Pre Trip it is really good to get to know your tent mates and expedition partners well, so I drafted this letter in hope to forge a strong friendship. Skiing across Greenland for an entire month will take a lot of mental and physical fortitude so it is best done with a great sense of humour and a fellow gang member to share your pain….
Dearest Future Tent Mate,
After completing my training trip, I know things that you need to know… I have seen things, things that might hurt to hear but we must be straight forward and honest from the start. I just wanted to create the right space for us and go into this with no judgement and full support of each other knowing full well that there will be no space or barriers left between us anymore.
I have envisioned several challenges upon this journey that we may need to deal with….To start with our minds are going to become so exceptionally bored with the lack of stimulus in the bleak white environment that we might need conversation starters like ‘Who would we eat first if our expedition team got stuck on the ice??’, ‘Would you rather be taken by a polar bear or fall down a crevasse?’ Or if these aren’t to your liking then we need to have a list of story ideas to tell each other because it is entirely possible that after seeing flat white nothingness for so long that we may forget there even is a world outside of the Greenland Ice Cap. We may for example have a psychotic episode and be drawn into the conclusion that this is reality and all other life was a dream or even ponder whether we are the only survivors of a nuclear war. We are going to have to keep doing reality checks to ensure we are still alive and not stuck in some limbo land between life and death. We will have to remind each other of the world outside of us by telling stories in such a descriptive manner that we could easily recognise the places they took place if we ever happened to visit them. And yes I mean taking at least fifteen minutes to describe a leaf falling from a tree like J.R.R. Tolken.
Our physical bodies are going to take quite a hit and if we ever plan on dating again or re-entering normal society after this we are going to have to have each other’s backs when it comes to creating good healthy habits and boosting each other’s ever fading confidence. We are going to have to console each other over our ever shrinking boobs and steadily growing massive calf muscles. Essentially our calf muscles are going to eat our boobs, that is how this works, it’s simple physics of course! Soon they’ll be the size of our faces and we will just have to make the best of it and claim it is the new desirable thing. Every evening after we retire to our humble abode, our tent away from home, we can help each other de-dread our hair and try to tame it into something other than an oily birds nest. We can use some of the excess oil from our hair to massage onto our dried out withered faces because darling girl we don’t want to acquire too many wrinkles along the journey now do we? We will gain more freckles than we’d ever imagined and can try passing time by playing connect the dots on each other’s faces. We will have a month to work out the best line to reply to people when they comment on our disastrous goggle tan. Our noses will constantly drip from the cold, causing them to become sensitive and bloody underneath. And our pants will show evidence of the poorly shot snot rockets that are permanently frozen to us for the remainder of the journey. But don’t fear amongst all the other stains from the food we’ve spilt on our clothing and the soot we’ve wiped onto ourselves, the frozen snot won’t really stand out too much. With every passing day our standards will drop so there isn’t much point in trying to uphold a pristine or attractive appearance. This is a time we can just really sink comfortably into the root of who we are and try to form a deep acceptance of that. The best bit is that we have our very own videographer to capture it all for us so both us and the rest of the world can enjoy re-watching the entire experience of our rawest forms being unveiled.
Our backs will hurt, and our muscles will scream but we’ll put on a lovely gritted smile every time we greet the day. Perhaps we will freeze at night and have to get creative with how to keep warm by jogging before bed, making hot water bottles, stealing the emergency blanket or snuggling each other. We will see each other’s pee bottles and of course congratulate each other in our intimate moments of pooping out in the freezing cold, managing to pee without spilling anything out of the ‘shewee’ for the first time and the courage it takes to deal with the rotting flesh on our blistered ankles. Our feet will never truly be dry, especially if we are to swim parts of this melting ice cap, which will add to the slow decay of our feet. So, we will surely get a healthy dose of tinea to add to the mix between our toes! In fact, our feet are going to create a deep permeating stench that even our copious farts, from eating too much dry food, will start to smell magical in comparison.
Our wipes would have frozen by about day two, so we won’t have any means of cleaning ourselves and our faces will be covered in thirty days’ worth of layered sunscreen and grit by the end of the trip. The reality is that our entire bodies are going to stink so badly by about day five that we will start to even feel sorry for our deodorant and not want to use it anymore out of pity. We won’t be washing or changing wool underlayers, so it is a dam good thing we will be covered in Gore-Tex and we can at least try and attempt to zip the pungent fumes in during the day. Thankyou Kathmandu for assisting with that problem!! Halleluiah!!! Thanks for saving the day with you XT series sponsorship!
We will see things no one has ever seen before, know things that hopefully no one ever needs to know and again and have a relationship like no other. So, my dear friend, we need to be the best of friends because I am relying on you to help wipe away my tears of frustration and turn them into fits of laughter. For this is going to be quite the journey of a life time, an exploration of the darker sides of our nature and our attitudes will make or break it. I look forward to getting to know and appreciating everything about you dear lady, even the things you wish others didn’t have to see.
Sincerely Your Future Partner in Crime