Wednesday, April 1, 2020

IWSG: How’s your world? (A Long, Strange, Trip)


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 
Remember, the question is optional!
April 1 question - The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?


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The IWSG question came through on my email while I was in a pretty weird place, and almost made me laugh. Because our world was at once amazing, and utterly surreal.

Here's the story: While my husband and I were exploring Antarctica (along with approximately 160 fellow passengers, staff and crew of the Oceanwide Expeditions vessel Plancius), the world fell off a cliff. That’s how it looked to us, at least, as we emerged from a week of awe-struck exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula to realize that... we couldn’t go home.

That was a pretty literal “can’t go home.” We were not allowed to land at our port of origin in Ushuaia, Argentina (Tierra del Fuego). At first, it looked like we’d just be quarantined on the ship for an extra day, then allowed to land, and some of us would still be able to catch our flights. Before we reached port, however, we got word that Argentina had shut down all internal flights, AND closed all hotels, etc. Under the circumstances, Oceanwide Expeditions could not disembark us in Ushuaia, even if the local authorities would allow it.

The next choice was to cruise to Buenos Aires, a trip predicted to take about a week. In the end, Argentina closed their borders to us entirely, and we landed (after much negotiation on the part of Oceanwide) in Montevideo, Uruguay.

In the meantime, we had endured a rather typically rough crossing of the Drake Passage (or maybe a bit worse than average). For me, that made staying on the ship something pretty akin to hell, as I endured 72 hours of intense seasickness. I then got to enjoy about 3 days of nice weather, before we hit another moderately rough day and I spent another 3/4 of a day in my bunk.

No one on the ship was as happy as I to reach Montevideo, and tie up at a pier where the ship did not move at all (though my body never quite believed that, and in fact is still trying to readjust).

It took three days to get all passengers off the ship to confirmed flights out of there. No one could land without a flight, and my husband and I got off on the 3rd day. As far as we know, only one person is stuck in Uruguay, though at least one other is unable to return home anytime soon, and quite a lot are in quarantine in their home countries, where the governments are being aggressive in trying to slow the spread of the Corona virus.

During the lead-up to leaving the ship our concern was wholly on getting home, without much thought as to what that would be like, but as we spent hours in airports trying to get there, the extent of the change in the world was borne in on us.

We are home now, still trying to work out just what this all means for us, let alone for the world. One result: our family will be together, as our younger son is moving back home to continue his on-line education until the university reopens, due to arrive today. Finding private and quiet spaces for 4 people to work on computers has been a challenge, but hey--we all need something to do while we shelter in place, right? Plus, moving books and furniture gave me a good workout.

So while our weird world was a bit more exotic than most peoples', we have in fact had an amazing and memorable trip--even more so than expected! But... I don't recommend international travel during a pandemic :)

And no, I will not be taking any more cruises. Oceanwide, the staff and the crew of the Plancius were amazing, and I will recommend them to anyone who asks. But I am clearly not meant for a sailor, and shall stick to canoes and kayaks.

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That lengthy tale doesn't leave much room for writing news... just want to share that Frostfire Worlds has come out at last, with my story "The Revenge of Gorg." Looks like a nice collection!
 https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51TyRTFQIxL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Also: writing did happen during all the travel. More on that as things settle down, but edits on Death By Donut are under way, along with some bonus short stories!

Hope you are all getting lots done with your enforced writing time! And check back on Friday for the first of my Antarctica photo posts. Penguins: as good as cats for lifting your mood.


All images and text ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2020, unless otherwise indicated.
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

22 comments:

  1. Penguins are even better than cats!
    So where did Santiago come in? I swear you said you’d been police escorted from ship to plane there. Or maybe my eyesight is even worse than I thought :O

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    1. We were escorted to the airport in Montevideo, and flew from there to Santiago (one of the 2 flights out of there—the other, in the evening, was to Sao Paulo). We got to spend 10 hours in that airport, where they were providing cots and blankets, though we didn’t need them and our companions couldn’t find them.

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  2. Whew, what a rough time! Glad you're all home - or soon to be home - safe and sound.

    Congrats on the story! And yeh for penguins!

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    1. I will be happier when Second Son gets here—in part just because he’s 20, doesn’t own a car (so doesn’t drive much, though he did drive some for work), and is driving a moving truck 800+ miles, over roads that get awfully tedious.

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  3. Glad you finally got home. That would have been such a drag to have to stay in a different country or on the boat until the coronavirus got under control.

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    1. It was almost funny. The cruise was an active one, so the passengers, unlike most cruise ships, were people used to working out, sometimes a lot (I talked to at least 2 ultra-marathoners). Impromptu exercise classes sprung up all over the ship, and some of us walked a lot of laps.

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  4. I'm glad you were able to get home. Another friend of mine was on a cruise when this broke out.

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    1. Most cruise ships were a bad place to be. Ours was a good place, except for when we had to leave it!

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  5. Damn! I'm glad you were finally able to get home safely, and that you are not trapped on a cruise ship forever. Here's hoping that the next month is much less dramatic for you!

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    1. I hope so, too, since any drama this month would be the familial kind! We don’t want any of that :)

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  6. I'm sorry to hear about everything you went through. I'm glad you're home. Stay safe!

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    1. Aside from the puking, it was pretty much fantastic. I wouldn’t waste too much pity on us—probably harder on our family members who wondered if we’d even get home :)

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  7. What a journey! At least now you're home safely with your family.
    Take care!

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  8. Oh wow, now that is an adventure! I'm glad you made it home safe and sound. Congrats on getting your story published!

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  9. Yikes! That sounds like such a harrowing experience. I get badly sea sick so I can empathise with that-what a nightmare! I'm glad you're home safe now. Congratulations on your new publication.

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    1. Thanks! I don't think I'll be doing any more cruises, but I'm not sorry I did this one.

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  10. Wow! You definitely have one of the more interesting experiences with this all so far. I'm glad you were able to get home, ultimately.

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    1. No kidding! I don't think we really realized there was a serious risk of getting stuck until we got home, and started reading about people who ARE stuck.

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  11. Glad that you are back home. Stay safe!

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