Never His Mind on Where He Was, What He Was Doing
I guess a month can go by pretty quickly... Station has gone from 326 to over 600 and that's only 2/3 of the way to where it will be. Sunlight is becoming ever-present (it's late-duskish at 2:45am, don't ask why I'm up). My time in the freezer is up and I'm back to this view every morning from the carpentry shop (look past the lumber and shipping container):
Instead of being awash with new people and experiences, I've spent a lot of the season so far feeling out familiarity. It's not that I've got this place figured out (far from it, of course), just that familiarity is something I've run to and from a great deal the last few years and I'm wrestling with it a bit. After living in Thailand and traveling for almost 15 months, a return to the Midwest was comforting. After being in Antarctica for almost 5 months, a return to Thailand was refreshing. Now after 6 months of traveling and being in the Midwest, I'm back in a familiar place.
I hadn't thought about it like that until writing it, but I haven't been to a completely new place since leaving Antarctica last February. On one hand, that's a distressing thought given that I've made a conscious effort to seek new experiences since leaving Minnesota. But on the other hand, it feels completely natural to seek familiarity after bouncing around for what feels to me like a long time. (One of the nice things about being in a place full of transients is that there are plenty of people who are either experiencing similar things or have done so before.)
It's probably stating the obvious, but I've been thinking a lot. Thinking about feeling just as busy down here as I often feel in the Midwest (a phenomenon of my own creation). Thinking about people I haven't seen in decades and wondering what they've done with all that time. Missing the States after not feeling like the roots got repotted last summer. Missing Thailand and spending the present anticipating the future.
Ultimately, all this wrestling with the same emotions in different locations is a good thing. It's a reminder that Minneapolis and my life there were never what made me feel restless. It's something I seem to come by honestly, regardless of context. And while all this movement in the last few years has given me plenty of "this is how I should be spending my life" memories, it certainly isn't as if the movement has erased the restlessness or developed into an answer of any sort. I suppose that means the restlessness isn't about location and answers don't wait somewhere for us to come find them.
But, lest you think I'm down here stewing in ennui, there is something exciting in addition to the wonderful people and beautiful scenery keeping me company: I'm scheduled to go to the South Pole station for a few weeks to help transition their supply department to summer season. So, one more place to go think about being restless while I miss home. Or, perhaps one more place to learn to be a little more present. Either way, expect my picture with said pole before Christmas.
And, by request, here's a couple pictures of me operating machinery (reorganizing crates of food in the freezer):