Carlini Station

The date today was January 5, 2019.

After visiting Paulet Island, we made a complete 180 and headed back across the Bransfield Straight to King George Island to visit Carlini Station which belongs to Argentina.  Carlini is located on Potter’s Cove which is adjacent to Maxwell Bay, the site of the Great Wall station.

Carlini Station Passport stamp

Admittedly, I was a little irritated when I realized we were going back to almost exactly the same place we had come from.  It seemed counterproductive.  However, I later learned a couple of things.  First, the ship has to make arrangements months in advance to schedule landings making the itinerary somewhat rigid (in a region of the world where being flexible is critical).  I also learned the ship didn’t drop an anchor at night due to the risk of fast moving ice bergs.  Once I realized the rigidity of the schedule and that the ship was traveling anyway, this doubling back wasn’t really a big deal.

Carlini Station (Argentina)

Carlini is a research station.  This is definitely not a complete list, but we met SCUBA divers, the physician who oversees the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, an international team of microbiologists, and a psychologist.  All were very gracious in explaining their various jobs and research activities to us.

One thing I found very interesting during this visit was the Argentinian logo which shows a large triangular wedge of Antartica and the surrounding seas.


This represents Argentina’s claim in Antartica.  There are actually several countries with claims in Antarctica, but none of them is enforced as a result of the Antarctic treaty which does not recognize or dispute such claims, and prevents new claims from being made while the treaty is in effect.  The treaty was enacted in 1961 with 12 countries as initial signatories.  Since then, a total of 53 countries have joined.  The current treaty expires in 2048.  The treaty essentially sets Antarctica aside for science and prevents military or commercial activity.  The map below shows the research stations and international claims on the continent (copied from Wikipedia).

Following the station visit, we had another session on Peer Coaching and a session on Visibility.  The Visibility session started with the critical question of “Why Be Visible?”  Though for all of us, the answer begins with “I want to be known for…”, the rest of the answer is unique and ties back to the Personal Strategy work we started in Ushuaia.  Critical to visibility is understanding one’s goals, audience, message and platforms.  It is also important to recognize that visibility is not just visibility to the outside world, but it starts with visibility to self.  It’s hard to have a meaningful external conversation without being genuine and honest internally.  I know, sounds simple.  Try it on for size and let me know what you think.

Flat Glen and Glenda work on Visibility.


The Visibility Session was followed by another Symposium at Sea.


And the day ended with the first of 4 talks from Christiana Figueres.


vo+ssgbbqfgwh3qhxi4njgChristiana was the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 2010 – 2016.  Essentially, she brokered the Paris Climate Agreement which was a herculean task.  Just being in the same physical space with her was truly inspirational.  Her motivation for working toward climate change is to leave the planet a better place for her children.  She credits her success to “Stubborn Optimism”.  She spoke about the challenges she faced and the strategies she used.  Her approach was practical, inclusive, diverse, simple, and very smart.  It was reassuring to hear the leadership strategies used were very much in line with the lessons we were receiving in the program.  It was also somewhat reassuring to hear that while she was busy saving the planet, she also had to deal the with some of the same routine “office drama” that we all encounter.  It helps to know that even rock stars have to put out fires too.


Paulet Island

Today was January 4, 2019.

We started off the day meeting the Captain of the ship.  He spoke about his experience and life at sea, followed by a brief question and answer session.  While his English was quite good (he is Argentinian and Spanish is his primary language), he had translation assistance from one of our teammates, Yalimay Jimenez.  Yali is Venezuelan, but currently lives in Perth on the western side of Australia.  She is a geochemist and is currently pursuing her PhD in hydrogeology.  She is also the mother of 2 little ones.


In the year leading up to our voyage, we were assigned various triads with other members of the cohort so we could start cultivating relationships before our arrival to Ushuaia.  Yalimay was in my second triad, along with Lorna Slater, an engineer, circus acrobat, and aspiring politician who lives in Scotland.  As you can imagine trying to find a time that worked for our vastly different time zones was a challenge, but we still managed to have several conference calls.  I can’t say we spent a great deal of time together on the voyage, but I think maybe it’s because we didn’t need to – we were already good friends.


