Antarctica, the most mysterious place on earth, covers a landmass three times the size of Australia. It is a true behemoth in the annals of global connoisseurs of photographic travel.
Antarctica is much more than its center, the South Pole. It extends its elbow of ice until it touches the Southern, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans. This frozen wonderland is home to the coldest, most profound, and most chaotic of all Oceania and demands travelers’ attention from Asia, the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Australia.
Icebergs that have separated from their land dwellings cause havoc in shipping lanes due to their sporadic tendency to let go of their brethren ice. Antarctica is a continent, whereas the North Pole is one huge frozen body of ice bordered by many continents.
I produced a short YouTube video for a developing travel episode called “Left Eye Right Finger.” My goal is to host a travel program in the future, and I am on my way. It is my 7th continent, and 89th country visited. I hope to see all 206 countries in my lifetime.
What lessons could I share with colleagues, friends who would be beneficial and adequate to the reader? Perhaps, sharing a few visionary concepts, strategies, and goals is relatable to frequent travelers and those just starting in goal setting. For starters, this summary article is to get ideas and the juices flowing. One should find their mantra as it relates to expanding on those above.
First, I am a voracious reader and a lifelong curious person. So reading whatever you can get your hands on in your chosen subject of interest is paramount. As a youth, I digested every encyclopedia or world Atlas that I could get my hands on. It prepared me for the many adventurous and far-reaching places that I have seen along the way.
Second, language is essential; it is the key that unlocks the door of uncertainty in communication. I was born overseas, and my first language was English and some semblance of youthful German, enough to play soccer with the locals. I make a concerted effort to communicate in the mother language as much as possible. The humble gesture does not go unnoticed and is often reciprocated in kind.
Third, books remain a game-changer and can get you to travel freely, but I have always felt present provided a more robust experience. I made a lifelong goal to travel and meet humanity where he or she stands versus a third-party opinion from someone who had never traveled. I think if you combine the two ideas, you garner a richer experience.
Fourth, you must have a passion for setting extreme goals that push you to the point of second-guessing your destiny. Discomfort is an excellent description of this. You’ll know you are reaching this level when others believe that jumping in frozen waters is not exactly what someone should be doing in Antarctica. But I know how to swim, and I love ice cream, so the Polar plunge wasn’t too far from either. Steve Jobs talks about those who have done the unusual, who ultimately change the world; of course, I am paraphrasing, but you get the jest of his suggestion of leading without relenting to culture, peers, or traditions. It is a necessary evil if you are to change and seek a new direction for success.
Finally, it would help if you had a smart, well-researched checklist specific to your overarching goals and immediate project (that’s two different ideas). This knowledgeable list of things to do will help mitigate, remind and confirm your purpose. I lost my favorite traveling scarf to a lucky Penguin but returning home with my 500mm telephoto Nikon lens and 10,000 pictures was much more critical. Can I always find another scarf, right? I methodically ensured I checked off accomplishments and goals throughout my year-long planning and completing my journey while maintaining my photography equipment to get those rare and unexpected wildlife opportunities. I wanted to make sure that upon returning from the 8500 miles and six countries visited, I had what I needed and left the place better than when I arrived. It is what we should strive to do in the end.
In this short article, I have shared just a few thoughts that will help you set and accomplish your goals. One must have a clear vision, a sound strategy to accomplish the vision, and maintain a smart checklist to ensure you have achieved your objectives.
Antarctica is a beautiful place as it is extreme and constantly changing. For those that like adventure, Antarctica is a place that will not disappoint you. If you have questions or comments, please reach out, and I will do my best to answer on time.
Good luck in your future travels and accomplishing your personal goals.
Dr. Timothy D. Wilson, Antarctica 2018