The search for eternal summer had led us on more than a few occasions to rainforest life, and we found ourselves hot and wet in Colon,Panama.  We had quickly fled the hectic life in Panama City for more relaxing and peaceful surroundings and found ourselves living in an old cottage built for U.S. army officers during the construction of the Panama Canal, nearly 100 years prior.  The cottage had been retro-fitted several times with slightly more modern amenities, including a kitchen and bathroom, for which we were very thankful.  Previous potty breaks “en plein air” had produced upwards of 18 ticks in some awkward locations.

After spending many months of the past year surrounded by tropical foliage we had become accustomed to (and quite excited by) the unique and interesting organisms that always seemed to pop up: ants, birds, frogs, and more.  In the evening after unpacking our small bag of clothes and bathroom items I turned the shower on to get my four-year-old daughter ready for bed when I heard a sound resembling thousands of shrill crickets, all piping up at the same time.  I turned the water off, trying to process what had just happened, and the sound stopped almost as suddenly as it began.  I waited a few seconds, and then turned the shower back on again.  Had I truly lost my mind?  Fortunately, no.  After nearly ten times of turning the water on and off repeatedly, it clicked.  Eleutherodactylus.  The rain frogs.  And I was incredibly amused by the sheer joy and excitement they were displaying at the simple sound of my evening shower.

Moments like that remind me of why we continued to return to the rainforest over and over in different parts of the world.  Only in an environment so pure can you truly revel in nature, and the amazingly tight associations that occur between a species and its habitat.

After several years of nearly perpetual travel, the author now lives in North Carolina with her husband and their two children. Growing up, she traveled extensively around the United States, but it wasn’t until college that the author began to travel internationally. She met her husband in graduate school and, after discovering a shared love of life on the road, they embarked on the first of many amazing adventures together. The author has a PhD in Oceanography, and spent ten years working in environmental microbiology research. She quit her job in 2007 to travel around the world with her husband and 3 year old daughter. During that time the author began documenting the details of such extensive travel with a small child. Today she is an advocate for encouraging families to get out and see the world together. The author is currently planning a new adventure for her family where she is looking forward to including her sweet little boy in all the fun.