Following the meeting with the Captain, we had an Emerging Issues session.  We frequently started the day with this or an Open Frame.  Different in structure, both gave us a chance to incorporate the realtime events of the voyage into the program curriculum so that appropriate issues were addressed and adjustments could be made.


Next we had our first Symposium at Sea (S@S).  The S@S is a chance for each member of the team to share their science.  It is strictly formatted to a 3 minute presentation.  At 2:30 minutes a red flag was waved, then the faculty member keeping time stood up and slowly started walking toward the speaker.  If the speaker was still going at 3 minutes, the faculty member lovingly put her arm around the speaker and took away the microphone.  I know, sounds a bit odd, but honestly it worked perfectly!  On average there were 10 speakers per S@S session.  At the conclusion of their talks, each was asked one question.

When I first heard about the S@S I wasn’t too happy.  First of all, as a surgeon, I didn’t feel like I had a “science” to talk about (presumably my Imposter Syndrome trying to resurface) and second, how could you fit anything meaningful into 3 minutes.  Turns out, the S@S was one of the best parts of the program.  Everyone was able to showcase their work and it stimulated a great deal of discussion and collaboration during the remainder of the voyage.  My S@S talk was not until later in the voyage, so more to follow.


Prior to the voyage, we were also assigned to Science Themes.  Each theme worked on a specific topic with the goal of developing a fact sheet and preparing a 20 minute presentation on the ship.  (I was in the Sustainability group.  We spoke much later in the voyage, so again, more to follow.)

Two of the science themes looked at gender related issues.  One of the groups looked at the gender gap in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math(s), and medicine) fields and presented their work today.  They reviewed the gender fact sheet that was developed by the previous Homeward Bound cohort, confirming accuracy and making relevant updates.  Not only are there fewer women in STEMM fields, but they have lower rates of promotion and hold fewer leadership roles.  Some of the reasons for this include, “stereotypes around science and gender and biology, beliefs around intelligence, self- assessment, beliefs about spatial skills, school and University environments and processes, and implicit and workplace biases.”

To help combat these issues, the group proposed 3 actions items.  First, we work to get the Homeward Bound gender fact sheet into the hands of everyone, everywhere – scientists, teachers, university officials, politicians, etc.  The more people who know the facts, the more we can work to overcome them.  Second, we build on the Homeward Bound intercohort mentoring program.  In this last year an intercohort mentorship program was launched matching members from our group with members of prior cohorts.  (I was paired with Shelley Ball from HB1 and Rebecca Waddington from HB2.  Shelley is from Canada and is a biologist and the founder of Biosphere Environmental Education.  Rebecca is from the US and is a pilot for NOAA.)  By continuing and strengthening this program, we continue to support one another and foster scientific collaboration.  Third, they proposed a standardized workshop that could be given by any Homeward Bound member to help raise awareness and encourage more women to purse STEMM careers.


Building on the gender theme presentation, we had our first Cover Story session.  With the Cover Story, you imagine the best possible outcome – what the headline would be if your were on the front cover of a magazine – and then work to figure out how you got there.  Thinking this way felt rather abstract, so this process was quite challenging for a room filled with very concrete thinkers.

We were broken down into smaller groups, and each group was assigned one of the 3 proposals from the gender theme presentation.  Our group was assigned the topic of the standardized workshop.  Our initial ideas were all over the place, but we decided that within a year we wanted to be on the cover of Rolling Stone with the headline “Encore for the Environment”.  Over the next several sessions, we worked out how we would get there.  Sounds simple, but we had divergent opinions and our varying leadership styles became apparent.  Needless to say this activity was challenging.


In the afternoon we visited Paulet Island.  We had crossed the Bransfield Straight and the Antarctic sound to reach the island which is the remnant of an extinguished volcano.  Paulet Island is the home to an Adélie penguin colony.  An area of penguin breeding is know as a rookery.  Adjacent to the penguins was also a large area of breeding Cormorants.  Both species of birds were black and white.  Initially I didn’t realize the cormorants were also there and was very confused when it looked like the penguins were flying.  Both species of birds were rearing their young at the time of our visit.

