Two years ago – in autumn of 2019 – I signed up for a 100km march in Vienna, that was supposed to be in April 2020, on the weekend of my birthday. As we all know, that minor thing called Covid happened in between, and thus this particular event did not. However, from this moment, the idea of walking around Vienna in one go was planted firmly in my head. Yesterday – Oct 23rd 2021 – it became a reality.
Antarctica season is always a special time of the year for Polar aficionados, like me. In a span of not even three months, dozens of explorers are out there working towards the goals they trained and planned for – often for many years. The 2018/19 season gave us an exciting struggle for the – supposedly – last real first out there, with Louis Rudd and Colin O’Brady both going for an unsupported and completely human powered traverse. In comparison to the media buzz created especially by O’Brady last year, this season may appear kind of slow. This perception may have been reinforced by the fact that due to weather delays, a lot of this year’s explorers only got on the ice at the end of November, which means it took till well after Christmas to hear of the first arrivals at the Pole. But the 2019/20 season stands out for another reason as well: for the first time in my memory, it’s the women dominating the headlines. Here’s a list of some of the amazing women who just wrapped up their expeditions.
When I first learned about Fridtjof Nansen, it was because of his groundbreaking achievements in Polar exploration. He was the first to achieve an overland traverse of Greenland and set a record for farthest North during his Fram expedition. His unique approach to expeditions and inventive talents would serve as an example for other great explorers, such as Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton, and Peary. Apart from his Polar achievements, Nansen was also a dedicated Scientist and became a respected diplomat and humanitarian later in his life. His achievements in both these fields are just as remarkable as his Polar exploits and well deserving of a blog post on their own.
In honour of International Women’s Day, and International Book Day, I thought I’d pull together a short list of the “adventure” books which have moved and inspired me the most over the last couple of years.
Many of my favourite experiences have started the same way. I see something – an event, a race, a course, which is 10 months away and think “that sounds like fun”. So I sign up, excited at doing something new and feeling pretty badass. Then the day arrives and I find myself standing on a jetty, or the start line, or climbing into a minibus and I think “what the f**k have I let myself in for?” My heart pounds and my palms sweat as I realise just how inexperienced and out of my depth I really am. Who am I to have thought that I could do this crazy thing?
Every story has a beginning, and of course, so does my own Arctic adventure. Talking about how I got into this seems like a fitting first post on our blog. Of course, everyone getting into any kind of adventuring has different motivations and backgrounds. Lauren’s story is already entirely different from mine, and your own story will be different too. So reading about my motives will probably be one of the least helpful posts to appear here. What’s important for this blog is that eight months ago I was just an average guy, nowhere near thoughts of Arctic expeditions or greater adventuring in general. So what I want to cover on this website is my journey from zero to seasoned Arctic explorer. Hopefully, this will prove helpful and inspirational to you if you find yourself in the position of planning an adventure yourself, but doubting you can do it or not knowing where to start.