A Sense of Wonder…and THANKS to my Supporters!

A Sense of Wonder…and THANKS to my Supporters!

From Jacques Yves Cousteau

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

You could be talking about the sea, and you could be just as easily talking about Antarctica.  What is it about this place that rouses such a sense of wonder, grabs your heart, that makes you want to return again and again?  Not everyone feels the same pull of “the ice” but certainly many on the Homeward Bound expedition felt it, still feel it…even as they’ve arrived at home and try to explain what this journey was like, what we saw, how we felt and still feel.  I know this scenario very well, having re-entered my life after three previous Antarctic experiences. It’s a bit hard to explain to people at times, which is why I always include so many photographs in my blogs.  I hope that I’ve been able to give you a good sense of why this place is unique and begs for our attention and protection.

The video below is one of my favorite moments of being on the sea during our trip.  That zodiac trip was stunning and as we made our way through the bergy bits surrounding the behemoth icebergs in the bay, we were all in awe…a bit speechless actually.  The wild sea…casting its spell on us at every moment throughout the Homeward Bound expedition and drawing us into its net of wonder.

In the past 6 months I’ve traveled to the Arctic and the Antarctic…poles apart, both majestic and in danger of drastic changes…changes already taking place.  I’ll soon be writing about my experiences in Arctic Svalbard, so although this is the end of one journey, it’s not the end of how I can teach you, and hopefully inspire you to take better care of our amazing planet.

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I will be forever grateful for the support everyone has given me.  From my “Go Fund Me” campaign donors (YOU ARE ALL FABULOUS and helped make this dream come true!!), words of encouragement, and constant reinforcement that being “retired” doesn’t mean you sit at home and stop learning…my family and global assortment of friends and my colleagues in education have been a source of great motivation and inspiration.  Each day as I opened letters/cards/flash drives of support while on the ship, my eyes filled with tears and my heart with joy…reading the messages of love and support sent along with me on this voyage.  I’d like to share just a few of my favorites with you… (note:  I have not put names, except for my immediate family members, just to honor their privacy…if you’re reading this and recognize what you wrote…thanks so very much for all of your kind words and fun comments!)

This first one is from my 7-year old grandson, Jackson and it warmed my heart.

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Austin, our older grandson wrote some very funny things…

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From a friend I taught with years ago in Massachusetts…

“You’re at it again and I’m so very impressed!  Keep it up dear friend.  Your boundless energy and enthusiasm are a perfect example to all young women (all children for that matter, too) to follow their dreams and pursue what they love doing.”

From a friend in faraway New Zealand who I’ve worked with many times…

“I think you are the perfect person to have involved.  Having the ability and enthusiasm to communicate the science in a way that engages people is a special skill.  And once people become curious and inspired to know more, you have set off a chain reaction that keeps going.  As I’ve said before (and happily say again), you are more than a teacher, you are an educator.  So good on you for joining the voyage.  They are going to be very happy they picked you!”

 From our son, Matt…

“Ever since I can remember, you have had a love for science.  You are also the type of person who devotes everything you have to something when you set your mind to it.  I guess this is why your travels have taken you (and will continue to take) you all over the world, why you have met so many amazing people, and why you were always so great as a teacher. Know that I am proud of you and am excited to hear about your trip.  Breathe the air, hear the sounds and witness all of the great sights that so many of us will never get to see in person.  I love you.”

Here’s another one from Austin.  This one even included some drawings. That boy knows me well…bacon and eggs!  Ha! And evidently, I’m bald and don’t wear clothes!

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From a friend who is a librarian…I love that people wrote all sorts of great things!

“I was looking at the Facebook page for Homeward Bound and saw that the library is in the bar.  Made me laugh.  I looked at the page showing the books that Ernest Shackleton took on his first voyage.  Hope you have more interesting books to read!”

From a friend of 40 years…

“Thinking of you on that big ship!  Hope this finds you well and you are loving this trip!  I bet all the women are interesting and so smart! You will learn so much and grow with this adventure. You have so much to share with others – can’t wait to hear all about it!” 

And…   ”Just want you to know that I admire you for doing this trip!  Think of all the info and knowledge you will have to share.  You will always be teaching and growing!  Love you for making me grow, too!”

From a former student…

“I’m so happy that you’re continuing your adventure and learning at the same galactic speed that you always have.  It’s encouraging that, despite the most recent political climate, women are actively engaged in leadership training that addresses global climate change.  The older I get, the more passionate I feel about working for a healthy environment and advancing toward a more sustainable future.  On behalf of women and environmentalists (at the very least) thank you for your ongoing efforts in learning, educating, and living to benefit the world.”

From northern Sweden…

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“You are so eager to learn more so that you can teach others what you have learnt yourself.  It will be fun to hear about this science adventure.”