Adélie are about 18 inches to 2 feet tall (actually all of the penguins we saw were about this height) and full of personality.  At the time of our visit, there were chicks present that were about 1 week old.  The breedings pairs were taking turns going to out to sea and returning to feed the chicks.  Adélie feed on krill (a small crustacean) and silverfish.  The Adélie are dependent on sea ice and their numbers in the Antarctic peninsula are declining as a result of increased temperatures in the region.  You can tell by the number of pictures, it was easy to fall in love.





Great Wall Station

We woke to calm seas off the shore of King George Island – we were back in protected waters.  We were told King George Island is also known as the shopping center of Antarctica as it is the location of stations from several different countries including China, Chile, Argentina, and South Korea.  While waiting to make the landing, there was time to take in the scenery which included penguins jumping in and out of the water as they went swimming by the ship (more to follow on penguins in the coming days).

Glen and Glenda take in the scenery while waiting to head to the Great Wall Station.


Today’s landing was to the Great Wall Station.

Great Wall Passport stamp.


To go from the ship to shore, we rode in smaller boats called zodiacs.  These are essentially super-duty dinghies with heavy duty inflatable sides and a metal bottom.  We would on and off load these from the back of the ship.

Zodiac in transit with the MV Ushuaia in the distance.


Going to the Great Wall Station was clearly a source of pride for the Chinese women in our group.  Many of them said people, once hearing about their Antarctic travels, would ask if they would be going to the Great Wall Station.  We did a quick tour of the facility and visited the museum.  I’m pictured with Charlotte Wang.  Charlotte is the founder and CEO of EQuota Energy.  Her company has been able to demonstrate the financial benefits of sustainability resulting in reduction of coal powered energy in China.  She is MIT educated, has personality to fill the room, and has promised to feed me good Chinese food when I visit her in China.

The symbols on the cliff stand for Patriotism, Pragmatism, Innovation, and Endeavor.


Antarctic ATVs.
Greenhouse for fresh veggies.
Charlotte and me.
Patriotism. Pragmatism. Innovation. Endeavor.



After returning to the ship, we headed south across the Bransfield Straight.  The afternoon was intended to be filled with program activities.  (I’m really wishing I’d kept better notes from this session.)

We did some additional LSI work.  I’ve shown the circumflex with the 12 categories in prior posts.  Within each of these categories are several “line items” which are specific traits that contribute to the larger attribute of each of the 12 categories.  Scores for each of these “line items” were also included in our LSI results.  By doing a deeper dive into these results, we were able to identify specific traits or behaviors that are contributing to our results – some of these might be strengths, but the benefit is to target areas for improvement.  For example, I had a high score in the Dependent category.  One of my high scoring line items in this category was over-cautious.  So, to work on decreasing my Dependent score, I might benefit from taking a more risk.

Fabian Dattner, the founder of Homeward Bound, takes us on a deeper dive into the LSI.

Another point of discussion was how to avoid getting hooked by the stories or dialogues we have with ourselves in our own heads.  Byron Katie’s 4 questions were recommended as a tool to avoid getting stuck.  Simple questions, but a powerful tool.  (I’m beginning to realize that many of the tools to good leadership are simple and yet, we often don’t see them until someone else points them out.)

  • Is what you are saying to yourself or others true?
  • Is it really true?
  • How does it make you feel believing it’s true?
  • Who would you be if you didn’t believe it was true?

Following this leadership work we had a session on peer coaching – the first of several.  The mindset of coaching is “Nothing is Broken, Nothing Needs to Be Fixed.”  This differs from mentorship in that a mentee is seeking expert advice from a mentor.  The coach is not an expert, but rather someone to help the coachee learn to work through her own problems, issues, or concerns.  My sense is that with coaching, we all sort of already know the answers to our questions, we just need someone else to help us hear the answers more clearly.  Coaches are truly present, but they don’t give advice.  They listen with generous curiosity and don’t pass judgement.  Being a good coach is a lot harder than it sounds.


