I Leave Tomorrow...

Dearest friends and family, followers and fans. It has finally arrived! I depart for the great adventure to the bottom of the world, tomorrow (insane). At 7:30am December 4th, I board my first flight from SFO and head to LA to Panama City to Buenos Aires and finally to Ushuaia.

I’ve spent that past several months ruminating over options, practicing kayaking and photography, making tough decisions about gear, figuring out how to take underwater pics, answering a lot of questions, and generally over planning for this journey of a lifetime.

I’ve spoken with dozens, learned from many and have amazing people to thank for all the advice and lessons they’ve bestowed. 

On this eve of adventure, I am calm yet filled with anticipation. Eager yet filled butterflies. Butterflies of the unknown, of traveling alone, of the unexpected. But more than anything, I'm ready.

Let’s do this.

Reminder: Follow along! I'm aquinnm Instagram.

The Packing Post

I have an iterative approach to packing and it goes a little something like this:

  1. Pack
  2. Sleep on it.
  3. Unpack and remove stuff. Repack.
  4. Sleep on it.
  5. Sleep on it. 
  6. Unpack and remove stuff. Repack.
  7. Sleep on it.
  8. Unpack, remove stuff, add stuff. Repack.
  9. Depart.

I started with a pretty large list, laid it all out on my floor, rolled it all up and packed it all into 1 suitcase (checked), 1 backpack (overhead), 1 small gear bag (under the seat), 1 tube (checked).

packing

Here’s what I’ve got in those bags:

  • Lots of winter clothes/layers. Breathable, tough, polypropylene and fleece. Rolled.
  • Smallish winter coat (to hold me over in Ushuaia, Quark gives passengers a big parka). Poncho, Rain layers.
  • A few comfy lounge clothes for ship meandering and sleeping.
  • Snow(Ski) pants & Waterproof pants. Hiking pants. Rolled.
  • Socks galore. Wool, waterproof, regular, cozy, etc.
  • Gloves & Hats. Multiple. Diving gloves for the Kayak.
  • Polarizing sunglasses. Two. With straps.
  • Waterproof boots (I don’t want to borrow), hiking boots, sneakers, flats.
  • One nice outfit. Rolled.
  • A swimsuit. Though, I doubt I'll "polar plunge."
  • An insane amount of sea sickness remedies like Gravol, Gum, Ginger Chews and Sea Bands (enough for two, in case my cabin-mate is ill prepared).
  • Sunscreen, lotions, chapsticks, Advil, Vicks, cold medicine, general beauty care and travel laundry. Doubled. (Apparently vicks is a helpful tool because penguins are stinky and rubbing a bit under your nose can help.)
  • Super light travel tripod.
  • Camera Gear (see photography post).
  • Packable Herschel Bag in case I need to check another bag on the way home.
  • File folder with every possible confirmation document, shot list, notes, itinerary, etc.
  • A nautical chart of Antarctica to chart locations visited. In the tube.

Some logistics:

  • All camera gear (aside from the tripod) will travel on the plane with me.
  • A change of clothes, hats and gloves will travel on the plane with me.

And that’s about it! I think... When I return, I plan to post some lessons about what I packed -- what I used, I what I didn't need, what I wish I had, etc.  

Posting (or not) While I'm Away

If I can get access to wifi on a regular basis, I may decide to update the blog on a daily basis. So keep checking back or subscribe to get the play-by-play while I am out there. 

If this proves difficult or (more likely) I’ve realized that I’m in a remote location at the bottom of the world and shouldn’t be on the internet, damn it!!! - then I'll be updating this blog far less frequently... or not at all.

So, I guess wait and see!

At the very least, I plan on posting a few instagram shots of some amazing ice or a penguin or two. Follow me there at aquinnm.

3 Days to Go!

The Thanksgiving Special: A Great Big Thanks to this Great Big List

It’s Thanksgiving and I have a hell of a lot to be thankful for. 

I have an amazing family, so many supportive friends and colleagues, and have met a ton of people along the way that have shaped the vision for this trip. To all of you I say, thank you! So much.

I wanted to call special attention to these people who have played a pivotal role in making this crazy trip real. Your help, guidance and support has been invaluable. 

Sam! Who has heard me talk about this thing every day and offered so much support. And his mom for the gloves.

Melanie! Who shared many tips and stories, introduced me to her friends and let me borrow lots of gear.

Ian! Who gave me the best advice ever and all the inside pro-tips one could hope for. Amazing stuff.

