Hurry Up and Wait

Downtown Christchurch may be under construction, but they seem to be handling it well.

Downtown Christchurch may be under construction, but they seem to be handling it well.

I made it. I've been in Christchurch for five days, one of which was arrival, one orientation and the rest waiting for weather to clear up so that we can safely fly to Antarctica. Every morning since Friday I get a call at 4:45am with "Hello, Mr. Douglas, your flight has been canceled for 24 hours."

I left Sam and Jill's house at 9:20 on Monday morning and about 37 hours later, landed in Christchurch on Wednesday afternoon. It was likely the first time in my life that getting on a plane actually reduced my anxiety. The knot that sat in my stomach for a week before leaving was heavier than my usual expectation of falling from the sky in an aluminum tube. On net, taking off from MSP was a relief despite rumbling over the Rockies, accidentally hitting another plane's wake on our way into LAX, and a curt, middle-of-the-night directive for "all passengers and crew to be seated and fasten their seat belts" just north of Christmas Island (read: the middle of the Pacific Ocean).

Edit: This Christmas Island, not this Christmas Island.

The relief was not from a horrid summer, mind you. In fact, quite the opposite is true. My three plus months in the Midwest included endless reunions, a new nephew, three lake retreats, playing my own songs in front of a crowd for the first time in over 10 years, recording in a studio for the first time in forever, tons of free time, and a little work.

No, my anxiety was born from anticipation, rather than suffocation. Just like the months before leaving for Thailand, the lead-up to Antarctica was some of the most productive time in my life. An eternal procrastinator, those deadlines let me know exactly what I was working with. But in getting ready to spend five months on the driest, coldest, least-populated continent I probably spent too much energy making sure I had tied up as many loose ends as possible, planned to pack everything I would need for 8 or 9 months, and then actually pack it.

It's not like no one's ever done it before, and it's not like the few things I forgot will even matter much (don't worry, I was able to download the episode of Walking Dead I'd missed). I think it's just part of the new life I'm trying on for size. And if I'm so damned bored with working in an office in Minnesota, I'll just have to get used to re-figuring out the basics every three to eight months.

I asked for it. And honestly? Trying this whole "go somewhere else" thing has been one of the best decisions I've ever made.