Thoughts on a postcard….

It’s been a bit of a bizarre few weeks, we’re at a stage where we’ve nothing more to ‘achieve’ now, nothing else is new, there’s nothing to ‘prepare’ for and we know as much as we need to to get through the rest of the expedition. Some of you would say “Great, relax, enjoy your time there” others would say “Whoa, complacency, now’s when it will go wrong” and to be honest both are correct.

I’m not the sort of person to allow complacency in the field ever, I just don’t let it happen (and it drives people nuts) but that’s who I am and I’m comfortable with knowing my track record has never had anybody injured under my watch, I do see that in other people though and the next few months will no doubt be interesting. The ‘relax’ bit I’m unsure about, there’s still some work to do but we’ll deal with that, I guess I’ve just got to the stage where I feel comfortable as an AAD “Antarctic expeditioner”, I know the conditions, I know the rules, I know the deal with sea ice and I’m comfortable with what’s expected of us to do our duty here on station. So now I’ve reached ‘normality’ in terms of living here, Antarctica is my home, I know it, I accept it, it’s less of a threat because of my familiarity with it……On it’s own, it’s now….Dare I say this……Not as exciting? I chose my words carefully there, I nearly put boring which is of course completely incorrect, it’s not boring!

Everyday on my way to the office (a 40 metre walk) I stop and look up at the pitch black sky, is there an aurora this morning? most likely there is, is there an open sky with an amazing moon? sometimes there is…Is there something ‘amazing’…actually there always is…..Everything here stimulates the brain, the colours, the temperatures, the way the cold air freezes your eyelids together, the way your nostril hairs freeze within seconds of stepping outside, the echoing noise your feet make as you crunch through freshly formed ice, the way you become utterly useless when your hands become frozen and then have to spend ten minutes with your gloves off and your hands shoved down your crutch inside your five layers of clothing in order to get some warmth back into them. It’s all enlightening stuff…:-)

For that very reason It makes me think about how much stuff do we pass by in the rest of the world that is ‘amazing’ that we’ve become over familiar with? I’m coming to the stage where I’m starting to crave things that I took for granted before, I mean, you have no idea what it’s like to go without ‘salad’, to be able to go to the shops, buy mozzarella and rocket, to go for a run on solid ground, to see trees, rivers, grass and fields…..That’s all very far away and distant now and certainly something which I will take the time to appreciate far more when I return from here. It’s quite bizarre too, my youngest sons birthday is next month, he’ll be eight (and I actually just had to think about that before I typed it) – Myself and Ellie were discussing what to get him for his birthday and I now have no idea what he’s into, what makes him tick, and what he’d appreciate……And that is quite weird, I feel disconnected with them.

I believe the lesson here is to look around you, that bit where you go to work 40 hours a week, what is it you’re paying for? Does it pay for you solely to have food & a roof over your head or does it actually cover the extra stuff that you now believe is ‘necessary’ in your life for example: TV’s, iPads, PC’s, expensive cars, new kitchens, houses and all the rest of the ‘go gadget’ world that we currently live in or does it just cover the necessities?….If you find yourself buying all the extra add ons and still struggling to meet the bills then you’ve probably over done it and need to go back to basics….
You know those scenes in films where they live ‘happily ever after’? Do they A: Show a family of people are running round a sunset glowing field chasing each other laughing or do they B: Show them indoors weighing about 60kgs more than they should in separate rooms texting each other….? (If you answered B you need to re-evaluate your existence)

I shall expect comments referring to me as insane, communist, tree hugging greeny etc etc and yep I probably would have said exactly the same to someone in my shoes ten years ago, it’s funny though how a bit of time isolated in a very different place and existence gives some clarity of the person you were before.

I’ve stuck a few pics here of work we’ve been doing, I’ve not done too many recently to be honest….(Damn, there goes my business case for a new Nikon D810 when discussing with Ellie in future weeks)

Cheers for now

Stu

 

 

 

 

 

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