This time last year it was the end of the world for me.
I was in Ushuaia - the southernmost* city in the world. It's in the far south of Argentinian Patagonia on the island of Tierra del Fuego - all the place names around there are evocative, the Beagle Channel (no sightings of beagles, but plenty of seals, sealions and cormorants), the Magellan Straits, and further south again, Cape Horn. They call it 'El Fin del Mundo.' It's quite a selling point for the tourist industry, I suppose.
It's not the first time I've dabbled with the apocalypse.
I once explored the clammy tunnels under Har Megiddo in northern Israel. You might have heard of it as Armageddon. No sign of Gog or Magog but I did get a snog. That's a whole other story. If it was the end of the world it's kind of the way I'd want to go.
The thing about the end of the world, like so many other things, is that it seems really humungous - something you cannot even grasp the idea of, let alone the reality. It seems completely implausible that you would find yourself at it.
I mean how do you even get there? And do they have a B&B?
As it happens, you simply take the bus - 3am from El Calafate to Rio Gallegos, across the border into Chile by ferry across the Straits of Magellan, back into Argentina, arrive in time for a tea tenedore libre in Ushuaia town centre. I say 'tea.' I also say 'simply'. I mean one thing just leads to another.
It's a bit like real life. Coming events, tasks or goals can seem impossibly daunting and unattainable. But break them down into smaller steps, each one taking you nearer, and even mammoth tasks are achievable. The trick is not looking at the end point - just the next step.
Some religions - notably the Baha'i faith - believe we are already in the end of days. And the Zoroastrians must be wondering too, having prophesised, among many other abominations, that men will: "... become more deceitful and more given to vile practices." The Mayans think it's going to happen in 2012. Pretty well everyone agrees it will feature a panoply of natural disasters - earthquakes, volcanoes, tidal waves, the sun rising in the west etc.
But it is most likely that people are generally right when they say: 'It's not the end of the world.' Mostly they say this during moments when you are in great personal distress - as if it would somehow make you feel better. It so rarely does.
And even if it is the end of the world, it might not be as bad as you think it's going to be. As long as you have a bus ticket and the right outfit.
* Pop quiz. If Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, can you tell me without looking what the equivalent northern latitude would be? Guess which city in Europe?
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