By bag, with the beginnings of packed items inside.
We're told to remove all unnecessary packaging from items before we bring them, to reduce trash in Antarctica. Since this pile is only the beginning of my packaging, I can really see how it would add up!
Packing, some say it is the worst part of going on a trip; Some hate it so much they leave it until the night before. But packing for me is when the whole trip really hits me, it finally sinks in that this is really happening! So when I started packing today (much of the time was taken up by removing tags and packaging), I was in the middle of folding a pair of light blue long underwear pants when I stopped and said to Cara (my sister) in the most honestly excited/scared/shocked voice "I cannot believe I am going to Antarctica! The next time I'll see these pants I'll be putting them on in my tent in Antarctica!"
I leave in a week and I don't think I could be more scared, excited, thrilled, or nervous! It is finally hitting me that everything I have been telling everyone about my trip is going to be realized in only a week's time. Meaning, when I say I'll be cooking for my group, sleeping in a tent, living in Antarctica in 24hrs of sunlight, and seeing penguins (fingers crossed!), that it is actually going to all start happening in a little over a week, when I reach "The Ice"!!! At the pre-trip dinner with my grandparents tonight, it really started to sink in that everyone around me is nervous and excited too!
Finished most of my trip shopping and that has taken a little of the time-constraint stress off of me. I'm getting in a few last movies, babysitting jobs, baths, and fall activities before my 3-month "cold weather camping trip" that kicks off my 6+ months of winter! It will be a surreal and character building trip. But I am absolutely thrilled to start taking it all in!
Thank you time...
Thank you to my family (especially my parents and sister and brothers) for being there to listen to be fret and worry and calm be down, and then for pumping me up for the trip when I get stressed and tired
Thank you to my friends and peers for there continuing support of this adventure
Thank you to Maciek for all the work he has done to get me booked, planned, and for answering all my questions
Thank you to all the doctors, nurses, and dentists for all the check-ups, letters, faxes, notes, x-rays and cooperation in this ordeal
And finally a BIG "Thank You!" to Professor Peter Doran, for believing in me and giving me this amazing opportunity to travel to a place very few others will ever see. I'm still shocked to have this chance, but thrilled and ready to embrace the journey and all its challenges with open-arms, determination, and a positive attitude!!
This trip won't be easy, and at times it will test my mental and physical strength in ways that I couldn't imagine! But it will be a trip - a succession of moments and pictures - an intense 3-month journey of living in the harshest, most unforgiving place on Earth, that will build my character, strength, and will. And that will excite me while - along the way - knocking me down over and over again. I welcome it; and I know, only too soon, it will be happening and probably, only too quickly, it will be over.
So continue, to come here, to follow my journey to Antarctica and experience the highs and lows, stories and pictures, or just the science and goings-on of life on "The Ice"!!