It’s been a big year for our contributing editor Andrew Evans. He’s helped us learn how to track lions in Africa, he’s smuggled home lobsters from Maine, and he made his foray into reality television. But on January 1, 2010, he’s going to embark on a real adventure. We’ll let him explain the details…
I am taking the bus to Antarctica. A lot of buses, actually.
I’ve always wanted to go to Antarctica–ever since I knew that such a place existed. I have lots of good reasons: I want to stand on the seventh continent, to see the massive icebergs and the frozen landscape, to simply be at the bottom of the world. I adore penguins, yes, but besides all that, this is my dream. Everyone has a travel dream and this is mine: to get to Antarctica.
Can’t you just fly there? Yeah, I could. Nowadays you can fly just about anywhere in a day, but that’s just no fun. If there’s anything I’ve learned from reading Traveler, it’s that the journey itself matters.
And so, this is my journey: I leave next week from Washington, D.C., on a bus to Texas. I have a ticket to get me that far and after Texas, I’ll just keep catching buses south. I’ll ride through Mexico and all of Central America, hop the Panama Canal and skip over to Colombia, then ride buses all the way through South America to the southernmost tip of Argentina: the town of Ushuaia. I entered it all into GoogleMaps and the trip comes to around 10,000 miles.
They say the best journeys are the ones you don’t plan for and that’s my plan–to just keep going ’til I get there. Luckily, someone else has made a few plans for me. Whenever I get to the watery parts of my trip–like the Panama Canal–I’ll be taking a boat with Lindblad Expeditions. And when I reach Ushuaia, I will set sail on board the National Geographic Explorer, destination: Antarctica.
The National Geographic Society has sent a lot of explorers out into the world–brave men and women who set off to discover the unknown and share all of their findings with the rest of us back home. These great travelers still inspire us though the world has changed drastically since their time–travel is so much easier, more feasible. What’s more, our technology keeps ticking forward every second: I’m convinced my pocket-sized smart phone does more stuff than the piles of equipment carried on dogsleds by the explorers of old.
What hasn’t changed since the golden age of exploration is the underlying goal, which is to simply get out there and explore. Such is my intention with this trip: to explore from here to there and to share it with all of you. Scott kept a diary, Shackleton made a movie. I intend to do a little bit of both–to share my ten-week journey online as it happens, in words, pictures, video clips, and with my latest GPS coordinates. We have incredible media tools these days, and I intend to use them. We also have intercontinental flights and spaceships and things, but I still prefer the bus.