 From a younger teacher who I mentored throughout her college years and into her early teaching experiences…

“I don’t know if I say it enough, but thank you for being such a wonderful and supportive mentor and friend.  I feel very lucky to have been able to work and learn alongside you.  Ever since I have been a little girl, you have inspired an interest in science for me (and you weren’t my teacher back then!), and it has only grown throughout the years.  Thank you for setting such a good example for teachers and women everywhere!  I hope this card brightens your moment – it has definitely brightened mine in writing it.  P.S.  I thought of you last night when my son dissected an owl pellet.  Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.”

 From our daughter, Julie…

“You did it!  You’ve planned, prepared, and packed – and now you are on your way to Antarctica – yet again!  I could not be more excited for you to go on this special trip with such wonderful, intelligent women, to do what you love – learning and teaching about science.  This time, with some special women who will inspire you, and who you will inspire along the way, too.  Now sit back and enjoy the journey.  You’ve worked so hard to be where you are today!”

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Another one from Julie…

“You have always been such an inspiration to me when it comes to going new places and seeing new things.  I wouldn’t be who I am today without your adventurous spirit and always showing me how I can learn something new wherever I go.”  And, “You have proven to yourself an all of us that the journey doesn’t have to end once you hit retirement. Instead it can begin to unfold in some of the best ways!”

From a dear teaching friend from my very first experience in Antarctica…

“I will always count myself so lucky to have you in my life, a sister scientist, dedicated teacher, and a reliable ear, to say nothing of ‘wow’ such a photographer!  Love you and we’ll be following.”

From our daughter Linda…

“As you embark on this once in a lifetime journey, I hope you remember everything above. (The card said all we need is love, and patience, and hope, and tolerance, and guts, and resilience.)  Know your family and friends are all thinking of you today and I couldn’t be more proud that my Mom is venturing out again to the amazing continent of Antarctica.  You go girl!”

From a dear friend and colleague…

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From our daughter-in-law, Cassie…

“As an educator myself, I strive every day to be a quarter of the teacher you are.  I have many years and much to learn before I will be able to mold and mentor students as you have, and continue to do today.  Your unconditional love and appetite for science is infectious.  Every person that you come into contact with takes a little bit of that enthusiasm with them, and becomes a better person for it.”

From great friends who share a love and connection with nature…

“Antarctica Daily News: Hey Boop, I have uploaded 30 special messages and memories for you.  You may open them up as you wish or just save them one for each day you are gone. If I do say so myself, you might even want to open some of them more than once, since I am still laughing.  It was so much fun to put this together for you.” 

From another lover of nature, with a little butterfly sketch in the photo below his message…

“May you have a splendid voyage, and may it all have been a fairy tale when you return!  I much admire your mission and your vision and your heart and your hope.  Here are a few poems to balm your heart along the way.”

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Last, but not least, from the person who always supports me and is my biggest cheerleader in life…my husband, Chris.  He often holds down the fort while I’m away on long adventures (as I do while he travels a lot for work) and his love and support mean the world to me.

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These quotes and photos are meant to share with you when a fabulous and loving support system exists, we have the courage to go forth and accomplish many things.  I know I am truly blessed with the most amazing family and friends…and the love and encouragement is a true gift.  The incredible women (and a few men on the journey) I met on the Homeward Bound expedition are also a gift.  I will not forget the kindness of so many people who made this experience possible and fantastic.  THANK YOU!

Years ago when I was at McMurdo Station along the coast and the Ross Ice Shelf, I saw this quote from our McMurdo Fire Department Chief, Chris Post.  I’m not sure where he had seen this, but I think it’s really a good message.  ‘I realized today that it’s not finishing the last page in the book that matters,’ he wrote.  ‘What’s important is that you the courage to open the book and fill the pages with your own adventures.’

Thank you, one and all for following our Homeward Bound journey.  It’s not really over…so stay tuned for more updates on this exciting initiative and the endless possibilities it creates.  I’m not done filling the pages of my “book” (life) with adventures.  You can be sure of that!  Here is our Homeward Bound “manifesto” drawn up at the end of our voyage together…

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My next featured stories will include tales from Arctic Svalbard and another wonderful educational experience I was a part of this past July.  You’ll see why I was unable to post blogs from this remote location in the high Arctic.  I’m just now getting around to writing up the adventure.  Stay with me…new opportunities to learn are just around the bend…

All the Best,   Betty

Here’s a great link sent by a HB friend today…I love the one where it says “even penguins slip!”

https://medium.com/@jeancase/what-traveling-to-antarctica-teaches-7-lessons-in-life-and-leadership-7a7e992d76e4#.w4wbr1ai5

 

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