Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow. After dreaming of coming to Antarctica for 5 years, I’ve finally set foot on the continent. It’s beautiful and desolate and immense and terrifying and awe-inspiring. It’s a completely foreign landscape, and yet it’s more familiar than I expected.
I am beyond excited to be here. Through the exhaustion of a long day of travel, I’ve found myself just smiling. My legs shake when I sit because I want to go explore, to go run around, to go soak in everything. And there is so much to soak in. The sun never sets. The station never closes. Something is always happening. And I want it all.
But in the moments between excited thoughts, Antarctica is incredibly sobering. Despite the thousand people at McMurdo station, there’s an inescapable sense of emptiness. The moment I stepped foot in town, I missed my friends and family back at home. I flew 28 hours to New Zealand and only 6 hours to Antarctica, but I feel infinitely further from the ones I love now than I did at any point in Christchurch.
I imagine the sense of isolation will fade, as will the sense of excitement. There is a mountain of work to do, and we’re already behind schedule. I want to write more, but I’m exhausted and have a million thoughts scattering around my mind. Perhaps my first night of sleep in Antarctica will crystalize some of them.
(Cover photo courtesy of Steve Benton)