great update Josh – I wish you all the best for the busy months ahead! Nice first shots with your DSLR (I see you’ve already had the opportunity to capture some animals). Your plans for Montreal all sounds good! All in all it sounds like you’ve been perusing activities that interest you and are going for gold – the options most in line with your future interest – and you can’t really going wrong in having such an approach.

    Just a quick note that I discovered a online (and print) magazine in Australia that may be interested in some of your articles – they also feature guest posts from bloggers – you can have a look at the submission guidelines:
    The good thing is that they pay for the submission of professionally written content (although blog guest posts are probably unpaid), so you can see which option fits you best. Big cat conservation and archaeology would most likely fit into what they are looking for:
    ” ‘Unsustainable’ is a magazine about the harm done by our species–to each other, to our fellow animals, and to the environment–and the ways in which people are attempting to prevent or undo this harm. We want stories that focus on one or more of our six core topics (climate, poverty, renewables, ecology, waste, and equality).”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Jacques, and thank you for the wonderful comments! The program in Montreal does seem like it’d get me exactly where I want to go, but getting into it isn’t going to be easy. Then I have to deal with all of the logistics involved in studying in another country.

      Thanks for the recommendation about Unsustainable! They do seem look a good publication for me to pitch to, and hopefully I’ll be able to turn my attention to writing again soon.

      Liked by 1 person

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