Since I have sailed into New Zealand life has been…, well life I guess. I have been swept along in the daily rhythms of getting things done and been trying to figure out where my next move was going to be and what I would focus on next. It was a somewhat strange feeling to suddenly have this goal and dream that I had been working on and striving towards for so many years, now suddenly behind me. To be honest I felt a bit lost. There was a whole range of emotions that went with that, some that I am still working through I guess. I am a very goal oriented person, focusing on my goal and working towards it and, suddenly, to be without that left a bit of a void. This did leave time to celebrate and enjoy what I had accomplished though, going home for Christmas and spending time with family and friends, and sharing stories of the trip with them was amazing. It also helped to relive the experience and to help cement some of the lessons I learnt along the way as well. I am not totally aimless though, I do have an idea of what I want to focus on next, not as specific a goal as sailing across the Pacific, but an idea of where I want to head.
I have been traveling for many years now, and movement, motion and change of place have been a large part of my story so far. Now I feel the need to find some point of reference. Some base, somewhere I can come back to. I'm not talking about necessarily settling down, and staying put forever, but I do want, and need, a place to call home, that is my own. Guess it had to happen sometime. I want to build it myself, with my own hands, and I have some great ideas in mind to make it affordable, sustainable, and an expression of myself. I see all the pieces for this coming together and though I'm not sure how I will fit it all into the picture in my head, they are there and this is emerging as my next goal.
After reading all of this though, it may make my next statement seem a bit contradictory. I leave for Antarctica at the end of the month. It seems the universe is either not ready for me to settle just yet, or wants to get all the adventure out of my system. I have some friends that work down there and had mentioned that if there were ever a spot I would be keen, ask and you shall receive. I got a message saying there was a spot available and on the first morning of the New Year I found myself on a Skype call to Argentina discussing flight details, cold weather gear, my ability to lead kayaking and camping trips and other details of what I would be doing. One of my goals for this year was to start exploring the cold places, and well what a way to start. Antarctica was somewhere even I never dreamt of getting to. It represents so much of what is left out there to explore, the end of the earth, and the scene of so much adventure and extreme exploration. To have the opportunity to work down there on a month long charter was something simply too good to pass up.
There has been another side to this though, which ties back in with what I started with. To be totally honest, if this job was anywhere else I don’t know if I would have gone. It has been a bit strange for me to sit and ponder on this and to experience the feelings that come up. All my life I have jumped at the chance to get away, to get lost, to go off on adventure. To suddenly feel a pull to stay in one place, to desire to know the people in one community, and to focus my next adventure on creating some form of stability in my life, well its all a bit foreign to me. I do see it as an adventure though, and in no way does it mean I'm going to stop travelling forever. Its more the desire to know one place and have a place to come home to, and with the great expanse of amazing and beautiful country that New Zealand has to offer I’m sure I can get my fix of getting lost and building a base, all in the one spot.
So soon it’s back on a plane, off across the ocean to a place I've never been, to meet a man I've never met, board a boat I've never sailed, and head to a place I never dreamed I’d get to, PERFECT. The plan is to spend two weeks getting the“spirit of Sydney” ready and then at the start of Feb we head south to spend a month exploring Antarctica before returning to NZ mid March. This is going to be a challenge for me, and I readily admit to being nervous. I will be leading guests on kayaking trips and doing overnight camps ashore on the ice, thing I have limited experience in. Most of the expedition and exploration work I have done has been on the other end of the temperature scale and to be in an environment that is so foreign to me, and being responsible for others, will be a huge challenge, but I believe I'm up for it. I still cant believe it, I sometimes still think of myself as that little kid back in the Caribbean living vicariously through books and dreams and yet here I am about to head to the end of the world, achieving dreams I never thought possible.
This means being away from Kuhela a bit longer than I planned though. She is still in Tutukaka marina and safe and sound till I get back and will check on her before I fly out to Argentina for a few days. I am still feeling out what lies in store for us. There is some work I need to do, some things to take care of and I still have to decide on where to keep her. Hopefully she will understand. So life moves along swiftly again. I got back from a short job skippering a small boat up in North West Australia today, spend a week in Perth catching up with family and friends, and buying warm clothes, and then its off to NZ for a week and on to Argentina. Life is funny and who knows what’s in store, but I feel good, and am so blessed. Look forward to some amazing photos and stories soon.
(The pictures in the post are not mine but borrowed to give an idea of what i am up to)