100 Top Places (to see before you die)
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Antarctica

Earth's southernmost continent, underlying the South Pole.

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Serendipity

  • Oct 31, 2009
Rating:
+5
Antarctica is a journey of a lifetime for every traveler. It's not only that it's difficult to get to, it is exceptionally expensive to get to. It can also be a trip of no return if you should be so unlucky. Hence, to have set foot on this continent is to reflect a certain level of maturity and blessedness. One is certainly the lucky one to have traverse here and back.

Yes, I am one of the lucky few. The journey not only took me to a faraway land, it took me beyond myself.
For the entire journey from a traveler's perspective, you can check my travelog on VirtualTourist which I wrote 5 years ago. What I'm writing here is not so much the trip itself but rather what it had done for my life, especially my inner world. 



There were a great many trips or journeys I've taken in my life. To many places which most visitors from Asia wouldn't have thought of going. Iceland, Ecuador, French Polynesia, etc... Each and everyone of them are special in its own right. But Antarctica? It's a no man's land, a faraway land, a continent, a place you've to go on a 2 day crossing the most treacherous ocean to get to. So, why and for what reason? The motivation? The inspiration? 

The truth of the matter is in January 2004, I was getting restless. Life hasn't turned out as I've envisioned. Not that it's horrible or anything. Just not as I had envisioned. But after the 2003 lone trip to Chile (yes, even though I had joined a tour originating from the U.S., everyone did not turned up due to the fear of terrorists!), I had gone as far away from home as I have had. By the end of 2003, nothing could have stopped me from making the journey to my last continent. Oh, yes, the Argentinian government could have (without granting me a visa, I'd not have been able to board the ship!) but it didn't. Everything goes smoothly, not as planned, as I really didn't plan that much for it. It was whimsical, mythical and miracle. I made it there!



It didn't make sense but as life would have it, I made it there. With simply a thought... a wish. That's all. Of course, that didn't occur to me then. I was too excited and too busy trying to get my acts together; financial, physical, emotional... I went ahead and I came back. Did I enjoy it? Yes, some of it. Those time I was out there with nature. Not on the ship. I hate cruises especially when I'm alone. It's not that exciting. There were some nice people on board but these people were there for work, not for leisure or enjoyment. So, I don't really get to mingle with them that much. And on this ship, it's not like those Caribbean or Mediterranean cruises where there are live entertainment. This is an expedition, we had drills and we had nature talks, aka penguins talks mostly, not my cup of tea at all.



In spite of that, this cruise initiated another series of jet-setting around the world where I visited at least one country in each of the other 6 continents in the next few months and I completed another circuit of the 7 continents in a single year. That was phenomenal for me. I stretched my luck to the max and it was certainly a prominent year for me. 2004. It's been 5 years since. Since then, I haven't had much breakthrough in my life or career. I'm getting restless again. It's like mountain climbers, once you've climb the highest mountain, what's next? 

Brad whom I met on the cruise to Antarctica asked me the same question. What's next? I told him then I'd like to visit 100 countries. That'd have been a record for me, and my family. Now that I'm pretty close to 100 countries, I don't think that's an accomplishment. So, the question remains, what's next? 

I do know in some ways what's next but I don't think I'd have the means to do it. Yes, outer space! And it might be a journey that I'd not make it back. So, I wonder, even if I'm given a chance to do it, would I have? What do you think? Would I have?



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April 02, 2011
WOW, simply amazing and excellent read.
April 03, 2011
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed your journey here :-)
 
October 31, 2009
What a fascinating topic. I envy you. Terrific photos as well.
October 31, 2009
Thanks! I hope to return again if I ever get another chance. Envy? Do you have plans to travel to Antarctica?
 
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Quick Tip by . April 24, 2010
One doesn't get the chance to visit this pristine destination any day. If you've a chance, no matter how remote, grab it!
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Sharrie ()
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I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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Antarctica is our planet's southernmost continent, underlying the South Pole. It is situated in the Antarctic region of the southern hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14.0 million km² (5.4 million sq mi), it is the fifth-largest continent in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, which averages at least 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) in thickness.

Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Antarctica is considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm (8 inches) along the coast and far less inland. There are no permanent human residents but anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Only cold-adapted plants and animals survive there, including penguins, seals, many types of algae, and Tundra vegetation.

Although myths and speculation about a Terra Australis ("Southern Land") date back to antiquity, the first confirmed sighting of the continent is commonly accepted to have occurred in 1820 by the Russian expedition of Mikhail Lazarev and Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen. The ...

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