A Land Without Culture

**This is actually a glacier from our 2011 trip to Alaska, but this is the most similar landscape to what I expect we'll see in Antarctica that we've visited yet. :)
2015 is the year we will complete our goal of visiting all 7 continents. If all goes as planned, we are looking at reaching that goal less than one month from today. Which is insane and terrifying and exciting, all at once! We are planning to fly to Antarctica from Punta Arenas, Chile and stay overnight on the continent. We also have a few days downtime in Santiago as well as some built in time in Punta Arenas in case our Antarctica flight is delayed due to weather. If the landing strip isn't crystal clear on their satellite image, they won't operate the flight. So, we were advised to get really good trip insurance and build extra days in to account for delays.

We've been assembling this plan of action, and I left my husband in charge of booking all of the flights. I was logging them all into our spreadsheet to get things organized, and I saw that our flight from Cincinnati to Miami looked like it was on the wrong date. Hmm, that can't be right... *Cue mini panic attack.* Needless to say, *I* will probably be booking all the flights in the future. :-P This was a very costly and completely avoidable mistake, so word of advice: please always remember to cross-reference and triple-check your dates before finalizing your bookings (especially when you're booking a half dozen+ flights)! American Airlines charged $400.00 to cancel and re-issue tickets for the correct dates. :(

While talking to my dad recently, I reminded him that we're traveling soon, and he had remarked how the culture would be totally different there. I responded that there really wouldn't be a culture associated with Antarctica since no one actually lives there. You might argue that there is an established culture at the research stations, but that really isn't a culture of the land. It's interesting when you think about it since it's really people interacting with their environment that fosters a sense of culture. There's plenty of environment to be found on the great white continent, but no permanent residents! A land without culture.

Sadly, there is the real risk that we are prevented from going if we're hit with especially unfavorable weather. In that case, we might still be able to make it in 2015, but we wouldn't be returning until after November. So, I am really hoping that this expedition goes smoothly! This is, by far, the most expensive vacation we have ever embarked on, but it will so be worth it to see the least visited continent in the world!


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