I was full of befuzzlement before this trip. Things got on top of me. I was spent. Love Your Sister, The Stick, the BHP (Big Heart Project), the Logies nonsense, our structural issues, our desperate lack of operational funds; it all became too much, again!
Whilst I wasn’t in the best shape for the flights from Melbourne-Sydney-Buenos Aires-Santiago-Ushuaia, I somehow managed, courtesy of the resilient Meg Hall from Chimu Adventures, who must’ve wondered what the hell she was in for.
All of my baggage lifted once aboard the MW Ushuaia. Nestled in my bunk in my cute little cabin, as we rolled our way through Drake’s passage, it all just left me. None of it mattered here. For the first time since Love Your Sister began, I actually felt some peace. Some space. I listened to music, I read. Connie’s deterioration became clearer to me as the space grew, so I cried a fair bit. All good stuff.
I was aided perfectly by ‘The Big Mother’. That’s how I refer to Mother Nature. In Antarctica, The Big Mother doesn’t just reign supreme, she rules with impotent fury. Everything you understand and know to be important vanishes under her contemptuous eye. Survival is the only thing that matters. Here, she is at her most tempestuous, sure, but she’s also at her most magnificent. But don’t get lost in wonder, she can turn on a dime and leave you with no chance. The beauty, scale, harshness and wonder of the place are poorly served by our shitty photography and lame languages. They simply can’t do the place any justice at all. It really is the ultimate ‘you had to be there’.
My other sister Hilde has been somewhat of a stranger since Love Your Sister took hold of me, which has been hard because we’re so inseparable historically. I insisted she come with me on this trip, as a ‘thank you’ and a ‘sorry’. Thank you for your patience while I’ve tended to the LYS build and sorry for not being there. It was so good to have her there. She’s always made me feel a bit drunk, coz she’s so infectious and fun, and after so long without, I got pretty spack-holed. It was marvellous.
The ‘Antarcticans’ on board made the adventure what it was. The camaraderie that you develop on an adventure as extreme as this is very powerful and we all formed lifelong bonds. It was very special. I cried so many times, mostly with pure joy. Give people the time and space to be who they are and you remember just how bloody wonderful humans can be. It was a sea of warmth and kindness and good spirit.
About a dozen villagers on board raised more than 10K through their ‘Polar Plunge’ challenges. We raised a staggering 10K at our auction on the last night (special mention to Mama Deb for paying 5K for the Ship’s flag and for donating it back to me!). And what’s a trip to the bottom of the world if you don’t bare your bottoms for the cause, right?
It was a life changing adventure for all aboard and we raised near enough to 100K for medical research while we were at it. But the real benefit for me was two-fold. I got to spend quality time with my ‘other’ sister, but most importantly, I was a part of bringing our villagers together in a positive and meaningful way.
I came back fresh, inspired and ready to make this year an absolute corker for LYS and The Stick.
And we’re definitely cooking up another adventure. Stay tuned to the usual channels for more info as it comes to hand.