October 31, 2012 One Week To Go!!
It is beyond incredible to think that in less than three weeks I will be fulfilling one of my lifelong dreams. As a third-grader, I wrote a paper detailing my goals to go to Antarctica (and the moon). Whether I call it destiny or determination, it is unreal to think that my dream is about to be fulfilled. In the last few weeks the final details of my departure are happening.
Here's what I didn't know as an eight year old:
You must be very healthy to go to Antarctica. Recently, I got my letter physically qualifying me for deployment. Without the proper health checks in my passport, I would not be allowed to travel onto the continent. I had to have a number of tests for blood-work, scans, dental record checks, and physicals and so on. You need really warm clothes.
Even as eight year old, I knew it was cold in Antarctica but what seems like daily I think of more items that I need to bring to keep warm. It is true that PolarTREC and the CDC (Cold weather Distribution Center in Christchurch) is supplying all of the technical gear for the trip, but I am responsible for taking enough protective base layers. Last weekend, my wife and I, went to Dicks Sporting Goods to purchase what seems like the entire 2013 collection of Under Armor. Although I am usually warm, I feel it is better to be cautious and have the ability to take off layers. Better warm, than cold.
You need special luggage tags.
Every bag being flown to Antarctica must have a proper luggage tag. These tags alert the proper authorities that our bags must go through a special inspection. I must even make sure my work boots are free from all dirt particles so I don't run the risk of potentially contaminating New Zealand and an entire continent. How long does it take to get to Antarctica?
The average person can't just dash to a Delta counter and demand a Non-Stop to McMurdo, Antarctica. I'm leaving on November 5. I will be flying Detroit, to Chicago, to Los Angles; Los Angles to Sydney Australia, to Christchurch, New Zealand. From Christchurch I will take a military plane into McMurdo. That is approximately 30+ amount of hours flying. Needless to say my computer is updated with 15 new movies to keep me occupied. I simply can't really believe that I'm going to Antarctica. It is true, that I have worked diligently in my academic and professional career to reach my goals. However, in one week I will begin the adventure that I have dreamed since I first learned of landforms in third grade.