Here I go again, off on another one of my “adventures” as so many of my friends like to put it. That adventure fire was lit inside me years ago and I feel like the last 10 years I’ve been searching for something and learning things about myself I didn’t know. I think I found it… a way to incorporate so many loves in my life…Emergency Medicine, adventure, community and beautiful places you cannot help but fall in love with.
Last time, when I left for Antarctica, I got some mixed reactions. “Why would you want to go there?” was a common response… Well why not? “What are you gonna be doing down there?”…Same thing I do here (or so I thought). “Will you see polar bears?”… Ummm, wrong pole. All in all, people had the general idea of where on this planet I was going. This time, not so much.
If you’re just tuning in, you can catch a little blurb about me and this post that I wrote a little over a year or so ago on my way down to Antarctica about me and the title of this blog : Allow me to introduce myself.
It’s been about a year since my last entry, just been working in the local ER (shout out to Ballard ER – thanks for the Nacho going away party). I found my next adventure and this time its a lot more tropical and less, well…frozen. I’m sitting in my hotel room right now, packing my extra layers and noise silencing headset, waiting for my ride to catch a coast guard LC 130 flight out to Midway Island.
“Where is that?”… Well, the short answer is that Midway is midway between the west coast of the US and Japan. “What will I be doing there?”… Same thing I do here though this time I know better or at least this time I know it will be in shorts and flip flops and not a puffy coat, wool long underwear, quilted carharts, two pairs of socks, two pairs of foot warmers, two pairs of boots, two pairs of gloves and a colorful fuzzy hat. (Ok maybe I’ll be wearing some of that for the flight over.) I can also safely say I’ll be peeing in a flushable toilet and not in a 20 foot deep hole in the ice, I’ll be drinking water that I don’t need to melt, and I’ll be packing lighter…much, much lighter. Oh and also… I won’t be in a tent, I’ll have email and internet and hopefully at least two palm trees to hang my hammock on. What I’m most excited for…the night sky!!
What’s this Island all about you might ask? Well, originally it was a strategic point during WWII, halfway between Japan/Asia and the US/North America back in the days when the planes couldn’t make it all the way across the pacific. It was a turning point in the war when the US were able to find and defeat the Japanese after the attack on Pearl Harbor. While it’s still mostly the same buildings as the military base it once was, Obama turned this island (actually I believe many islands in the chain) into a wild life refuge.
What is it that I’m drawn to besides an overgrown pile of sand, ex-military base with literally, a “crap load” of birds on it? Same reasons I went to the “back country” of Antarctica…remoteness, remoteness, remoteness…isn’t that what all the real-estate brokers say? I’m drawn to how remote it is, how it’s not just somewhere I can book a ticket to. Also it’s using what skills and knowledge I have to be able to support the research going on. What any tree-hugging, former president of the high school animal rights club would want to do, right??
But there’s something else I hope to gain from this experience. A connection with another beautiful place on this planet and with other really special people who feel the same way. There’s also something about leaving “civilization” as we know it and to be a part of a community like that. After I left the ice last year, I heard the song “Imagine” and I couldn’t believe how well I thought it described that community I left and how it made me yearn for that again. People all a piece of a puzzle to get a job done, working and eating together and all (mostly) accepting of everyone’s differences. A peaceful place – no weapons, minimal religion, people living in peace. I’m afraid to say that each time I go off, it makes it harder and harder to come back.
I love this quote by Miriam Adeney which I feel summarizes what I’m trying to say…
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place”
By no means do I mean to belittle the community I have back home. I am so fortunate to have an amazing network of friends and it’s because of them that I’m really able to go off and do all of this. I want to thank these people especially…
BM, SW, KW, CW and Gaia the brown dog for watching over Stella and showing me in the past few days how much she will be loved in my absence (keep up the IG posts!).
JA for the ride to the airport early in the morning knowing I could have taken a cab but how special it was to have time with her before I left, I still can’t believe we haven’t known each other our whole lives.
LR, my west coast sista, for keeping an eye on my mail and for promising to send me coconut granola (ok maybe not promised).
WV and MC for taking the Subaru off the road and saving me a *boat load of $$ on insurance (hopefully it made it to the backyard without a scratch).
CO for being so unbelievably encouraging and supportive and for keeping me “sane” over the past few years.
JM for taking this New York girl west, past the other side of the Hudson River. By turning south off the interstate we found Moab… “lighting that fire” I didn’t know existed in me when I realized that you have to take the road less travelled to see some of the most beautiful places on our planet.
So follow along, ask questions, make comments and subscribe for the latest posts. And if you’re interested you can read back posts about my time in Antarctica.
The Dash Poem