When it comes to wild plants and foraging, people ask, "How do you know all this stuff?
My answer is, "I read a lot."
And I do. I read a lot, talk to people, ask questions, and take a lot of notes.
And why? It's all about preparedness.
Over my lifetime I have found the adage "when the student is ready the teacher appears", is not some mystical tenet, but a fact. When I am most prepared, there is a teacher that shows up, an impetus that ushers me to the next level.
No matter how much I read, or study, there are always niggling worries that I don't know enough, I'm not good enough; so I keep reading, re-reading, searching. And then something happens; an invite to collaborate, or give a talk or present at a conference. I step out on faith, and hope everything I've done up to now, has prepared me for the next thing.
That always means more prep. As the date edges closer, I always tell myself at the point of no return, "if ya ain't ready, get ready." And that "getting ready" for the next event, and the next one, that opens the door for the next teacher to appear.
It's like prerequisite courses, once you have a firm foundation, you see how the next level of knowledge interconnects. Suddenly, teachers are appearing faster, and the pool becomes larger and more diverse and all because I prepared, I got ready.
So why do I keep at it. I love it really, and it's one giant rabbit hole and I'm curious to see where the new niche leads. And the more I do this, the faster recall of cool stories, and I retain a sharper level of detail on medicinal use.
And cuz if you stay ready, you don't have to get ready.