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The Trip to Palmer Station – Denver

Written by Will on . Posted in Contract & Seasonal Jobs, Expat Life, General, Income & Jobs, Nomadic Lifestyle, Overseas Jobs, Working and Living in Antarctica

Machu Picchu

My trip to Palmer Station was a long one with many steps along the way. My first stop was Denver, CO for two weeks where I spent one week in the corporate office for some training and to do turnover (via telephone and email) with my successor to the extent possible. It was certainly time well spent but working in cubicle-land was excruciating.

My second week in Denver was a bit more exciting. I met nine of the other folks that I would be spending the winter at Palmer Station with.

Lookin' good in fire gear

Lookin' good in fire gear

Because Palmer is such a small station everyone is required to wear many hats, and because the station is simply too small to warrant or even house a full-time fire department, those of us that are there for other jobs also have to serve as the fire department. The ten of us were trained up as best we could be in that short amount of time.

Overall, fire school was a very rewarding experience. I gained some valuable skills as well as a whole new appreciation for the people who do this type of work on a day-to-day basis. They have an incredibly tough job.

Settling In…

Written by Will on . Posted in Contract & Seasonal Jobs, Expat Life, Freelancing, Nomadic Lifestyle, Overseas Jobs

Machu Picchu

Life at Palmer Station has proven to be exceptionally busy but I did manage to find a bit of time today to put together a photo gallery. I fully intend on putting together some posts detailing my trip down, as it was fun and exciting…but for now, enjoy the photo galleries

Arrived Palmer Station

Written by Will on . Posted in Contract & Seasonal Jobs, Expat Life, Global Travel, Nomadic Lifestyle, Overseas Jobs, Travel, Working and Living in Antarctica

Machu Picchu

I arrived Monday at Palmer Station Antarctica. This tiny research station on the Antarctic Peninsula will be “home” for the next six months or so.

The trip down involved a ten day cruise through the Straits of Magellan, the Drake Passage, Deception Island and finally arriving on Anvers Island. The Drake Passage is well known for having some of the roughest seas in the world. Our crossing came right after a massive low-pressure system moved through the area and the seas were exceptionally high. It seems that I am lucky in that I don’t get seasick :)

I hit the ground running and haven’t had a moment’s rest since arriving, but I intend on getting some pictures and more up as soon as I get a break.

20 > 60 …???

Written by Will on . Posted in Contract & Seasonal Jobs, Nomadic Lifestyle, Overseas Jobs, Working and Living in Antarctica

Machu Picchu

Nope, haven’t lost my logic, reasoning or math skills but have arrived at this equation because I’m really excited about wintering in Antarctica again, this time at Palmer Station where the winter-over crew will be somewhere near 20 people as opposed to the crew of 60 that I wintered with at The South Pole.

Palmer Station is located on the Antarctic Peninsula and is accessed via boat from Chile as opposed to flying from New Zealand to get to McMurdo and on to Pole. The station is on Anvers Island and actually lies two degrees north of the Antarctic Circle. An interesting tidbit while we’re on the subject of significant lines of latitude – points that lie at the same or greater latitude of the Arctic/Antarctic circles will all experience at least one 24 hour period of darkness in their winter and one 24 hour period of sunshine for their summer – that’s how these lines of latitude were determined. Pretty cool eh?

My Life is a Dream!

Seriously. I can’t remember ever having it so good. I have been on an enormous high the past several weeks – first having gone snorkeling and experiencing the magic that it has to offer, then learning to surf, which was most definitely a spiritual experience and then extending my time in Hawaii – taking advantage of the freedom I have which allows me to do this and now, having been offered this uniquely wonderful opportunity. I can’t imagine that my life could get any better.

Most Likely to Succeed

I remember very clearly thinking a lot about what is “success” during high school when it was a big deal to vote for someone to be the most likely to succeed. Did this mean becoming rich? A sports star? Being regarded as an expert in your field? None of those answers worked for me and in my youth I ended up defining success as having enough time and enough money to do the things you really enjoy doing. As I grew older this morphed into an even broader and more general definition which really isn’t a definition at all, but closer to a meditation – that is to say that only you can define success for yourself and in my opinion if you’re trying to measure your success, well, you probably will never be successful. Right now, I feel successful. I can’t imagine ever living any differently than how I am now – this is THE LIFE FANTASTIC!

So…what of my travel plans? Well, I think I’m in the midst of learning a lesson, and that lesson is something along the lines of STOP making so many plans for the future. I’ve always been one to book way ahead for flights and sometimes even hotels. Lately this has worked very much to my detriment. The logical being in me is now trying to figure out some way to put what I’ve learned about planning ahead into a mathematical equation; for instance, if my trip is going to be longer than three weeks it might be best to wait until the very last possible moment to book anything. Perhaps the real answer is to let go a little bit and “roll with it” more.

The fact is that I’ll now be given a company paid plane ticket to South America and can travel as much as I want on the other side of the contract so, since this is actually in line with my original plans, those plans will remain mostly intact and merely be delayed by a few months during which I will be able to save even more money and won’t be on such a tight budget for this trip when it does happen.

“To infinity and beyond!”

Spindler’s List

Written by Will on . Posted in Contract & Seasonal Jobs, Nomadic Lifestyle, Overseas Jobs, Working and Living in Antarctica

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Talk about a unique travel experience – in the history of mankind, only 1228 people have ever spent a winter at the South Pole

filling 1461 positions over the 51 year history, several of those positions were filled by repeat offenders.

One such third time repeat offender is resident historian and legendary “egg oiler*” Bill Spindler. Bill maintains the unofficial South Pole Station website where he keeps much historical information and season to season lists of the hearty souls who have wintered in this place. He has also honored the 2008 winter-over residents with a series of talks focusing on The South Pole, then and now. He covers construction of both domes and the new elevated research station, science from the early days through the present and many other interesting tidbits of historical Antarctic exploration and research trivia.

At the sunrise celebration, each 2008 winter-over was presented with a commemorative coin fashioned right here at the South Pole by the winter machinist. Each coin was personalized with each participants name and their winter-over sequence number. I am the 1197th person to stay a winter here. Numbers are assigned alphabetically by year, so someone like Bill who first wintered in 1977 (I think) has a much lower number.

In this photo by Steffen Richter Bill Spindler, aka the Wizard of the South Pole, pitches in to oil eggs. Oil preserves the eggs so that they will last the whole season and the eggs require a re-oiling on a periodic basis.

For your very own unique travel experience, you too can get a job in Antartica