Every year I go on one trip that is just for me, it does not include work and I have no agenda. Sometimes it is for personal study and sometimes it is for relaxation. This year I have an opportunity to spend a few days working in a location that will leave me close to my allusive number seven. I arrived at six a few years ago but to get to my seven can only be accomplished by choosing to go to seven. Antarctica is recognized as the earth’s southernmost continent and unless I get a job to retrofit the national geographic explorer, I simply will not get there by just working. As I try to come up with a reason to go to Antarctica I think of an experience I had this weekend.
This weekend I went to a Dave Mathews concert at Randall’s Island, NYC. Good music, good beer and the weather – a bit cold. On the morning after the concert I walked out to my truck and a “tree-rat” (Squirrel) was throwing acorns at me and my truck. I looked up and the squirrel came running down to the lawn and it looked at me. Now I know there are red squirrels and gray squirrels, but this was the first time I have ever seen the black squirrel. I followed it around and watched how it behaved – I was amazed. This may seem silly to you but I had never seen one. Yup I did not have my camera on me. Everyone knows the feeling we have when we experience something for the first time. As we age, it becomes harder and harder to truly feel amazed.
Sometimes I believe that there is something wrong at the core of the beliefs, which I think we all share – we behave as if we know everything about the world. I do not think we even come close and further, if an advanced race landed on earth and talked to us they would probably say; “here is another race of people that think it is all about them and they are all knowing.” We run around and say we understand “Decided Science” and if anyone disagrees they are unintelligent – Amazing!
Sometimes, when I look at my photo albums (http://yonaitis.shutterfly.com/) I recognize that not all of the pictures are good and not all are in focus but they all bring out a specific memory. I can even look at other photos, say on the web, that I did not take and get the same rush. I also cannot ignore that in the news I see daily reports about places in the world that are in distress; Athens, Jerusalem, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and I think OMG I was just there, where “just there” might be within the last few years. Most of my understanding of the world does not only come from education but it comes from personal experience.
To explore is not necessarily about the place where you are going but actually how you feel in your environment; is it new, are you scared, do you feel out of place, are you inspired, etc… I personally consider becoming a pilot one of the greatest explorations I have ever done but to a commercial pilot is it just work? So again to understand something you have to actually experience it. Pictures never do justice for any person, place, or thing.
So what is the benefit of going to Antarctica? Well those that know me also know that when I travel I am not interested that much in spas and/or beaches. I like to travel and walk alongside locals and try to experience and understand life via their experiences wherever possible. I like to hike up hills and mountains and of course see cultural spots and icons. I like to walk in jungles or boat down rivers. Having been to places like Seward Alaska, picking up a rock and putting it in my pocket – this post may make going through customs hard in the future! So what is there to offer with number seven?
In Antarctica there are Icebergs, Islands, Kayaks to icebergs, and that first step on new ground. I think as a people we, Americans, have lived too much of our life on TV and we think that is reality. It is not, at best you get a reality show. I think of every trip I have ever taken and what I have learned. This last weekend I learned that there were black squirrels what will I learn on a cruise to the southernmost continent? I have absolutely no idea but it is number seven. I guess there is only one bit of decided science that I think is very true, the earth alive and is changing – for better or worse – and in this time this is my earth so I should explore it. But what if I do number seven, what will be left for me? A friend, Bettyanne, has always told me I should take up scuba – you know they say we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the ocean – there will always be places to explore. So now the question remaining is: Should I go for number seven? Processing…