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Six months ago, I finally acknowledged a deep, scary, huge dream that had been in the back of my mind about real estate for seven years. I really wanted to do polar travel.
This realization slowly dawned on me as I crossed the infamous Drake Passage on the Ocean Endeavor on the way back from Antarctica. There were twenty cool people with me who took a risk and decided join me in this adventure, my first group tour to Antarctica and my seventh polar expedition. I will never stop being thankful Adventures of Chimuwho believed in me and gave me such an opportunity.
Bobbing up and down with the waves as the albatross cut cleanly through the clouds, I was so wildly happy.
[/infobox]Click here sign up to learn more about traveling to Antarctica with me[/infobox]
When I’m aboard expedition ships exploring some of the most remote places on earth, in the company of other like-minded people and loads of wildlife, I’m at my happiest.
I love gliding around the deck with huge swells rolling under my feet. I sleep like a baby, snuggled up in a tiny cot. My knowledge of where we are now emanates from me and I become an extrovert, interacting with people all the time. I, for example, START conversations sometimes with strangers! (My fellow introverts will understand).
But every minute we got closer to “real life”, 5G and all the responsibilities of running two businesses, I felt an uncomfortable weight sink deeper into the floor of my stomach. When I thought about what was waiting for me on earth, I wanted to cry.
And I’m not seasick.
The past three years have taught me so much. From loss of father to unsuccessful long-term relations for opening a physical business (NODE) to writing a book, I found a strength I didn’t even know existed. Looking back, I did some really hard things. I’m still doing the hard stuff.
But the biggest lesson? Let things go. Silent acceptance. Slowing down.
This collective experience puts things into perspective, focuses on what really matters and makes me happy. And what not.
Somewhere around 60°S I finally recognized a few key truths that I could very well have hidden away:
- I am happiest at sea in the wildest corners of the world. This polar journey fills me in a way that is hard to explain.
- I want to be an expedition leader. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and passion for it with others. I put my guests’ experience above my own so they could feel how special it all was.
- Finally, life is too short to put off your dreams.
In all my trips to the Arctic and Antarctic, I traveled as media/press. I wasn’t a guest, but I wasn’t a team member either. Although I really enjoyed the role, in some ways I always felt a little out of place, like I didn’t belong anywhere. I was still hungry.
Looking back, I think I knew this from the time of my first expedition to Svalbard in 2016. Watching polar bears cross the pack ice and being offline in the wild was satisfying. This became the impetus for my further polar expeditions. This is the life I want, spending part of every year on these ships.
But like many of us, especially women, I put it off. why am I so angry with myself? I told myself I wasn’t good enough or qualified enough and didn’t have the experience. I was not a scientist or an inveterate adventurer. For over ten years I have been undervalued and belittled for my work as a blogger and influencer, even though I know I have accomplished so much. But no matter how far I flew, impostor syndrome always kept me company. jerk
But it’s time to change that. We can do hard things.
The ship I take guests to Antarctica on as a host company for Chimu Adventures is called the Ocean Endeavour. It also works in partnership with my old friends Intrepid Travel.
In the summer in the southern hemisphere, “Endeavour” hangs in the Antarctic, that is, from November to March. He then heads north to spend a northern summer in the Arctic with Adventure Canada.
Now I can finally share that after months and months of hard work, my polar travel dreams are coming true.
For the first time ever, I’m skipping the Kiwi winter and heading north to work on Endeavor in the Arctic with Canadian adventuresa. I’ll be away from New Zealand for four months, working aboard from Scotland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland to remote Canada. As part of the expedition team, I will be working mostly with photography, as well as writing, directing and sharing stories from this part of the world.
I’ll finish and go back to New Zealand in the spring and next season I’ll be back in Antarctica with Chimu and Intrepid. I will fully accompany and conduct trips. Sign up here to learn more.
I couldn’t be more excited. Literally every single thing about this opportunity excites me.
I’m glad to be a newbie again. Being at the bottom of the ladder and working your way up through hard work. And I know it will be very difficult. I can’t wait to spend less time on the internet and more time working with my hands in my favorite places. I slowly chipped away at qualifications such as getting a motorboat license to drive zodiacs, marine safety courses, first aid courses and so on.
I like to learn new things; I am a sponge.
It is easy to continue familiar patterns of work and life. What is really difficult is to find the strength to push them aside and rush into something new. I turned 35 a few weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Life is too short to screw up and not do what you really love.
When filling out documents for these trips (god, so many papers), they ask questions that I haven’t been asked in a long time, for example, what are my hobbies and what do I do for fun. Um, crickets.
I work, I work, and then I do more. I do a lot of things in nature for work. My photography and writing technically count as work. Travel is usually work. I go to the gym – does that count? I read like I’m going for a walk and I watch TV at night to try to shut off my working brain, but that’s about it. Shit When did this happen to me? I don’t think I know how to have fun anymore. I force myself to schedule time to spend with friends.
A friend recently told me that I get fired up when I talk about my upcoming time on board. Not much turns me on anymore, which was sad to realize. I feel like with all the crap I’ve been through in the last two years, my spark is gone, gone.
But now I know I want him back. Desperately.
One of the biggest things I hope to achieve with this new chapter of polar travel is that it will give me the freedom to have good chunks of free time. I hope it teaches me to balance. I’ll work a few months on board and then get a few months off to do whatever I want. I’ll still be here sharing stories, but hopefully from a new perspective.
It’s time to stop messing around with things that don’t represent your heart’s singing. Our dreams are real and valid; if we don’t chase them, someone else will.