Best laid plans, my crazy boyfriend and gratitude
I knew it would happen sooner or later. I just hadn’t expected that it would be so soon.
Three weeks ago, Laurent went back to France. He spent almost a month here in New York and we diligently planned the trip and finished up this very website. We came up with a decent route for our trip, as documented in our last post. At the time, it made perfect sense. It was a concise route. It included all the things we wanted to see and at the right times of year. I thought this route to be pretty definitive. I knew it might change somewhat over the course of time but I didn’t think that course of time would come anytime soon.
But no. Good ‘ol best laid plans came into play. I don’t know what we were thinking coming up with a plan so early on in the game. It was crazy. Totally illogical. Nonsensical even! It was only inevitable that this plan and route was destined to do anything but not stay the same. It will undulate and move with us as we move and decide where we want to go.
The idea of leaving in June has officially been tossed in the trash. The new time of departure is bumped up til September for numerous reasons that I won’t bore you with. The route has been changed but I won’t bore you with those details either. You will see them unfold over time. And besides, if I told you now, it would probably change next week. Instead I will bore you with a word about surprises.
From time to time, Laurent surprises me. When he does tell me he has a surprise for me, he really means it. Laurent is a passive guy, pretty even-keeled about things most of the time. But when he wants to surprise, he does it in a big way. Past surprises have included a trip to Hawaii, surprise visits to NY, trips to beautiful country villages in France. So expectations were high. I got really excited!
I couldn’t contain my smile as we sat there on Skype (our primary means of communication when we are apart).
“So, what’s the surprise?” I kept asking, as my mind wandered to surprise trips for Valentine’s Day, maybe he was going to treat me to Iceland this year…it could have been anything! My mind raced with anticipation.
Well, it was something alright.
“Remember the boat I show you, the sailboat to Antarctica?” he says grinning.
I have to think about this. I vaguely remember him sending me a link during a previous skype conversation we had about Antarctica. When I clicked it, it showed me this old school type of sailboat with all icebergs in the background.
“Hmmm….I think I remember….why?” I aksed a bit frustrated. What the heck did this have to do with the surprise???
“Well, I decide that I will pay the difference and we go by sailboat to Antarctica”.
For a brief (and very rare) moment, silence overcame me.
This is the surprise!?! Are you for real?! These are the initial thoughts that followed that silence. So I spoke them aloud. Laurent was taken aback. “It is a good surprise” he tried to reassure me. “No” I insisted. It’s a suicide mission.
Laurent & I have an ongoing joke. On the surface, as I mentioned earlier, he really is a quiet and very mild mannered guy. One of the best adjectives I can think of to describe Laurent is unassuming. However, over the course of the 3 years that I’ve known him, sometimes he breaks out of his usual calm ways. Most of the time, it comes unannounced. Like a thief in the night, my calm, mild mannered, normally reserved boyfriend becomes (in an instant) my “crazy boyfriend.”
I used to dub him this title at these times and he has certainly earned this reputation over the years. Like the time he decided to take our rented jeep up crazy sand dunes in Hawaii or when he decided he wouldn’t change any of the tires for his rusty old Jeep when we drove the dempster highway up through the arctic circle or when he decided we would camp among grizzly bears with our soft top Jeep (full of food) just steps away from our tent. He comes up with these ideas out of nowhere! Granted, in retrospect, all those times proved to be fun times, but a bit crazy too.
This is the worst instance of all though. And the worst part is, there is no talking any sense into him. He stumbled upon the Bark Europa one day and now there is no turning him back. After my intial freak-out, I tried to like the idea. But it’s just too much! When you go to Antarctica you have to sail through the notorious (and for damn good reason) Drake Passage. I’m scared of the water. I’m not a good swimmer. I’ve gotten scared in rowboats for crissakes! And this is a regular occurrence while sailing the Drake. This is quickly becoming my new obsession. Googling youtube videos of Drake crossings. Just like before we went camping in the Yukon/Alaska, I read story after story of grizzly bear maulings. I sit in front of the computer, gripped with fear yet transfixed. Ok, so maybe I can be crazy too.
And it’s not like I’m not an adventurous person. I’ve had more than my fair share of adventures. Not like I’m some hardcore buff either but I like a little thrill every now and again. Going to Antarctica IS an adventure! That’s adventure enough for me.
And the Bark Europa may look romantic from the outside but I assure you people, after my extensive research, there is nothing romantic about this boat. The “cabins” hold up to 6 people, so I will have to share this already small space with 4 strangers who may have habits that I cannot bear. Especially while being seasick and sharing said small space with them for 22 days!! Yes, you read right. 22 days on this sailboat!! With waves churning from the angry sea constantly piling in.
And if that is not enough, you have to help out on board. Not that I mind learning about sailing or doing my share of work. But when you are paying close to $7,000 and you are sick as a dog for possibly up to 5 days straight (the amount of time it could take to cross the Drake) and now it’s your turn to go out and watch for icebergs…I think I’ll pass on helping out. Everyone takes “shifts” (including night shifts) to go watch the waters for icebergs! And yes, you are paying to do this. No thanks!!!
There are wonderful small boats that voyage to Antarctica. Like Quark expeditions, varied yet beautiful fleet of boats where you can actually be comfortable and feel somewhat safer. The website invites you to explore Antarctica in style. Ok! Sign me up! There’s even one with a hot tub on deck! That’s how I want to go down the Drake. Cocktail in hand, icebergs in view, all from the comfort of a hot tub.
But there is no talking to Laurent. He’s got these visions of grandeur. Like he is channeling the spirit of the initial explorers. You are not a viking, I flatly tell him. It will be so romantic, he tells me. We have to earn our trip to Antarctica, he says righteously as only a french man can. He doesn’t want us to be lazy, he tries to reason. I disagree with all these points. I’m sure he’s crazy, I decide.
So I told him I am going to make a blog post about it and plead to you, my dear (few) readers. What do y’all think?? Who is the crazy one here?! Has Laurent really lost it this time or am I the one being a party pooper. A lazy person with no sense of adventure or, dare I say it, am I being a girl?? I’m not sure. So please vote and help us out!!
And one last word. I don’t want to end the post all whiny and full of complaints. Instead, lets end this on a little word about gratitude. I’m grateful to even be arguing with my crazy boyfriend about our Antarctica plans. This used to be just a pipe dream and now we are in the process of realizing that dream and I’m beyond grateful to even have the opportunity to make this trip and to do it together.
But gratitude aside, I still think this sailing nonsense is a crazy idea. I know I’m being a bit wimpy but I have a good point. Don’t I? So please vote and let us know what you think!