This is not My Tribe


I'm sitting in a hotel lobby, a lovely place in Punta Arenas, Chile. I am four days from my scheduled leaving for Antarctica. I am surrounded by eclipse chasers.

This is not my tribe.

There's a woman here who has been to 23 eclipses. She is loud and proud about this number.

There's the editor of Astronomy magazine over at another table. He's had that job for 34 years. He's a celebrity to this crowd.

There's a retired physician from Phoenix talking with his eclipse chaser friends. The group talking about past eclipses, future eclipses, photography equipment, eclipse stories.

For all of them, Antarctica is secondary to the eclipse. The eclipse is the draw. "I'm going to ride the bikes, but I don't want to use crampons or an ice axe."

Feels similar to last year: many people went to Antarctica for the penguins. I went for the ice, the rocks, the cold, the continent.

Heading out


With my four bags piled up by the door, and a mad-panicked dash to finish packing up the house, I managed to be nominally ready for this trip. I had to ask Chris to finish packing up my stuff. He arrived about an hour before Mom did, and was helping me move things, up until I left. I am frustrated that I had to ask for his help, and incredibly grateful he was good with the work.

I'm going to continue to channel that gratitude on this trip. In particular, this is going to be the trip of empathy and gratitude. I fully expect this trip to be stressful, with delays and hiccups, things not going my way, and frustrations. And it will all be fine: in the grand scheme, in the small scheme. I'm on my way to Antarctica, most people don't go to Antarctica. I am incredibly grateful that I am one who does.

That I'd Do Differently


For my first trip to Antarctica, I made a lot of guesses about what I should do and what I should bring along. Because I have a journal, I wrote down many of my thoughts in the moment about what I would do differently, what I would bring differently. Fortunately, I didn't do everything wrong, and also kept track of what I would do the same next time.

What I would do differently

1. Have an iPhone case with a wrist strap