Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Wednesday W’s #46.

What’s top of my mind: I’m actually going to Antarctica!

You know it’s all becoming real when your pee bottle arrives in the post!

I posted this photo on FB and a friend was a little disturbed, saying she had a purple one of these “but I didn’t know it was a pee bottle!” It’s not, of course, it’s just a wide-mouthed water bottle, but when we’re on the ice we can’t leave a trace of ourselves there when we leave. That means no food, no litter and no… um… wastes. If you know what I mean.

My visa arrived yesterday, thank god. My travel agent rang on Friday and chirpily said, “So do you have your visa?” When I said, no, her voice changed dramatically. I asked her to try calling the Chilean embassy since no one was picking up the phone whenever I tried.

Of course, on the first attempt, she got through, and talked to a lovely woman who said that she couldn’t put it through on Friday because she was working on visas that people needed for the coming weekend. (Can you imagine the STRESS those people would be under???) She promised to look at it on Monday.

However, in the afternoon I came back from collecting my currency and there it was… the instructions for the extra info I needed to provide. Basically, I had to show that I could support myself for the 3 days I’ll be in Chile, so I won’t be a burden on their community.

A screenshot of a bank account, a payment for the visa and the next day my visa was in my inbox. This alone has made going through a travel agent worthwhile. I’m sure I was pushed up the queue – someone on Twitter said that he’s been waiting since the beginning of September for his Chilean visa.

Where I’ve been: to the Money Exchange.

Here I am, hunkering down at home trying to avoid crowds, deciding to pick up my currency in Mornington rather than Southland. I get a text that my money is ready, so I grab my mask, jump in the car and drive to get it. When I walk in, the girl behind the counter says, “Oh sorry. We don’t have your Chilean pesos yet. I shouldn’t have texted you…”

What can I say? I wasn’t impressed but there’s no point in complaining – she can’t magically produce them out of thin air. So 2 days later I made the trip back. Fortunately, I have good podcasts to listen to as I drive!

In the end, I decided to get some Chilean pesos, but I know I can use my debit/credit cards here as well. Even though the exchange rate is much better to get Argentinian pesos when you’re actually in the country, I decided to get some here – I’m arriving in Ushuaia at 10 PM and I have a feeling I’ll just want to pay cash straight up for a taxi to my hotel. I embark on the cruise the next day so I won’t need that much money.

The ship uses Euros so I plumped for them rather than USD. If I have any cash left over (which I NEVER do when I travel) I’m far more likely to be going back to Europe rather than the States,

Though having said that, I DO have to tick off my last continent, so who knows where I’ll visit next year?

Where I’m going: To Mt Martha.

See below.

What I’m reading: some cracking good reads.

The Herd – by Emily Edwards.

“Elizabeth and Bryony are polar opposites, but their unexpected friendship has always worked. They’re the best of friends and godmothers to each other’s daughters – because they trust that the safety of their children is their top priority.

But what if their choice could harm your own child?

Widowland – by C,J Carey.

This is a reimagined history, set in London after Germany won WWII. The author has done a really good job of weaving the details of the people and events of that time into an alternate reality, where in 1953 there is a coronation planned – but for King Edward VIII and Queen Wallis – not Elizabeth II.

It’s very 1984-ish.

I’ve just started Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid – all about an aging tennis star who comes out of retirement to try and defeat the new up-and-coming star on the tennis scene, and I’ve picked up The Murder of Mr Wickham by Claudia Grey.

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.  “

As an Austen lover, I thought this might be an enjoyable romp as I’m counting down the days before my trip. Here is the post I wrote after visiting Jane Austen’s house in 2015 in Chawton, Hampshire.

One of the highlights of my life.

What I’m watching: A zombie-fest!

It turns out that I wasn’t trailing behind the rest of ‘The Walking Dead’ fans. The very last episode dropped on Monday, so on Sunday I settled in on the couch and watched 7 episodes to get up to date.

It was emotional to see the last episode. I’ve been watching this show for 12 years. However, there are a few spinoffs planned, so I just might buckle myself in for those.

What I’m listening to: A very emotional and heart-wrenching speech.

Chanelle Dawson is the oldest daughter of Chris and Lynette Dawson. Chris murdered Lynette over 40 years ago and has only now been convicted of his crime. The podcast ‘The Teacher’s Pet’ investigated the crime, while ‘The Teacher’s Trial’ documented the murder case. In this last episode, Chanelle is giving her victim impact statement. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.

What I’m eating: Vegemite.

I know I’m going to miss having the opportunity to eat Vegemite with breakfast. So even though I don’t often eat it, lately I’ve been going nuts with it.

What I’m planning: to get the cavaliers shaved today.

Wow. I wrote about this nearly four years ago. Where does the time go?

Yesterday my sister Kate came around, all masked up, to clipper my dogs. Halfway through Poppy’s coat, the clippers died. She’s left with one short ear, one skinny leg, a short back and long hair everywhere else.

Fortunately, we discovered a clipper shop just 10 minutes away. She left to go and see our parents and I went to get the blades sharpened. I’m going to her place later today to finish the job. All masked up, of course. I seriously am taking no chances so close to the trip.

Who needs a good slap: No one.

Well, maybe Trump. But that’s pretty much a perennial thing.

What has made me smile: The realisation that next week I’ll be off on an adventure.

I’ve been putting my head in the sand, pretty much ignoring that Antarctica is really going to happen. Last year Latestarter Fire and I were so disappointed to have to postpone our trip – she had to actually cancel it – so I guess I didn’t want to get disappointed again.

This time tomorrow I’ll be halfway to New Zealand on the first leg of the trip…

Dad joke of the day:


  1. IM-PCP

    I can’t believe you are leaving for Antarctica, and posting today. (Or am I confused?)

    Have a wonderful time! I trust there will be photos at some point on your return…

    • FrogdancerJones

      I’m leaving next week. There’ll be one more Wednesday W post before I go.

  2. Shaun

    Very excited for you 🙂

  3. Maureen

    I look forward to reading about your trip. It is a truly adventurous undertaking which you’ve planned well for,

    • FrogdancerJones

      I’ll probably be putting the detailed posts on the frogblog, because that’s what I’ve always done. I’ll probably write more FIRE-y posts here,like I did with North Korea in 2018, but I’ll put links to the other blog for those who are interested.

  4. Steveark

    Thanks for nothing! That is my exact water bottle, same color and everything. I can’t imagine it’s going to taste the same in the future. Great, just great. One of my friends, sadly he passed too young, ran marathons on every continent including Antarctica. He rode a Russian freighter to get there and I can’t remember if he had to run the 26.2 miles on the ice or on the deck of the ship. He also ran one in the Galapagos Islands and one on the Great Wall of China. I’ve only been as far south as Chile, but got to do some great snow skiing there in August one year. Have fun!

    • FrogdancerJones

      I “ran” in the Pyongyang marathon in 2018. I did the 5KM section and walked (and skipped) the whole way.
      Just look at your water bottle in a new light… you’ll think of Antarctica every time you use it.

  5. Jan

    How exciting! Looking forward to reading all about your Antartica trip,

  6. Onevikinggirl

    I had to google the Mt Martha hint, and then figure out that your Morningside is not the one of Miss Jean Brodie. All very educational indeed! And now I found your other blog too (which was lucky as I really want to hear about your trip. It will be a bit more exciting than mine to Antwerpen:)
    Ps I assume you’ve read Robert Harris Fatherland but anyone who likes the sound of Carey’s Widowland above, should like it too.

    • FrogdancerJones

      No, I haven’t heard of Fatherland. I’ll put it on my list of Books To Read.

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