Into the Unknown

In October of 1915, Ernest Shackleton’s ship, The Endurance (oh, the irony), was crushed by pack ice in the Antarctic and then sank.  It had been trapped in the ice for 9 months.  In August of the following year, a rescue ship arrived; all of Shackleton’s crew had survived.

The news from Antarctica this week is that after 100 years, the wreck of The Endurance has been found – nearly 10,000 feet under those frigid waters.  It didn’t move too far in 100 years, it was found just four miles south of the location recorded by the crew when she sank.  According to the search team, it is “in a brilliant state of preservation” and is even sitting upright. 

I’ve read a handful of books about various exploration voyages, some about Shackleton, some about others.  I also see several stories in National Geographic every year about someone heading off into the unknown to do something that no one has ever done before.  None of these stories makes me want to do this kind of thing.  Even today, 100+ years later, I can’t imagine how awful it must have been to be trapped on the ice of Antarctica, listening to the timbers of your ship creaking then finally breaking.  You’d have to be fairly certain at that point that you would never see home/family/friends again.  I don’t even like to set up the tent out of sightline from the car! 

I used to think of myself as adventurous, based on all my travels, but after reading these stories about wandering out into the unknown, I’ve decided my level of adventure tolerance is much lower.  I can live with that.

Have you ever ventured into the unknown?  The partly unknown?

46 thoughts on “Into the Unknown”

  1. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I felt that I was sailing into the unknown when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was such a shock. With such a diagnosis the becomes world numbers, statistics, odds, and choices. There are tests and more tests, surgery, chemo, radiation, then reconstruction. Next come more choices about long term maintenance medications.

    This was also before MRIs came into practice. That technology increased certainty because of the highly quality of imaging which allowed some treatments to become more precise.

    One day after chemo a lady from my church came to the door with a dish for supper. I was in a drugged haze when I answered the door to take possession of “Lime Jello, Marshmellow, Cottage Cheese Surprise.”

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Yes, I guess I have – moving to San Francisco right after college (and for the “trial run” the summer before) was certainly the unknown. Then packing up my van and moving cross country to Brooklyn, NY was Big Adventure #2. Leaving that two years later to come to Minnesota was #3. Those ventures took what I now call “trust in the universe.”
    Yikes, when I think about, I was either really brave, or really stupid!

    All the other adventures into the unknown have been with Wasband, except my train trip when turning 50. (

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Next month I am heading to Howard Lake for a week , to take care of my friend who is having knee surgery, then to New Orleans (where I have never been before) for a regulatory board conference, then to Oklahoma to get our Cesky Terrier pup, a breed we have never had before. I feel as though I am hurling myself into the unknown, and it is disconcerting.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. If it is a knee replacement make soup for her. I lost my appetite for nearly 2 months with that surgery and soup was about all that went down easily.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Funny how folks are different. When my mom had her first knee done, she ate everything in sight. Pecan ice cream was not safe in her freezer!

        Liked by 4 people

        1. My knee replacement surgery didn’t affect my appetite, one way or the other. But it’s always nice when someone will cook for you.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. I agree that getting a serious diagnosis must feel like venturing into the unknown. I felt that way when my mom got her diagnosis of Alzheimers. I don’t think she felt it, but I certainly did. Every step with her past that point felt like entering a new maze of choices and information, and she couldn’t really decide for herself anymore.

    My career has given me some moments of feeling as though I was adventuring into the unknown. It was entirely new to me when I started at the Faribault Regional Center at age 18. Big campus with large brick or stone buildings that were named after trees. Streets that I’d never seen before. Many people I had never met before, some of them job-hardened and much older than me. It gradually became very familiar and I got to know lots of nice people and life-long friends. I learned how to provide good care and how to be caring while encouraging independence. I enjoyed my job but received a pink slip when the regional center closed in 1994. So I left what I knew well and went to work for the DNR. I felt like I had left all I knew behind me and sailed off into uncharted waters. Turns out that I was right to be anxious. I wish I had paid attention to my fears. The DNR was not the ship for me!

    I haven’t traveled much, I guess. When I was fourteen my parents put me on a plane to New York to visit my aunt and uncle. My uncle was graduating from Rensselaer with an engineering degree that would take them around the world for the rest of their lives. That was exciting and, as a fourteen year old, I felt like I was stepping into the unknown just to be on a jet plane. I’ll never forget that first experience of travel. I remember looking out the window at the clouds that were BELOW the plane and thinking WOW! It was also really beautiful and all the people on the plane were really nice. They let me have the window seat and looked out for me. At my aunt and uncle’s apartment in Troy, NY, I got to listen to Santana, the Moody Blues, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, and other musical stars with my aunt. That wasn’t allowed at home! It’s surprising that my parents allowed that trip at all. They were so protective and strict. I’m grateful for it. I suspect my aunt and uncle requested it, which was nice of them.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I have a lengthy post that WordPress says has already been posted. Since that’s not the case, I’m going to try breaking it into two parts to see if that works…


  6. It’s tough to follow stories of medical crisis with our little adventures but when we travel, both domestically and abroad, we rarely make many prior arrangements. Of recent years, we’ve relied on AirB&B for accommodations and that can be an adventure in itself, but otherwise our itinerary tends to be wide open. In my recollection, our best experiences have been the unplanned ones. That’s why I’ve never been interested in guided tours with all the quirky serendipity and spontaneity filtered out.

