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It’s all happening.

I’m going!

I’m going to Antarctica!!

::unintelligible shrieks of joy and amazement::

Oh, wow.  Wow, wow, and yes, wow.

Life, at the moment, is so good that it hurts.  So good, in fact, that you see I write it out in plain English, without fear or superstition that I might somehow jinx my good fortune.

Jenny has been fantastic – supportive, excited, helpful and somehow as proud as if she were my own parent.  I think I have learned a valuable lesson from the several weeks of stress and secrecy leading up to now.  I should have given her a lot more credit.  Everything, everything is falling into place.  My time in NZ has been a study in serendipity, and it would seem that the Great Antarctic Adventure is getting off to a start just as fortuitous.  I’ve found someone to store Dr. Gonzo for me for $1/day, indoors, out of the elements.  He’ll be here waiting for me when I get back!  Knowing that I don’t have to say goodbye to him is incredibly reassuring.

Lumir, my photographer friend, has come to spend my last week with me, helping me pack, making me laugh, accompanying me to Christchurch to sort out plane tickets and other details, helping me work around the backpackers, cooking, feeding me wine, taking me camping, taking pictures to document all the excitement, and generally making my last week a real cracker.  And, the best part – this isn’t my last week in NZ.  I’m coming back!  I’ll finish in Antarctica in early December or early January, have a happy reunion with the Doc, and essentially pick up where I’ve left off.  Lumir will still be here, as will Moni, the Beveridges, Angus, Jim, the Wellington crew, and the whole gorgeous country.  Going to Antarctica isn’t a huge, scary change – merely a detour.  A scenic excursion of sorts, a temporary holiday from the holiday.  An extremely lucrative detour: full pay and benefits, and minimal expenses for six months = money in the bank to fund further travels!

A question has been raised about my intentions…what am I running away from?  I realize that this all began as a sort of gap year before having to make decisions about careers and life and such, but what started as a trip, a holiday, has morphed, slowly but completely, into life.  Simple as that.  This is no longer a break before real life…this is my real life.  This is what I want to do.  See the world, soak it in, drink it up, live.  I am happy.  To settle, at this point, would be a lie.  I don’t mean to say that I’m never going to grow tired of being rootless.  I will.  But not yet.  If I’m running from anything, it’s a life of stagnation, routine, of two weeks of holidays a year, commuting, paying bills, working for the weekends.  Why should I follow that path?  I only have one opportunity, one life, and while that sounds dramatic and perhaps a bit morbid, it seems ludicrous to spend even one moment doing something that isn’t fulfilling, something that doesn’t make me happy to be alive and grateful for each breath I take.

The hardest thing is knowing that some of you will not understand.  You, all of you, are immensely, hugely important to me.  You are the pillars that hold up the framework of my life.  And yet here I am, choosing a lifestyle that is going to take me away from you all for an indefinite length of time.  Because NZ, and now Antarctica, are just the beginning.  Lumir, ever the philosopher, says (in his delicious eastern European accent) says, “Hey man, that is the Tax.”  It’s the price of living a dream.  The cost is dear, measured in heartache and homesickness, but right now, it is worth it.

On to the business end – I am coming home!  I land in San Francisco on Monday, July 24, and (pending making arrangements with Beeker), will be flying into Manchester shortly thereafter.  I’ll have about two and a half weeks at home, and I want to see as many of you as humanly possible!  I leave again for Christchurch and then the Ice on August 14th.  It’s going to be short – but sweet.  I’ll keep you updated.  I love you, I love you, I love you, I CAN’T WAIT to see you.


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