I have two sets of friends getting married in the next year or so that have asked me to be a bridesmaid in their weddings. I have a third friend who asked me to be her maid of honor. this means they’ve all asked the question “what are your plans for 2018?” and “when will you be home?”
The short answer is: I have no idea.
You see, there are options.
My current contract with Antarctica ends 22 February 2018. This means that sometime in February I will be leaving Antarctica. There’s a chance that it will be earlier in February, and there’s a chance it could be later than that. I won’t know until probably January.
I also don’t know when I come back to Antarctica yet. You see, I’m in love with this place and I know I am coming back. I have loved winter so far and would love to come back for another winter.
Currently it’s super expensive to fly here in the winter. Renting a C-17 from the Air Force and then having bad weather meaning it’s parked in Christchurch for a week… well, that adds up FAST. We were told during an all-staff meeting that after two years of doing winter flights, that option will be removed in 2018. But I’ve also heard from other people they are still considering it. There’s really no way of guessing yet what will happen. More than likely I wouldn’t have a June option like I did for 2017.
Option: Winter 2018
With this option I’d catch a ride back to the US in early February. I’d crash at my mom’s house for those two months. I’d then be back in Antarctica by the end of April.
There’d be no major traveling in my plans save for a few weekend road-trips and some camping/hiking type stuff.
I’d be in Antarctica then probably until October, unless I did an almost-year again and stayed until February.
Option: Summer 2018 into Winter 2019
This is the most likely option. I’d come home in February and stay around the US until mid-October. I would pick up a part-time job in the US somewhere or perhaps find a few renaissance festivals to work. Maybe I would go back to Coney Island or start serving somewhere. I could work at the zoo or for the park system. Ooo I could spend the spring break season working on a fishing boat in Florida near my grandparents. If Chailsea is in the Philippines by then she said I could come work at her coffee shop. Who knows.
Anything except the last option would mean road trips! As many as possible! I’d like to buy another camper like my old pop-up camper or my Serro Scotty I had last year and travel to all those neat places in the US I’ve only previously read about. This also means I’d want to pack my car full of friends to join me so if there’s anywhere you want to go, let me know!
Option: Winfly 2018
This option isn’t as likely as the others, but again would have me return to the US in February. I’d then be home for March through July.
If I am to return for Winfly I’d return to Antarctica in August or September of 2018 and stay through April or whatever else my employer decides.
So basically my answer is I HAVE NO IDEA what months I will be home for in 2018. For those of you trying to plan weddings and the like I should know more information by December/January. But even then it could change. So if you need to make plans, just do it, and we will figure out the rest later.
(featured image source: Stephen Allinger Photography. His description:)
3 distinct flag lines mark where the freeze cells will go to help mend the Ice Pier. Behind the ridge, approaching twilight is seen amongst a sky full of nacreous clouds.
The McMurdo ice pier is unique in that it proved, from the days of operation deep freeze, that a man made “ice cube” could be constructed and utilized to support the equipment, and operations during vessel offload. Much time and energy is put into constructing and maintaining the pier throughout the year for the brief 2 week window when vessel arrives towards late January.