Sarah! Who booked it all for me and listened to me ruminate endlessly on which trip to pick.

 
group-thanks

Of course, my parents whose support and early Christmas gifts will be amazing during the trip!

Ira who has given me many tips and words of wisdom. And Karli who introduced us. See you there!

Kyla and Danny whose use of travel points is mind boggling and amazing. Thanks for the tips.

Emily, a friend for life whose own adventures serve as a constant reminder to live freely.

Chris and Linzi who are just such great friends and have been forever. Thanks for listening.

My team at Nurun who will be busy while I'm gone. I’m looking at you Stacy, Tim, JT, Jordan, Trey, Larry, Albert and so many more.

And the list goes on!

  • The greater NurunSF office. The place that keeps me gainfully employed with enrichment programs and a generous vacation package, all crucial to this trip.
  • Scott and Paul of Aperture Academy whose photography instruction in Big Sur helped me hone technical photography skills. And fellow student, Brian who shared many tips.
  • The Sea Trek crew who taught me how to kayak and how to rescue myself if I fall out (let’s hope it doesn’t come to that).
  • Angie, who is always up for something big and always down to hearing about this trip
  • Steve, an old friend from Philadelphia who shared some wise photography wisdom
  • The Machu Picchu trekking crew from 2013, especially Peggy whose world travels, climbing tales and Antarctica stories were particularly inspiring.
     

And some more folks I've never met:

  • Martin Bailey whose podcast I love and photography tips and gear recommendations will come in handy.
  • Crystal & Ben and Marnie on Etsy who are made me the most amazing Antarctica inspired creations. 
  • Everyone who contributes regularly to the forums on Tripadvisor so I can read and learn from all of your amazing experiences. 

Finally big thanks to everyone out there reading this blog, liking these posts, or following me on Facebook and Twitter. You make me happy too. 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
(Exactly one week to go...)

Antarctica Inspired Etsy Creations

When I first started thinking about this adventure, I was targeting December 2015 (and even December 2016) as the time to go. In those early days, I was so crazy excited about a trip yet to be planned, that I took to Etsy to have two wonderful women create ice-inspired paper and felt pieces that would help keep me excited about a journey well into the future.

However, since I commissioned these custom creations, I decided to pull the trigger on 2014 (10 Days!), making the original purpose totally moot. But who cares! I am thrilled to have these pieces right now and to see them when I return, serving as a constant reminder of my obsessive excitement to travel to the bottom of the world.

Antarctica Peninsula by Marnie of  Crafterall   |  Tabular Iceberg with Penguins by Ben & Crystal of  VintagebyCrystal

Antarctica Peninsula by Marnie of Crafterall  |  Tabular Iceberg with Penguins by Ben & Crystal of VintagebyCrystal

Practicing for Antarctica: Photography Edition

My trip is coming up fast -- 14 days, fast! I'm still in practice mode, switching focus from the kayak to the camera.

Part 1: Travel Photography & Storytelling
To start this phase, I enrolled in Travel Photography & Storytelling with Bob Krist put on by National Geographic at the San Francisco Art Institute (not to be confused with the more generic Art Institutes).

This was a four-hour, indoor, no-window lecture session where he simply talked about photography. This event could have been totally boring, but it was an absolute joy. Bob was hilarious! I learned the basics of what kind of pictures and themes make up the best kind of stories -- all drawing from cinema.  

The lecture was designed to help transform my travel photography from “first I did this and then I did that...” to a narrative that says something about me and my journey. He shared tips on how to step away from the expected and the linear and focus on finding the thread that brings it all together. I can’t wait to put this into practice!

Travel Photography & Storytelling with Bob Krist

Travel Photography & Storytelling with Bob Krist

Part 2: Landscape Photography Workshop in Big Sur, California
Next, I wanted to get out in the field and learn more technical aspects of photography, so I joined a landscape photography workshop in Big Sur, hosted by the Aperture Academy. We drove from iconic location to the next, photographing the gorgeous California coast.

I let go of my Av crutch and embraced manual mode, learned how to use ND graduated filters, and got even more comfortable with polarizers, tripods and all the gear that makes landscape shots shine. What a blast!

Planning and prepping for this trip has been amazing -- I get excited about all the pre-travel details and have been so proud of everything I’ve learned and practiced leading up to the big departure. (I’m even ready to dedicate a blog exclusively to planning trips! Maybe even plan for others?) 

