"It's the final countdown" -Europe

Los Angeles...the stars, the lights, the traffic! I knew there was a reason I moved away from this place 19 years ago. I sat in the front seat of my friend, Mike's, mini-van as he navigated his way through the dense traffic. It was my final day in the U.S. and Mike was trying to get me to Kaiser Permanente on Sunset Blvd. for my flu shot. (I should note this was the 3rd thing that day Mike did to help me get to Antarctica!) The flu shot was the final thing on the long list of things I had to do before being allowed to go to Antarctica and with everything else going on I had waited until the last minute to do it. As Mike and I sat in a traffic jam watching the clock tick past closing time at the clinic, my friend Lori, Mike's wife, was buying time with the nurse telling her stories of my upcoming adventure to Antarctica. As the minutes ticked, Lori and Mike's 4 year old twins sat in the backseat complaining about the L.A. traffic as I tried to get them to sing repeat after me songs about Antarctic animals. Finally, We made it! As soon as I dashed in the office the nurse gave me a "I got my flu shot" sticker, handed me her address and said, "I want a postcard from Antarctica". Then, she poked me with the needle.

Amy Osborne does PolarTREC computer work around the campfire
With only 2 days until her departure to New Zealand, Amy Osborne completes some PolarTREC work around the campfire near Flagstaff, Arizona. Photo by Paul Smotherman

Amy Osborne with a flu shot sticker
Amy Osborne finally gets her flu shot

These final hours in the States paralleled the emotions of the weeks leading up to my journey. Despite feeling frantic, slightly stressed, and wondering if I would get everything done I needed to do, in the end it all seemed to come together.

Amy Osborne presents information about her upcoming expedition to middle schoolers at The Logan School
Amy Osborne presesnting to students at The Logan School in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Casey Kohn

In the past week, I've traveled from Ohio to Los Angeles. Along the way I stopped in Denver to pick up my car and share my upcoming adventure with students at The Logan School. My dad, friend Elizabeth, and I roadtripped from Denver to Santa Fe, New Mexico where I officiated the wedding of Jonathan Garoza and Bekah Hallberg (Congratulations you two!) during Balloon Fiesta weekend. I said an early happy birthday and goodbye to my Dad. I left Santa Fe bound for Flagstaff, Arizona where I camped with some old friends, did some PolarTREC work in a beautiful space, and met a new 10 day old friend. I, also, talked to some 8th graders from Mount Elden Middle School. And, on October 9th, one day before my flight was leaving for New Zealand, I drove from Flagstaff to LA, where I packed up my Antarctica gear and gathered some last minute things.

Amy Osborne and her dad at the hot air balloon fiesta.
Amy Osborne and her dad at the hot air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Happy Birthday Dad! Photo by Allison Garoza

Amy Osborne guest speaker at Mount Elden Middle School
Amy Osborne presents to 8th graders at Mount Elden Middle School in Flagstaff, Arizona

On October 10th, my dad's birthday, my friends and I dodged LA traffic, ate some tacos and I just made my flight to New Zealand. Whew! I'm exhausted! I had fun but I am tired. As my friend Carol once said, "You never do things the easy way, do you Amy?" Luckily, the 13 hour flight from LA to Auckland, New Zealand provided some much needed sleep and it feels good to be in the land of the All Blacks rugby team and meat pies!

Sign on bus that reads "Go the All Blacks"
Signs that I am in New Zealand. Everyone loves the All Blacks, New Zealand national rugby union team.

Mushroom and chicken meat pie
More signs I'm in New Zealand…delicious meat pies!

Tomorrow I'm off to get my Extreme Cold Weather gear and some training at the United States Antarctic Program base in New Zealand. I'm excited to get down to the ice and start studying sea spiders and nudibranchs! Only 2 more days until I head to the icy continent!

Weather Summary
cloudy and cool


Kimberly J Orbik

Amy! I'm SO EXCITED for you- and so flabbergasted you're actually doing this! I send you with all the positive vibes in the universe- to hold you, keep you warm, inspire you, and make new friendships easily and solid! May you also have time to breathe in the Antarctic air, see the moon from a whole different perspective, and revel in the deepest deep-south snowflakes. SAFE JOURNEY!!! <3 Kim


New Zealand! Home of one of my favorite directors Jane Campion! Have fun!!