Thursday, April 29, 2010


Today as I stood outside in blizzard-like conditions, putting kindergartners in their cars, I yelled at the sky "I am the president of hating winter!"

With that said, here is today's bucket list item:

I want to go on an Antarctic cruise. I know.

Have you ever heard of Sir Ernest Shackelton? He was a British explorer who wanted to lead an overland expedition across the Antarctic continent. On the way, his ship got frozen in the ice, which was subsequently crushed, and he and 27 other men spent two years surviving. Oh, and World War I had broken out, so they were completely forgotten by everyone in the "civilized" world. No Gortex. No G.P.S. Just their wits and the pure will to survive. After eating nothing but penguins and sea lions for two years, they finally made it to Elephant Island, a lifeless rock off the northern peninsula of the frozen continent. Shackelton then made an important decision. He rested for one night, took four other men, hopped into a 23-foot lifeboat and headed for South America. Without taking anything away from the harrowing ending, I will simply say it involved a hurricane, removing the nails from the lifeboat and hammering them into the bottoms of their shoes, and forming a human chain to make a slippery slide down an icy slope.

Endurance, the name of the ship, is also the name of the book recounting this amazing story of the human will to survive. To endure. It is one of the best books I have ever read. Should you feel so inclined, be sure to pick up the copy that includes the photographs.

Granted, my visit will be on a luxurious and warm cruise ship that includes good food, a soft bed, and yes... Gortex.

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