After coaching we were supposed to have a science session, but that got scrapped as we were all becoming too distracted by the scenery around us.  First there was the huge tabular ice berg the ship’s Captain was kind enough to take us around.


Then we tried to reconvene, but “Whales!!!”  No matter how hard anyone might have tried, no one could compete with whales.img_2975img_2984img_2990img_3056.jpgimg_3071


There really is something magnificent and magical about whales.  They are big and strong, yet they move through the water with patience, ease, and grace.  Once you hear the explosion of breath as they come to the surface and watch their tails gently slip back into the sea, your heart is forever changed and you can never go back to being the person you were before.

The Drake Passage, Another Day…

Due to strong winds, additional time was required to cross the Drake, so most of the day was spend finishing our transit of the passage and our first landing was delayed until tomorrow.

The Drake Passage probably deserves some additional explanation as it seems to take on a mystique all its own.

Image result for drake passage

The Drake Passage is 600 mi wide – spanning the distance between Cape Horn (the tip of South America) and the South Shetland Islands (our first stop in Antarctica).  It is were the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Southern Sea converge.  At this latitude there is no landmass to impeded the flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which squeezes through this narrower passage.  One site estimates the flow of this current to be 600 times the volume of the Amazon.  In addition, there can be very high winds in this area.  Combine the huge current and the strong winds and you can get some very rough seas.  Having said that, there are also times when the Drake can be very calm, so when crossing the Drake, one can experience the Drake Lake or the Drake Shake.  (Map above taken from Wikipedia.)

While most of our group outwardly expressed a desire for a Drake Lake, there was a subset that saw a Drake Shake as a right of passage and secretly hoped for rough seas.  Admittedly, I fell into the latter category, after all, what’s a little seasickness between new friends.

We experienced waves that peaked at 4 meters and to us, we were rocking.  Many of us felt we had a reasonably rough crossing – that was until our expedition leader told us we just experienced a 2 on a 1-10 scale of rough crossings.  No pun intended, but that took the wind out of our sails.  To our credit, the flag was flying strong and there were white caps on the water.



We were also accompanied by some beautiful painted petrols for most of the day.



Today was also marked by our first iceberg sighting.  Trust me, if you look hard enough at the horizon, there really is a white block – it’s in the middle.img_2717


A short while later we encountered this beauty of the starboard side of the ship.  Seeing this iceberg so close was truly magical – we’d arrived.



As we continued, land came into view and Antarctica started to take shape.




First landing tomorrow!!

Drake Passage


Today was down day as we crossed the Drake passage.  To us it felt like the boat was rolling a lot, but the experienced staff on board have said today has been a relatively calm day.  Many were seasick, but for those who were not the day was spent in the stupor of seasickness medications.  Nonetheless, we started to develop our sea legs, learned to navigate the stairs, got used to walking down the hallway holding on to the handrails, figured out how to eat while rolling side to side, and began making the adjustment to the constant rocking that would become second nature in the ensuing 3 weeks.

Flat Glen and Glenda made the transition effortlessly and enjoyed a delicious breakfast.


This attempt to capture the movement of the ship seems to fall short as it doesn’t capture the visceral feelings we experienced in the pits of our stomachs, but it does capture the allure of the sea and the freedom of being in open water.


Tomorrow things should settle out significantly as we reach Antarctica. Our first shore landing will be tomorrow – can’t wait!!


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




Day 2

Today was a long day in Ushuaia.  Strategy mapping in the morning and first part of the afternoon followed by visibility.  Strategy mapping included an amazing talk and an extraordinarily useful exercise of aligning purpose, aspirations, priorities, and values.  This is an exercise that will continue over the remainder of the trip (and if done properly, over the course of the rest of my life).  Visibility will also be an important focus that will run the length of the program and beyond.   Did a quick visibility exercise by doing a short video recording.  I could probably say a great deal more about each of these, but after the long day, my creative energy has been exhausted.  Here are a couple of pictures from the day, including some Patagonia foxes – a mum and her cubs.

