18 October 2010

Cold, Dry, And Far South

Once upon a time we traveled to Mexico every year.  Year after year after year.  Some years, twice.  In October, for sure, and then again often in March.  It was grand.

We were younger then.  And thinner (at least I was).  Newly married and childless.

It was just Puerto PeƱasco (Rocky Point), and a white-washed rented villa on the beach; within our means, and nothing too exotic.  But it was ours.  At least for a week at a time.

And, as I said: it was grand.

But, almost six years ago now, we got pregnant and (wonder of wonders!) we had a kid.  Afterward my wife became a stay-at-home mom.

And that has been a wonderful thing!

But as a single-income family living on a mid-career public-school teacher's salary, we had to make a few adjustments in our lifestyle in order to get this arrangement to work.  And, I'll admit, with some sadness, our annual trip(s) to Mexico was among the first of many extravagant things that found its neck on our fiscal cutting block.

But it's all been worth it.  Our daughter's older now.  In kindergarten.  And (in my humble opinion) so smart and well-adjusted and interesting.

Worth it, indeed.

But we miss the beach.  A lot. And the food.

More than that, we miss our favorite Mexico-beach-vacation traveling companions, Mike and Kathy.  Over the course of many years, we spent nearly every trip down there with them, save only a few.  Like us, they're both school teachers.  Plus, they're friendly, intelligent, and extraordinarily intrepid travelers.  They were a real pleasure to travel with and I know of few noteworthy places in the world they haven't been.

Of course, Antarctica always came to mind.  At least until recently.

Mike retired a few years ago.  But Kathy's still teaching, after like 30 years in the classroom.  In the interim, since he shuffled off the rigors and constraints of a work-a-day job, Mike's been working as a river guide, running regular trips down the Colorado for an array of important clients.

However, just a few months ago, Mike sent out an excited email to many of his friends (us included) indicating that his long-time dream of living and working in Antarctica for a season was finally going to happen, during the southern hemisphere Spring and Summer this year.

He left Flagstaff just a few weeks ago.  To spend five months "on the ice."  Without his very-understanding wife, I might add.

He's there right now.  In the cold.  Living at McMurdo Station.  Driving Ivan The Terra-Bus back and forth between Happy Campers Camp and the Ice Runway.  And blogging about it.  He calls his blog, which he updates almost every day, Cold, Dry, And Far South.  It's fascinating.  Totally fascinating.  I promise.

I'd like to encourage you to give it a read now and then.


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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Ed Abbey