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Cuverville Island

Reasons – An Unusual Destination – Maverick Life – the Real Reason  (Map this!)

When we asked our fellow passengers for the reason that they had wanted to go to Antarctica, we got an answer similar to the famous repost by George Mallory, “Because it is there”. Antarctica has a mysterious draw that is hard to explain. We met people that had traveled all the way across the world just to run a marathon in King George Island. Others were there for visiting the “Peace Continent”, so called because of the fact that no one country owns it. One thing is certain, it attracts a very select set of travelers.


You can also read An Antarctic Dream – The White Continent (1/2), part one of this series


“In the Antarctica you always meet special people”, Daniela, our travel agent, said. I guess it does take a particular type of person whose idea of vacation is to take an old converted boat with no stabilizers, lurching his or her way for two days through the dreaded Drake passage just to visit a cold, barren land, penguins notwithstanding. This is after spending a kings ransom to get there. At home, it would be unusual to hear Antarctica nominated as the coveted destination for the next vacation. But in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in Argentina, the young and the old, the rich and the not-so-rich, people from all walks of life are all headed towards their white dream.

A Visit to Antarctica

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Back home, we are mavericks. We take frequent, long vacations at the cost of our career and bank balance, have no kids and no permanent home. As some might say, “We are not “settled”. Stan, a close friend, once said to me, “Neena, you are not normal”. But once we embarked on our journey, we found we were just one in a crowd. We routinely met backpackers taking between six months to a year to explore the world. Better still are the “mobile” voyagers traveling in their vehicle of choice, who have made it a lifestyle of traveling, people on the road for several years. Once you pursue your dream, you find that the abnormal rapidly becomes the norm, the extraordinary becomes ordinary.

Sometimes I wonder at the cost of deviating from the tried and true way. It is comfortable to do what everyone around you is doing, it forms the basis of the fabric of society. But unless we explore the unknown, how do we know what we are missing? How do we challenge our comfortable existence? Maybe one day, like the marathon which was once a realm of the crazy few, more would risk money and career to the self abandon and the self-enrichment of long-term travel. As Senhor Jose in Saramago’s “All the names” would say, “One often has to travel a long way in order to arrive at what is near.”

6 Responses to “An Antarctic Dream – The White Continent (2/2)”

  1. Fred says:

    Yep, definitely not normal! 😉

  2. ada says:

    Being “normal” is highly over-rated. Besides what is exactly is normal??

  3. ada says:

    Forgot to add, way cool video!!

  4. Neena says:

    You only!!! 😉
    Missed you & Fred in Antarctica. I bet you would have been one of the few people walking (or rather lurching around) without any problems.

  5. Michael says:

    Sometimes, the White Continent is within you…..

  6. Shreesh says:

    Hi Mike,

    I agree. There are places in our psyche that are as remote, hard to reach, and wondrous as Antarctica.

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