We set sail tomorrow, so this will be my last post until we return.  So excited!!

By the way, I have checked to see if I had my pager at least 3 times since I’ve been here, and I’m happy to say I can’t seem to find it.  :))



Day 1

My flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia was delayed, so unfortunately I missed the opening dinner.  Nonetheless, the view as we landed was spectacular.  Interestingly these pictures were taken around 10 pm, note how light it still is outside.  #imreallyfarsouth

The program officially kicked off today.  We will be spending 2 1/2 days in Ushuaia ramping up before we set sail on Dec. 31st.  If today is any indication, the days are going to be full and challenging – in a good way.

We spent the first portion of the day setting out ground rules for our time on the ship.  Given that there will be 80 of us on the ship in unusual circumstances without access to any of our usual coping mechanisms, this was a particularly important exercise.  Clearly the overriding them was respect and I think my favorite line from this activity was something along the lines of “Real queens help each other fix their crowns.”  As our group worked through the process, it was interesting to note that our initial approach was to look only at how we treat others, but ultimately recognized that we also need to be compassionate to ourselves.

The afternoon was a look inward at how we see ourselves, our values, traits, preferences,  roles, skills, and ultimately our purpose.  This was a lot harder than it sounds.  It’s much easier to describe these qualities in others than it is in ourselves.  We also started looking at what values are important to us in our personal lives, our work, and our relationships.  This will be the groundwork for tomorrow’s strategy exercises.  Tomorrow will be another full day.



Today was my cousin Stefanie’s wedding.  So happy for them and so sad not to be there to celebrate with them.  She makes a stunning bride and she and Russ are a gorgeous couple.  (Not the best picture quality, but I couldn’t help but share.)

Screen Shot 2018-12-29 at 10.51.13 PM


I was also going to say that I was sad to miss out on family shenanigans, but through the wonders of modern technology, both Glen and Glenda and a former version of myself were there to celebrate…

Screen Shot 2018-12-29 at 11.01.29 PM

And We’re Off…

At the time of this writing we – Flat Glen, Flat Glenda, and myself – are somewhere between Atlanta and Buenos Aires.  Getting out the door of my house was no small task.  It involved packing, strategically eliminating, rearranging, and repacking a couple of times.  Despite all of the advice and packing lists passed on from previous cohorts, it was still sort of hard to know exactly what to pack for Antarctica.

In the process of packing, Glen and Glenda got misplaced – tucked inside the cover of my underutilized journal for safe keeping.  Needless to say, the prospect of losing them before I left and the thought of having to completely unpack everything to find them was enough to insight near panic.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to dig too deep before finding them.  We now have an established and dedicated place for them to stay in my backpack.  The irony of them being lost in my journal is not to be understated – they would have been very safe in there for a very, very long time.  I think this may be the universe’s way of nudging me to take my reflective journaling practice a little more seriously.

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 12.31.37 PM


For the non-dog people in the crowd, feel free to skip this paragraph.  Leaving Curtis behind was also a bit tougher than anticipated.  He was clearly not happy when the suitcases came out and the packing started.  He kept giving me these looks that just tugged on my heartstrings.  If only he could come with me, but as those who know and love him know, neither his size, nor his behavior is amenable to any sort of travel or structured activities.  Fortunately, he gets to stay at the house and will be in great hands while I’m gone, but I miss him already.



I want to follow-up on one of my prior blog postings about the leadership coaching we received this year.  We completed a leadership diagnostic test and received 4 coaching sessions.  On one hand it seems a little weird to publicly share these results, but I’ve told enough people about them that it’s really not a big secret.  And, while this may seem very egocentric, I have found the results to be quite interesting and insightful.

