I witnessed my first total solar eclipse in 1963. Nine total solar eclipses later, and I?m still hooked!
Over the years, my quest for "totality" has taken me on various eclipse expeditions—what better excuse to see far off and exotic places. There is no need to spend months agonizing over where and when to go. I just let the workings of the universe make the decision for me.
Every eclipse I've witnessed has been a profound experience and sometimes the eclipse itself had nothing to do with it. My expeditions have brought the joy of making new friends, renewing old acquaintances and spending time with my family while immersed in a different culture. The eclipse itself is only the climax of a deep personal experience.
For the 1988 eclipse I traveled with my two teenage daughters to the Philippines. I had an amazing learning experience traveling with them. In real life, teenagers and their parents just don't make a habit of spending much time together. We were placed into a situation where we actually had to communicate and co-operate—and we did. There were no fights. No tears. No yelling. My daughters were not treated as "cute little kids" on the expedition tour. They were treated as equals and as adults. They were helpful and assisted others and me in various projects. Having them with me made my trip more enjoyable.
I started to look at them in a different light. I learned that they had grown up. We developed a new respect for each other. I went off on an adventure with my two little girls. Somewhere, I lost them. But I returned home with two young women.
So now you know why I make eclipse expeditions. I will continue making them. But the eclipse will have little to do with my reasons.
See you in Libya on March 29!
Jim warns that even witnessing a single total solar eclipse can lead to a lifetime of eclipse chasing.