Where I’m Going Next:
It’s been over a year since my return from South America and I’ve been chomping at the bit to throw the pack back on and get back out into the world ever since. My adventures in teaching middle school back in East Saint Louis, hiking Yellowstone National Park, and going deeply within at the Omega Institute have kept me busy and fulfilled for the past 12 months. Nevertheless, there is nothing like traveling abroad, which is why I am so, so excited to announce that in a matter of days I will be deploying to a new job and a new life on the worlds chilliest continent–Antarctica!
I am moving to Antarctica!
If you are having trouble comprehending what this means, I assure you, many other people have not known what I’m talking about as I’ve told them about my upcoming excursion. Many think that I’m returning to the Arctic, to live in Alaska again, perhaps. Many haven’t reacted in such a way that assures me that they have a complete understanding of the place I’m headed to. And so, here I am with a couple of answers:
First and foremost, Antarctica is a continent located at the bottom of the world. It is rock and ice and not much else–although I look forward to telling you all about whatever else I discover while I am there. It is not a country and it does not belong to any one nation on earth. Through the Antarctic Treaties signed in the late 1950’s and 60’s, the continent is not owned by any one country, but is instead used for research. “The area is to be used for peaceful purposes only.” There are no native human populations to Antarctica. Everyone who lives on the continent is a visitor and is only able to exist there due to the research stations that house them in various locations around the continent. In the summer (the northern hemispheres winter), there are around 4,000 people existing on the continent at the various research bases. In the winter, that number drops to around 1,000 individuals. There are three year-round research bases that the United States operates. I’ll be living and working at the largest research base, McMurdo Station, located south of New Zealand.
Things to Know:
- There are no polar bears in Antarctica, but there are penguins!
- The temperature in the region of the continent I will be living at will hover around the zero degree mark, as far as I can tell.
- As I will be living below the Antarctic Circle during the southern hemispheres summer, the sun will never set for the length of time that I am on the continent.
- I will be living in the same time zone as New Zealand.
- I’ll let you know when I arrive what the scientists are actually researching, at this point, I don’t know.
- The position I have accepted is called a “steward”. Basically, like the majority of the other people living on the base, I will be a support personnel, helping to run the base while the scientists do research. I’ll be working in the kitchen and dining areas.
- The application process, which I’ll write about at greater length at another point, was an experience all on its own.
When I was eight years old, I remember sitting in my third grade classroom with the rest of the kids and writing out my very first bucket list–a list of 20 things I wanted to do before I died. Obviously, I don’t remember everything that was on this particular list as it has long since disappeared; however, the two things I do remember scratching onto the paper were both travel goals. First, go to all 50 states. Second, go to all 7 continents…somehow.
Even at the age of eight, I was well aware of the fact that getting to the 6 land masses that people actually inhabit would be quite the feat, but getting to the 7th would be darn near impossible. That’s why, when the opportunity presented itself, I knew from the start that I had to be ALL IN. I ran with the opportunity even to apply to a job in Antarctica and I just happened to be fortunate enough to make my way in.
And so, one of my childhood dreams is about to be completed. I deploy in a three days. I’ll likely be on the ice for four months. Another chapter is about to begin. Another adventure is about to begin. I hope, very much so, that this blog can be a place where I can, once again, share this adventure with everyone who happens to stop or wander by.
Here we go again…I hope you’ll come along for the ride!