The diagnostic used was the LSI.  It was a roughly 250 questionnaire that was completed by me as well as by eight other individuals (who took the test about me).  These included people who I work for, people who work for me, and my coworkers. The test is reported as a 12-part circumflex which is divided into 3 major sectors – Constructive Styles (Blue), Passive/ Defensive Styles (Green), and Aggressive/ Defensive Styles (Red).  At first glance, and generally speaking, it is desirable to score higher in the Constructive Styles.  We were provided information about each of the 12 traits and the circumflex prior to receiving our test results. I received my individual score during my first coaching session and my group score at my second coaching session.

Needless to say, I was hoping to be mostly blue, but this is how I see me.

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 12.38.19 PM

While a little disappointed, once I truly considered the various traits, it seemed to make sense. And, after all, this was in the context of a coaching program, so it was good to have areas needing improvement.

But then a month later, I got my group results.  And this is how others see me.

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 12.38.53 PM

Seriously?  How does that happen?  I think many of the participants in the program had similar experiences in that their personal results were quite different than their peer results.  So, the challenge for me, at least as I see it as this point, is to spend less time worrying about how others see and perceive me and to spend more time in the space of constructive activities.  Stated that way it seems very basic, put into practice, it’s a bit more challenging.  It isn’t easy being green…

It is also interesting to be armed with this knowledge as I head off to meet the rest of the members of my cohort.  I’m hopeful it will have the result of allowing me to spend less time worrying and second guessing, and to spend more time fully entering into the experience of the program.  More to follow on how that works out!!


Other prep work for the trip included making a quilt square.  On the ship the squares from each participant will be woven together.  It’s been fun to see the diversity of everyone’s squares in progress (as shared on social media) and the unique ways in which each of us has approached this task.  Here’s a picture of my square.



Each of us will also be expected to participate in the Symposium at Sea (S@S) once on board this ship. This is an opportunity for each of us to share what it is we do back home.  Fortunately, and unfortunately, this is limited to a 3-minute talk and only 3 slides. I think most of us will only begin to scratch the surface of our work, but at 80 participants the total presentation time amounts to 240 minutes plus time for questions and answers, so the 3-minute time limit makes sense.  The S@S is intended to stimulate deeper, more informal conversations between participants and facilitate networking within the group.  I plan to focus my talk on one patient as an illustration of what it means to be a Pediatric Surgeon in the US.


Once I arrive in Buenos Aires, I have a taxi transfer between the international and domestic airports.  I fly from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.  We will have 2 ½ days of program activities in Ushuaia before setting sail on 12/31. Our route to Antarctica takes us across the Drake passage.  Last time I looked, the seas were predicted to be 2 – 3 meters.  Hopefully it stays that way.

Will keep you posted on activities in the days ahead.


By the time I got this posted, I transferred airports.  Here’s David my taxi driver with Flat Glen and Flat Glenda.


Flat Glen and Flat Glenda are going to Antarctica!!

In response to my first blog post, my cousin Ellen suggested I should find someone’s Flat Stanley to take with me to Antarctic.  As a result of that comment and thanks in part to tremendous support from my hospital, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, I now have my own flat friends, Flat Glen and Flat Glenda who will be travelling with me to Antarctica.




We created a video to launch the program (see the link below) and packets with a copy of the Flat Stanley book, templates for coloring Glen and Glenda, and a box of crayons have been distributed to children at the hospital.  Children have been invited to color in their own version of Glen and Glenda and return them to the hospital.  The colored pictures are being displayed in the hospital atrium.  On the back to the templates, children are being asked to write their names and addresses, so Glen and Glenda can them a letter telling them all about their Antarctic adventures.


If you have little ones who are also interested in participating in the Flat Glen and Flat Glenda project, print any of the templates at the bottom of this post (be sure to print both sides) and mail them back to:  SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, Attn: Administration, 1465 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63104.

Flat Glen and Flat Glenda have also been shared with schools in the St. Louis area and I’m looking forward to speaking at some of these schools when I return.  It is my hope this program will provide education about the planet and climate change in a constructive way that will engage and challenge the next generation to start working on solutions.

Glenda street clothes template

Glenda winter gear template

Glen street clothes template

Glen winter clothes template