Eulogy for my Backpack

RIPpack
RIPpack

He was a friend and trusted accomplice. Together we trekked across striking wilderness. We conquered smelly and unnervingly crowded Ghanian marketplaces. We cuddled together for many nights alone in our tent on the Antarctic Peninusla, shivering and serenaded to sleep by calving glaciers and unforgiving winds. He straightened me out, supported my crooked spine for endless miles and embraced me like no one else could. He would swell with the excessive baggage I asked him to carry as a backcountry novice without complaint. The very first bit of outdoor gear given to me years ago, he has since sparked a commitment to independence and self reliance. He fostered my confidence to walk long distances in any direction.

Over the years, we became worn and ragged. Yet he continued to support me as I gracelessly fell and bellyflopped in bogs, snow and love again and again on continent after continent. Tossed in the back of public transport with all its pointy edges, he ripped and frayed. This last month I sent him off to the factory for repair. Weeks later I was called with the unfortunate news... big red was beyond repair. Osprey unsympathetically cut a history of ties and sent a  new pack in his place.

Now, an alien sits on my bedroom floor emulating the curves and colors of my former friend. He beckons for adventure, eager to be crusted in sea spray and caked in mud. I miss my old backpack. He was a monument and reminder to past lives. One of the only bits of consistency that loyally followed as I trammeled across the globe. But a decade of loving, leaving and letting go has calloused my nostalgic nature- at least on the surface.  I am ready to wear rugged and dirty this new pack but I must first thank my original friend for the memories and loyalty. Thank you for fostering this lifetime of adventure.

Rest in Peace dear friend. You will be missed and never replaced.

Forever yours, Your frayed friend Bethany

Sweet New England

This incredibly lucky lady  is deeply grateful for having  opportunity after opportunity to live, work and study across the globe. Even still, from the Antarctic to the Canary Islands, my favorite place on this planet is still the dome home. I always look forwards to returning home to New England for family, foliage, friends fires and the spaceship I get to call home (if only too temporarily).

The Dome Home spaceship prepares for takeoff.

I brought Luke and Lynsey to New England this trip and welcomed them into this odd home filled with even odder items. The little dome shakes with laughter, sounds like Moby, smells like garlic and tastes like boxed wine. It sits under a big chaotic (yet familiar) mess of stars and beside an intricate (and cleverly marked) trail system carved into the forest by my father. We kayaked, visited beaver dams, cooked and danced around the fire listening to Deep Forest. I had great fun sharing this foundation of my life with international friends.

The fireman builds another doozy.

Fungi on the trail.

Life in the Dome Home

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What have I been up to over  the last month? Nothing particularly worth blogging about... besides the food! In between hiking our trails and the loads of applications (for school and temporary jobs and funding options - trying to make my next adventure happen) I have been cooking and baking up a storm with my mom here at home and my aunt and cousins down in my beloved home state of Massachusetts. Biscottis for valentines gifts, pan seared scallops, hollandaise sauce, shrimp and clam sauce, smoked duck, risotto, enchiladas, pesto sauce, carrot cake, regular cakes, and for my parent's 30th anniversary- a cake shaped like the beloved dome home! Special thanks to my lovely auntie and cousins for pulling off the cake.

Although I am eager to return to my relationship with science, I am thoroughly enjoying my downtime and the chance to reconnect with family, cook, read by the fire, cook, convince my younger cousin to go to USF, draw & paint, worship my cat, and catch up with politics and the world I largely ignored while down in Antarctica. Also, I am planning a three-week trip down to Florida to visit my other half and will hopefully have some actual blog-worthy, interesting stories and photos to share over the coming weeks.

ne2

Listening to: 'Country Ghetto' JJ Grey & Mofro

Into the Great Wide Open- Posting from 30,000 ft.

So, I splurged and spent the $12.95 so that I can utilize the internet. The girl next to me has fallen asleep on my shoulder about twice which is fascinating considering we've only been in the air for about an hour and problematic because her hair is itchy. Anywhoo, the drink cart is nearing and I think I'll have a Sprite. Beautiful blue skies ahead, and a delicious fantastic and loving summer behind. The internet is getting a bit choppy and can't handle large image uploads but I want to post this as I'm not quite sure when I'll find internet again. So, more summer photos to come soon when I can find a bit of Wifi.

I am heading to Texas right now and should arrive decently soon (about a 4 hour flight from Boston). I am meeting up with a few members of the team there before we take off to Santiago, Chile for a 9-10 hour flight. From there we depart for Puntas Arenas (also in Chile and also another 4-5 hour flight). We will remain in Puntas Arenas for a day or so. There, we will suit up and collect all our extreme cold gear from a big warehouse. A few drinks and meals later will set forth on the Laurence M. Gould - a large ice breaker ship- that will take us to Palmer Station over the course of  5 or so days. Estimated arrival date to Antarctica- August 6th.

I will have limited access to the internet while on the boat but will try my best to send updates and attach some photos (if I can get out of bed- I can get incredibly sea sick).

Sending my love from above.

In Flight
In Flight