To see Antarctica helps you see your place in the world. There are no shops so there are no souvenirs. What you come back with are a few home truths.
It is so much more than a travel destination – travelling there is like being on a different planet. You feel like you’ve been whisked away in a rocket ship and dropped in another universe.
What you will know after this experience:
1) You will know the “now”
It is not possible to know the “now” unless your whole self is absorbed totally in your surroundings. This is a constant in the southern continent.
The extreme tranquility of the ice, to see the lazy rolling backs of the minke whales on the waterline helps you take stock and let go – it’s like one insightful meditation.
You’re completely absorbed in your environment. When you return you feel almost enlightened.
2) You will know blue
Forget the turquoise of the tropics or the azure seas of the Mediterranean. This blue is one that has been created over thousands of years. It’s pure ice.
Made like diamonds, the pressure of water makes the ice so dense, so blue, that it is more precious than the most expensive of diamonds. It cannot be taken away and set in a cluster of sapphires or rubies and to remove it is no use, it just melts back into the water. The only way to see it is close up – and then it cuts through your very being.
3) You will know how to be a child again
To squeal with delight at the sights of whales caressing your rubber boat and welcoming you to their stomping ground.
You will experience the sheer joy of walking where no other person has been before.
4) You will know a change within yourself
They say that you can tell the people who have visited the Antarctic and those that haven’t. I am now someone that has. We walk around with a gleam in our eyes and knowingness about these things.
The first couple of days we all carefully scanned the horizon on the bridge of the boat for our first glimpses of this icy continent. We were warm and comfortable on our boat and found true peace in the ice and cold. You wouldn’t think this possible but it is.
Once we arrived at the Peninsula we all went our own way to explore the largely unexplored. Some of us were happy to sit among literally hundreds and thousands of chinstrap penguins and the occasional seal. For others it was taking crampons and ice axes and climbing towering mountains that fall into the water. For one explorer it was the exhilaration of the climb and skiing top to bottom on pure virgin snow.
5) You will know you have achieved one of your dreams
We all knew that we were each realising our dreams and together we were thrilled for each other as we sipped our whiskies—on pure, virgin ice—late into the evening.
So forget the chaos, the stress, your age and those diamonds and get to the Antarctic to seek out a few home truths.