I have 30 minutes free wifi here at JFK airport, terminal 7. It's 8 am and I have been up since 3:30. Checking my luggage at BTV airport I learned that one pair of jeans and one sweater can make the difference of having to pay overweight luggage charges or not. I thought I was a thoughtful packer, now I know I have to step up my game. Reconfiguring a few items to carry on avoided extra charges. Packing for Antarctica has been an exercise in preparing for the unknown. Getting the gear for skiing was easy, it's the time off the mountain and on the boat, that transitional time where nothing is defined. What do I need? Really? I want comfort. Comfort from the cold? The warmth? The exhaustion? The seasickness? The overstimulation? The excitement? I don't know. Clothing is complex. It's our extra skin, our protection. It's aesthetics, semantics and experience. After going through a whole set of scenarios I ultimately decided to think of this whole trip as a big backpacking camping trip which in reality I would have failed miserably since I would have to lug around 50 lbs of gear. Think beginning scenes of the movie "Wild".
This was only a few days ago. My mind felt just like this. Wrestling the gear into two bags (and carry on but who is counting:) was an exercise in discipline and focus. Until now, it felt more like a dream, that hypothetical trip to Antarctica.
Once the bags were packed it became real. No returning now. The last days before today's departure I felt giddy like a kid before christmas or the night before a big snowstorm. The excitement of entering the unknown mixed with the pull of habit, the pull of shouldn't and should. Deep breathing, many miles of paddling in the familiar Mallet's Bay and working off the to do lists and projects to complete kept my mind from spilling and my feet on the ground.
We are on our way! Next stop Argentina.