It gave us three full years to do anything we wanted. So in effect, what I said when I got it — it was a glorious opportunity, 1953, I was 24 — I said, “Do anything! Go anywhere!” and immediately I was off to the tropics, which is where I always wanted to go, to luxuriate in the maximum diversity centers of the world, fauna and flora. Sort of like an art student, a scholar of art history, being allowed to visit the great museums for the first time. So off I went to Cuba and Mexico, and spent time working in the rainforest, becoming familiar with the biology of the fauna and flora, and particularly the ants. Then immediately afterward, after passing through Harvard and shaking some hands and collecting checks, I headed for the South Pacific.
There, I followed in part the route followed by Ernst Mayr when he was working on birds, some 30 years before. I climbed, in one case, the same mountain range, and part of it that had never been climbed before. I worked through places like Fiji and New Caledonia and Western Australia, and went on to Sri Lanka, and for a long period of time studied ants in the field.