Next stop: Antarctica?
When the both of us decided that we would travel to Machu Picchu, Peru with our friends back in 2013, it marked a solid departure from the way we had traditionally traveled. Easy, paved roads and (somewhat) clean bathroom facilities made way for giant, jagged steps, days of no showering, and generally a demand from us physically and mentally to hike our way through the old Incan civilization. It was no easy feat, but the kicker is this: we cannot wait to chase the thrill again.
Before Machu Picchu, the people we had told about our trip would look at us with wide eyes. “That’s an amazing trip you’re taking!” “Wow, how many feet will you be hiking up?” “Have you looked at any possible health concerns?” Since we’ve made the trip and come back, we are astounded by how amazing life is. Machu Picchu is not always the safest place to go, but with the proper precautions, we made it, and now have stories to tell. And that’s why we keep chasing our travel dreams – to learn about other people’s stories, and to create more of our own.
It’s interesting, the two of us. We grew up together but can be quite different. melbatee loves the cold, the snow, and the ocean, while nakanit loves the heat, the history… and well, the ocean. That brings us to our similarities: we both love the ocean, which in its vastness is so much bigger than we are. It’s absolutely awe-inducing and humbling.
While buzzing city life is where we both like to live and thrive, there’s something to be said about removing ourselves from that physical and mental space and pushing us completely out of our comfort zone. They say that true growth comes from operating outside of the comfort zone, which for us, means taking the road less traveled – both figuratively and literally.
For a lot of us humans, Antarctica is akin to the last domain on our planet for exploration and discovery. The pristine natural beauty that this continent offers, while not holding the many cultural aspects of other travel destinations, changes our mental landscape as to what we look for when we travel. Looking at ancient civilizations say in Rome, or Xi’an, we look for lineage, and the power of human thoughts and values. When we look at (pictures of) Antarctica, we think of the color blue. Massive ice sheets and giant floating icebergs. Castles built of ice, and penguin kings that waddle across their stronghold. Antarctica looks like an untouched frozen fairytale land. What would we be looking for here?
Exploration of the unknown is part of what characterizes us as humans. Scientifically, and certainly, curiosity would lead us to explore more of the varieties of natural life. Whales, seals and penguins everywhere. Wildlife that you would not see anywhere else in the world. It would be a relief to leave behind what we hold onto so tightly in our concrete homes, our problems and worries, and quite simply appreciate life for what it is.
Because Antarctica is so devoid of human life, it is an exciting journey to take. Being away from social rules and boundaries allow us to turn our thoughts towards the bigger things, like life itself. When the focus shifts to something so grand, everything we know boils down into something small and insignificant. Suddenly, our worldview will have shifted again, even after as grand a trip as Machu Picchu!
How exciting is it to not only discover the miracle of life that exists on Antarctica but also what truly matters on a much deeper level? How exciting is it to travel through and experience the wrath of the Drake passage? The very definition of travel is to ‘make a journey, typically of some length or abroad’. Even though we would need to travel quite far to make this journey to Antarctica, the journey within would be immeasurable. Traversing beyond our comfort zones – which is quite large, as we’ve both traveled quite a bit – has, is, and will always be the thrill and the challenge that we seek. We want to become more informed and to better understand the human condition and the world around us.
How to get there?
Oh boy. This is where things become difficult. Antarctica is tough for not only the budget traveler but also the average Joe traveler. Prices are steep and can run into tens of thousands of dollars. This is not to mention the gear needed to protect against the elements and the experts we would need to rely on to take us around. Antarctica would definitely be the trip of a lifetime, and perhaps only one trip in this lifetime.
It seems like the best way is to fly down there and hop on a cruise to experience it fully. The both of us have recently looked into traveling to Antarctica via an Australian company called Chimu Adventures, who are specialists in delivering trips to Latin America and Antarctica. Here’s a link to their site, if like us, you are interested in going on this adventure of a lifetime: http://www.chimuadventures.com/destinations/antarctica
Are you interested in traveling to this isolated continent? Have you been to Antarctica? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
*This post is a submission to the Chimu Adventures Blog Competition. If you like our post, please take a few moments and nominate us here!