All that’s left is to pack… repack… and do it again a few more times, and then I’ll be on my way.

WOW.

How I'm Getting to Antarctica

It will take me 23 hours and 45 minutes to get to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. It will take me 23 hours and 45 minutes just to get to the starting point for my trip to Antarctica. That's four flights from San Francisco and three flights back home. The journey is long, there are many legs, and I'm not in love with flying. But, that's what it takes, and that's what I'll do - all for the spirit of adventure.

Getting to Antarctica: SFO : LAX : PTY : EZE : USH   |   Returning Home: USH : EZE : IAH : SFO

Getting to Antarctica: SFO : LAX : PTY : EZE : USH   |   Returning Home: USH : EZE : IAH : SFO

The Countdown Begins: One Month to Go

It’s November 3rd, 2014 and at the time of this writing I have exactly 30 days 18 hours and 58 minutes to go before my journey. The official countdown has begun.

There’s so much on my mind as the clock ticks down to departure day. There’s the basic stuff: Do I have everything I need? Is everything in order at home and work? Have I triple confirmed my itinerary? Is there anything left I need to know, do or prep? 

Then there’s the other thoughts: What will this experience do to me? How will it shape how I see the world when I return? 

I so often hear “Life Changing” when people talk to me about Antarctica. I’ve heard it a dozen times now. Maybe I’ll have a whole new perspective and outlook on what matters in this world. Maybe I’ll come out of it with an impassioned focus on climate change. Maybe I’ll come out of it ready to start something bigger with my photography practice -- photography for a cause, perhaps. Maybe nothing at all will change. Maybe everything will.

Travel sparks something profound in people. This adventure -- to the bottom of the world, to one of the most remote locations possible, on my own -- is bound to teach me a lesson or two. And with one month to go, it’s these future lessons that I'm thinking about the most.

Photography Gear: What I'm Packing

First,  a disclaimer. 

I have no idea what I’m doing. I take a lot of pictures, so there’s some lessons learned and some getting better by sheer, brunt-force practice. But, I’m not a pro. I’m an enthusiast. Or rather, a very enthusiastic novice.

Now that that’s out of the way… Here’s my gear plan:

Lenses (Renting):

lenses

Body:

  • Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR 
  • Backup: Yikes, I don’t know yet. Maybe I’ll rent a 5D MKIII and use the 6D as a backup...


Additional Cameras:

  • iPhone 6 + Moment Wide Lens 
  • Fujifilm Quicksnap 800 Waterproof 35mm Disposable Camera 
cameras.png


Accessories:

 

I picked this gear based on lots of research and talking to people who are legit photographers (thanks, Ira Meyer, Steve Boyle, Martin Bailey, and many more!). Ultimately, taking too much stuff makes travel cumbersome and difficult, so I’ll have to choose a small subset of this gear each day for a happier me and happier photos.

What about you guys? People who have been and people visiting soon… what are you bringing?

Let’s Talk about the Drake Passage

The Drake Passage, to the unfamiliar, is the body of water between Argentina and Antarctica where the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean meet. And it’s where things get nuts. Think wild weather, sea sickness, and all around epic-movie-storm ugliness. 

Part of me is thinking:
"Good God! The Drake Passage is going to destroy you." 

But a bigger part of me is thinking:
"Eh… You got this. It might be rough, but you can handle it."

I feel like I ought to be more terrified, but I’m just not. I think it’s going to be easy. I’ve got the pills, the ginger chews and the wrist bands. I know what to do... I think.

So, I’m coming for you Drake. Give me all you got.

A Drake Passage Storm by Conrad Louis Charles.

A Drake Passage Storm by Conrad Louis Charles.

Can I take Underwater Shots from a Kayak?

Last weekend, I designed another kayak practice session and gear test for this trip. The biggest question to answer was: Can I take pictures in my underwater bag from a kayak? 

I’ll set the stage:

I’m paddling along in my kayak. I’m wearing a lot of *bulky gear and look pretty ridiculous. (Spray skirt, PFD: aka life jacket, a drysuit, winter parka, hat and gloves).

I’ve got a DSLR inside an ewa-underwater bag around my neck (or resting atop the skirt), a protected point and shoot and/or an old iPhone shoved into my PFD and a lens cloth -- also jammed in wherever it makes sense.

Then, I'm dipping the camera in and out of the water from the side of an unstable boat...

So, can I manage all that stuff and take a decent picture? 

