February 12, 2013
by Shel
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Once you travel to Antarctica, everything changes. I find myself appreciating more time with my little buddy, Vincent… who finds himself enjoying a chance to share any drink or bite of food we may have laying around.

This is why we have to drink our water fast, ha.

After being away at the bottom of the world during it’s summer, there’s a severe lack of sunsets and sunrises. In Antarctica, it never did set. The darkest it got was maybe the equivalent of 6pm during our summer back home. Needless to say, the pretty colors of a recent sunset here really made me happy!

Sky on fire

More than that, though, I really miss the ice. I stalk the ship’s twitter feed for updates about all the trips after ours and enjoy digging through the countless photos all the other passengers on our trip are posting online. There’s such a magic there. It’s incredible to be out on a kayak and hear absolutely nothing when we all pause for a break. The silence is not deafening; it’s a joyous moment that hits you like a truck. In that moment you realize I am here and I’m just one tiny piece of the timeline of this universe. I can’t wait to go back, and I do intend to make it back someday!

Our first postcard from our past is here! Yay, Antarctica mail. :)

February 4, 2013
by Shel
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Patagonia

Patagonia was, to put it simply, beautiful. There’s a reason so many avid hikers and climbers return here year after year, and it’s not just because of the incredible workouts you get on the trail. The scenery is something else. I’ve seen no other like it. The water is pure enough to drink from, and yes, it does taste better than any water I’ve ever had before. There are glaciers and ice fields at every turn just waiting to be climbed on. Patagonia is also a fickle place with weather patterns that change constantly. Let’s put it this way: The final day in Torres del Paine, we woke up to nearly clear, blue as can be skies. Soon after, the wind picked up followed by a lightly falling snow. Eventually the wind and snow combined into an all assault of ice and bitter cold before settling back into sunny skies. Soon, the rains came in and mildly fell for a while until the sun won the battle of the weather patterns once more. Not to be outdone by the sunshine, the rain came back in what can only be described as a monsoon meets hurricane meets tornado. Perhaps fives minutes out of the park it was all clear skies once more. That happened in the span of perhaps four hours. Welcome to Patagonia. ;)

Patagonia is a beauty best experienced by pictures, so let’s take a journey where once you go, eat a calafate berry, and fall in love… you immediately start planning your return journey.

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Los Glaciares National Park, home to Fitz Roy and the very first glacier siting of our lives.

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Cy and me at the Piedras Blancas Glacier after watching a few minor calvings.

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That would be me ice climbing in the Viedma Glacier.

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Fitz Roy decided to make a brief appearance as we drove from El Chalten to El Calafate.

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Perito Merino and it’s vast, vast ice field stretching up into the clouds.

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The homes in Puerto Natales, Chile, were typically made from sheet metal and wood. They were then painted in bright, vibrant colors.

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Despite our poor luck with the weather, Torres del Paine is one of the best places I’ve ever had the chance to hike.

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Torres del Paine giving us the only view of The Horns that we’d ever see, ha.

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One side of the Southern Ice Field in Torres del Paine. The mound just below the ice is actually a glacier that has taken rocks from the mountains with it as it slides into the lake below.

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That brief period of strong sunshine before the hurricane showed up…

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Cape Horn. We were fortunate to come within 2 nautical miles (ships typically must stay 12) because our ship’s expedition leader is friends with this Chilean Navel Base. Lucky us!

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They had these beautiful flowers everywhere in Ushuaia in all colors of the rainbow. The multi-colored ones were my favorites.

I don’t even know how to write about Antarctica. There’s really no words to describe the feeling of going to a place so few ever make it to. It is next on my photo dump to-do like, though! I’m itching to go back already and experience it during the current timeframe – more whales and fur seals!

You can view all the honeymoon photos we’ve posted over on our Flickr page!

December 4, 2012
by Shel
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Thoughtful Tuesday: Travel & Home

It took me over an hour yesterday to cut off all the clothing tags – making all of my purchases official, finally! – and playing Tetris to get everything to fit with room to spare, but I’ve done it! My bags are packed and ready to go. Ryan still has to pack his bag, but I’m so excited to have at least part of the trip prepped for. I still have some things to do, but not much is left. Mostly the “just in case” things one has to prep for no matter how morbid, like wills and phone numbers for the parents. I’m over the moon that in a week I will be having breakfast at this time in sunny Buenos Aires before boarding the final flight to Ushuaia! We then hike (a lot) around Patagonia before trekking back to Ushuaia for the Antarctic cruise. I’ve been watching a lot of recent videos people have taken this season so far… some great stuff! From funny polar plunges to orcas trying to knock a seal off an ice flow, there’s so many interesting experiences awaiting us on the ice. I can’t wait!

In the mean time, we’ve been biding our time with tea, friends, family, beer (buying two growlers the week before you go on a long vacation… oops!), and loving on our cat before we whisk him away to my parents’ house. I’m going to miss my furry man so much on the trip! Too bad he can’t come; I’d love to see his reaction to a penguin. ;)

My heart races just thinking about boarding that plane. It seems so surreal. I’m trying to soak up my life at home as much as possible and enjoy every moment of it since we’ll be away for so long, but I know the minute this trip is over I’ll wish it never would have ended. Ah, the life of a traveler. Always wandering but never lost and wherever we set down our bags is home.

My heater buddy. <3

┬áIt’s been warm outside but randomly chilly in our condo, so the little guy has spent quite a bit of time with me in front of the heater. Daw. <3

Wedding bouquet finally dried. The flowers still smell sweet.

With just a week to go before the trip, my wedding bouquet finally finished drying. I’m enjoying the colors that stayed so rich and vibrant. There’s even a sweet smell still coming off the ranunculus. <3

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