Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Packed camera bag complete with luggage tag. 
My bag is packed. The sturdy black duffle, delicately perched on top of my dresser, stares me down. This is it, it's really time. As we near departure, everything seems much more real. The cameras and batteries are all laid out in the lab, ready to be placed into our carry ons. I've said my goodbyes to my family, and my roomies keep giving me random hugs. I've cut out the pictures for and written addresses into my journal. It's really only two days away!!!

Seeing the orderly mess of my belongings brings back memories of packing for family vacations. Only now, it's just me, an...dare I say it... adult. I am so excited to be embarking on my own adventure. I'm finally going to this beautiful continent that I've dreamed about for as long as I can remember. Sure I'm studying different things than I imagined,  but these questions are far more intriguing, provocative, and thrilling than I ever could have hoped for! It still blows my mind that I've been given this opportunity to study and conduct real research in such a chilling and beautiful place.

Now, while my excitement has finally started to grow, some nerves have been peaking through as
well. Silly stress dreams where I arrive on the ice and realize that I've forgotten all my shoes and socks are telling me that. But I suppose that's to be expected. It's not everyday you travel to a place where you won't be able to cook real food or shower for five weeks. But I'm hopeful. It'll certainly be a story to tell, and well worth it in the end! My excitement definitely outweighs my nerves... at least for now - I need to survive the plane rides first.

Approximate travel path.
For someone who's never liked flying I will be spending an awful lot of time in the air real soon! We start from the Boston Logan Airport, departing around 2:30 in the afternoon. We arrive in Dallas TX around 6:00. (4 and a half hours, not too shabby) Then we leave from Dallas at 9:10 PM on the 29 of October. We arrive in Sydney Australia at 6:05 AM on October 31st! Now the time difference is a large factor, but that still means we will be spending 16 hours and 55 min on a plane! Thankfully we get meals on this one. Then after a 12 hour layover in Sydney we depart at 6:45 and end up in Christchurch New Zealand at 11:50 PM. So in total we will be spending 24 hours and 19 minutes in the air, with 15 hours of layover time. It's legitimately going to take us TWO DAYS to reach New Zealand!

Blank field guide itching to be filled in. 
Now while I've never been too keen on flying, (I almost brought a plane down once, I don't recommend surprise fevers in Europe),  I've heard that these flights aren't too terrible. While they're long, we get free food and free movies, so at least we'll be entertained. Plus, we need the rest because once we get into the field it's all business!

So much of this process has been hurry up and wait. Short deadlines, and long wait periods. But now we're in the final stretch. The waiting period is over. It's time for the next leg of the journey. At this point we'll be spending more time traveling than there is left for preparation. I feel like as soon as we step on that plane, the gun crack and we'll be off to races. Racing towards new questions and interesting answers, taxing research and bewitching wonder - all bundled into the beautiful frozen continent of Antarctica.

I can't wait!

-Emelia Chamberlain

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