Monday, August 28, 2017

The next 7 years of my next 30 years (as far as Solar Eclipses go)

In the days leading up to the Solar Eclipse I found myself thinking, "wow soon it will be over." And that would be it. The build up to the event- which included me getting to talk at a library, school, and park about solar eclipses- had been a whirlwind and it was quickly coming to an end.

I got to play the part of an expert and be a guest speaker and I kept saying to my Mom, and sister, and friends that my "15 minutes (days) of fame" would soon be over. And I thought I would feel sad or depressed. A lot of people had asked, "what will you do when it is over?" Because it has literally been all I've talked about and thought about for the last two weeks.

Well here I am a full week after the event. No sadness or depression like I expected, but now a renewed interest. I want to see it again. Once was not enough. And I don't want to wait until 2024 like I thought I would be fine with doing leading up to August 21st.

That was the plan see this one and then think about 2024, for which I will probably head to Texas Hill country to see because that is where the 2023 annular path intersects and I can scout a location for 2024 in 2023. But at some point in the days after the eclipse I realized I don't want to wait that long. I had not even considered the eclipses in 2019 and 2020.

Weather and timing still has 2019 ruled out but 2020; that's a different story. I like car trips. I hate planes. Planes make me feel claustrophobic and trapped. But here I am seriously considering, more than considering, seriously committing to doing what I must to see the Total Solar Eclipse of 2020 either in Chile or Argentina. I have emailed three different tour companies who specifically plan tours for Solar Eclipse viewing.  I know I want to travel in a group for several reasons. The first being my own safety since I am not experienced in travel and the tour company will know better than I the safe viewing locations and hotels.  Second they will have done the research for factors I can't even think of right now: after all they are a specialty tour with the eclipse as the focus. They will take into account weather and other factors that can create the best viewing experience.  Third there will be extras like lectures and speeches by experts in a variety of fields but most importantly in eclipse viewing. And finally I will be in a group. I think experiencing the eclipse with a group of people added to it! I know a lot of people seem to want quiet and to be alone with nature, which I understand and may do in 2024. But for this next one I wouldn't mind a group of strangers altogether to witness a beautiful moment in celestial alignment.

So what does that mean for me now? Well I already contacted those three companies that do tours because I need to know how much money I need to save. I'm guessing somewhere in the realm of $5000-6000 should be the tour and airfare. So going with the high number I need to start putting away at least $200 a month into a savings account. I've got my passport already so that's good. I need to learn Spanish. Just because I am traveling in a tour group doesn't mean I shouldn't know the local language. Languages have never been easy for me, heck I've been speaking English all my life and I still have grammar difficulties. I bet you can find them in my posts and that is with me re-reading and getting others to read them for me.

What else do I want to do? Well one of the talks I gave on the eclipse was filmed and shown on a really really local news show (a three minute clip of the hour long talk at least) and while I was thrilled to say I was a guest speaker featured on the news (I can exaggerate right?) I'll be totally honest and say I wasn't thrilled with me. I need to get in better shape and lose weight. And I want to do that now. The good news is cutting out things that negatively impact my weight like soda, beer, and fast food will positively help the other goal of saving $200 a month.

I've still been at a loss of words for trying to explain the wave of emotions that came with experiencing this total eclipse. I said right after that I have never truly understood the phrase "awe inspiring" until the eclipse. I didn't have the fear that some talk about. I mean there was a strangeness and I felt chills at how still it was but I wouldn't call it fear just an awareness at something strange happening. Also some people say they feel small or insignificant in the face of Totality but I feel the opposite. I feel a larger connection to the world. I feel like I need to cherish that moment and every moment. I've been thinking in terms of words like 'renewed', 'connected', and 'alive'. Especially when I think about the monumental amount of factors (size of the sun, moon, earth, distance between the three, location on earth, weather, and everything else) that had to be just right to see Totality. I have a strong feeling of thankfulness that I was able to, given all those different factors, be privileged to see it.

I often see people with small children or babies and watch how easily amused or surprised the little ones are by just normal surroundings. I think to myself, "how nice it would be to have that wonder of a small child and be so impressed with the world again." Well now I am.

I have always wanted to see the Northern Lights. But now I am wondering what other amazing sights of beauty are there that I haven't even considered.

News starting at three minute clip from my talk (when the whole thing is posted I will share that too)

Also what should I research and become an expert in next? Could be anything. There was awhile where every night before bed I would pull up a random wikipedia article. Maybe I will go back to that for some inspiration.

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