Antarctica: Trip Prep Reflections

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photo from Expedition Trips

We are making a list and checking it twice – but this list has nothing to do with toys, Christmas, or St. Nick. Instead this list is filled with things that we already have – but we simply need to remember to pack on our latest adventure. And as you can tell by my use of “our” and “we” – I am not going alone on this trip. My father and I are a few days away from leaving for South America to begin our journey to Antarctica!

Meaningful Travel

This trip is special to me for many reasons. This is my 3rd trip with my father who is now 76 years old. When we went to China, I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to handle my dad one-on-one for days on end – but I pretty quickly realized that traveling with my father was fun, so much so that I decided to do it again in Nepal! We survived Nepal and put Antarctica on our radar – and now 3 years later we are finally doing it! In fact this whole trip was born in one small conversation the morning after we crossed the Thorong La Pass on the Annapurna Circuit.

The next day when we woke up and I started getting up to go to breakfast, Dad sat up slowly and said “What adventure are we going to do next?”
I just laughed. I loved his quest for adventure. I answered, “I don’t know – maybe Antarctica?” He laid back down apparently happy with my answer.

My dad and me at the Great WAll

Dad and I at Thorong La

For both of us, it will be our 7th continent. And yes, I get chills just typing that! I doubt my father who grew up in the aftermath of the Great Depression on a farm in Nebraska ever could have imagined going to Antarctica. Back in his one room schoolhouse that he literally did have to walk miles in the snow to get to – I doubt that his teacher could have predicted that he was going to touch down on all continents. Our lives hold so much unknown and surprise – things that can never be predicted or controlled.

Every year that passes for me I know that I have less and less control and I simply have to go with the momentum of where life is swirling me. Who knows – maybe one day in my 70’s my nieces will accompany me on a trip to the Mars! It’s fun to think about…huh? But me landing on Mars in my 70’s is about as crazy of a thought as my dad ending up in Antarctica back in 1944.

So – as you can guess – there’s a lot of excitement in the Ott household in South Dakota these days. My dad and I debate over what to pack for our varied climates, and I think my mother rejoices to have free time coming for 3 weeks! It’s funny though – my dad and I worry about different things. My dad is pouring over the itinerary, map, hotel locations, and flight schedule for us which I seldom even glance at until I’m on my way to the airport. I on the other hand am agonizing over the motion of the ocean – sea sickness!

The Motion of the Ocean

The Drake Passage certainly intimidates me and my stomach. I’ve heard a lot of different stories of the passage that it takes two days to pass through and not many have been very positive! They all end with a barf bag and feeling uncomfortable for a few days. I’m prone to sea sickness, so I have been trying to pour through info and getting people’s advice from social media. There’s been lots of great advice out there – from patches, to electric currents, to homeopathic remedies, to good ole drugs. I’ll most likely opt for the latter. I’ve stocked up on Dramamine while my father taunts me recounting stories of his experiences on a troop ship when he was in the Army heading to Germany. Something tells me that he’s not going to be too sympathetic to my weak stomach.

troop boat

But before we get on the MS Expedition to cruise to our 7th continent – we’ve extended our trip and will be spending a week in sunny Argentina seeing Iguazu falls and Buenos Aires. Maybe my dad will trade his polka shoes for tango shoes! To top things off – this is my first trip to South America since I started traveling in 2006 on my initial career break. I can hardly believe it has taken me this long to make my way to Buenos Aires.

Do you have any to add?

Photo courtesy of Expedition Trips Pinterest board