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7 November, 1999

The day has finally come for me to start the journey I have been waiting for. All of my planning, anticipation and apprehension culminate as a nervous ball in my stomach while I ride to the airport surrounded by my family and friends. If I had lived four generations ago this scene would be as I started out over the prairie in a covered wagon looking for the adventure and the unknown of the west. Two generations ago it could have been sailing to America for a new life. For me Antarctica embodies the last place on earth where you can go and feel challenged by the rawness of nature. Where the vastness, isolation and inhospitable environment continue to keep man and his encroachment at the edges. Here we are not in control, here there are fewer safety nets for our survival. Here we must take care, to take care of ourselves. Mistakes or carelessness can be fatal. I am filled with the excitement of this challenge both personally and professionally and know what ever happens I will be a different person when I return. If I canít go to the moon, this is the next best place.

I am caught between wondering if I have taken everything I need and wondering if I have taken too much. I have these feelings every time I take a trip, but on this one there is no redemption once I get to the ice. The closest store is 2000 miles away. And whatever I take I have to carry, so it was not an easy thing to make the packing list. I will have 100 rolls of film, four cameras, a laptop computer, a GPS, my books, my clothes, my journals and my needlepoint. I weighed in just shy of 100 lbs of stuff for 2 1/2 months of adventure

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