I begin this blog at the start of a new episode in my life, moving 11,700 miles to the opposite side of the world, to the antipode island of New Zealand (give or take 1000 miles).
So what is New Zealand best known for? The celebrated tourism video ‘Lord of the Rings’? Its passion for rugby? The people’s close relationship with its beautiful landscape and environment? I was expectant, and these all seemed like valid stereotypes when I boarded the plane with Frodo Baggins (commonly known as Elijah Wood), alighted the plane into swarms of people wearing all-black and smiling joyously, and then used a pedestrian crossing which mimicked birdsong.
After a wee rest and a de-swelling of the legs, it was time to meet my PhD supervisor for the next 3 years and to progress through the standard bureaucracy of university enrollment. 1 week later I was set up with an office and computer, the next stage was simple – prepare for Antarctica in two weeks. This involved first aid training, medical tests, logistical arrangements, ordering and collecting of equipment, and most importantly, learning a new technique and developing a robust data sampling procedure – when you’re given the opportunity to go to Antarctica, you don’t want to waste the time, money and chance of collecting rare data.
So here I leave to continue with that.