Crossing the Gulfo De Nicoya de Costa Rica

Ever since I was little I was interested in ancient cultures. I remember being absorbed in old, dusty textbooks from the 50s I would find in used book stores and I remember being fascinated by all the out-dated descriptions of people and their pictures. Part of this stemmed from my experience moving a lot and meeting a lot of different kinds of folks. Born in Northern California, moved to New Mexico, heralding from Iowa, living in Jerusalem, Israel, traveling to the UK, Europe, and East Asia, and now living in NYS, people have always been a big focus in my life.

Yet, in my first few years of college at a small, private university in Iowa, I was not exposed or aware of the vast resources I could have access to in fueling my fascination. I started off studying Sustainable Living, with a focus in sustainable economies. However, this educational path was fundamentally challenged when I studied on an Ecovillage in Scotland my sophomore year and learned first-hand what it means to live "sustainably" within a globalized world of Capitalist economics. Coming back to the US I realized that sustainable lifestyles are more than just an alternative way to live, they are driven by culture and structures of society. Unsustainable ways of living must be imperatively addressed through cultural change and changing our notions regarding lifestyle.

At Ithaca College, where I initially intended to continue studying sustainability, I discovered I had a passion for Writing. However, that too was trumped when I discovered, through my studies, that to become a writer, meant to appeal to the popular aesthetic of the time and did not actually involve any self-discovery, sharing of inspirational experiences, or exploration into reflexivity. I discovered all of this through Cultural Anthropology and I fell in love with People once again. Not ancient peoples which I had assumed was all Anthropologists studied, but people living now, their struggles, their beliefs, and cultural paradigms that structure their interactions.

Through Anthropology I found 3 whole sides of myself that I was able to incorporate into 1. In this discipline I found I could engage with Indigenous people and social systems, the sustainable applications of this research in the global world, and write about it in a way that required me to be reflexive in my approach.

My intention for the future is to continue stitching together cross-disciplinary focuses into informative and transformative hands-on research that can be applied to current global systems in place to better sustain people in their endeavors and in their livelihoods.



Talia Watson