No longer North, I go South instead

It was pure chance. I was sitting on my bed, quietly reading Alex's Lonely Planet when I came across a single, simple sentence which lodged itself in my head. It read something like, "If you've already gone as far South as Patagonia, you should consider going a short ways more to Antarctica." Does this sentence make total sense or what?

The next day, I started joking with Alex about going to Antarctica. How fun it would be just to add this onto the tail end of our trip at the spur of the moment. But I couldn't sell him on the idea. He had to leave Patagonia to get back home and start work on Monday. Instead, he told me I should look into tour packages for myself. And he was serious. So I took a crack at it that evening and searched online for any good deals that wouldn't break my bank. Also messaged a few friends just to verify I wasn't insane. This was two days ago.

Now, here I am in El Calafate, Argentina. My flights to Mexico City are canceled, I'm boarding a ship on the 16th bound to sail around the Antarctic for two weeks and I'm scrambling to prepare. It's a crazy plan, one with beginnings as a tiny grain of thought which, through chance circumstance, snowballed into what it is now; a ticket to the last place on Earth I thought I'd ever see.

How can I describe all the thoughts swirling in my head as I sit here? Excitement for the upcoming itinerary mixes with anxiety about buying all the necessary gear on time as well as guilt at leaving Alex behind as well as a lurking notion that I might not have the photographic skills to justify spending thousands of dollars on a trip like this. Seriously, if my photos of Antarctica don't turn out looking like this, I'll hate myself for eternity.

Will I be ready when the week is over? Am I just driving myself mad? I can't seem to stop swinging between giddiness and fear.

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