The short answer is a resounding, YES!  
The long answer is… it’s complicated.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. You get wet. Which is fine in the warm California waters… but in the ice? Hmmm...
  2. The kayak is wobbly! It takes some getting used to, but manageable with time.
  3. Getting a shot is a big guess. You stick your camera in the water, fire the shutter and hope for the best.
  4. You’re constantly in motion. Between the kayak and moving subjects, I’m not sure I’ll get anything…
  5. Shooting pics on the left side is impossible since I have to cross my body in awkward ways. All the cool stuff better happen on the right, Nature!
  6. It’s much easier to shoot in portrait since I have easier access to the shutter this way.
  7. The big neoprene gloves make it awkward, but it still works!
  8. Paddle management is also super awkward and laughably inelegant. Like eating spaghetti on a first date. It’s all doable... Albeit very dorky.

In sum, I’ll keep practicing! Though, I’m sure I’ll just forget everything when I get there, fumble like crazy and just wing it. Isn’t that how it always goes?

*Note: I didn't actually wear all the warm weather gear for this test. It was 80 degrees out and I just wasn't up for excessive sweating.

Test shots with my DSLR inside an ewa-marine bag from the side of a kayak in Tomales Bay, CA.

Test shots with my DSLR inside an ewa-marine bag from the side of a kayak in Tomales Bay, CA.

Antarctica: Frequently Asked Questions

Friends, family, co-workers, tweeters and facebookers have all asked me lots of questions about this trip. Here are the ones that have been coming up the most.

1. Why Antarctica?
I get this question the most - which surprises me! Why not?! For me, Antarctica represents a huge adventure into the unknown. But mostly, I really want to take pictures of ice. And for some inner and mysterious reason, it has to be Antarctica. It's not as dangerous, extreme or cold as you think it is. But it certainly sounds cool!

2. Who are you going with?
The short answer is: I’m going alone. But really, I’ll be with a huge group of people who will also be on the same ship as me. I’ll be matched up with a roommate in my double cabin so it won’t ever feel like I’m actually alone in the middle of nowhere. Don’t worry, Mom.

3. Where will you stay?
I’ll be on a ship the whole time - The Sea Adventurer. It’s relatable if you think of it like a cruise. Cruising around the ice. Only less luxe with fewer amenities. 

4. What will you do there?
Go ashore, look at ice and observe the wildlife - at the bottom of the world! That’s just amazing in and of itself. I’m also kayaking, but that’s an optional add-on.

5. Will you see polar bears?
Nope, Polar Bears live up North in the Arctic. Penguins are in the Antarctic. I will see lots and lots of penguins!

6. Isn't it *really* cold?
Actually, not as cold as you’d think. I’ll only be visiting the Peninsula in the summertime, which means we’re talking about 20-32 degrees fahrenheit. I think that's pretty manageable. Much better than -80 as it can reach in the center of the continent in the dead of winter.

7. What ship are you on?
I'm going with Quark Expeditions on the 11 Day Antarctic Explorer. Quark specializes in travel to the polar regions and have pretty good rates and itineraries. I booked through Freestyle Adventure Travel, a small company based in Ushuaia, Argentina. Sarah Scott (of Freestyle), was amazing to work with, especially through my many mind changes and endless questions. Work with her!

8. How did you decide where and when to go?
Planning a trip to Antarctica is tough. I talked to people who have been there, got tips from expedition leaders, looked into many forums and asked Sarah a lot of questions. I went back and forth a lot and ultimately made the choice based on some things a mix of folks shared with me. More on the how hard it was to pick here and my decision making process here. As for when: basically, November has the most ice. December is ice and wildlife. January is less ice. February and March have the most wildlife. 

9. Did you see the John Oliver Video on Antarctica?
Yes, it's hilarious! The ice-eating bit is particularly damning. Am I going to cancel my trip because of it? No way! Luckily, Quark and others have strict requirements to keep Antarctica protected, which means lots of rules while I'm there. I certainly felt pretty guilty, though!

10. Can I go with you?
A couple of people have asked me this, and yes you can! Talk to Sarah at Freestyle from the link above. Looks like it’s nearly sold out though, so act fast!

 

Not Dying in Antarctica Step 1: Learn to Kayak

I've never properly learned to kayak... didn't even realize there were multiple types of kayaks that require multiple types of skill and safety knowledge. Apparently, you can't just get in any ol' kayak you want and go off on your own.

