The other day we were chatting with some friends over dinner about travel and the topic of Antarctica came up. Perhaps it was the martini and red wine combination (it was a long day), but I got fired up as I considered the possibility.
Until now, Antarctica seemed like a far off dream, the stuff of speculation only. But could we – or rather, should we – try to make it a reality?
The end of the season – always our favorite time to travel anywhere – is approaching. Perhaps there would be a cancellation we could fill? Last time we executed a just-in-time strategy – in the Galapagos Islands – we booked a last minute tour and it worked out great.
So we put a call out on Twitter for information on the availability of Antarctica tours launching this March (as in two weeks from now). Surprisingly, we received only one response. (Note: A similar call last summer for Galapagos tours quickly delivered more than a dozen responses. Galapagos tour agents are apparently more attuned to Twitter than the Antarctica crew.)
Regardless, the one response this time around seems to have put us in touch with the right Antarctica agent. At the time of writing, there are spaces available on two trips launching in March. Both would be great; one in particular looks incredible. It bears mentioning that absolutely nothing connected with Antarctica is inexpensive, but both offers strike us as comparatively good value.
So what’s the fascination with Antarctica?
Antarctica strikes us as truly far away, beyond consideration. Forbidden. Harsh. The land is remote and barren – aside from a few regulars we’d hope to meet up close (e.g., penguins). I envision an ice-breaker and the adventure of braving the elements and rough sea to get there.
Finally, the sheer visual beauty of the place has strong appeal: the landscape, the glaciers, the way light bends over it all. (Have you some of these photos?)
Add to all that the urgency. There are rumors that authorities may begin restricting tourism to Antarctica. Perhaps it won’t be immediate. Perhaps the rumor is a marketing ploy and the restrictions will never come to pass. I’m a skeptic and aware of all that. I am convinced the poles are melting — regardless of what or whom happens to be causing their accelerated disappearance.
Then, there’s the fact that Antarctica is the seventh continent. We’re not big fans of counting passport stamps or bragging about the number of countries we’ve been to, but there is something oddly appealing about visiting a continent so remote that most will never have considered going.
What’s keeping us back?
It’s simple: money. We aren’t rolling in it, so making this happen would take a big chunk out of what we planned to spend in South America. It would require us to ramp up the business side of our existence (perhaps not a bad thing?). We are looking at having to make some timing and financial adjustments.
We are here in Argentina. We are close. And the little man on my shoulder is saying to me: “You only live once.”
But we question. We recently wrote about deliberate living. How does this fit in with our larger priorities?
In writing this post, I may have jinxed us completely and the opportunity may pass with the next keystroke.
But, I’m curious to hear your thoughts:
What do you think? Should we go for it? Is a trip to Antarctica worth it?