Five more days until I leave for Antarctica. I'm scheduled to arrive at McMurdo for training in nine days. I finished packing today. Everything is sitting in my two backpacks waiting to go out the door, and so that means I have five days eft to quietly panic, unpack and repack, and double, triple, quadruple check everything.
I didn't even bring that much stuff.
Or maybe I did. My point of contact down south, Ian, told me it's very easy to overpack for the season. And he's absolutely right. There are a lot of things I might ordinarily bring on a long trip that I simply won't need. I'll be expected to work a minimum of 60 hours a week, but in all likelihood my hours will surpass that by a good margin. And there's libraries, and instruments, and a whole lot to do that doesn't require me to bring my own stuff to do.
My large bag is 40L. I packed all my clothes, layers, toiletries, and gear. The small bag is 20L and contains electronic things, camera equipment, a book, and gaff tape. Insulated composite-toe boots for garnish. In lieu of a scale, my sometimes-calibrated arm weighed the whole thing in at 35lb. I'm allowed 75lb to take to the ice with all my outer layers I'll get in Christchurch, so I'd say I'm fine for weight. Oh, and it's all carry-on, because I'm crazy like that.
So now I sit back here and wait. And try not to panic. I've traveled a fair amount, and I've spent a lot of time in very cold weather. But Antarctica is just so foreign, I feel like no amount of preparation can really prepare me for what's coming. I keep reminding myself to just jump in and enjoy the adventure, but it's hard to let go of planning every aspect of everything. I guess that's skill #1 to learn for this trip.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go unpack and go over everything again.