For a few weeks in London before I left, everyone asked ‘Are you excited?’ and my response was, the trip doesn’t really feel real yet.
And I wasn’t sure when it would. Walking out of our Thackeray Court flat, home for almost 6 years, didn’t make the travelling seem real. A somewhat teary goodbye at the airport and I still didn’t believe I was embarking on a three month adventure. The 14 hour flight (in which I slept eight hours thanks to a spare seat next to me); the 2 hour wait in Buenas Aires customs followed by my bumbling Spanish at the airport to arrange my transfer and I still didn’t believe I was half way across the world. Six hours waiting, another 3.5 hour plane ride and the check in to a lovely hotel in Ushuaia, and all I wanted to do was sleep.
Even walking around the small city of Ushuaia to get my bearings and planning out a few activities for my pre-Antarctica time here and it wasn’t clicking that I was heading to over the Drake Passage in a few days time.
So when did it hit me? Sitting on the front of a yacht with the sails raised heading to the Sealion Island with the mad dash to get my camera under layers of waterproofs before more splash sprayed my face and I thought – this is it – this is what I came for!
Later on, hiking around the small ‘H’ Island with our guide explaining about giant kelp that grows 5 metres a day, other plants that to me look like footstools but were over 200 years old, and the local people who survived in Ushuaia without clothing, and I realised this is why I have become a ‘turtle’ again, with my home on my back.
Finding out and experiencing new things and overindulging in fresh air is when I really know I am travelling, and coming back to land with the taste of salt on my lips, a hot chocolate and ‘alfajor’ (incredible wagon wheel type biscuit filled with caramel and covered in chocolate – dangerous but typically Argentinian, so justified) as a snack, and the choice of which ‘parilla’ for all you can eat Argentinian meat was the start of my adventure.