I’m home. Actually, I’ve been home for a couple of days. I came home to one very happy Curtis and have loved having a couple of quiet days with him. We’ve done laundry, some cooking, a fair amount of sleeping, and have enjoyed just “being”. For me, being with my feelings, processing my experience, and envisioning what comes next. For him, hard to say, he is after all a dog, but his presence and companionship has made all the difference for me.
In brief, the experience was amazing and transformative. But, if I’m totally honest, the program was also challenging and hard – more so than I anticipated. I’m not sure how accurately I will convey that message as I further describe the voyage, perhaps just knowing I thought it was hard is enough. Sharing 3 weeks with 80 brilliant women from 26 nations was a once in a lifetime experience. We came together – we laughed, we cried, we learned from each other and we grew. To paraphrase one of my teammates, Alicia Collins, “[we were together] not despite our differences but because of them and [were eager] to learn from each other.” Together we are stronger.
I also have trouble finding the words to describe Antarctica. Take your pick – awe inspiring, spectacular, majestic. mesmerizing – all true, but all completely inadequate. I took about 3,000 pictures, some are a good proxy, but none truly capture the colors, the mood, or the emotions. I will do my best to fill in the gaps.
When I left for Antarctica, I intended to write a blog post each day to share with you as I got back. In the spirit of full transparency, after a few days I fell short on that goal, but with my notes and pictures, I will reconstruct the trip as best I can and I’m hoping this will have the added benefit of giving me additional time to reflect.
My notes from the first day at sea were actually written the first night (I have added a few notes subsequently), so here goes…
Day #1 Aboard the Ship
Today started off on land in Ushuaia with additional work around the LSI (see previous posts). We will be spending a significant amount of time working through the LSI during the remainder of the program.
We initially looked at how we defined success vs. failure and depression vs. fulfillment. We then defined the in between categories of rustout – between depression and failure; contentment between failure and fulfillment; abundance between fulfillment and success; and burnout between success and depression. This was mapped out on the floor in the room, but this diagram in my notebook will help this make more sense.
Next, we identified where we saw ourselves in each of these categories as related to work, physical health, and love life. I will let you use your imagination as to where you think I landed…
We went on to use the LSI to build a circumflex for the traits we think an ideal leader would possess. Despite cultural and occupational differences, in our leaders we all sought the same blue characteristics – the constructive behaviors – Achievement, Self-Actualizing, Humanistic-Encouraging, and Affiliative. You can see the maps for 8 different working groups were almost identical. It makes the case for working to develop our “blue” traits. This concluded our pre-departure activities and the excitement in the group continued to grow.
Once we were done with the morning’s activities, we had a break for lunch and Flat Glen and Glenda got to do some calisthenics.
We boarded buses to our next stop – the pier where we boarded the ship and set sail – what an incredible mix of emotions!!
Once we got underway we did our mandatory evacuation drill. I will say this made me think of my Dad and I knew he would be happy to know that my life vest fit well and was immediately accessible in my room. We also learned about the safest ways to go up and down the stairs when the ship is rolling – something we might have to deal with in the Drake Passage. We also learned that we are anticipating winds at 50 knots when we get out into open seas. I will admit that I don’t actually know what constitutes a “knot”, but 50 of them sounds like a lot.
I then set about unpacking, further proving the point that I brought way too much with me. At least I will be experienced when I pack for my next Antarctic voyage 😉
I had the top bunk. You’ll note the bars on the sides of the beds to keep us from rolling out during rough seas. My first roommate was Sarah Johns, a school teacher from Australia. She made me laugh regularly, particularly with her Australian English, and getting to know her was a real joy. Sarah and her mum, Karen were the first mother-daughter Homeward Bound teammates. Both were teachers and I’m certain any student would be luck to have either of them for a teacher. They both reminded me of the great teachers I had growing up in Lynbrook.
Then it was back up to the deck to enjoy the expansive views of the Beagle Channel. The best part was my first whale sighting for the trip!! Seeing whale tails break the surface of the water never gets old. Unfortunately, it was too far away for me to get a good picture with the lens I had on my camera, but I’m sure there will be more.
Dinner which kicked off with a glass of bubbly. Anti-seasickness drugs were distributed. I’ve already got my scopolamine patch on. Now off to bed.
Next up, the Drake Passage – ready or not, here we come!!
Happy New Year!! #bestNYEcelebrationever