    Probably my biggest venture into the unknown was when, after being laid off along with 35 other people at my last corporate job, I decided to go freelance. It was 1996 and I was almost 50, too old to realistically expect to be hired as an employee of any advertising or graphic design firm except as an executive. I had done that, knew what it entailed, and wasn’t interested.

    I wasn’t deciding only for myself; I was the main breadwinner in the family and had a daughter in college and one in high school. At that point I had no clients, but I had a lot of contacts from 21 years in the business.
    The handwriting had been on the wall for quite some time—the company had been sold and the new owners didn’t understand the business or how the employees fit in. I had set up a home office for myself in anticipation.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. For the next 20+ years, I designed, illustrated, built props for photographers, wrote advertising copy and produced books for publishers. Of those activities, producing books was probably the most daunting and ultimately the most profitable while it lasted. When I agreed to undertake my first one, it was something I had never done before. Although I had the equipment, the learning curve of publisher’s specifications for print-ready files was steep.

    Prop making was always a leap into the unknown, in that, when taking on a job, you agree to manufacture an object or objects by a set deadline using materials and techniques you probably have no experience with. And the result must have a high degree of finish for the camera.

    Most of my copywriting projects tended to be business-to-business. That means that the advertiser wanted to promote a specialty product to a select group of customers, such as engineers, physicians, manufacturers or farmers. When writing that sort of copy, you not only have to have a grasp of the product, you have to get a sense of the appropriate voice to use with the customer. You have to sound like “one of them” to be influential. That meant reading enough trade literature to grasp the vernacular.

    All that is behind me now. My contacts have all moved on or retired and I’m happy to have my days freer.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Bill, the uNplanned routes are similar to how we travel.. I find I like VRBO better than Air BB. The concept is the same. I make a few necessary reservations, then we explore. I love that travel plan.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’ve tried VRBO only once, but have LOVED our Air B&B experiences. I suppose it’s all in the luck of the draw with either one, but we’ve had a couple of phenomenal Air B&B hosts.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I have a lot of people encouraging me to leave the day job and ‘go my own way.’ It’s a combination of intriguing, exhilarating, and terrifying.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I suppose it depends on how you look at it. Letting go of what you know to try something new can be scary, indeed, but I think there’s a big difference between choices you make of your own free will, and choices that are thrust on you by circumstances or other people. Most of us have dealt with both kinds of choices, and to some extent, I think, our ability to adjust to the unexpected determines our threshold or tolerance for risk. I don’t consider myself much of a risk taker, and yet, I know I’ve done things that others would consider risky. In fact, looking back, I sometimes wonder where I got the gumption to do some of what I did.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I may be going into unfamiliar bird territory. Not determined. I have my four budgies. The folks at Sugarcreek Bird Farm Belbrook, Ohio know me and the care I give my people. Parrots frequently outlive their human caregivers. Bellbrook helps make connections. I am on the list for foster parenting birds.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Our veterinarian has a macaw that let’s out with a loud “Oh Oh!!” whenever he is taken into the bathroom when he gets too noisy in the waiting room.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. We got custody of Gizmo, a double yellow-headed Amazon parrot, as the result of a couple splitting up. He was guesstimated to be twenty-three years old when we took him in. We had him for over twenty years before we had to euthanize him due to breathing difficulties. He was quite the character.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. After I went off to school, my parents got a parrot – Ahab. All was fine for a few years but then my mother went to work as Office Manager at my dad’s legal firm. Suddenly poor Ahab was alone most of every day and he did not adjust well. When my folks would get home, he would squawk LOUDLY for a long time. Then when they went to bed, he would carry on some more. They eventually found another home for him for his own happiness, with a gentleman who was on permanent disability from his job so home all the time. Last I heard, Ahab was very happy with his new arrangement.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Yes, they can be extremely loud, especially if they are unhappy or want attention. They are also very smart. Gizmo knew quite a few phrases that he could say very clearly, and he was quite the mimic. When the phone would ring, Gizmo would wait for me to pick up the receiver and then he’d say “Well, hello there.” Then he’d laugh. His laugh really cracked me up. Sometime out of the blue he’d say “What’s the matter?” slight pause, “Huh?” as if he really cared. He could also say “I love you,” but he clearly didn’t mean it when he said it to me, as he’d try to bite me whenever he could. That really hurt.

          Liked by 4 people

        1. And if you haven’t gotten a card yet it’s because you’re further along in the alphabet. This is a big project but I’ll get through eventually!

          Liked by 2 people

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