It will take seven flights spanning four continents in four days to get there. Glasgow to Heathrow tonight, then Paris, Hong Kong, Auckland, Christchurch tomorrow and into the day after. Then from Christchurch to McMurdo base in Antarctica, a big US base and finally a twin otter plane to Concordia the following day.
But it starts with a delay because of snow at Glasgow, and for a fraught few hours there is a chance the flight could be cancelled.
They let me sweat for a few hours, providing me with helpful answers such as 'Is the flight going to go?' 'Well, we want it to go' and 'How likely is it to be cancelled?' 'We hope it won't be cancelled' Good grief.
It goes. I land at around eleven. My hotel flatly denies that I've paid for a room for an hour before miraculously remembering it and giving me my room. I'm in bed by one, and back up again at four thirty. I decide just to go to the airport and check in for my 7.30 flight to Paris before eating any breakfast.
The airline tells me that because I don't have proof of my military flight from Christchurch to Antartica they won't let me on their plane from Heathrow to Paris. But it's 6.30 in Paris, the office is shut. I can't get that proof. Finally the fourth person I speak to pays enough attention to my tickets to figure out that they've been talking rubbish all along. They leave me fifteen minutes to get through security.
And with that I'm out of the UK, and of course from then on there isn't any more incompetence.
I have to admit I can hardly believe my eyes when my bag does appear on the belt at Auckland.
Four others of the winter-over crew are at Charles De Gaulle airport and flying on the same plane. It's surprising how good it is to see the guys again. I only knew them for the four days of the predeparture meeting in Paris in October, wow it must have been an intensive time.