Antarctica. The final continent. A mass of uninhabitable ice to some, but to the curious, to the adventurous, Antarctica is so much more.
As a story teller from a young age, exploring the world has always appealed to me. The idea of heading places where few have gone and where many won’t go called to me. As soon as I was able, I packed my bags and headed off to New Zealand not returning until my camera was full and my blog spilling over with tales of trekking an active volcano, still smoking from its eruption two months prior, and jumping from an airplane at 16,000 feet over the turquoise waters of Bay of Islands. I just couldn’t get enough.
Australia was next and one for the books as I collected memories of diving the Great Barrier Reef and flying by chopper to work in the Outback. I survived all the snakes, spiders, and the dozen frogs living in my toilet. I watched the magnificent New Years fireworks in Sydney, helped drove cattle along stock routes during the peak of the drought, and had work published in the book “Central Station”, a collection of stories from outback cattle stations.
The United Kingdom sent me off to sleep with dreams of kings and castles after a few rounds of scotch. The days were filled with exploring the cities filled with history and walls that would be brimming with secrets if they could talk, and letting the samples at distilleries warm me up after a winter dip into the Loch Ness in an attempt to tango with Nessie.
Africa has the stories to beat. A cage dive with great white sharks in South Africa, their pointed teeth a little too close to the cage got the adrenaline running. A dance with the local children in Malawi kept spirits high. A dangle over the edge of Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls in Zambia meant giving full trust to a stranger. Snorkeling an arms length from seven metre whale sharks in Kenya inspired a sense of wonder. Milking a cow for a local in Rwanda was eye opening. Trekking through the Bwindi Impenetrable forest of Uganda to see the endangered mountain gorillas was nothing short of incredible, the beautiful creatures coming so close as to walk over our toes and leaving all admirers captivated in the moment.
The new experiences I encountered were exhilarating and numerous, not always positive yet never dull. I sprained my ankle in New Zealand, got stitches twice in Australia, got concussions in both Australia and Zimbabwe, and even fell ill with typhoid in Tanzania. Despite the mishaps and the multiple hospital visits, my spirits were not dampened. The typhoid turned out to be an entertaining tale and the scars left from stitches are reminders of my adventures. Humour can be found in even the situations that don’t work out perfectly and become a great anecdote to tell your friends.
With so much more of this amazing world left to see I began planning and researching for the next unforgettable experience. As someone who likes to see the places and get the experiences that are not always at the forefront of a tourists mind I began to gather information on Antarctica.
I didn’t really know much about the frozen continent to begin with. I knew there were penguins and seals, glaciers and a post office. The further I looked into the possibility of this new adventure, the more excited I became. I found a company, Chimu Adventures, which not only allows you to set foot on Antarctica, but to hike, ski, and even camp if you can brave the cold! I always assumed you just cruised around the continent, looking but not touching, but I am glad I was wrong. You can get up close and personal with a penguin or kayak among the ice shelves. On some Chimu trips those that are qualified are even able to head underwater for a scuba dive- what a fantastic addition to the log book that would be!
Antarctica is full of adventures waiting to be had and just thinking about it gets my heart racing, which is why I hope to make Antarctica my next great story to tell.