So I thought it would be an interesting experiment to let the beard grow out on the trip. I've never really done it before. I've had the occasional goatee, and am pretty much in a constant unshaven state, but I've never let nature completely take over. Much to my surprise, the beard has been a steady point of discussion via the site and email. Not everyone is a big fan of the facial hair. However, I didn't really expect it to be such a polarizing factor.
The emails have ranged from asking me to grow it out Forrest Gump style, to offers of sending me a razor wherever I may be.
To be honest, I didn't know if I'd like it. I let it go and stayed with it. For a while, I thought it was looking ok. This was perhaps, a bit of a delusion. The truth of the matter is, it doesn't look very good. On top of that it's a pain in the ass. Sure, it's nice to not have to shave - but I really wasn't shaving all that much before. And before, I wouldn't get soup and crap in my moustache. That sucks by the way.
The kicker for me was actually meeting a guy on the trip to Antarctica. As I was awaiting the bus on day one, a guy came up to me whose appearance gave me pause. He was about 6-5 or 6-6, and of fair skin as well. To top it off, he had reddish hair and a big bushy red beard. I was taken aback.
Throughout the trip, he and I were constantly confused for one another. Now, believe me, this has never happened. I am rarely confused for anyone else, the height being the obvious differentiator if nothing else.
I had to have someone take a picture of us both - I had to see us together. When I did, I knew the beard had to go. It simply had to. James if you're reading this - keep yours. Keep it going as long as you can, man. I for one, cannot do it anymore. It simply looks ridiculous on me. I'm through deluding myself. I'm glad I had one for Antarctica. It almost seemed a necessity for that trip.
So sleep soundly all you beard-haters, it´s gone. I actually mowed it the afternoon I got back to the hostel in Ushuaia. I still haven't cut my hair, but the beard is history. Long live the stubble.