Which brings me to my first practice session, Introduction to Sea Kayaking class. I learned the basics of traditional sea kayaking (these are sit-in kayaks that have a spray skirt overtop) including wet exits, how to get back in if you fall out and how to rescue someone else if they fall out. Simple enough here in California. Maddening to think about doing in Antarctica.

Some lessons:

  1. Voluntarily flipping yourself upside down into the water while strapped to a kayak is terrifying.
  2. After a few times, it's pretty easy. More practice means more confidence.
  3. Kayaks are heavy. In the assisted rescue scenario, it's tough to flip these guys over and make sure they're not full of water. All with a freaked out person in the water (and most likely, you freaking out as well).
  4. Developing upper body strength is a must. I'm very sore.
  5. Managing gear is a awkward! I can already see how hard it will be to manage my huge camera and underwater bag. I used an underwater case for my iPhone during class and it definitely took some getting used to. More practice required!
  6. Paddling is straight forward. Torso rotation is critical to proper form, speed and efficiency.
  7. I had naive ambitions to go from intro class to advanced class pretty quickly. Turns out, this is a bad idea. My instructor told me I could probably "get by" in the upper level, but really, I need to be clocking more hours covering the basics, getting used to wet exits and getting back in the boat, and developing strength and confidence to paddle in scarier waters.

In sum, I'm sticking to the basics over the new few months. I'll go out and practice, flip myself over a few hundred more times, work on dealing with my camera(s) in context and generally hope that none of those rescues will actually be needed in the icy Antarctic waters.

Kayak basics class at Sea Trek in Sausalito, CA. 

Kayak basics class at Sea Trek in Sausalito, CA. 

Quick Thanks to Freestyle Adventure Travel

I've been talking a lot about how difficult it was to choose this adventure. I've also been digging deeper into message boards and forums only to discover that this is a very common theme! 

I’ve haven’t shared that I had a lot of help in getting to my decision and have so many folks to thank (coming up in a later post). For now, here's a quick shout out to the travel agency I worked with, Freestyle Adventure Travel.

While I was building the Decision Matrix, I worked Sarah Scott, who was an absolute joy. She talked me through options, places and plans, helped me with discounts, listened as I ruminated and second guessed myself over and over again, and ultimately helped pick the right trip for me! And of course, handled all the booking details.

So, if you're planning a trip to explore the great white continent, haven't decided where to start or need a little help, reach out to Sarah!

Full disclosure: I get nothing at all for posting about Sarah or Freestyle. I just had such a great experience with her and wanted to share.

Photo from Freestyle's Facebook Page.

Photo from Freestyle's Facebook Page.

The Great Underwater Photography Fantasy

Taking pictures above ground is the easy part. Keep the gear dry and safe on the zodiacs when traveling to and from shore. Be mindful of cold and ever-changing weather conditions. Respect the wildlife and understand the light. Bring some wide angles, bring some telephotos and bam, I’m set.

But, I’ve decided to complicate the whole thing by adding an underwater twist. I’ve got big dreams of bright blue icebergs below the surface and playful swimming penguins - all captured in high quality glory with my DSLR inside a ewa-marine bag. I dream of photos like this one by David Doubilet:

Amazing photograph by Underwater Photographer,  David Boubilet .

Amazing photograph by Underwater Photographer, David Boubilet.

Of course, that kind of shot poses many challenges since won't actually be IN the water. Hopefully I can achieve something close with these fantasy scenarios:

Scenario 01: Dipping my underwater bag in the water from my kayak.

  • Subjects: Ice, swimming penguins, other swimming sea life.
  • Risks: Falling in the water. Not the camera… ME. Oh, and the bag failing, killing my camera.
  • Questions: How am I going to fire the shutter with big neoprene gloves? Is the water too cold? 
  • Note: Coincidentally, a photographer name Kyle has done this before!

Scenario 02: Dipping my underwater bag in the water on the shore.

  • Subjects: Splashing about wildlife.
  • Risks: Generally getting wet and being cold. 
  • Questions: Is there even a shot “underwater” here? This is not my dream.

Scenario 03: Dipping my underwater bag in the water from a slow zodiac “cruise”

  • Subjects: Ice, swimming penguins, other swimming sea life.
  • Risks: Zodiac drivers giving me hell. Falling in the water. Again, MY body, not the camera. 
  • Question: Will zodiac drivers let me do this? The same questions as the kayak.

