Antarctica, Justification of Zen, Lucky Me, Oh, Yeah 2 Months in Argentina
10/21/2012 56 °F
It was somewhere near ten in the morning when my friend busted into my dark man cave. She beat my leg and announced, “Thom! THOM! Wake up. WAKE UP! I got the email! I GOT MY TRIP! WE‘RE GOING TO ANTARCTICA!“ At this point, I sat up in bed, and mumbled, “Wha? Grgup deer. Diggumrifits johberglubs. Okeh okeh.. Greibits.”
My friend realized I probably wasn’t comprehending this information. She hurried out saying, “Sorry to wake you, now go back to and dream about Antarctica.“
My friend later told me that I didn’t say anything coherent during that conversation. I thought I was communicating clearly, but I guess I was wrong. I was very agreeable. I figured the faster I agreed, the sooner this person would go away. Before I passed out, I thought to myself. “You might be going to Antarctica.”
At one-thirty p.m. the same day, I woke up from my sleep and one word popped into my head. Antarctica. At that point, my head exploded.
When I say my head exploded, I mean that I immediately began to think of the things I was going to need for the trip. What did I have to do before November? I had to get tickets, maps, accommodations, and timetables. How long was I going for? There was no way I was going to sleep anymore that day. This was a problem, because I was working night shift that night, and I had only gotten a measly 5 hours of sleep.
With my mind aflutter, I still didn’t quite trust the fact that I was going to Antarctica. After all, I may have dreamed the whole thing. After an hour of laying in the dark, I flipped on my computer and began to make tentative lists of things that I needed to do. After another half hour, I went up stairs to get a cup of tea, with a muffin. I wanted to verify what I believed was true.
I walked into the galley where my friend was working, and asked her, “Is it true?” She jumped into my arms, and yelled, “WE’RE GOING TO ANTARCTICA! We got the 21 day trip, including South Georgia and Falklands!” I smiled. I’m from the Midwest. I don’t know how to show enthusiastic displays of excitement in public. I was very excited, but it had not really sunk in yet. I had my tea, and watched a movie, I tried to sleep, but it didn’t happen. I went to work, and somehow made it through a very long night.
Zen Flow = Antarctica and Argentina
Since July, I’ve been running without a plan. I think I’ve talked of this before (see Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Nebraska July 2012). In short, I had such an enjoyable time driving through Nebraska without a map that I decided to apply this concept to my life. This is not easy. I’m a man of action, of plans, of adventure. It was hard; I even turned down an offer to go to Morocco, because it didn’t feel right. Many people have asked me, “What are you going to do after your contract?” My best answer was, “I don’t know. I’m just going to let the Zen flow and see what happens.”
Well, the Zen has flowed.
This is happening fast. In three weeks, I’ll be in Ushuaia, Argentina (the southernmost city in the world). I have made many decisions already concerning this adventure, but there are many that I have yet to determine. The biggest decision I’ve had to make was, “how long are you going for?” I figured that since I’m going to be in Argentina, I might as well spend some time there. However, that still didn’t answer the original question. I looked at tickets, and decided that I would fly out of Buenos Aires two months after I got back from Antarctica. My mind exploded for the second time in a week.
How Did You Get So Lucky?
The obvious question is “Why do you get to go to Antarctica?” I’ll tell you. I work for an expedition based touring company that runs small cruise ships all around the world. One benefit to working for this company, is that they offer some of their trips to crewmembers when there is space available on the ship. In order to qualify, one has to complete a four-month contract or work full time, and one has to sign up for a space on the waiting list for that trip. My friend heard there were cabins available on this Antarctic trip and put her name on the list. Three weeks before any trip departs, they fill any open cabins with crew applicants. For this Antarctic trip, my friend was at the top of the list. The cabins are double occupancy, so she can bring a guest if she chooses (for a price), and she chose me. We’ve signed the paperwork, bought our plane tickets, and paid our ship fees. It’s a done deal, at least on paper. We still have to get there.
I feel like the luckiest man in the world. Who takes a romantic getaway to Antarctica? This guy does.
A Two Headed Monster
It’s very hard to live in the moment right now. I still have three weeks to work on the ship, which includes a four-day positioning trip down to Los Angeles. Every other thought revolves around either Antarctica or Argentina. This is a huge two-headed monster of a trip. The first half is very structured for the most part. Our ship will visit the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica making stops at known locations. The second half is completely free forming as we speak. The only thing I know for sure is my flight out of Buenos Aires on the 31st of January (unless of course my plans change).
I have a few ideas, but my mind tends to wander. I’ve looked into taking Spanish classes in Ushuaia. I also plan on hiking in Patagonia. Maybe I’ll learn to Tango, who knows? The world is my oyster.
Amundsen, Shackleton, Ross, and now Miller. Holy shit, I’m going to Antarctica!