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Not Too Keen On Cruising?

*Summer of 2019. A small room where two people sit with stale coffee.*

Interviewer: Rachel, describe what Hell would be like for you

Rachel (that’s me) : I’m glad you asked Gene. Hell to me would be … being in close quarters with lots of people. And not being able to escape them! … like on a boat or something.

Interviewer (whose name is Gene, I guess) : It sounds like you’re describing a cruise

Rachel : I guess I am - yeah that does NOT sound fun to me
View from the ship
View from the ship (Rachel Shull)

*Fade to months later. Same room. No coffee. Rachel is sitting with a woman this time. Rachel  appears to be 16 pounds heavier than before*

Interviewer: Sorry Gene couldn’t make it, today. He got double booked and is interviewing Natasha Beddingfield today…

So! How did the cruise go? Was it truly hell? 

Rachel : I will admit I was skeptical, but it really had it’s advantages! In addition to really being the only feasible way for a regular traveler to visit Antarctica, it grew on me *she pats her belly*

Interviewer : So what’s it like being on a boat that long? Did the people drive you crazy?

Rachel : Well, as you can read in my other publication titled “I Like Rules”, there was a group I almost tossed overboard, but for the most part, there was a sense of comradery among all of us that made conversation easy to start among strangers. Everyone asks each other “Why did you want to go to Antarctica.” The answers told you everything you needed to know about that person. It was like a shortcut to the depth of people.
Antarctica! (Rachel Shull)

Interviewer: That’s great to hear! How about the ship? Did you feel claustrophobic? 

Rachel : I thought I would, but going out on the deck and just witnessing the expanse of the waters or ice, made me feel more free than ever. I understand what’s really claustrophobic now : cubicles. 

Interviewer: Everyone has to ask, how was crossing the Drake Passage?

Rachel : Honestly, it was fun to be on a ship crossing the Drake passage. Albeit a very pampered version, I felt like I was in the wake of Shackleton himself. And once I saw those penguins, those icebergs, and those vast expenses of nothing but snow and ice, I didn’t care how I got there. I was in Antarctica - that was all that mattered. 
Trying to stay warm!
Trying to stay warm! (Rachel Shull)

Interviewer: Do you think having a newer/nicer ship elevated the experience? 

Rachel: I can pretend to be an “adventure-purest” all I want, but I won’t lie that having wine available with dinner each night made me feel fancy.  That having a small sauna to run to after the polar plunge didn’t thaw me out quicker. I have no base of comparison, but I’m sure the new stabilizers helped our sailing. The most luxurious element to me was having a french balcony in our cabin. Being able to roll the window down and be lulled to sleep from the waves against the ship is one of the most luxurious moments of my life.  Now, do I need these things to travel? No, but cake is always tastier with frosting.
Look at all that ice!
Look at all that ice! (Rachel Shull)

*cut to commercial* 

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