I’m bringing some underwater point and shoots (film!), which should be fun and low risk and a complete mystery — which is half the fun! I’m also considering a GoPro - but am less into video and the photo quality isn’t as good. And of course, multiple camera bodies in case I kill a camera with this possibly ridiculous and mostly amazing ambition.

I have a practice simulation planned in a few weeks to try these scenarios out. Anyone have an experience or stories attempting something similar? 

Antarctica Practice Schedule

The whole point of going to Antarctica (aside from just going to experience Antarctica), is to take pictures. Amazing, spectacular, incredible pictures of ice and penguins above and beneath the surface! This means taking pictures from an unsteady kayak, from a rocking ship, in cold climates, with super thick gloves, focusing on subjects near and far that are moving fast or hard to get.

And I have no real idea what I am doing, to boot. All the quality shots I’ve have taken in life so far have been purely by accident… and because I take thousands of awful pictures for every good one.

Anyway, in an effort to get comfortable with these unusual circumstances, my plan is to learn and read, test and practice, and willingly make a fool of myself in the months before so that when I finally get there, I can be cool and composed (at least in theory) as I create the shots I long for. 

Here are some of the things I’ve got planned:

September 6: Intro to Kayaking Class 
I have to learn to be comfortable (and safe) in a kayak before I can start getting crazy and shooting from one.

September 19 - 21: Kayak Weekeend
Time to test those skills on a weekend of unsupervised kayaking. First, a night-time bioluminescence tour — which is just plain cool and less about specific practice.

Then, it’s a day of full-scale simulation. I’m bringing my DSLR, underwater setup, lenses, point-and-shoots, big ol’ neoprene gloves and winter parka to see what it might be like. Can I manage all of this from a kayak? Can I avoid tipping? How much stuff can I actually bring in one of these things? This weekend is the big test.

October 18: Advanced Kayaking Class
Time to up the ante! I’m going pro here. This is practice for Antarctica after all. 

UPDATE: Just got back from the intro class and... I'm not advanced enough for the advanced class.  I'll be using this time in my schedule to practice my basic skills again.

November 9: National Geographic Photography Lecture in San Francisco
Time to focus my attention on general photography practice! I'm heading to a lecture to hear about ways to go beyond the linear "here's my trip!" experience and tell better stories and moments in my travels.

November 16: Landscape Photography Workshop in Big Sur
I'll be heading south to work with several photographers on tuning my landscape and wildlife skills and get acquainted with any special equipment and gear that might help me on my adventure.

Of course, I’ve got a library filled with a ton of antarctica-specific podcasts, articles, books and stories to help ensure that I am totally prepared for the unexpected. 

Snorkeling Out, Kayaking In!

I'll admit. I suffered some heartache when I tried and failed to get on a snorkeling-focused expedition. While kayaking in Antarctica doesn't quite have the same extreme ring to it as snorkeling, it's still a pretty badass alternative that I've just added to my trip. I'm pumped!

Here's what I know about kayaking: It's straight forward. Paddle. Stay in the boat. Don't die.

But, since I've only gone a handful of times, I've signed up for an introductory class here in San Francisco. I could probably use the extra safety and paddling lesson as a reminder on how to stay in the boat and how to not die.

Photo by a passenger via Quark Expedition

Photo by a passenger via Quark Expedition

The Over-Planner’s Dilemma

Uh oh. 

I know too much. 

I’ve weighed all the options, ruminated over all the possible plans and itineraries, and have come to an ultimate decision about what I thought was best for me. And that’s all well and good except…

I know what I’m missing.

Part of me wishes I just picked a trip without the extensive research. Without picking everything apart. Without being the obsessive over-planner that I am. Because now I’m hyper aware of all that I’m NOT doing. Instead of focusing exclusively on what I am doing.

It's official! I pulled the trigger on Antarctica! December 4th. Lots of photos of ice are coming your way! Excited out of my mind.

An Idea to Reality in 20 Days

I started thinking about actually going to Antarctica while laying in bed late at night. The idea kept whizzing by, charged with excitement, preventing me from sleep. What if I just go? What if I just did it? And with that, I decided to just go. To just do it. All the research began the next morning and all of my free time was dedicated to figuring this trip out.

That was 20 days ago.

Today I'm proud and excited and thrilled and [insert every other word that is synonymous with the words I just said] to report that the choice has been made! The trigger has been pulled! The trip has been booked!

It’s all happening December 4th: The Antarctic Explorer aboard the Sea Adventurer (which actually was the highest score on The Decision Matrix in case you’re counting).

Let's do this!